Beyond the Mirror

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It's pretty cool that diet and exercise can effect the way you look and the way you perform.

⬆️ That's an understatement; it's actually friggin amazing. 

 The other day I was going through client programs and goals. I wanted to see if there's anything I could do more research on and learn a bit more about to help my clients more effectively.

Eventually I started getting bored, reaaaallll bored. My eyes were glazing over staring at Excel file after Excel file until something finally caught my attention.

 Through all of the people whose goals were to "lose 15lbs of fat", "tone up", "put on lean muscle", etc. I came across a few individuals whose goals weren't determined by a number on the scale or the barbell.

One person's main goal was to "move better and feel better. Have more energy throughout the day, move pain free (currently suffering from minor chronic back and knee pain)."  And learn to eat healthy.

What?! You mean there's more to diet and exercise than just looking good??? 

I know, it's crazy right? 

We all get caught up in health and fitness in terms of how it makes you look, but the benefits of resistance training go far beyond the mirror.

 Some of the amazing things resistance training and a healthy diet can do (other than making you look sexy AF) include:

- Improving Insulin Sensitivity

You can tolerate more carbohydrates and they're more likely to be delivered to your muscles as "muscle glycogen" instead of being deposited into fat cells. This immediately combats diabetes.

- Increase Bone Mineral Density

The benefits of this is obvious. stronger bones, less likely to be broken or fractured. Can handle more stress and load. Research also shows a decrease or reversal of osteoporosis!

- Improve Cognitive Function

This one is hugeeeeee. If you wanna have a better chemical balance in your brain, be more attentive and productive, exercise and diet can have a huge impact on your ability to be productive. There's a reason why many successful people take time out of their busy days to workout and eat right. 

- Improves Mood

 There’s a chemical response to exercise - during and post exercise. Hormones are released during which enhance concentration and helps take your mind off of anxieties and worries you have outside of the gym (or sport, or whatever exercise you partake in). Ontop of that, your body regulates it's hormone response post exercise which helps relieve tension, stress and anxiety. Mostly your adrenaline and cortisol regulation.

- Anti-Depressant Substitute

Studies have shown that an exercise regimen produces just as effective long term (at least 6 months) Anti-depressant effects compared to people on Anti-depressant drugs. I don't know about you but I'd rather not put synthetic hormone altering drugs in my body if I don't have to. Moral of the story: Get up and move! Cardio, resistance training, sports, yoga whatever you  prefer.

 - Increased Fat Free Mass / Injury Prevention

This means more than just building muscle. Fat Free Mass includes your ligaments as well. Having stronger ligaments and connective tissue means less risk of injury no matter what you're doing. Injuries are no good to anyone so if you want to stay healthy - start lifting weights.

 This is even more important for:

1. Athletes - Stronger connective tissue helps prevent injury. This should always be #1 in terms of training for an athlete. Improving actual performance measures like vertical jump height, Sprint speed, etc all comes second. What good is an athlete if they can't play?

2. Elderly people - aging naturally decreases fat free mass, both muscle, bone and ligament strength leaving you susceptible to injury. Resistance training combats this by keeping your body strong and active.

Crazy info: some scientists are now correlating the amount of relative muscle / strength to life expectancy. The more healthy muscle and mobility you have, the longer you're likely to live. That's nuts. Chalk up another one to resistance training. 

 - Improves Cardiovascular Function

Yes, resistance training has cardio-protective benefits. You don't only need to do steady state cardio to decrease risk factors of cardiovascular disease. Resistance training improves strength of the heart walls, cardiac output and blood flow through out the body. It also decreases blood pressure and LDL cholesterol (the bad kind).

- Genetics and Gene Expression

 I saved the best for last here. You might think that genetics are purely hereditary and there's not much you can do to change what your parents gave you. If you think that , well, you're only half right.

You see there's genes, and then there's gene expression. The Environment you provide your genes with plays a massive role in your genetic health and potential. 

Diet and exercise are responsible for the way your genes are expressed. If you eat like shit and don't exercise often, you're not giving your body the ability to express some very important genes. This can promote the likely hood of suffering from a host of diseases.

Exercise stimulates the expression of so many protective, feel good and performance increasing genes in our bodies. Same with diet. In fact protein and antioxidants for example are too of the most important in terms of genetic expressions.

The Takeaway

For now, take a look outside the box and see if your life needs something more than just fat loss or muscle building. If you're not resistance training regularly , feel stressed or down, suffering from diseases such as osteoarthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, or anything of that nature - I urge you to consider hiring a qualified and experienced trainer to get you on a healthier and happier life path. It's astonishing to see how the body can drastically change via diet and exercise. Your health issues may begin to disappear.

 

What Are Kettlebells Good For?

What Are Kettlebells Good For?

Starting Saturday June 22nd we're hosting a weekly Kettlebell drop in class that maxes out at 6 people.

 What's all the hype over kettlebells? Do they hold the secret to easy weight loss? Will they help you build strength and muscle?

 We're about to answer those questions for you.

 What Are Kettlebells Good For?

 Clear Cut Fitness loves kettlebells. They can help ignite your fat burning metabolism, improve your strength, power and Lean muscle mass! But, they're not for everyone.

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How to Maintain Your Fitness During a Boys (or Girls) Weekend Vacation

The summer is full of trips and parties so it can be difficult to maintain your fitness.

Take this weekend for example. I was up north for a friends bachelor party weekend in Muskoka. It was an insane amount of fun but it came at a price. I probably drank enough everyday to hit my daily recommended caloric intake in booze alone 😂  (seriously though). 

The food can seem difficult too. How do stay away from the endless amounts of food and chips?

The simple answer: you don't. You just have to know roughly how much you should eat in a day and be consciously aware of your portion sizes. 

 Despite all of the temptations there are some really easy things you can do to mitigate the side effects of a boys weekend. Read how!

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3 Things You Need To Know About Weightlifting After Babies

The time between having a baby and getting cleared for exercise is one of the most nerve racking times in a woman's life. It can feel like purgatory.

 

You're so happy about giving birth and adding to your family but you don't feel 100% like yourself. And it makes sense, your life has changed and your body has changed. It takes time to change it back.

 

One of the most important things you can do to help raise your child is to make sure YOU are happy and healthy. Being able to start exercising again, get the body you had pre-pregnancy (or even better than that) is something that you should prioritize.  

 The thing is - you can't just jump back into the weight room, or worse - a boot camp. Your body had gone through SO much. You have to slowly build yourself up so you can safely begin to increase your exercise intensity.

 Here are 5 things you NEED to know before you lift weights after giving birth!

 

1. Get cleared from a doctor to begin exercise and even more importantly, get cleared by a pelvic floor physio so you literally build a solid foundation from the inside out.

You can't just jump into a high intensity group class or boot camp. You need to slowly build up your deep core muscles around your hips to become stable before you begin bearing resistance. Make sure you get clearance from your doctor to start exercising. For most women 6-8 weeks post partum is pretty standard in terms of getting clearance. 

Depending on what type of labour you have there are different types of exercises to help rehab your pelvic floor and your abdomen. Working with a pelvic floor physio will fast track your recovery time and make sure you're progressing optimally and efficiently so you can get back to the weight room ASAP.

Prlvic floor physios are becoming highly sought after so try and book an appointment ASAP as well.

 

2.  

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What Shoes Should You Wear At The Gym?

Everyone has individual needs when it comes to footwear. Just getting "running shoes" won't cut it for the gym. Like anything - there are specific shoes for the situation.

 

For the gym, we want as flat of a shoe as possible. We also don't want anything too soft. This is be ause you're lifting heavy weights and we don't want the shoe collapsing underneath you forcing the wrong muscles to work at the wrong time. 

We want a stable base to press off of. Running shoes have different levels of support in different areas and they're meant to reflex when you hit the ground - this is the opposite of what we want with lifting and controlling weight. 

  *One exception are minimalistic shoes like New Balance Minimus. Although they're very flat, they'renot a super stiff sole. That's ok in this case because you have more contact with the ground which is stiff as hell!*

 What About Weightlifting Shoes?

Great question, weightlifting shoes are great for Olympic weightlifting as they're super stiff, offer lots of support and have an elevated heel which can help get lifters in a deeper position and more conducive to maintaining a vertical bar path. 

 But guess what?

 If you're not an Olympic lifter, you shouldn't be using them. They can mess with your ankle mobility and the general population needs A LOT more ankle mobility.

 

So What Are Some Great Gym Shoes? 

We love Nike Metcons and New Balance Minimus. Although they're not the only great gym shoes. man people love wearing Chucks because they're flat soled and hard. There are even more specific gym shoes we haven't tried yet so it's tough to recommend.

Moral of the story is: find a pair of flat soled shoes with support or something minimal that's as close to the ground as possible.

Ditch your running shoes and high school gym shoes that you've been wearing for 10 years. Get some real training shoes and get serious about your results!

 

 

 

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