Fitness

Listen To Your Body For Better Results

Just listen to your body. Sounds easy right? It may sound easy but I can assure you it isn’t! As a coach, I have found a great way to see where athletes are at. Difficulty of an exercise, intensity of a workout, how much weight to add to the bar, etc. But athletes should learn to also listen to their body because the coach can’t be around 24/7! So here are my few tips on how to listen to your body and what areas you should look out for.

How To Listen To Your Body

First, you should do this sitting. You can have your eyes closed or open. Then, do a mental scan from the top of your head all the way to your feet. Focus on each individual part of your body one at a time. This will highlight any areas that feel off or need specific attention.

Another method to do this is to stop periodically throughout the day and take a mental note of your body. Clear your mind completely and just let whatever emotions/internal issues arise. We can get caught up being so busy that we don’t bring any attention to how we are feeling internally.

Key Areas to Listen

Here are some areas that you should look for and identify right away.

1) Fatigue: Both mental and physical fatigue are very important. Don’t try to push your max weights if you are either mentally or physically burnt out.

2) Hunger: In terms of eating, your body will always tell you what it wants. If it wants more, you will feel it in your stomach. A lot of times, habitual and overeating are very mental. I have found that listening to your body is a great tool for moderating how much food you actually need to eat. This includes junk food!

3) Aches and Pains: If you are feeling tightness (more than usual), it may be a good idea to take it easier on that specific area. The mental scan would be really good to highlight any of these areas.

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Dynamic Stretching - Why?

Dynamic stretching has been known for being great for warm up, but why does it actually help?

It has been proven that it helps increase performance versus not stretching at all or static stretching. It's hard to beat facts but let's dive deeper into why. First, it helps those specific muscles that you are going to train be prepared. By doing a dynamic stretch in these areas, your nervous system becomes aware you will be using this muscles to exercise. Secondly, when doing dynamic stretching it will increase your range of motion, movement efficiency and reduce any stiffness. Doing dynamic stretches that mimic the movement that you are going to perform helps your body adjust to doing that specific movement, recruiting muscle fibers to do that movement. Lastly, it brings more blood, nutrients and oxygen to that muscle. This allows the muscle to perform better movement.

So next time you are about to squat, think about doing a dynamic stretching routine first! Check out some of them below.

Holidays - Your Favourite and Most Hated Time of the Year

With holidays, festivities, large amounts of food and alcohol just around the corner, it's no wonder that people will fall into the trap of gaining weight just to try and lose it as a New Year's Resolution. The graph below shows exactly that.

Source: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1602012#t=article

With that in mind, here are some tips to avoid the holiday weight gain:

  1. Don't starve yourself. The strategy seems to work, starve yourself and "save" your calories until the end of the day when you have the family feast. I can tell you from experience of binging and starving, the cycle doesn't work and can leave to extremely bad habits.
  2. Stay well nourished during the day. Eat proper meals which will keep you full. When you have that big family dinner at the end of the day you won't be as hungry, not eating AS much of the bad stuff.
  3. Workout hard and early. With all those extra calories and energy you can kick those workouts in the butt. However, doing them earlier will help ensure you actually do knock them out. Why? Think about trying to go for a run after a Christmas feast. You are going to feel sluggish, tired and totally unmotivated.
  4. Remember, it's not the end of the world. The holidays are great because you spend it with the people you love. So go ahead and enjoy that time. If you go astray for a day or two it is not the end of the world. Remain consistent and you will be back at it in no time.

Why dieting doesn't work - Changing your lifestyle does

With New Years quickly approaching, large amounts of food and shopping, its no wonder that people always have resolutions to get back in shape or start a new exercise routine. The biggest problem - they don't last. People rarely ever stick with it and those who do are highly likely to fall back to old habits. The biggest lie that people tell themselves is that they will start to diet come the New Year. The percentage of people that actually stick with it is disturbingly low.

So if it's so difficult to stick to this diet and exercise thing, how should I plan to get back in shape? Change your lifestyle with the following action plan:

  1. Start exercising now. Today. Don't make another excuse. Don't time it, see how far you've run or how much weight you lifted. Just exercise.
  2. Start making small changes in what you eat. When you go out, see those fries you ordered? Ask for a side salad instead. Add more veges and less processed food. Most restaurants will have something that is moderately healthy and not all fried food.
  3. Stop drinking pop or adding that stuff to your coffee. It would surprise you how much that will not only reduce the amount of calories but how much better you will feel without those added calories.
  4. Don't eat out as much. Seriously. It is a lot easier to eat healthy when you have time to cook and plan it out. If you really don't have time to make food, instead of running to McDs(I know you do), go into a grocery store. Grab a pack of chicken, some veges or fruit and have that instead. Not to mention it will probably be cheaper.

The only one who is stopping you is you. Force yourself to change today. Now do that every day.