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Stop Making Illogical Decisions

I think if an alien race visited earth and just stood back to observe our culture and decisions they might find us to be rather odd and peculiar. I’ve come to note that in North America we are really driven by instant gratification, so much so that we make illogical decisions.

As a red deer personal trainer for many years I’ve met and coached thousands of people to better health, fitness and overall wellness. I can absolutely guarantee that my clients live better, more fulfilling and likely longer lives than they would have if they hadn’t made the decision to initiate change, lose weight, and improve their health and well being.

For the thousands that made that difficult decision, carried the burden of the financial commitment, there are likely hundreds more that didn’t. The number one objection to personal training is cost, and rightly so like any professional service it isn’t inexpensive, what’s more it’s entirely intangible. There’s no big box that contains the exciting yet sophisticated device, no fancy remote control, no oodles of features you don’t need, and what’s more you won’t wake up tomorrow looking exactly how you want to look.

Yet, I can say with a great deal of certainty just about every single person that opted not to initiate change within weeks to years of our meeting; likely purchased a new vehicle, upgraded their home, or took a vacation or two. There’s nothing wrong with any of these decisions, after all the reason I know they made these decisions is because I’ve made the same decisions. It’s not until you’re met with a situation that demands you realize and accept the gravity of the worst possible outcome can you truly see how illogical these decisions really are.

In a recent discussion with a member of our family we were discussing a health situation and ultimately the discussion drifted toward costs, very natural and yet entirely illogical when you rephrase this discussion to meet our instant gratification culture.

Let me ask you, if you fell ill tomorrow would you give up the new TV you just bought, a new car, or a kitchen remodel if you knew it would mean 2-10 extra years on your life; spent being physically able to do anything that you loved to do? Of course you would, but then in that situation we’re still talking about instant gratification. What are you really passing up by not committing to change to improve your health, fitness and overall wellness now?

Holiday Survival Guide

Holiday Survival Guide

Santa-girl makign shhh - Christmastime 03The holiday season is upon us once again. It’s that time of year when it seems as though there is a social gathering every other night. That time of year when we become seemingly less conscious about our health, fitness and maintain a paradoxical outlook on weight loss.

It might surprise you but I always recommend to my clients to not worry or stress about their fitness and nutrition too much during the holidays. I believe that our relationships with family and friends are so intrinsically important to our overall well being that they should be our primary focus throughout the holiday season. None the less it only makes sense as one of Red Deer’s fitness experts I give you my tips and thoughts on fitness for the holidays.

1)     Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – Not just a famous book series but words to live by. Even worse than over indulging during the holidays is stressing about it. Physiologically increased physical and emotional stress for any length of time are more potentially damaging to your health than two weeks of bad habits ever could be.

2)     If You’ve Been Doing Your Homework You Have Nothing to Worry About – Truth is if you’ve been exercising regularly and eating well for at least 6 weeks prior to the holidays than nothing you can do during this time will be a major setback. Solid, regular lifestyle habits do not deteriorate with a brief interruption; though you might see the scale and your energy levels fluctuate they will quickly return once you resume your exercise program at the conclusion of the holiday season.

3)     Unfortunately Alcohol is Always the Biggest Problem – Many people are seemingly confused about a few social beverages. Numerous times I’ve had someone try to explain to me that by eliminating the calories in the mix they are going to coast through unscathed. As bad as sugar is this logic is very flawed. 1-2 ounces of alcohol is all that is needed to suppress hormonal function (significantly impairing the metabolism) for a period of 72 hours or longer. The more you drink the longer you remain impaired, no pun intended. (Ok maybe a little.)

4)     Water it Down – No not your favourite beverage, but by that I mean you. Consume even more water if possible, ideally 4 litres or more per day. By consuming significantly more water than usual you will not only minimize your tendency or desire to over eat but also help your body shed excess toxins from processed food and alcohol faster. This is a great way to further insulate your metabolism during periods where you know your habits will be less than ideal. Yes you may wind up in the bathroom more but even that will subside with consistency for 72 hours or longer.

5)     Gaze Down the Highway – Set your goals for the New Year now. Don’t wait until after the holidays and the rush of resolusionists to set your fitness and weight loss goals. By setting your goals now before the holidays you are programming your subconscious to turn on course to reach them. It sounds silly but this little exercise will give you the will to ensure your holiday deviation from the beaten path doesn’t leave you lost in the woods.

However you choose to enjoy the holidays I hope they are joyous and merry. Spend time with loved ones; take much deserved time for yourself. Look at the year ahead and know great things will come if you wish them to.

Fear of the Fluoride

Fear of the Fluoride

FullSizeRender-2Fluoride has come under fire as of late and quite frankly I’m glad. Calgary’s decision to remove fluoride from the public water supply has sparked discussion about whether Red Deer should follow suit. As a fitness professional for nearly two decades I’m thankful this topic is hitting the forefront and it’s my sincere hope that our great city will follow Calgary’s lead.

Your dentist will argue that fluoride is critical for good dental health, an argument based primarily on studies performed nearly 70 years ago. Coincidentally most of Europe outlawed fluoride decades ago and yet has shown similar improvements in dental health to those in North America. In many more recent studies you might read a number of more disturbing considerations, there are many questions about fluoride’s long term effects on the body and suggested links to instances of chronic kidney disease, bone cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, dental fluorosis and a strong link to hypothyroidism to name a few. (Fluoride mimics a primary thyroid hormone thyrotropin or TSH; so many documented symptoms of hypothyroidism are also symptoms of fluoride poisoning.)

Even if you are steadfast on the benefits of fluoride, and dispute its dangers, it still doesn’t make sense to add it to the city’s water supply. The optimal level of fluoride consumption was set in the 1940s as approximately 1 mg/day; this was based on a fluoride level of about 1ppm or 1mg/L. (Red Deer water is listed at 0.8mg/L) Meaning you would ingest 0.8 mg after consuming just 4 glasses of Red Deer water. Considering by today’s standards the minimum water recommendation is 8 glasses (and if you train with me I’m going to encourage you to consume 12-14 glasses per day.) Even before we consider processed food, toothpaste with fluoride, soft drinks, vitamin and mineral supplements, and many other sources you’ve now consumed 2-3 times what’s considered the “optimal” amount. The sheer availability of fluoride in our North American diets eliminates any need for it to be added to water if you believe in its benefits. Additionally, today our bodies are more physiologically overloaded by chemicals and different forms of stress than ever before. Fluoride like many other chemicals has been shown to be residual, meaning the more you consume the more that hangs around in fat cells and other tissues in our body for weeks, months and years building up to higher and higher levels.

It’s common sense that too much of anything is rarely a good thing but if anything is clear dangerous or not there is no longer any real need to add fluoride to our water. But the moral or focal point of this story ought to still be different. Whether you feel as I do, that fluoride is potentially dangerous, or if you side with the local dentist that its benefits are only positive you can’t argue the moral fact that at present you don’t have a choice. If for no other reason than that alone it is no longer ethical to fluoridate water based on its abundant availability, you should be able to choose what goes in your body. Yours in health.


Always here to help,



 It was time for me to add some fitness to my life!

It was time for me to add some fitness to my life!

kimWhat caught my eye about One to 1 Fitness was all the facebook promotions, and it was time for me to add some fitness to my life. So I started on a 21day promo for Fit Body Boot Camp. Ive started to notice improvment in my cardio and have lost 4lbs so far. My streghth is also gaining ground and Im enjoying feeding off the energy of the class! One of the other things that drew me to try One to 1 Fitness and Fit Body Boot Camp, was the 30min time slots. It helped keep organized and scheduled when life gets crazy! I come and work to the limit for 30min and then go home!

The trainers are very motivating in keeping me moving and working hard. They alsways come to class happy and ready to go making it an inviting environment. They also make it really easy to modify exercises so its great for all fitness types or get around any injury. I would recommened Fit Body Boot Camp, its a great way to work on your cardio, strength and interval training with tons of variety and motivation.

Enjoying it and can’t wait what will come!



Well, it comes down to stress..

Well, it comes down to stress..

FullSizeRenderDon’t be so uptight.

More people are affected by violence, crime and tragedy than ever before, it’s sad how many people are negatively affected by such things. In my mind, just as sad is that people are killing each other in this very city every single day without even saying a word to each other. You might think I’m crazy but hear me out.

The physiological effects of physical and emotional stress are well documented. In their most basic form they both create similar situations in our internal metabolic environment. A heightened sense of emotion will cause a similar dramatic hormonal cascade to that of a situation of danger requiring immediate physical response. The frequent over expression of these hormones leads to metabolic havoc. The effects of physical and emotional stress have now been linked to a variety of serious ailments: depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS and even cancer to name a few.

In our world today we are not only faced with more stress than ever but it’s my belief we’ve become so in tune with negative stressors we’ve become even more reactionary to them making stress and stress related disease an even more serious problem.

It seems in general as people we are constantly bombarded with negative influences.  I call the news the “bad news”, each magazine cover represents something scandalous, we’re hooked on the emotional drama of reality TV and so on. You may have noticed in general it seems we’re bent on finding the flaw in any situation and pointing it out, we’re quick to anger, become frustrated and continually feel the need to criticize or react to other’s actions.

Here’s an example, this past weekend my wife and I were trying to head to the mall and then out of town for the day, she was driving. As we approached an intersection the turning light changed from green to yellow, she opted to continue rather than slamming on the brakes, just as she was about to enter the intersection to turn the light turned red and the through light turned green. She should have stopped, clearly that would have been the right choice, but I suspect many of us have been in a similar situation and made a similar choice. Someone in the through lane was immediately angered by the choice she made, horn blaring, fist (and maybe fingers) waving they made sure to let us know. Now as I mentioned, my wife made the wrong choice from a safe manner of operating a motor vehicle, however in terms of the situation there was no immediate danger. Everyone could easily see us, if she impeded anyone from carrying on with their journey it was for a fraction of a second, yet as people we’re quick to react, judge, and express anger. Now if you’re feeling or thinking that person in the through lane was justified in their action that’s fine I wouldn’t necessarily disagree, but I’d like to point out that the person most harmed in this situation was that same person in the through lane. Physiologically that short chain of events set about a dramatic chain of internal events.

Simply being angry causes adrenal hormones to surge, our fight or flight mechanism to react, our body to lurch into production beyond its normal capacity. When this pattern occurs frequently it leads to the physiological damages of stress, the over production of cortisol, the inability to sleep restfully, ultimately disease and quite possibly premature death.

Take a moment each day to look at life as a whole and ask yourself is it really worth being affected by the small things. Try to avoid criticizing others, being negative about things that don’t really matter, and make every effort not to become angry. Every time you avoid reacting to something small you are enhancing your own health and likely someone else’s, if we all kept this in mind we could eliminate this North American disease called stress.


Always here to help,



Why working out at home doesn’t work

melissa jeans afterFor me this year marks 23 years of working out, and yet even I’ve never been successful at regularly working out at home. Maybe that seems obvious to most, after all spending most of my days in a gym you’d think there would be no need to ever work out at home. However look at it this way, imagine working a full day in your office and then at quitting time instead of leaving you go to the washroom change into your gym clothes and then began to exercise for another hour in your office or lobby. I’m sure like most people the roar of engines and tires squealing out of the parking lot would have you thinking twice about staying at work longer for the sake of exercise.

Logically working out at home makes sense, it’s comfortable, it’s easily accessible, once you have the equipment there’s no additional cost, you can play whatever music you want, have the TV on, seems like a sure fire recipe for success. Yet treadmills and exercise equipment across the country are more often used to display drying clothes than for exercise.

Truly there is a simple reason why working out at home doesn’t usually work. It’s likely not what you think either, it’s not because you are lazy, it’s not because you get distracted by other things, it’s not because it’s so much easier to hold the couch down (well maybe a little bit but those are the secondary factors not the primary in my opinion.)

The main reason working out at home doesn’t work is because of our psychological connection to home. It’s safe, it’s a place of comfort, and it’s our retreat to escape everything else in the world. In an unrelated conversation this past weekend a very good friend of mine referred to his home and family as a “fortress” a place that stands up to the stresses of life and where we feel as though we can be free of it all, or at least it should be.

Now we all know we need to exercise because it’s good for us, but with all the demands in our life it’s easy to be tired, worn out and not feel like exercising. Essentially because of the other demands of life this tags a kind of negative emotion to exercise which worsens over time.

So when inspiration strikes we attack or home exercise regime with vigour which unfortunately quickly fades. Our underlying subconscious negative attachment to the extra effort required to exercise reminds us that our home is about safety, comfort and an isolation from the stresses of the world, soon our programming takes over and holding the couch down becomes a much more positive aand desired activity than dusting off the treadmill or the gym equipment.

This is why gyms work and why personal trainers work even better, because psychologically it appeals to a different type of programming. People attend public gyms for exercise, but in reality the subconscious programming of a relaxed social environment that is safe is the real reason most people keep going beyond the initial inspired weeks. Fortunately within this social environment exercise is both acceptable and expected and looking a little sweaty and unkempt is ok too. Working with a personal trainer takes this a step further, while fun and social interaction is still one of the top statistical reasons people work with a trainer long term the psychological attachment to the responsibility of showing up for a set appointment is what allows people to fast track their new habits. Of course the results of working with a personal trainer are also generally better because of the knowledge and accountability also provided by the trainer. Food for thought before committing to the costly purchase of a home gym.



The Top Carb Sources To Include In Your Diet

If you’re like many people who are currently on a fat loss diet, you may be rapidly cutting out any forms of carbs from your diet thinking that this is the absolute best method to help you shed those pounds that you’ve been struggling with.

While low carb diets definitely can help you see results, often they will do more harm than good. You must remember that there are a number of vital nutrients found in carbohydrates that will be incredibly essential in order for you to maintain proper health.

Any time you go cutting these nutrients out of your diet you’re asking for trouble so by keeping them included in moderation and making sure that you’re choosing the best sources you help maintain good health and still continue to see the fat loss you’re after.

Let’s take a closer look at the top carbohydrate sources that you should be including in your diet.


The first good carbohydrate source that you should definitely consider adding to your diet plan is oats.  Oats are the perfect way to start your day as they’re high in fiber, high in protein, and contain virtually no sugar at all.

So many of the other breakfast cereal choices out there are loaded with sugar or other unnecessary ingredients so by sticking with oats you can ensure you’re getting nothing but the best of nutrition.

Brown Rice

Next up, the second good whole grain carb source that you’ll want to add into your menu plan is brown rice.  Brown rice also contains more fiber than standard rice and will release in the body slightly more slowly to provide you with that hunger control that you’re after.

Brown rice works well with so many different meals that it’s simple to add this to the program as well.


Third you have quinoa.  Many people often overlook this grain and instead just keep on favoring brown rice but if you’re ready for a change of pace, this one can’t be missed.

It actually contains more protein than brown rice so it’s extremely good for fat loss purposes and also offers a heavy hit of dietary fiber as well.

Serve it in any meal where you would normally serve brown rice as it has a very similar look and feel to it however delivers a slightly nuttier taste.


Barley is yet another type of grain that you can include in your diet when you’re looking for something different to prevent boredom from setting in.  Barley has traditionally always been used in soup recipes however don’t be afraid to break away from that.

Barley can also be added into casseroles or even into salads making it a very versatile source of carbs that you can include.

Sweet Potatoes

Finally, if you’re a potato fan you really can’t miss with sweet potatoes.  These have a lower impact on blood sugar levels than regular potatoes do so are a much better option here.  Whether you want to prepare your sweet potatoes to go with your usual meal or you would prefer to eat them as a sweet tasting dessert is up to you but do make sure that they are in your plan.

So don’t overlook any of these carbohydrate sources. If you haven’t included them in your menu already, now’s the time to do so.

The Power of Will

I think I’ve heard people say, “I have no willpower,” or, “my willpower ran out,” more times than I can count. Both of these statements couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve become convinced that will is greatly misunderstood.

If you’re a sports fan at all I suspect this will really resonate with you. Deep in the Stanley Cup playoffs you seen frequent demonstrations of will. It’s amazing how much higher the intensity of playoff hockey is over games played early in the season. It’s even more amazing when you can practically feel the energy of two teams that truly want to win, even sitting thousands of miles away from the stadium in your living room. In my opinion this is the power of will, in spite of all odds and statistics two teams appear so evenly matched, so determined to be the victor. Their will to win is incredibly strong, yet early in the season even a 100% effort to win would pale in comparison.

That’s the thing about will, it seems as though it’s bound by time. There’s no accurate measure of time too which each person can perform above their current standards or commit to major changes of lifestyle before their willpower runs out. I think this is because your power of will is greatly determined by the results of the immediate task.

If you go back to the hockey example you might liken it to the discussion of “team momentum.” A goal or that one big play is said to be a “momentum shift” giving that team a competitive edge. Suddenly they are energized by the power of their will, they have a stronger inner belief that they can succeed. This may seem like kind of a hokey discussion if you’ve read a number of my other articles but the truth is this may be at the very basis of what we do as personal trainers that allows our clients to continually succeed. We can’t change your life in a few hours a week, it’s imperative that we find a way to increase your will to succeed during all of the hours you don’t spend with us.

So you see when it comes to your own willpower the picture I am really try to draw for you is that if it “runs out,” it’s because too much time transpired before you achieved your desired goal. This only happens if your task list wasn’t realistic to reach the goal in the desired time or that the goal was much bigger than the task list. For example if your goal was to lose 30lbs in three months but you were only willing to cut down from eating fast food from 5 days a week to 4 it becomes obvious that your task list won’t be enough to reach the goal. This is where you need to be honest with yourself and set yourself up for success. First pick your goal, and then create the task list to get there. Itemize that task list based on what you are excited to commit to immediately and what will leave you feeling a sense of accomplishment. Create a daily checklist and physically check the items off each day. By creating your own personal scorecard you enhance the power of will rather than wear it out. The size of the success is irrelevant, the more success you experience the more personal “momentum” you’ll create. You’ll be executing your own personal playoff performance in no time.

Even back in these days you might be surprised to know I only trained about 30-45 min, 4 days/week with an additionally 30 min of low intensity cardio each day while dieting for a show.

How long should my workouts be?

Even back in these days you might be surprised to know I only trained about 30-45 min, 4 days/week with an additionally 30 min of low intensity cardio each day while dieting for a show.

This is an age old question and one that’s been greatly under debate for many more years than I have been a personal trainer in Red Deer.

First you should understand how your body works. It is a perfect machine bent on adaptation, it adapts to everything. You expose yourself to harmful chemicals and it will do it’s best to adapt, filter and survive; if it becomes overloaded you feel the negative effects of that exposure. This may seem like a drastic example for an article on exercise but it’s not really; you see your body deals with exercise much the same way.

When you exercise your body adapts, it increases heart rate and respiration in an effort to supply more oxygen to the muscles doing the work. It will utilize stored glucose to produce more energy and when those supplies run short will look elsewhere for ways to create fuel. As muscle fibers reach work capacity and begin to exhaust they begin to break down chemically into waste products like lactic acid. Your body through circulation works diligently to clear this waste at the same rate at which it is created, when it’s unable to keep up you “feel the burn” strength lessens and you become fatigued. If you push through beyond the point of discomfort pain increases, as pain increases so does damage to the working tissue and it’s ability to protect and support the tissues around it. An injury becomes more likely the further you push as the body’s tolerance for any unexpected circumstance is compromised. (ex. Suddenly running on uneven ground.)

When you stop exercising your body repositions it’s resources to increase repair and new construction. Each time you push your physical limits during this “down time” your body will replace resources like glucose, repair damaged tissues and in an effort to be more prepared next time, make them a little better. This is the real magic of exercise, after every single workout with adequate recovery your body will in fact be a little different than it was before.

Now I know what you’re thinking, if I workout harder and longer I can cause more adaptation or change after every workout. In the most simplistic manner this looks to be true, but there is a factor of diminishing return. When your tissues become compromised or “damaged” beyond a certain point you greatly increase your need for recovery but this doesn’t yield greater adaptation, just longer recovery. Further understand that during recovery because abundant additional resources are needed for repair these resources must come from somewhere, both from consumed fuel sources and often other systems such as the immune system. This is why if you’re feeling under the weather and then complete a really hard workout you might find yourself sick within the next day or so.

When it comes to workout duration there isn’t a right or wrong answer, but here’s something further to consider. Effective workout duration is equally influenced by fuel consumption, ability, and efficiency or intensity.

What this means is that if you’re eating poorly in the case of consuming processed foods or not eating enough your effective workout duration will be shorter because of diminished incoming resources for recovery.

If you are unfamiliar with the performance of the selected exercises inefficiency will lead to faster physical exhaustion and quicker damage to the affected tissues, meaning your workout duration will need to be reduced.

Finally, and the biggest variable factor is intensity. The lower your intensity the longer your workout will need to be, the higher the intensity the shorter it will be. Now here’s where this get’s weird. Our body is so perfect that there is a variable also to intensity, in that our subconscious mind will regulate our perceived intensity. In an effort to explain think of it like this, if you plan to workout for 60 minutes and do so on a regular basis your body adapts to this, it will limit your ability to maintain a certain intensity to ensure that you can complete the 60 minutes. Your body, by regulating your intensity, basically ensures that you will be able to perform in some capacity for that duration. Inversely if you choose to workout just 30 minutes your body will regulate in the same way, because the duration is less it will begin to allow more effort to be expended in that duration knowing that it doesn’t need to preserve resources accordingly for survival.

This is a very general explanation but in the end it all comes down to our body’s basic function to ensure survival. It will sub-consciously regulate your ability to perform in an effort to give you the best chance of survival if this were an emergency situation it’s really about that simple.

So in the end there isn’t really a set duration anyone should workout, high-level athletes generally have developed metabolic systems to be able to survive longer training durations. The average adult will be notably less, which is why all of our exercise programs generally focus on a 30-minute duration. We know in terms of capacity this will be very effective for nearly everyone. People are always surprised to learn that in my peak training days for the nationals I still used to only train about 30-45 minutes, 4 days a week.

Hope this helps, more isn’t better, smart training for the best results!