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Christmas Diet Tips

#1. Try to eat a variety of everything, especially the veggies.

#2. Turkey is good for you. Its packed with protein, just don't eat the skin and fat. If you’re going to use the meat juices to make the gravy, drain off any fat first.

#3. Make your own Egg Nog - Store bought eggnog is mostly water and sugar. Don't believe me? Read the label.

#4. When mixing alcoholic drinks aim for low calorie versions or healthy choices. eg. My favourite is Peach Schnapps and Cranberry Juice.

#5. Avoid beer and cider - they're full of calories. Aim for red wines for the anti-oxidants.

#6. Enjoy a nibble of chocolate every so often - don't eat the whole plate of cookies all at once.

#7. Try to balance the more sugary foods with healthier alternatives. Citrus fruits and melons are awesome!

#8. Watermelon baby, watermelon! Who doesn't love watermelon?

#9. On Christmas morning make whole wheat pancakes - goes great with peanut butter and raspberry jam.

#10. Avoid breads when you can, especially white bread. Aim for healthier whole grain choices.

#11. When you have leftover turkey make your sandwiches using whole grain bread. Tis healthier!

#12. Don't feel guilty about eating more during the holiday season. Your New Years Resolutions are just around the corner... Bookmark Cardio Trek and come back on January 1st to see our New Years Resolutions advice.

7 Benefits of Isometric Exercises

#1. Isometric Exercises are Frugal because you don't need to buy any equipment to do them because they use pressure resistance or bodyweight to accomplish the goal.

#2. Many trainers argue that Isometric Exercises are better than lifting weights because of the “synapse effect”, wherein one’s body just uses the minimal quantity of muscle fibers it has to at one time. When weightlifting your body only uses the minimum amount of muscle fibers to complete the task in however long it takes to do it, typically only a few seconds... but to build strength you want to use as much as you possibly can and for multiple seconds.

With Isometric Exercises you hold the position for 10 seconds or more, utilizing and maximizing every muscle fibre at the same time, which is a more effective way of building muscle.

#3. Isometric Exercises builds muscle FASTER. With weightlifting you have to do a lot of repetitions to get results. With Isometric Exercises you can get faster results because your goal is to continually challenge your muscles on a constant basis - getting more rippage for your time. The only downside to this is you need to keep challenging yourself.

#4. If you combine Isometric Exercises with freeweights you can achieve even greater results than freehand Isometric Exercises by themselves. Your goal then is to lift or pull something and then hold it for 10 seconds or more.

#5. Isometric Exercises also builds endurance, which is why it is the exercise of choice for government militaries around the world, because they don't just want strong soldiers, they also want soldiers with incredible muscular endurance. This is why a military fitness regimen typically involves 500 pushups per day, 500 situps per day, 500 jumping jacks per day, etc. If you're going to be carrying around 70 lbs of gear all day they need you to be able to do without tiring easily.

#6. Isometric Exercises strengthens bones. Technically all weightlifting and even cardio exercises do this, but basically it all helps to increase bone density.

#7. Reduces chances of Injury. Isometric Exercises are widely known to be the safest way to exercise because you're not using any weights and you don't need any special equipment.

Strength Training Vs Endurance Training

Strength Training and Endurance Training are actually very different disciplines.

Lets take Bicep Curls as an example...

First we determine what your 1RM is. 1RM means "One Repetition Maximum", meaning the maximum amount you can lift and only do 1 rep.

So in the example of Bicep Curls lets say you can lift a maximum of 50 lbs with one arm and then you have to stop and catch your breath.

With Strength Training what you would then do is calculate what is 75% of that and do bicep curls for 5 sets with 5 repetitions each set. Do that three days per week for 3 weeks and then calculate 80% of 1RM and do the same thing for another 3 weeks. Then 85% of your 1RM for 3 weeks and eventually 90% for 1 RM for 3 weeks.

After you're done all 12 weeks then you recalculate your new 1RM, and start back again at 75%, repeating the same cycle every 12 weeks.

Note: To be fair you're not meant to be doing only Bicep Curls. You should be doing sets like this for Squats, Stationary Lunges, Modified Deadlifts, Calf Raises, Upright Rows, Bench Presses, Pullovers, Bent-Over Rows, Military Presses, Preacher Curls and Tricep Curls. The end result is a full body workout.

It also means you will need to determine your 1RM for each machine at the gym, write it all down in a journal and then recalculate your 1RM every 12 weeks of your Strength Training program.

Lets say however that you weren't trying to build strength so much however and you were more worried about endurance...

Here is what you would do instead.

#1. Calculate your 1RM like you would above, but when choosing the amount of weight to be using you instead calculate it to be 50% of your 1RM.

#2. Instead of doing 5 sets of 5 repetitions, you are instead doing 5 sets of 10 repetitions.

#3. You train 4 days per week instead of 3 days.

#4. After 3 weeks of training you don't change the amount of weight you are lifting, instead you increase the number of repetitions to 5 sets of 15. Three weeks later it becomes 5 sets of 20. Then 5 sets of 25.

#5. After the 12 weeks is over you recalculate your new 1RM and start over again with 5 sets of 10 repetitions.

With Endurance Training you are still building strength at the same time, but the focus is on increasing your ability to lift many multiple times without tiring so easily. Endurance training is also safer because it builds up your cardiovascular heart and lung muscles more in a similar way to Cardio training.

Its a bit like comparing Sprinters to Marathon Runners.

When Sprinters train out on the track they might only be running 100 meters at a time, and they stop and rest and when they're ready again they will sprint the 100 meters again. They might do that maybe 20 times on a training day. If they can sprint the 100 in 10 seconds their total exercise time might only be 200 seconds of actual sprinting, but they have spaced it out so they have plenty of time to rest in between sprints.

As such Sprinters typically look strong and quick. Marathon Runners have a strong tendency to look almost anorexic.

In contrast Marathon Runners will be out there running half or full marathons 3 or 4 times per week. Approx. 21.1 to 42.2 km. So for example they might be running 25 km four days per week.

With Marathon Runners they need to be careful to avoid going over 100 km per week because if they do they can often develop "Exercise Addiction", a condition runners are frequently prone to because of the batch of hormonal painkillers the brain releases during long runs which are highly addictive. The side effects of Exercise Addiction include insomnia, loss of appetite, headaches, anti-social behaviour, decreased libido, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (obsessive cleaning, etc). It can even lead to loss of weight / anorexia as the person can sometimes exercise so much they end up burning away muscle and brain tissue for energy. Like any other addiction it can also ruin relationships as the person will choose running over spending time with family or friends.

Even professional marathon runners avoid going over the 100 km limit due to fear of developing an addiction to "Runner's High".

We should note that Marathon Running with an Exercise Addiction is not going to increase your endurance. If the person is running that much the hormonal imbalance in their body causes them to be unable to sleep properly and regenerate muscle tissue during their sleep. Instead they will burn away muscle tissue in order to fuel their obsessive need to keep exercising.

Some Exercise Addicts are known to run 140 km or more per week and get emotionally upset if they don't go outside and run because they're so obsessed with their "Runner's High".

Thankfully that sort of thing doesn't really happen amongst Strength Training or Endurance Training because the focus is still on building muscle, right?

Wrong! Strength is actually prone to Exercise Addiction too. According to some bodybuilders it can even be more addictive, although it is difficult to measure if that is true or not. A warning sign of someone who addicted is their insistence that they have to go to the gym 6 or 7 days per week to work out for several hours, working out for 15 hours + per week.

What is known is that Exercise Addiction is more commonly found amongst "Power Lifters" who develop a psychological dependence on weightlifting - the heavier the weights the more addicted they can become. The psychological symptoms are the same as other Exercise Addictions. It doesn't matter that it is weightlifting instead of running. It is still addictive and dangerous to their mental health.

Worse, Power Lifters are also more likely to use Steroids. Increasing their psychological addiction with a drug addiction that will damage their internal organs. There is a lot of information out there available on this topic if you want to Google the words powerlifting steroids addiction.

Sensory Training for Archery

Years ago I started doing archery as a way to get exercise and have fun doing so. Now I am an archery instructor and a personal trainer here in Toronto. Go figure.

Since then however I have noticed something unusual... My skills in visual observation have improved dramatically.

Now I admit its not super-human or anything like that.

But it is definitely more than it used to be. Now you might chalk it up to the Zen benefits of archery, which gradually hones your mind and increases your ability to concentrate on a singular target while still remaining aware of your surroundings.

Which got me thinking... If it is possible to train your eyes to be more observant using archery and similar tasks, is it possible to train the other senses as well?

Well one example is that people who have lived through a fire become hypersensitive to the smell of smoke. That sense has become attuned so that whenever they smell smoke the memories of the fire they lived through comes flooding back to them at just the whiff of smoke. For me I have lived through my parents' barn burning down when I was 5 years old and my neighbours' house burning down when I was 8. I am perfectly aware that people can become more sensitive to smells due to strong memories.

Legends about Blind Samurais is another example of why I think it is possible.

Now I admit this is a concept from Japanese folklore, but the concept is simple: The warrior trains their other senses over time and develops above average ability to hear and sense movement around them...

And as proof that learning such martial arts is not impossible for a blind person, check out this video from the CBC of a Richmond Hill resident who is blind and is learning the Israeli Martial Art of Krav Maga.


Another reason why I think it is possible is because of documented cases of men who went through the Vietnam War and similar conflict zones who, due to their circumstances and extreme need for survival, developed unusually high skills of observation.

In pop culture there are a variety of references to military groups attempting to deliberately train soldiers or agents to have above average senses and observation skills. One such film that I am fond of is the 1997 film "The Assignment".


The beauty of "The Assignment" is that it is also based on the real life true story of how Carlos the Jackal was captured.

But if you're looking for the cream of all pop culture references to developing "super senses" the top of the list would be the TV show "The Sentinel" which ran from 1996 to 1999... However in the TV show they make out that the main character has a combination of genetic advantage and hypersensitivity training that was developed during his years in the military.

However that TV show isn't really a good example because the writers of the show went overboard and gave him the ability to communicate with ghosts, spirit animals and visions of the future... Which is just plain ridiculous and the show was eventually cancelled at the end of 3rd season so they created an extra half season just so the storyline could be wrapped up.

My last example of why I think it is possible to do Sensory Training isn't from pop culture.

Its from Ashtanga Yoga, the 8-fold path of purification.
  1. Yama     Moral codes
  2. Niyama     Self-purification and study
  3. Asana     Posture
  4. Pranayama     Breath control
  5. Pratyahara     Withdrawing of the mind from the senses
  6. Dharana     Concentration
  7. Dhyana     Deep meditation
  8. Samadhi     Union with the object of meditation
Of these topics there are several that deal with sensory awareness, but the most obvious of these is Pratyahara (withdrawing of the mind from the senses). The practice involves deliberately weaning oneself from the senses one at a time so that eventually you simply fail to notice things.

As human beings we regularly do this without even noticing it. We can narrow our focus visually when watching a TV screen (the kitchen could be on fire and we wouldn't notice). We tune out noises that we don't want to hear. We ignore tastes, smells and pains in our body, especially when distracted.

Now imagine doing the opposite. Sit in a coffee shop or some other public place and listen to other people breathing. If you close your eyes you can concentrate on this task even more. Listen for minute sounds and what you discover is that you can hear many different things around you, but your mind typically doesn't listen to these things because it is so busy tuning such things out.

Another thing you can do is play observational memory games with friends. This will be mostly your eyes being tested and trained.

The thing is that isn't your eyes, ears, nose, tongue or skin that is hypersensitive. Unless we have a disability like blindness or deafness can all do these things naturally anyway. What is different is our brain pathways...

To understand brain pathways and how it interprets the senses imagine a map with a network of highways in the shape of your brain. When you are a teenager these neural pathways are still growing and expanding, and depending on which neural pathways you use more of those pathways will become thicker and stronger as your brain reinforces those pathways.

So for example if you do a lot of math your brain will reinforce the mental pathways that control your ability to do math functions. Over time your brain will increasingly be attuned to solving math problems because that is part of the brain that is being used and exercised most often.

Memory, creativity, your ability to make decisions all stem from various mental pathways which are used, not used, depending on how often you do various mental activities.

Now by the time you reach adulthood many of these 'highways' have become super highways and they're dug in there pretty deep so that they are pretty difficult to change. However they're not impossible to change.

Lets say for example you were really good at math during your teens but at the age of 20 you stopped worrying about math and went to university to become a French teacher. By the time you finish university your brain will have re-wired itself so that it is now more focused on social skills involving interactions and also on language and communication skills. You will still continue to use the math parts of your brain, but they will fall into disrepair like an old highway that few people drive on anymore.

Now lets apply this concept to your observational skills.

If you practice and hone your ability to observe things every day, either with your eyes, ears or other senses, then with time your brain will reinforce various mental pathways which affect your abilities to observe your surroundings.

Which is what archery has apparently done for me. It has increased my visual observation skills without me even realizing it, re-wiring my brain pathways so I am now more observant.

Conceptually it is different from the various physical exercises I usually discuss, but the idea remains the same: If you practice a particular skill you will with time become good at it.

How Fast Can You Grow Muscle?

A commonly asked question by people trying build muscle is how fast can it actually be done.

The short answer is approx. 1 to 2 lbs of muscle per month if you are weightlifting daily, but there are a number of factors that affect how fast you build muscle, listed below, which will make you gain muscle faster or slower.

Training Age

Don't confuse this with your actual age. That is a different factor.

Your training age is how long you’ve been lifting weights and engaging in weight training, either as the result of working out or as part of your daily routine (eg. If you're a construction worker you are probably more used to it). If you’re new to weightlifting you will be able to gain more muscle faster than if you’ve been lifting for many years. I know that seems backwards, but that is the way it works.




Hormone Levels

Depending on the person the amount of testosterone and other muscle building hormones in your body can vary wildly because your lifting regimen does not help elicit a testosterone response (you might not be lifting with your legs, or not lifting heavy enough), or your body simply doesn’t produce as much testosterone (due to genetics / personality). Alpha male personalities tend to make more testosterone (in theory you can even become an alpha male with time if you make active efforts to become more confident and your brain will increase your testosterone levels as the result of rewiring of your system - this is harder to do as you get older as such things become hardwired in your brain while you are a teenager).

For women muscle is still governed by testosterone levels, but since women produce less testosterone other muscle building hormones play a greater role in the female body. Cortisol thus plays a bigger role for women, but too high levels of cortisol hurts bone density. Thus for women its better to use short but intense bursts of weightlifting to get the benefits.

Genetics

Everyone has basically the same genetic coding, but there are minor differences in the coding. Don't read too much into genetics because sometimes people can defy the odds through conditioning. Most people (roughly 68%) by definition are genetically average so the chances are likely you're pretty average.

There is a concept of a genetic bell curve. To summarize what this means, some people are naturally inclined to build a lot of muscle because of genetic factors which effect hormonal balance, or the thickness of their frames (big boned) allows them to add muscle easier. A person with a small frame will have trouble building muscle.

Muscle Memory

If you used to have lots of muscle when you were younger or before an injury, then you can regain that muscle faster when you start training again. So if you are an athlete and get injured and lose 30 lbs of muscle you can regain that muscle at a much faster rate than a normal person because your body remembers the muscle being there and will build it at an accelerated rate. Its possible to gain 20 lbs of muscle back in only a single month if you have the muscle memory, because your body has a mechanism for restoring the previous homeostasis.

Protein Supplements / Steroids

Consuming protein supplements and Creatine (a chemical found in red meat) will help you build muscle faster.

Heavy duty supplements like steroids are harmful and will damage your internal organs. So called performance enhancing substances can help you build muscle much faster, but will cause your internal organs like liver, kidneys, etc to shrink and become more prone to diseases/cancer. It also shrinks your testicles and damages brain matter.

The safest route is to stick to natural supplements like whey protein and Creatine.

Winning an Uphill Battle

Losing weight and/or building muscle can sometimes feel like you are trying to fight an uphill battle.

That doesn't mean you will automatically lose just because you sometimes suffer setbacks.

Common setbacks include:

Sports injuries.

Not eating properly.

Not exercising enough or keeping to your scheduled routine.

Illness.

Getting distracted by work or family concerns.

Slacking off due to lack of motivation.

But just because you encounter a setback doesn't mean you should just give up and let things spiral out of control. You have to realize ahead of time that there will be setbacks and you have to learn to embrace the challenges given to you.

Nobody is going to blame you if something happens (eg. a funeral for a family member or friend) and then you slack off a bit. That type of thing just happens and is part of life. You take the necessary break and then you get right back to your routine as soon as you feel ready.

Many people on a weight loss regimen have slipped up / slacked off from time to time. Even the professional bodybuilders, athletes, etc sometimes fall behind on their schedule. Unfortunately sometimes due to lack of willpower it can quickly spiral out of control. Say for example you have one snack outside of your meal plan, it may be easy to say, "Well I already messed up today, so what's another?" This can turn into a truly self-defeating cycle and before you know it you're binging on doughnuts and have completely stopped exercising. That one day can turn into the whole weekend, and weekends turn into weeks. And you might not stop the cycle for months.

But if you realize ahead of time that you will make small mistakes then you can make those mistakes and keep on pushing forward despite the small setbacks.

The only way out of this is to get it together mentally and not allow little mistakes to chip away at your determination to make changes in your life. One, two or even ten bad days are nothing compared to the days in the year and beyond.

Yes, it can be upsetting to lose progress, especially when you have no control over it due to an illness or injury. We work so hard to achieve success, and then a loss of willpower or a lazy streak can really take away from the progress that we busted our butts for and our motivation will be sapped. Dwelling on the mistakes won't bring you six-pack abs however. The only way to feel better is to pick yourself up, and get started again as if nothing had even happened.

You are going to encounter speed bumps. Just run right over them and keep going!

Raw Egg Protein Shakes

Raw eggs are really good for you.

Two reasons!

#1. The egg whites are high in protein, the building blocks of muscle. Excellent if you're doing lots of weight lifting and cardio too.

#2. The egg yolks are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are one of the good fats that your body needs in order to give you lots of energy, boost brain power, etc. They make you both smarter and faster.

And the best way to eat eggs isn't cooked or fried or poached... its raw. And therefore you need a way to eat raw eggs.

You could simply crack 3 eggs in a glass and drink it down, Rocky Balboa style, but most of don't really like that idea. Squeamish taste buds.

So the next best solution is to make a raw egg protein shake.

You will need:

  1. 1 or 2 Eggs
  2. 500 mL of Milk or Soy Milk
  3. 1 cup of Berries, or 1 tbsp of Chocolate Syrup, or 1/2 of cup of Ice Cream or Yogurt (preferably Low Fat)
  4. A bowl or really big cup. I find a large martini shaker works well.
  5. A hand blender.

Blend the eggs and milk first, then add your choice of flavouring. Berries works best, but if you don't have that available use chocolate syrup or ice cream/yogurt. Blend until there is no chunks.

Pour into a tall glass, drink and enjoy.

Done this way you will barely notice the taste of raw eggs and it is a very satisfying drink.

Makes a good breakfast after jogging but also good for an after workout snack.

Canola Oil Health Benefits

You've probably heard of the health benefits of cooking with virgin olive oil, but did you know that Canola Oil is also very good for your health?

You can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease by changing your diet, in particular by lowering your intake of saturated fats (which causes artery-clogging cholesterol levels) and by focusing your intake of healthier unsaturated fats and essential fatty acids.

By choosing heart healthy oils like Canola Oil, which is made from the crushed seeds of the canola plant, you can reduce your intake of unhealthy fats. Canola Oil has the lowest saturated fat content of any oil commonly consumed in the USA, at just 7%. By comparison, sunflower oil has 12% saturated fat, corn oil has 13%, and olive oil has 15%.

So yeah, if you thought olive oil was good, think again.

Although it's low in saturated fat, Canola Oil is very high in healthy unsaturated fats, plus its an excellent source of the omega-6 fatty acid, linolenic acid, and Canola Oil is higher in the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) than any other oil commonly used. These fats are particularly important in the diet because the human body can't produce them and they're used for higher brain functions and regulate energy to the rest of the body.

So whether you are frying an egg, making pancakes or baking a cake Canola Oil is the wise choice for a healthier meal.

Weight Loss Testimonial

The following was sent in via email. Congratulations on your weight loss!

"Dear Charles Moffat of Cardio Trek!

I live in San Diego California and I read your website every day. I started reading it about a month ago when I was looking for weight loss tips and a lot of the information on your website has been extremely usefult to me - even the weightlifting posts, even though I am not into that.

Since reading your website I have enacted a number of the tips from your site, including morning jogs (I only jog for 10 minutes, but I find it helps a lot), counting calories and tracking them in a journal, stretching and whenever I am bored I try out some of your frugal exercise ideas. As a result I've lost almost 10 lbs in the last month.

I am trying to lose weight slowly so I don't end up with loose baggy skin, and the prevention information on your site on that topic is very useful too.

I guess what I am trying to say is THANK YOU for offering lots of free advice on your website. I know I am not one of your clients, but I hope you will post my testimonial anyway.

Also one little question / suggestion, why don't you have more information about yourself on this website? A profile? I know a lot of personal trainers out there are egotists who love talking about themselves and are shameless self-promoters, but I couldn't find one single photo of yourself on your website and there is very little else about you. Maybe you are camera shy? Or maybe you're just not an egotist? Sorry if I seem overtly curious.

Thanks again!
Samantha K."


Hello Samantha!

I am happy to hear my writing has had such a profound effect on you and has been so useful to you. I too have an inspiration for my exercise - Sylvester Stallone and his Rocky Balboa film series, which he both wrote and starred in. If I were to ever meet Sly I would be sure to shake his hand and thank him for his inspirational films.

Plus anyone who can fit both Mr T and Hulk Hogan into the same film series deserves some kudos. Mr T was my hero when I was 5 years old.

Yes, its true I don't like putting photos of myself online, but I don't mind talking about myself. My interests include languages, traveling, freehand mountain climbing, cycling, archery, boxing, painting, photography, sculpture, fixing things, writing and perfecting various recipes in the kitchen. Truth be told if you Google the name Charles Moffat you will find a lot of information about my artistic career, my website design business, books I've written available on Kindle/Kobo and a lot more.

I don't like to talk too much about my artistic talents and other things on this website however because I feel it would distract from the purpose of this website, which is to promote exercise, healthy eating, and of course my personal training business here in Toronto.

I am planning to have a professional photoshoot done in 2013 which will be used to promote my talents as a personal trainer, but you're right, I am none too excited about being recognized on the street. I have already had my encounters with fame with respect to my artistic career and I have learned to value my anonymity online. (Because fans are crazy...)

I wish you continued success with your exercise goals and wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too! Let me know if you have any specific exercise questions and I will be happy to answer them and post the results.

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat

Whey Protein Questions and Answers

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about Whey Protein:

#1. What is Whey Protein and where does it come from?

Whey Protein is one of two types of protein that comes from milk (the other type is casein protein). Whey Protein is made during the process of cow's milk being turned into cheese, wherein the whey protein is a by-product of the process. The great news is that Whey Protein is a rich source of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), containing the highest known levels of any natural food source.

Thus its good for vegetarians too, but not for Vegans because its made from milk.

#2. Do any other Foods contain Whey Protein?

No, its only found in the by product of the cheese making process. You can find different kinds of protein in other foods (especially meat). There are a variety of different foods that contain high levels of protein, but they're not as high in protein as you might think.

    Lean red meat (20% protein)
    Chicken/turkey (20% protein)
    Fish (20% protein)
    Eggs (6-10% protein)
    Cheese (10-30% protein, but also high in fat)

Thus if you get Whey Protein Powder you're consuming something that is often 50 to 90% protein, depending on the brand. You will need to read the label and possibly do some math to discover the exact percentage. eg. Six Star Muscle Professional Strength Whey Protein is 66.6% protein.

#3. What Types of Whey Protein are There?

There are 2 major types of whey protein:

Whey protein concentrate, which also contains some lactose and fat and is roughly 75% protein by weight. Its cheaper to buy whey in this form, but you'd better be feeling energetic and not be lactose intolerant.

Whey protein isolate, the purest form of whey protein has been processed to remove fat and lactose. Typically whey protein isolate is about 90%+ pure protein by weight, and this is the type commonly used in whey protein powders.

There is also whey protein blends, a mix of the above two, and is typically used for making protein bars and whey protein powders. A blended mix is slightly cheaper than pure isolate, but still boasts a good chunk of protein.

#4. What does Whey Protein do?

Whey protein provides the body with the necessary amino acids for muscle building, strength and recovery. Bodybuilders and professional athletes use whey protein supplements to help increase size, strength and speed up recovery times.

Whey is also easy and fast ingesting, meaning it gets to where it's needed in the body quickly. It is best used right after a weightlifting workout as it plays a huge roll in post-workout nutrition, when your body is in a catabolic state and needs a fast injection of protein.

Whey protein also works as an antioxidant to boost the body's immune system, helping to create a stronger immune system. The end results include: Increased lean muscle mass; Decreased recovery times and faster muscle repair; Reduced post-workout muscle breakdown; Increased metabolic rate.

#5. Are there any side effects?

None whatsoever. Its protein, a necessary amino acid that your body needs.

Liven Up Your Workout

Here is 5 ways to Liven Up Your Workout!

#1. Try Adrenaline High Weight Loss

Why? Because doing something scary like mountain climbing (or rock climbing inside with a harness) is both fun and the adrenaline kickstarts a huge energy burn.

#2. Take Up a Competitive Sport

It doesn't have to be anything special or super competitive. Just road hockey is still competitive because its you vs them.

#3. Hire a Personal Trainer

A personal trainer (*cough* like me, if you live in Toronto) can help make your daily workout more interesting by giving you additional challenges.

#4. Browse Exercise Blogs, Magazines and Books

Find new ways to spice up your exercise routine with a variety of different exercises.

#5. Try a New Activity with a Friend

Take up archery, boxing, swimming, ice skating or something you've never done before. Eg. White water rafting.

Motivational Quotes

"Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength."
-Arnold Schwarzenegger

"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential."
-Winston Churchill

"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will."
-Vince Lombardi

"We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

"My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength."
-Michael Jordan

The Vegan / Vegetarian Diet

I am "Veggie Curious".

Which is really a fancy way of saying I still eat meat, but I hang out with a lot of Vegans and Vegetarians. I believe in eating a healthy balance which includes lots of veggies of different colours (so I am getting a wide variety of nutrients and vitamins), nuts and berries, whole grains / whole wheat flour bread, muffins, pancakes, milk and cheese, and when it comes to protein I eat a lot of eggs (sometimes raw eggs), small to medium-sized portions of meat, green lentils (high in protein). I also supplement my protein intake on weightlifting days with whey protein.

And I do regularly stop to enjoy a sugary snack when offered one by a friend or family member. And I do so without feeling guilty because I know I exercise daily and my diet is pretty balanced that I can "take the hit" from cookies / doughtnuts on the rare occasions.

Lastly I also take a multi-vitamin twice per day, Vitamin D on a regular basis, and lots of water.

However my diet isn't for everyone. My diet is based on a very active lifestyle and varying degrees of self control and guilt-free treats. Not everyone can manage that level of self control.

Which leads us into the topic of Vegetarianism and Veganism - Two diets which require a lot of self-control if you love eating meat and are loath to give it up.

It would be one thing I suppose to be raised Vegan and thus never know what you are giving up, and a totally different thing to be raised in a "meat and potatoes" environment wherein bacon is the pinnacle of tasty delights.

However there are huge health and dietary benefits to going Vegan (or at least Vegetarian) if someone chooses to do so. And these benefits are difficult to ignore.

1. Avoids a lot of fried and fatty food

Meat-based foods tend to have a lot more fat on them and depending on preparation will be fried in grease. Pile on some cheese or butter or both and it will be tasty, but wholly unhealthy and fattening. By going Vegan you guarantee yourself that you won't be eating such fatty foods any more (unless you are stir-frying all your veggies constantly).

1st Note: Avocados are fattening. There are a lot of Veggie-eaters out there who get hooked on avocados and later discover they are fattening.

2nd Note: Some veggie eaters also end up filling up on bread, which means lots of carbs... and that is also fattening. So ideally you need to cut out bread and limit your carb intake to whole grains and small portions.

2. Less Option

Sine when is less options a good thing? Well when picking restaurants it really limits your options. You basically just look for the veggie items on the menu (sometimes marked with something green) and you're done making your decision while your omnivore friends are taking forever to decide.

3. Reduces Health Issues and Cancer Risks

The average human gets cancer approx. 40 times in their lifetime, but our immune system fights most of it off. As we get older our immune system becomes weaker and if we ate a lot of junk when we were younger we will have a build up of toxins and carcinogens in our system which will cause cancer tumours to become more serious.

4. Snacks are Easy

Just pack a few fruit when you go out and your snacks are all taken care of.

5. Increased Energy and Rarely Ill

If you cease eating meat for a month, just as a test, most people discover they feel more energetic. This is because their body isn't bogged down with all the negative things (fat, bacteria, etc) that come with eating meat. Meat is laced with bacteria and often when people get ill its due to a bacteria infection they ate. By cutting out this large source of bacteria your immune system doesn't have to work so hard and your body is ultimately rewarded with more energy.

Note: If you want to boost your energy levels even more you can take a daily Creatine supplement.

Conclusions

While it is true that humans are biologically meant to be omnivores, we should point out that when you look at our teeth most of our teeth are for eating veggies and its only the canines that are meant for ripping meat. Ultimately this means our diet is supposed to be 90% fruits, veggies, berries, etc and meat is supposed to be a rare treat.

So yes, you could stay an omnivore and embrace a healthier balance with more veggies in your diet, or you could go fully vegetarian or vegan and see if that lifestyle suits you.

Personal Note

Speaking for myself the vegan friends I like hanging out with the most are the ones who aren't trying to convert me. They recognize that I am an intelligent person who can make his own decisions and they're not pushing me into doing something. If asked, they will still talk about the benefits of their diet, but they aren't trying to ram it down my throat against my will.

Oh and vegan pancakes rock. :)

Nose Exercises Vs Rhinoplasty



Q

"Hello! I recently suffered an injury to my nose during boxing and when it was healing I noticed that my nose had become crooked. I was thinking about getting nose surgery [rhinoplasty] to fix the problem, but someone told me about nose exercises you can do that can fix various problems. Does nose exercises really work?" - J.F.

A

Hello J! Good news, yes, nose exercises may be the answer to your problem if the damage isn't too severe. And judging by the number of boxing related nose injuries you won't be the only one who will be interested in this solution.

Damage to the nose muscles on one side or the other can cause the tip of the nose to go crooked. It reportedly can also be caused by sleeping on one side of the face too much, overuse of the muscles on one side of the nose, or even something simple like losing weight and the muscles in one side of your nose losing some of its muscle density... and of course getting punched repeatedly in the nose.

Regardless of the cause of the damage, if the damage is minor then it can be fixed using a variety of nose exercises.

1. Squinting the Nose

Basically all you do is smile and try to squish your nose upwards using the muscles within your nose. No hands required. This upward "squinting" of the nose will add more girth to muscles in the sides of the nose and, assuming you do it evenly, both sides of the nose will auto-correct themselves with time until they're both equally muscular.

Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 20 to 30 times daily until your nose muscles straighten out.

2. The Nose Shortener

This exercise isn't so much to repair damage as it is to prevent long term degradation of cartilage within the nose. As you get older your nose continues to grow, and the cartilage in the lower section may weaken and then separate from the upper part of the nose. This often gives the appearance that a hump has developed on the bridge of the nose. A plastic surgeon can perform surgery to improve the shape of your crooked nose or you can do this handy "Nose Shortening" exercise which will help to strengthen the muscles in that region of the nose.

Using your index finger, push the tip of your nose up. Contract the muscle by flexing your nose down against the resistance created by your finger. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 30 times, each time concentrating on the muscle forcing your finger down. Keep your breathing steady while performing the exercise. To get the maximum results, perform the Nose Shortener exercise twice a day.

3. The Nose Shaper

The upper part of the nose is made of solid bone and the center part is made from cartilage, so there really is not anything that can be done via exercising. However the bottom part of the nose had several different muscles which can be exercised, and by doing so it is possible to change the general shape of your nose. The "Nose Shaper" exercise involves placing your index fingers down either side of your nose, and flaring your nostrils by using the muscles above and below your nostrils. Your fingers create resistance by keeping your fingers in place against the movement of the nostrils, sort of like weightlifting for your nose.

Repeat this exercise 30 times, twice per day. The end result will create a less droopy nose, but the nostrils will appear wider... so if you don't want wider nostrils maybe you should consider the exercise below instead.

4. Nose Narrowing

Want a more narrow nose? Lower your chin and mouth and narrow your nose in the process. This uses a different set of muscles inside your nose which will help tighten up and narrow the appearance of your nose.

Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 30 times, twice per day, and observe the long term results as your nose becomes more narrow.

5. Nose Wiggling

This one is easier to do in front of a mirror. Wiggle your nose from side to side, without moving your lips/etc. Why? Well, if you can master it then it makes for an interesting party trick. Not sure if its useful in terms of improving your looks however, but presumably it helps build the muscles within your nose.

Update: Fixing a Crooked Nose

If you are looking for specific information on how to fix a crooked nose I recommend reading the following post: Fixing a Crooked Nose using Nose Exercises.

Maintenance

Keep doing the exercises regularly for maintenance (once per week or so). Like any muscle group, the nose muscles need regular exercise in order to keep their figure.

NOTE: For fun, make before and after photos to see the results over time.

SPECIAL NOTE: So if you thought that rhinoplasty was the only way to reshape and straighten your nose, huzzah, that myth has been busted!

PERSONAL NOTE: I did all of these exercises myself while writing this and now my nose feels sore from exercising it. Advice? Don't overdo it. Stick to the recommended 30 times, twice per day. I saw results within the first week of doing them.

FINAL NOTE: Yes, if you have severe damage to your nose then rhinoplasty is your only remaining option. But that kind of damage is more rare. You shouldn't feel self conscious about the nose you were born with just for society's unrealistic standards of beauty... And as Michael Jackson has previously proven, once you get surgery you can end up becoming obsessed with the shape of your nose and always looking to change it more and more.

PERSONALIZED HELP


I am getting a lot of requests from people wanting personalized advice about their nose and what nose exercises they should do, how often they should do them, special circumstances,  etc. My advice is to follow the instructions listed above and on other posts I have made about nose exercises.

If you are contacting me asking me for personalized help - basically asking for my services in aiding you with your nose exercises, then I will need to charge you my personal training rate ($50 per hour) for my services.

I know this is not the answer many of you are looking for. I have already answered many of the frequently asked questions below in the comments section, and answered many emails from people asking for help with their nose exercises - but I am a busy person and the emails have reached a point where I need to start charging for this service because I cannot answer all of them.

Best of luck with your nose exercises!

Gatorade Vs Powerade: Which is Better?

You may have noticed refreshment drinks like Gatorade and Powerade in your local grocery store / supermarket.

The main purpose of these drinks is to replenish your sodium (which is lost via sweat).

When you perspire, your body loses about 900 to 1400 milligrams of sodium per litre of sweat. Now a litre is a lot of sweat, but you might be surprised at how much you really do sweat during an intense workout. If you find yourself thirsty and drinking a lot, its because your body has shed a lot of water (and sodium) and is seeking to replenish it.

The problem however is that water doesn't have sodium in it, so you keep feeling thirsty because you are low on sodium.

That is where Gatorade and Powerade come in, by replenishing your sodium. However to taste well (instead of salty) they also add sugar and flavouring.

So which has more sodium in it???

Well Gatorade has 110 mg of sodium per 240 mL.

And Powerade has 100 mg of sodium per 240 mL.

So not much difference.

However sodium isn't the only factor. The sugar in the drink serves a 2nd purpose. Adding more sugar to a beverage increases the delivery of sugar to the blood, but slows the rate at which water enters the blood. So how much sugar is in the drink is a delicate balance.

According to two different studies by the American College of Sports Medicine and Coyle & Montain (1992) the optimal percentage is between 4 and 8% (of total mass) to provide adequate amounts of water and sugar to the body during exercise.

Gatorade is 6% sugar, whereas Powerade is 6% sugar. Both have 14 mg per 240 mL.

There is another factor: What Kind of Sugar is in the Drink?

There is a lot of research into whether glucose, sucrose, fructose, polymer sugars (eg. maltodextrin) or a combination of different kinds of sugars provide the best results. Various scientific studies have determined that a mixture provides the best results and the most energy boost.

In this category Powerade is the clear winner as it uses a mix of both polymer sugars and glucose. In contrast Gatorade uses mostly sucrose.

CONCLUSIONS?

They're both basically the same. While Gatorade may have 10% more refreshing sodium, Powerade uses better quality sugars that provide a better energy boost.

As for me, I am missing a drink they sell in Asia called "Pocari Sweat" which has more sodium in it than both Powerade and Gatorade. 117.6 mg of sodium per 240 mL, plus comes with added vitamins, minerals and electrolytes in it. You can find the drink in Canada, but you will need to shop at supermarkets which cater to Asians.


8 Fun Football Exercises - Useful for Everyone

You don't have to play football to enjoy football exercises. Indeed most football exercises are actually stretches or cardio. A few are even bodyweight exercises.

Some of them are also ab workouts and/or work your obliques (side muscles). The end result is that football exercises are both versatile and inexpensive (you can buy a football for approx. $15 to $20).

So find yourself a clear space to exercise, get out your football [although in theory, any large ball will do - basketball, soccer ball, volleyball, etc.] and get ready for some exercises.

#1. Twists

Standing with two feet apart hold the football in front of you with both hands. Without moving your hips or legs, twist your upper torso as far to the right as you can. While you do so maintain arm pressure on the football in front of you. Do the same again to the left. Repeat 100 times.

This is my personal favourite of all my football exercises. Once you get good at it you can go really fast and it ends up being really exhilarating. It stretches and works the obliques and your lower back muscles.

#2. Squat Jumps

Holding the football in front of you and maintaining your torso in an upward position lower yourself into a squatting position. Then jump upwards, raising the football high above your head. Repeat 20 times.

#3. Forward + Backwards Bends and Sides

Standing with your feet apart place the football behind your head and hold it in place with both hands. Lean forward like you are doing a situp. Then do the same but lean backwards. Next lean to the right as far as you dare, then the left. Repeat 20 times.

#4. Knee Bumps

Holding the ball in front in front of you with both hands, raise your right knee until it is just below the football. Next in one swift motion lower your right knee and raise your left knee in a jump and try to bump the football out of your hands. (You may feel like you are doing that kick from the 1st Karate Kid movie.) With your hands try to with-strain the ball as best you can. Repeat 20 times.

#5. Squeezes

This exercise is easy. Just squeeze the football between both hands and move from side to side, squeezing as hard as you can, alternating which arm you are pushing the most with. Continue this exercise for 2 minutes.

#6. Toss and Catch

Catching a football requires good hand-eye coordination and also muscle coordination / balance. Simply tossing a football in the air and catching it with one or both hands is good exercise. Try to alternate which hands you throw and catch with. Throw and catch 100 times.

#7. Football Situps

Sit and balance yourself on top of your football. Place your feet out in front of you and lean backwards about 45 degrees. Then lean forward you are doing a situp, but without falling off the football. I admit this is nearly identical to using a standard exercise ball, but with a football it is lower to the ground and provides less stability due to it shape, thus you will need to pay attention to you balance. Try not to fall off it. :)

#8. Circle Passing

Pass the football behind your back from your left hand to your right hand, then in front of you from right to left, completing a circular motion. Repeat 50 times and then switch direction.


Better yet, find a friend or family member and go outside and throw the ball back and forth for an hour or so!

50 Frugal Bodyweight Exercises

Full Body

1. Inchworm: Stand up tall with the legs straight, and then bend over until your fingertips hit the floor. Keeping the legs straight (but not locked), slowly lower the torso toward the floor, and then walk the hands forward. Once in a push-up position, start taking tiny steps so the feet meet the hands. Repeat 10 times.

2. Tuck Jump: Standing with the knees slightly bent, jump up as high as possible and bring the knees in toward the chest while extending the arms straight out. Land with the knees slightly bent and quickly jump again! Repeat 10 times.

3. Bear Crawl: Starting on the hands and knees, rise up onto the toes, tighten the core, and slowly reach forward with the right arm and right knee, followed by the left side. Continue the crawl for 10 reps.

4. Plyometric Push-Up: Start on a well-padded surface and complete a traditional push-up. Then, in an explosive motion, push up hard enough to come off the floor. Once back on solid ground, immediately head into the next repetition. Repeat 10 times. For extra fun try clapping your hands together while in the air. Don't face-plant yourself.

5. Stair Climb with Bicep Curl: Grab some dumbbells (or household objects such as a stack of books) and briskly walk up and down the stairway while simultaneously doing bicep curls to work the whole body.

6. Mountain Climber: Starting on your hands and knees, bring the left foot forward directly under the chest while straightening the right leg. Keeping the hands on the ground and core tight, jump and switch legs. The left leg should now be extended behind the body with the right knee forward. Repeat 10 times.

7. Prone Walkout: Beginning on all fours with the core engaged, slowly walk the hands forward, staying on the toes but not moving them forward. Next, gradually walk the hands backwards to the starting position, maintain stability and balance. Repeat 10 times.

8. Burpees: One of the most effective full-body exercises around, this one starts out in a low squat position with hands on the floor. Next, kick the feet back to a push-up position, complete one push-up, then immediately return the feet to the squat position. Leap up as high as possible before squatting and moving back into the push-up portion of the show. Repeat 10 times.

9. Plank: Lie face down with forearms on the floor and hands clasped. Extend the legs behind the body and raise up on the toes. Keeping the back straight, tighten the core and hold the position for 30-60 seconds (or as long as you can hang). Repeat 5 times.

10. Plank-to-Push-Up: Starting in a plank position, place down one hand at a time to lift up into a push-up position, with the back straight and the core engaged. Then move one arm at a time back into the plank position (forearms on the ground). Repeat, alternating the arm that makes the first move. Repeat 5 times.

Legs

11. Wall Sit: Slowly slide your back down a wall until the thighs are parallel to the ground. Make sure the knees are directly above the ankles and keep the back straight. Go for 60 seconds per set (or until you can't hold the position any more). For extra results add some bicep curls with some small dumbbells.

12. Lunge: Stand with the hands on the hips and feet hip-width apart. Step the right leg forward and slowly lower your body until the right knee is close to or touching the floor and bent at least 90 degrees. Return to the starting position and repeat with the left leg. Try stepping back into the lunge for a different variation.

13. Clock Lunge: Complete a traditional forward lunge, then take a big step to the right and lunge again. Finish off the semicircle with a backwards lunge, then return to standing. Repeat the sequence 10 times and then switch legs, to repeat again.

14. Lunge-to-Row: Start by doing a normal lunge. Instead of bringing that forward leg back to the starting position, raise it up off the floor while lifting the arms overhead. The leg should remain bent at about 90 degrees. Add weights for extra fun.

15. Lunge Jump: Stand with the feet together and lunge forward with the right foot. Jump straight up, propelling the arms forward while keeping the elbows bent. While in the air, switch legs and land in a lunge with the opposite leg forward. Repeat and continue switching legs. Repeat 10 times.

16. Curtsy Lunge: When lunging, step the left leg back behind the right, bending the knees and lowering the hips until the right thigh is almost parallel to the floor. Remember to keep the torso upright and the hips square.

17. Squat: Stand with the feet parallel or turned out 15 degrees — whatever is most comfortable. Slowly start to crouch by bending the hips and knees until the thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Make sure the heels do not rise off the floor. Press through the heels to return to a standing position.

18. Pistol Squat: Stand holding the arms straight out in front of the body, and raise the right leg, flexing the right ankle and pushing the hips back. Then lower the body while keeping the right leg raised. Hold position as long as you can, then return to standing. Without falling over. :)

19. Squat Reach and Jump: Perform a normal squat, but immediately jump up, reaching the arms straight overhead. Aim for 15 reps and take a quick breather before the next exercise.

20. Chair Squat Pose: Stand with the feet hip-distance apart and squat until the thighs are parallel to the floor while swinging the arms up. Straighten the legs, then lift up the right knee while swinging the left arm outside the right knee. Return to standing and repeat on the other side.

21. Step-Up: Find a step or bench, and place the right foot on the elevated surface. Step up until the right leg is straight, then return to start. Repeat, aiming for 10-12 reps on each side.

22. Single Leg Deadlift: Start in a standing position with the feet together. Lift the right leg slightly, and lower the arms and torso while raising the right leg behind the body. Keep the left knee slightly bent and reach the arms as close to the floor as possible. Raise the torso while lowering the right leg. Switch legs.

23. Quadruped Leg Lift: Starting on the hands and knees, keep a flat back and engage the core. Raise the left leg straight back, stopping when the foot is hip-level and the thigh parallel to the floor. Balance for as long as possible, then raise the bottom right toe off the floor, tightening the butt, back, and abs (try to be graceful here!). Hold for up to 10 seconds, then switch legs.

24. Calf Raise: From a standing position, slowly rise up on the toes, keeping the knees straight and heels off the floor. Hold briefly, then come back down. And repeat. Try standing on something elevated (like a step) to achieve a wider range of motion.

Chest & Back

25. Standard Push-Up: There’s a reason this one’s a classic. With hands shoulder-width apart, keep the feet flexed at hip distance, and tighten the core. Bend the elbows until the chest reaches the ground, and then push back up (make sure to keep the elbows tucked close to the body). That’s one!

26. Dolphin Push-Up: Start out in dolphin pose (aka the yoga pose downward dog with elbows on the floor). Lean forward, lowering the shoulders until the head is over the hands. Pull up the arms and return to the starting position

27. Donkey Kick: Start in a push-up position, with the legs together. Tighten the core and kick both legs into the air with knees bent, reaching the feet back toward the glutes. Just try to land gently when reversing back to the starting position.

28. Handstand Push-Up: Get set in a headstand position against a wall and bend the elbows at a 90-degree angle, doing an upside down push-up (so the head moves toward the floor and the legs remain against the wall). Be careful doing this the first couple of times until you get the hang of it.

29. Judo Push-up: From a push-up position, raise up those hips and in one swift movement use the arms to lower the front of the body until the chin comes close to the floor. Swoop the head and shoulders upward and lower the hips, keeping the knees off the ground. Reverse the move to come back to the raised-hip position. Try to repeat for 30-60 seconds.

30. Reverse Fly: For DIY dumbbells, grab two cans of soup/beans or bottles of water. Stand up straight, with one foot in front of the other and the front knee slightly bent. With palms facing each other and the abs engaged, bend forward slightly from the waist and extend arms out to the side, squeezing the shoulder blades. Repeat.

31. Superman: Lie face down with arms and legs extended. Keeping the torso as still as possible, simultaneously raise the arms and legs to form a small curve in the body

32. Contralateral Limb Raises: Lie on your stomach with the arms outstretched and palms facing one another. Slowly lift one arm a few inches off the floor, keeping it straight without rotating the shoulders and keeping the head and torso still. Hold the position, then lower the arm back down, moving to the other arm.

Shoulders & Arms

33. Triceps Dip: Get seated near a step or bench. Sit on the floor with knees slightly bent, and grab the edge of the elevated surface and straighten the arms. Bend them to a 90-degree angle, and straighten again while the heels push towards the floor. For some extra fire, reach the right arm out while lifting the left leg.

34. Diamond Push-Up: These push-ups start with a diamond-shaped hand position (situate them so that the thumbs and index fingers touch). This hand readjustment will give those triceps some extra burn.

35. Boxer: Starting with feet hip-width apart and knees bent, keep the elbows in and extend one arm forward and the other arm back. Hug the arms back in and switch arms.

36. Shoulder Stabilization Series (I, Y, T, W O): Stand up straight or lie down on your stomach with arms extended overhead and palms facing each other. Move the arms into each letter formation.

37. Arm Circles: Stand with arms extended by the sides, perpendicular to the torso. Slowly make clockwise circles for about twenty to thirty seconds (about one foot in diameter). Then reverse the movement, going counter-clockwise.

Core

38. L Seat: Seated with the legs extended and feet flexed, place the hands on the floor and slightly round the torso. Then, lift the hips off the ground, hold for five seconds and release. Repeat 10 times.

39. Rotational Push-Up: After coming back up into a starting push-up position, rotate the body to the right and extend the right hand overhead, forming a T with the arms and torso. Return to the starting position, do a normal push-up, then rotate to the left.

40. Dynamic Prone Plank: Starting in a standard plank position, raise the hips as high as they can go, then lower them back down. Continue this movement for as long as possible. Make sure the back stays straight and the hips don’t droop.

41. Flutter Kick: Start lying on your back with arms at your sides and palms facing down. With legs extended, lift the heels off the floor (about six inches). Make quick, small up-and-down pulses with the legs, while keeping the core engaged. Continue for a minute straight!

42. Bicycle: Lie down with knees bent and hands behind the head. With the knees in toward the chest, bring the right elbow towards the left knee as the right leg straightens. Continue alternating sides.

43. Crunch: Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor. With hands behind the head, place the chin down slightly and peel the head and shoulders off the mat while engaging the core. Continue curling up until the upper back is off the mat. Hold briefly, then lower the torso back toward the mat slowly.

44. Segmental Rotation: Target your obliques. Lying on your back with your knees bent and core tight, let the knees fall gradually to the left (feeling a good stretch). Hold for five seconds, return to center, and repeat on the right side.

45. Shoulder Bridge: Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Place arms at your side and lift up the spine and hips. Only the head, feet, arms, and shoulders should be on the ground. Then lift one leg upwards, keeping the core tight. Slowly bring the leg back down, then lift back up. Try to do 10 reps per leg, then bring the knee in place and spine back on the floor.

46. Single Leg Abdominal Press: Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet on the floor. Tighten the abs and raise the right leg, with the knee and hip bent at a 90-degree angle. Push the right hand on top of the lifted knee, using the core to create pressure between the hand and knee. Hold for five counts, and then lower back down to repeat with the left hand and knee.

47. Double Leg Abdominal Press: Follow the same run-down for  the single leg press (above), but bring up both legs at the same time, pushing the hands against the knees.

48. Side Plank: Roll to the side and come up on one foot and elbow. Make sure the hips are lifted and the core is engaged, and hang tight for 30-60 seconds (or as long as you can stomach!).

49. Sprinter Sit-Up: Lie on your back with the legs straight and arms by your side — elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Now sit up, bringing the left knee toward the right elbow. Lower the body and repeat on the other side.

50. Russian Twist: Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet together, lifted a few inches off the floor. With the back at a 45-degree angle from the ground, move the arms from one side to another in a twisting motion. Here, slow and steady wins the race: The slower the twist, the deeper the burn.

For more Do It Yourself Bodyweight Exercises see:

69 Frugal Exercises using your own Body Weight

How to Save Money on Personal Trainers

Want to save money when hiring a personal trainer?

Here is some tips:

#1. Sign up for multiple months and pay in advance

You can sign up for auto-debit via PayPal or your bank, or pay the whole amount at once (for a bigger discount). The regular sessions with a Personal Trainer will keep you motivated to keep exercising and will teach you new things along the way.

Why? Because personal trainers (including myself) will give you a discount if you sign up for bulk lessons in advance.

eg. Paying in advance.
Sign up for 6 sessions over a 6-month period, get a 10% discount. ($35 x 6 x 0.9 = $189.00)
Sign up for 12 sessions over a 6-month period, get a 15% discount. ($35 x 12 x 0.85 = $357.00)
Sign up for 12 sessions over at a 12-month period, get a 15% discount. ($35 x 12 x 0.85 = $357.00)
Sign up for 24 session over at a 12-month period, get a 20% discount. ($35 x 24 x 0.8 = $672.00)

#2. Group Training Costs Less

Sign up for yourself and a friend (or a group of friends) and you can pay a group rate instead.

Lets say for example the Personal Trainer charges $35 per hour. But if you sign up for a 2-person rate of $50 per hour then you and your friend are only paying $25 each. Assuming both of you have similar exercise goals (eg. to lose weight, tone those abs, etc) then it will work out really well for you.

Organizing larger groups can be trickier, but it can be done if everyone has matching schedules and are willing to make the commitment. Plus its more fun / competitive with larger groups, and you save more money.

eg. A group of 5 people for $100 per hour is very reasonable. Its only $20 per person. The key therefore is to try and negotiate a better rate for you and your group, while still offering the personal trainer the opportunity to make more $$$ per hour.

#3. Try booking 90 Minute Sessions

Typically personal trainers do 1 hour sessions, but you can get more bang for your buck if you think you have the endurance to do 90 minute sessions. The trainer will give you a better discount and you get a heavier workout as a result. Plus you won't feel rushed.

To schedule a workout email me at charlesmoffat@charlesmoffat.com.

Swimming - A Full Body Workout

The beauty of swimming is that you can control how fast or slow you want to exercise.

Furthermore its a full body workout, utilizing all of your major muscle groups.

Plus the water works like resistance weight training. Thus swimming combines the benefits of cardio with a light weightlifting program.

You can also alternate different kinds of swimming activities whenever you want to try something different. eg. Snorkeling!

Lastly swimming is FUN. So it makes it easier to stay motivated.

Below is a calories burned chart for a variety of swimming activities.


Activity, Exercise or Sport (1 hour)
130 lb
155 lb
180 lb
205 lb
Swimming laps, freestyle, fast
590
704
817
931
Swimming laps, freestyle, slow
413
493
572
651
Swimming backstroke
413
493
572
651
Swimming breaststroke
590
704
817
931
Swimming butterfly
649
774
899
1024
Swimming leisurely, not laps
354
422
490
558
Swimming sidestroke
472
563
654
745
Swimming synchronized
472
563
654
745
Swimming, treading water, fast, vigorous
590
704
817
931
Swimming, treading water, moderate
236
281
327
372
Water aerobics, water calisthenics
236
281
327
372
Water polo
590
704
817
931
Water volleyball
177
211
245
279
Water jogging
472
563
654
745
Diving, springboard or platform
177
211
245
279
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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