My Health Formula

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    Mar 19, 2012 6:22 PM GMT
    Hello RJ Members;
    I’m a certified personal trainer here in Canada and have been in the health and wellness industry for over a decade now. I’m 47 years old and can outperform most men half my age. I’m not a big guy at 5’8” and 158lbs. I’m lean and solid with excellent cardio vascular conditioning. I like to maintain a well-balanced athletic body and being healthy is more important to me than how I look in the mirror at the gym.

    I've been getting a lot of questions on how I coach my clients on diet etc. so I thought I would start Just a friendly forum with what I do. This is not a debate on what's right and what's wrong but simply how I coach and get results with my clients. I'm not a body builder trainer so if you're planning on competing you need to find a coach who has that experience. I train athletes, weight management and general conditioning. I train functionally with a lot of metabolic conditioning and interval training. I'm a big fan of eating well, exercising according to your goals, getting lots of sleep, managing your stress levels, and taking a high quality nutritional supplement.
    That being said I'm going to start with my basic diet philosophy. I believe in eating clean, real food. What does that mean to me? Well if it’s blue and comes in a plastic tube it’s not food. Diet is a good 80% of the health equation.

    I eat as real as I can but sometimes you give in and eat the processed shit. Life is too short to be paranoid freaks about it all but do your best most of the time. I also fill in the gaps with shakes and bars from USANA Health Sciences but only when I can’t get to unprocessed foods. There is a lot of bad advice out there so be careful who you listen to. Find someone with a balanced professional approach to getting you to your goals.
    Ok. FOOD. Clean, Real Food. Fruits, Vegetables, Seeds, Nuts, Lean proteins and water are the basics.

    Clean - Avoid processed food with flavor enhancers, artificial sweeteners, stabilizers, chemical preservative, colorants and a whole list of unrecognizable ingredients. I do eat organic when I can but sometimes that’s just not possible and who knows if the organics industry is truly regulated. Kind of a grey area for me.

    Fruits – If eat by themselves without extra fiber, protein or essential fats should be have a low or moderate glycemic index rating and load. This is to keep your blood sugar from spiking and crashing. Google Glycemic Index of foods. If you’re combining fruits with yogurt, rolled or steel cut oats, in a high fiber salad etc. not as much of a concern. Most fruits are moderately rated except for watermelon and some others.

    Vegetables – Eat lots and a wide variety. Raw, lightly steamed, roasted is best. Try not to overcook you vegetables. Season them rather than use saturated fats and if you must add butter use real butter unsalted and a small amount. Using a small amount of essential fats such as flax seed oil or grape seed oil to make a lite seasoned dressing is a better idea than butter. Add seeds to your vegetables just before serving. Raw, unsalted sesame, flax, pumpkin, sunflower……gives you a little extra crunch and necessary fiber.

    Lean proteins – I’m not a vegetarian but I do limit the amount of meat I eat. Mostly because of what’s in it these days. I watched Food Inc., big mistake. I buy certified grass fed organic meats whenever possible and buy from local farmers that I can visit the farms and get an idea of how they raise the animal. Other great sources of proteins are out there. Eat a variety of beans, legumes, tofu, organic plain yogurt (add your own fruit or flavor to it), quinoa, spirulina, soy beans etc. Careful of too much fish as it can be loaded with chemicals and heavy metals.

    I add seeds and nuts to salads, vegetable dishes, morning oatmeal etc. to increase fiber, essential fats and protein. Eating them on their own can be a great healthy snack as well. Careful of the calories if weight loss in your goal.

    I drink purified water out of glass, stainless steel or safe plastic only. How much really depends on what you do in a day and what your environment is. A good starting point is 6 – 8, 8oz glasses a day or 1.5 litres. Drink throughout the day and a little more pre and post workout. If you’re going to drink during your workout, sip water consistently for the duration of the workout. I’m not a big fan of juice unless it pure juice and not from concentrate. I also recommend watering it down and only in small amounts if you can’t give it up entirely. Herbal teas are ok, preferably naturally caffeine free. I confess I still have a cup of coffee in the morning. I even put a little cream and agave syrup in it. Absolutely no soda pop, not diet, not regular and not even if it says “zero” on the label.

    That is the basics of my diet coaching for my clients. Of course every case is different in some way or another but I start with this and go from there depending on lifestyle, healthy challenges and fitness goals.

    I’ll post about exercise next.
    I hope you find this helpful.
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    Apr 09, 2012 9:31 PM GMT
    Exercise - Beginner and progression.

    Well here goes. There are so many theories and ways to exercise it gets really confusing on how to start and what to do next. I train a wide variety of clients and use different training techniques depending on their goals. The only types of clients I refer to others now that I am a successful trainer are competitive body builders and rehabilitation clients. I respect and understand the quest for size and have been bigger myself but after a while I lost interest. I prefer to be leaner, quicker and more agile. I found rehab full of to many whiners just milking the system for money. Not all of them but so many it really turned me off wanting to help them.
    So for beginners I start with general conditioning of the body along with coaching on diet, exercise, sleep, stress and nutritional supplementation. Topics for the future. General conditioning consists of slowly preparing the body for more intense workouts to build strength, size, neuromuscular control, (balance and coordination) and speed and agility.
    My approach to general conditioning starts with building from the inside out. I will keep most people in this phase for 8 weeks with slow progressions. So we start with the cardio vascular system and the internal skeletal muscles that hold and maneuver our skeletal system. Cardio vascular training consists of low intensity cardio training at a moderate range of heart rate depending on age, fitness level, and any medications or limiting conditions you may have. You may choose whatever machine or exercise you wish as long as it involves the whole body or you mix it up to involve the whole body. How you progress with your cardio is based on maintaining a predetermined conditioning heart rate range. It will take more and more intensity to maintain that training heart rate range. There are different heart rate calculations out there to determine your training range. You can google it or here is basic formula. 220 – Age – Resting Heart Rate. Then multiply it by 55% and add back in the Resting Heart Rate to get your lower range. Do the same thing but multiply by 80% to get you maximum heart rate. As you progress you will need to change this range depending on your fitness goals. This is just a basic formula but not a bad starting point for beginners.
    Workouts should be a whole body workout every other day at least 3 days a week. You can break this up into muscle groups if you prefer to be at the gym every day or four or five days in a row. My preference is every other day for a full body workout during the conditioning phase with cardio every day. The program should be a wide variety of 8 to 10 basic exercises including balance and coordination type exercises that activate the internal muscle groups. Posture and proper form are also taught in this phase so make sure you research each exercise thoroughly or hire a good personal trainer. Reps should be 15 to 20 and sets should be 2 – 4 depending on fitness level. If you’re not comfortable working out with free weights, cables, balls, bands, TRX, Bosu balls etc then you can begin on machines with light weight but know that you will graduate to functional training fairly quickly. Let’s face it machines don’t help with daily activities and are not functional training. Machines definitely have a place in your workout just not yet and will not be a predominant part of any program I give my clients. I use machines to strengthen very specific muscle groups when needed but most traditional machines do not teach the body to use all the necessary parts together to perform an exercise. For example if you’re sitting in a leg press machine the core and the rest of the body is not activated the way it is in a free standing squat, lunge or deadlift.
    I highly recommend hiring a good personal trainer at the beginning of each phase of your workout plan to help you learn correct technique, progression and posturing. These are very important to preventing injury, posture problems and overtraining. You don’t need a trainer all the time just at the beginning of each phase of your plan to help you work out your progression plan and show you how to execute it correctly.
    The next phase for beginners would be to slowly start increasing cardio training intensity and building strength. Generally a 6 – 8 week period. For this phase the heart rate training zone can move up to 60% - 85% in the previously mentioned formula. When you do your cardio is up to you but I recommend after your workout or on your alternate workout days if you’re doing whole body workouts every other day. Warm up your muscles first for least 10 minutes doing light exercises that mimic your workout. This will prepare the body for what you’re about to do and help prevent injury and increase range of motion.
    Exercises in this phase will consist of functional training with Free weights, balls, bands, Bosu, TRX and body weight to name a few. I would increase weight, decrease rep range to 8 -12 reps, probably 3-4 sets for each exercise depending on time. Keep the balance and coordination exercises in your program just progressively make them harder by reducing your base of support or destabilizing it. So instead of two feet use one foot or add a Bosu, balance board or ball to your exercises for balance. Use logging sheets and measurements to track progress. As soon as you can complete 12 reps on the last set of an exercise move the weight up a level. Never increase your weight to much as this can lead to injury. For most exercises 2.5 to 5lbs is enough of an increase if you’re increasing consistently.
    The next phase if you want size is to maintain cardio or even cut it back a little and increase to heavy weights and low reps. There are lots of different training techniques in this phase but we will cover just the basics for now. The reps should be between 4-8 and the sets 4-5 and you most likely will want to split up your muscle groups and workout 4 – 5 days in a row. You should also look at finding a workout partner to assist you with the last few sets and reps. You should find an experienced spotter or get a personal trainer to go over correct spotting posture and procedures to avoid injury to the spotter and yourself. I usually keep a client in this phase for 4-6 weeks and follow it with a week of active rest. So no gym or just low intensity fitness workouts. I prefer if they jog, hike, swim, bike, walk, kayak, canoe or any other leisure activities that keep you active but don’t tax the body to much. During the active rest period you need to really watch your diet and eat like you’re in repair mode. So eat super healthy, clean real, food and take high end nutritional supplements.
    Stretching is highly overlooked by most people and needs mentioning. Without flexibility you will not build a nice even strong body and you will ruin your posture. Truly beautiful bodies are strong and have great posture. You can walk around like and ape with rounded shoulders, descended stomachs, forward head posture and a spine that looks like it’s been put through a wringer or you can stretch, take yoga, Pilates etc. to keep your body upright and functioning like a well-balanced athlete. There is nothing more attractive than a healthy fit man with great posture and flexibility.
    Just a start and I know there is much more to working out but it will give those of you who are just starting out an idea of how to go about it.
    In good health
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 10, 2012 8:31 AM GMT
    tl; dr

    Where's Cliffnotes when you need it?
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    Jun 16, 2012 7:22 PM GMT

    Well in one word it’s Necessary. We need good quality sleep for 6 – 8 hours a night according to most scientists. This is when many of the body’s restorative functions happen, both mentally and physically.
    Are you having problems focusing during the day, losing weight, gaining muscle, low energy etc.? This could be due to your quality or quantity of sleep. If sleep is a problem for you get help. You’re prematurely aging yourself and cheating yourself out of better health. Don't use medication if you can avoid it. Go to a sleep clinic to find out why you don’t sleep well. Here are some simple things you can do to improve sleep.
    Wind down before bed
    Keep the lights dim
    Don’t watch TV before falling asleep
    Read something light
    Keep the room dark, blackout blinds or drapes work great
    Eliminate electronics from your bedroom and even on the other side of the wall where your head is when you sleep as much as possible, especially cell phones.
    Eliminate any blue or green light sources. They disturb melatonin production which helps you sleep.
    Buy alarm clocks etc. with red light.
    Organic cottons are best to sleep on to eliminate allergens and toxins that can keep you awake. Sleeping in a cleaner bedroom can also help eliminate snoring.
    For some great tips on cleaning up your bedroom and improving your sleep as well as many other easy tips to making your home healthier read The Healthy Home by Dr. Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz. You’ll be grateful you did and so will your body.
    In good health