Disease Screening

As we get older we take on more responsibility. Work, family, and other commitments consume our time and the days come and go with a blink of the eye.

Many people are responsible for taking care of so many others; some often forget to take care of themselves.heart_disease-1335

With that said, it’s important to take care of yourself and take responsibility for your own health because no one else will do it for you. Getting screened for potential diseases or health disorders is one of the many ways to do so.

The following is a list of some common diseases along with when you should get screened in order to reduce the risk of disease, or detect it early enough to treat it most effectively.

Test

What It Looks For When to get tested

How often

Cholesterol -High lipid levels in the blood = increased risk of heart disease -Age 20-79 -Every 4-6 years

-Depends on risk factors and/or current cholesterol

Pap Test (Pap Smears) -Cellular changes in the cervix indicative of cervical cancer -Sexually active woman under the age of 65 -Every 3 years
Mammography -Breast cancer – Women ages 50+ -Every 1-2 years
Colonoscopy -Colon cancer -Age 50+

-Earlier if there is a family history

-Every 5-10 years
Prostate-specific antigen -Prostate cancer -Men ages 50+ -Talk to your doctor about this test
STI’s -HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea -Sexually active men & woman of any age -Every year

Your family history and the exposure to other risk factors may determine when/how often you should get screened for certain diseases. Some diseases do not have routine screening tests and may require multiple tests in order to detect any indication of disease. Please talk to your doctor to get more information, especially if you see or feel unusual changes in your body externally or internally.

Moreover, you always have to right to a second opinion. As in any profession, people make mistakes and some are better at their jobs than others; doctors included.

You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself.

SHAKE IT UP BABY – Revamped Shake Recipe

Back in September of last year I posted a shake recipe. Since then I have added to my concoction and wanted to share it here on Shape180. I have to give it up to Costco for providing these ingredients in bulk for a fair price, thank-you!!

Ingredients:

  • 140g Irresistibles Berry Cherry Fusion – Mixed Fruit
  • 122g Kirkland Frozen Mixed Vegetables – Normandy Style
  • 1c Spinach
  • 12 Plain Natural Almonds
  • A few shakes of Cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup Plain, Dry Quaker OatsShake
  • 1tbl Chia Seeds
  • 1 scoop Muscle Pharm Combat Powder – Cookies and Cream

Nutritional Info:

  • Calories: 563
  • Carbs: 61g
  • Fat: 15g
  • Protein: 40g

You may notice that this is just a jacked up version of my previous recipe. I use this as a meal replacement -breakfast or lunch- and it keeps me full until my next meal. It offers a great source of each macronutrient, and you get the benefit of consuming a couple serving of vegetables without even tasting them. Give it a try 🙂

Annoying Gym Goers

I can give credit where credit is due. It’s great to see people at the gym instead of sitting around being lazy all day. However, there’s actually a few people I wish would just stay at home. Here is my list of people that drive me crazy at the gym.

8. Terrible Trainersbad-trainer-WH

As a trainer I can spot a terrible trainer from across the gym floor. There used to be a trainer at the gym I work out at who was a prime example. He would stand – too close – to his clients as they performed every move incorrectly, nod his head, and tell them to keep going as he constantly checked his cell phone. Not to mention he would hit on any young cute girl that walked past him. I wanted to punch him in the face, but luckily he got fired before I could.

This isn’t to say that all trainers are bad. There are plenty of amazing trainers who truly want to help others succeed. If you ever decide to hire a Personal Trainer, shop around first, and make sure you don’t end up with some idiot who’s over charging you to do ineffective and/or incorrect exercises.

7. Talkersplease shut up

It blows my mind how many people converse more than they lift. The coffee shop is for chatting people, not the weight room floor.

The talkers don’t seem to understand or respect gym etiquette. They will interrupt your set to talk about nothing at all or totally mess up your rest period because they just don’t shut up. I understand you can make friends at the gym, but when I’m going for my PR deadlift or catching my breath between sets, I really do not want to talk to you.

On the same note, please don’t strike up a conversation in the change room while you’re completely naked. I admire how comfortable you are in your own skin, but jeezzusss, wait until after.

6. Flexing in the Mirrors More Than Lifting-ers

justin-bieber-flexing-instagram

It seems to be the younger guys that do this most; they’ll pace the floor and flex in the mirror more times than I can count. Having to walk around you to get my equipment as you aimlessly wonder around isn’t really my favourite thing. It’s also a little distracting catching you constantly flexing in the mirror behind me as I complete my set. Did you come here to train, or practice your posing? I’m pretty sure the latter can be done at home.

5. Rack BlockersBlocker

1-arm rows are one of my favourite exercises and I think everyone should do them, just NOT in front of the dumbbell rack. Blocking any equipment as you do an exercise is just plain rude, and if I so happen to accidentally drop a dumbbell on your foot one day, it’s going to be your fault.

4. Unnecessary Gruntersgrunter

Overall, this one hasn’t been much of an issue for me. I myself curse under my breath every now and again or let out some unattractive noises as I complete a heavy set. The people I’m attacking here are those that do it excessively or unnecessarily. A man where I train grunts loudly after every, single, rep. It doesn’t matter is he’s curling 15’s or pressing 80’s, he is loud, excessive, and sooo f****** annoying. If you’re doing it for attention, you got it, but not in a good way.

3. Nipple Shirt Wearers

nipple shirt

These guys are usually jacked and decide to show it off by wearing spaghetti strapped tank tops that expose everything but their lower abdominal’s. They seem to think they are a gym god and just beg to be looked at. Everything from the way they walk to the way they stand just reeks of arrogance. Hey, you might be in amazing shape, good looking, and possibly have a great personality to boot; but I’ll never know for sure because I have already labelled you as a douche bag.

2. The Cable Cross-overers

cross over

There is one big pulley system at the gym where I train. It sits in the middle of the floor and you either have to go through it, or around it to get to the other side of the gym. During peak hours, few things tick my clock more than that guy hogging 2 out of the 3 pulley systems to perform cable cross-overs. First off, I have to duck under the cables if other routes are blocked, second, you’re taking up too much damn space, and third, someone else is probably waiting to use ONE of those pulleys. Save this exercise for when traffic is low and opt for other variations when its busy. Thanks.

1. Non-unrackers

messy-gym-with-weights-everywhere1

Do you have any idea how many times I get all pumped up to do some squats just to spend the first 10 minutes of my training session unracking 4 plates a side on the squat rack? LIKE REALLY?! Mr. Macho can apparently (half) squat 400 pounds but can’t seem to put the plates away afterwards. This makes me so angry because these people consciously make the decision to not put their equipment away and leave their mess for the next person to clean up. I’m wasting energy moving your plates, and the first thing we learn in kindergarten is to put your toys away before taking another. If you’re contributing to the mess you are a straight up jerk.

My Pre-workout Supplements

A good pre-workout supplement can take your training to a whole-notha-leehhvall! The right sup can boost your strength, endurance, focus, and give those muscles a nice pump; who doesn’t want that?

Before I get into sharing my pre-workout stack I feel it necessary to share a short story regarding my past experience with some name brand pre’s.

A few years ago I started using pre-workouts for the reasons I stated in the first paragraph. I Dumbbellfound a reputable name brand and began taking it as directed. I felt like superwomen in the gym! I was moving faster, pushing harder, and training longer than I ever have. This high lasted a while; until it all came down to bite me in the ass.

I eventually became dependent on these pre-workouts and couldn’t imagine training without them. Sadly it got to a point where my sleep suffered – probably from the high level of stimulants most name brands possess. It wouldn’t matter if I took it at 5am or 5pm; I could no longer get a solid full nights rest. This snow balled in the sense I was still taking it to combat my fatigue from not sleeping; resulting in over-training, under-recovering, and no gain in muscle mass what’s so ever.

So please be cautious when supplementing with pre-workouts. To be honest, anything with a picture of a skeleton, or the word “explode” makes me nervous, as do some of the price tags.

Personally, my favourite pre-workout stack is one I can put together on my own. I purchase the ingredients in bulk and then toss them together about 20 minutes before I lift. If I had tons of money, I’d likely add to my stack, but here are -in my opinion- the necessities:

  1. BCAAS

“Branched chain amino acids or BCAA are the smallest sub particle of protein and are a chemical chain of the amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.. They are often referred to as the building blocks of protein. This particular blend of BCAA supplement is a 2:1:1 ratio of the amino acids leucine, isoleucine, valine. Amino Acids are essential in the body and are produced naturally. When the body undergoes physical stress, BCAAs can be used as an alternate fuel beta-alanine-1lbsource to fuel protein synthesis and delay fatigue. They play a special role by being metabolized quickly and directly in the muscle where you need it most, not in the liver. By allowing the body to stay in a positive nitrogen balance and continue protein synthesis, BCAAs are best known for keeping the body in an anabolic state (muscle building). When taken around times of training, BCAA powder can be essential to keeping protein synthesis going and the body in a fuelled state.”

  1. Beta-Alanine

“Beta-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid used to promote muscular endurance and improve exercise performance by being able to train longer and harder. By promoting high levels of intramuscular carnosine, it can delay the build-up of lactate burning in the muscles. It has also been known to increase maximal power output when training.”

  1. AAKG

“AAKG is a salt derivative of the amino acid arginine and alpha ketoglutaric acid. It is used as an exercise supplement to cause an increase in nitric oxide production in the body. This increased nitric oxide production causes the body to vasodilate blood vessels (increasing their internal diameter to increase blood flow) giving users the muscle pump effect and causing more oxygen and more nutrients to the target muscle. AAKG is an advanced form of arginine and is approximately 2 times the potency. Therefore if one was to take 6g of arginine, it would only require approximately 3g of AAKG to achieve the same effect. AAKG has been shown in new and ongoing research to increase anabolic activity and increase levels of growth hormone, IGF-1, and insulin, glutamine and other amino acid metabolites.”

  1. Creatine Monohydrate

“Creatine Monohydrate or Creapure Creatine Monohydrate is a natural substance found mainly in the skeletal muscle cells of the human body. Made up of three amino acids l-methionine, l-arginine, and l-glycine it is produced in the liver and to a small degree in the kidneys. It is used in the body to provide energy to all the cells in the body especially the muscle cells by increasing the amount of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) available. This ATP that is created is used to fuel flexingall muscle contractions in the body via the Phosphocreatine Synthesis cycle. Although creatine monohydrate is not an essential nutrient, it is very necessary to intense training and physical strength. Creatine is used widely by athletes and resistance trainers to increase strength, power, endurance and explosive strength. Creatine is naturally occurring in foods such as beef but supplementing with exogenous creatine monohydrate is a much easier and more efficient way to increase creatine stores to induce more muscle growth and much more intense training. Creatine is among the most popular and effective supplements available and is very important to anyone looking to improve physical performance.”

  1. Caffeine Caps*

“Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant in the body. Caffeine is found mostly in different types of seeds, leaves, and fruits. Caffeine in humans acts as a central nervous system stimulant which may prevent and/or ward off drowsiness and restore and keep you alert. Caffeine accomplishes this by causing the release of dopamine which is a chemical in the brain that keeps us alert, improves problem solving and pleasure.” (Canadianprotein.com)

I took each description off of the site I order these supplements from. It saves me a lot of money in the long run and I can’t help but feel like a scientist as I mix them together prior to my workouts. These supplements are pretty tasteless, but I often add a squirt of a flavoured water inhancer to get it down easier. If you decide to order from here, please use my link:

http://canadianprotein.refr.cc/KRT7T64

* The reason I put an asterisks beside caffeine is because I no longer include this in my stack. I’ve realized the high amounts of caffeine alone, or in other pre-workouts aren’t good for me. I am a very energetic person as it is and sometimes have issues with anxiety. This has decreased dramatically since I have stopped taking them. Also, I drink a lot of green and black tea so I’m sure I get enough caffeine as it is.

1. Canadianprotein.com,. ‘Canadian Protein: Canada’s Supplements Superstore’. N.p., 2015. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.

Reasons You’re Not Gaining Muscle

1. You don’t eat enough

If you aren’t getting a surplus of calories, you simply won’t grow. If you’re not sure how many calories/day you should be consuming, the harris-benedict formula is an equation that will help you determine just that. First we must find out your “basal metabolic rate,” which is the number of calories your body would burn if staying in bed all day:

Men BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) – (5.677 x age in years)
Women BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 x weight in kg) + (3.098 x height in cm) – (4.330 x age in years)

After you have determined you BMR, use this table to figure out your daily recommended intake:

Little to no exercise Daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.2
Light exercise (1–3 days per week) Daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.375
Moderate exercise (3–5 days per week) Daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.55
Heavy exercise (6–7 days per week) Daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.725
Very heavy exercise (twice per day, extra heavy workouts) Daily kilocalories needed = BMR x 1.9

Finally, now that you have a good idea of how many calories your body needs to maintain its current weight, you need to add calories in order to have the surplus required to build lean tissue. I would start with an increase of 250 calories/day; see how your body responds after a couple of weeks and then increase/decrease from there.

2. You do too much cardio

maxit_treadmill_kl-1303If you are already not eating enough calories, expending more calories via cardio will make it next to impossible for your body to gain lean muscle. The right type of cardio has its place (sprint training, slow long distance) but your first priority should be resistance training.

3. You’re not getting enough protein &/or carbs

Protein is needed for growth and to repair broken down tissue. If you aren’t getting enough, your body will turn to breaking down muscle in order to meet its daily protein needs. 1.2 -1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight should be consumed each day. It may seem like a lot at first, but it can easily be reached through the frequent consumption of lean meats, low fat dairy, eggs; egg whites, and protein powder.

Moreover, restricting your intake of carbohydrates while trying to put on muscle will leave you flat and feeling like garbage. Carbs supply the energy needed to get through intense workouts, and your brain alone needs 130g/day to function properly. 2-3g of carbs per pound of body weight is needed each day when gaining muscle. Make at least 80% of these carbs complex, and only consume simple carbs around your workouts.

Good Carb, Bad Carb

protein4. You’re inconsistent

For anything to work, consistency is vital. Almost any weight lifting plan will work if you’re consistent with it. I used to make the mistake of doing different workouts every time I hit the gym; it wasn’t until I started sticking to a plan for 4-6 weeks at a time did I really start to see gains in both lean muscle mass and strength. Find a plan, log everything, and follow through with it.

If you’re inconsistent at hitting the gym all together, well you have your answer right there.

5. You’ve been doing to same thing for too long and/or you aren’t training hard enough

Opposite from inconsistency, you’re consistent but cannot recall that last time you did something different. Our bodies are good at adapting to repetitive training stimulus, and sooner or later you will hit a plateau if you don’t switch up the exercises and/or the rep and set schemes.

On the same note, you simply might not be training hard enough. If you’re not challenged during your workouts and don’t opt for the heavy weights, you aren’t causing damage to your muscles, if you aren’t causing damage your mueat sleep train repeatscles will have no need to repair itself and heal bigger and stronger. Stop being a sissy and lift heavy things!

(For hypertrophy, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps is generally agreed upon)

6. You don’t sleep/recover enough

Training hard and eating well plays a huge role in gaining muscle, but just as important is sleep and recovery. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is highest when we sleep so getting the recommended 8 hours each night is a must. Also, those who don’t sleep enough tend to have higher levels of cortisol, which is catabolic hormone (breaks down muscle tissue); clearly this is a bad thing for those wanting more muscle.

7. You aren’t supplementing properly

This should be the last thing to consider, and only if you have perfected the points above. Also, relying on supplements to increase your performance is a poor idea.protein-powder

Personally, I’m all for protein powders, multivitamins, amino acids, and some pre-workouts; they have helped boost my training and aid in my recovery.

Fitness Bingo!

bingo

Next week is March break so I thought I’d change up my group training classes and play fitness bingo! Participants must make a line (50 points), four corners (50 points), and/or an “x” (100 points) to attain the highest score possible. I’ve designed it so no matter which they choose to complete, they’ll get a full body routine. They can break up the reps any way they like in order to complete the exercises with the best form possible. The weight chosen must challenge their strength while considering the number of reps; lowering the weight before the reps are completed is allowed only if it’s 100% necessary.

I chose exercises that can be completed with the equipment I have at my disposal in the group training studio, feel free to give it a try if you have access to such equipment. If you aren’t sure of the exercises, shoot me an e-mail, or look it up on good old google. You can always change it up and choose other exercises, or make changes the number of reps -the groups I train are pretty fit people, so I made it rather challenging.

I apologize if the “bingo” card is cut off, I added a link at the bottom that should open a “PDF” copy if you wanted to print it. If that doesn’t work, I can definitely send it to you. Thanks for stopping by, keep moving!

B I N G

O

60 INVERTED ROWS 5 MINUTES STRAIGHT JUMP ROPE 30 AROUND THE WORLD FLYES ON STABILITY BALL 70 BENT OVER BARBELL ROWS 100 WEIGHTED TRAVELING LUNGES
100 RESISITANCE BAND CROSS OVERS 100 BODY WEIGHT SQUATS 75 REVERSE FLYES 3 MINUTE PLANK 70 STANDING SHOULDER PRESS
50 TRICEPS DIPS 100 STABILITY BALL IN & OUTS 100 BURPEES 30 WEIGHTED STEP-UPS EACH LEG 50 1-ARM ROWS EA. ARM
3 MINUTE WALL SIT 50 CURLS50 KICKBACKS 60 BARBELL GOODMORNINGS 30 REPS SHOULDER DRILL 50 SKATE HOPS 
200 JUMPING JACKS 70 OVERHEAD SLAMS 60 HANG CLEAN & PRESS 50 WIDE GRIP CURLS 60 PUSH-UPS

Fitness Bingo

Kettlebell Circuit

The kettlebell is an excellent tool that can be used to improve strength, power, and aerobic fitness. Although the bulk of my personal fitness programs utilizes dumbbells and barbells, I do enjoy picking up the kettlebell every now and again. It’s beneficial since it offers variety to my workouts and activates my muscles differently than other free weights.

Here is a circuit I enjoy performing either on “off” days from my regular strength training, or I’ll complete a couple rounds at the end of my workout for some conditioning work.

Please excuse the quality of the video! Watching it made me realize that using my phone won’t do, having someone else to film it would help, I shouldn’t film it while at work (haha), and I say “okay” way too much – but hey! It’s progress, not perfection.

Kettlebell Circuit:

1. Around the world x10-15 rotations ea. direction

2. Basic swing x20-30 solid reps

3. Goblet Squat x8-12 reps

4. 1-Arm Bent Rows x8-12reps ea. side

5. Windmill x8-12reps

6. Single legged deadlift x8-12 ea. leg

Perform 3-6 rounds

If you have any questions about this workout, or the exercises it consists of, feel free to leave a comment or contact me via the “Train with me” tab above.

Happy lifting 🙂

Battling mental health issues alone is never the answer

I am always reading articles online and when I come across one worth sharing, I post it on Shape 180.

This one hit home with me, as I am a huge advocate for mental health. It compliments a recent article of mine titled “Beyond Blue.”

Here is the link:

http://host.madison.com/daily-cardinal/battling-mental-health-illness-alone-is-never-the-answer/article_95d195c2-b7e8-11e4-922d-bf306522c9b6.html

My New Favourite: BARBELL COMPLEXES

barbell

I’m always looking for ways to change up my training and lately I’ve fallen in love with barbell complexes. It’s a type of circuit training in the sense that you move quickly from one exercise to another. What makes it unique is the fact you never put the bar down until you’ve completed the complex. They are downright brutal, and it’s awesome!

Benefits:

Complexes are an excellent way to build muscle, burn fat, and boost conditioning. If done correctly they’re a great way to push your limits in a safe manner. It’s also a good way to work on technique since complexes require lighter weights than what you’re used to in your strength sessions. Not to mention they are an awesome substitute for deload work because they allow you to train harder without the extra stress on your joints.

Laws of the Complexes:

  1. While performing complexes you will be limited to the heaviest weight you can use while performing your weakest lift. Do not choose an exercise that requires significantly less weight in comparison to the other lifts.
  2. Form always matters. Just because the weight is lighter doesn’t mean you should aim to lift as quickly as possible. Use this opportunity to really focus on performing the lifts with the best form possible.
  3. Time doesn’t dictate progress. Yes, some training methods require the lifter to maintain weight while progressively increasing speed with better time indicating improvement. However, with complexes the goal is to increase the weight.
  4. Put the hardest exercises first. The most technically demanding exercises such as Olympic lifts should be performed first, while you’re fresh.
  5. Focus on full body or lower body complexes. I tried an upper body complex before, and they just don’t transition well.
  6. Alternate between upper and lower body while performing full body complexes. By doing so, you give your lower body a chance to rest while performing the upper body lifts, and vice versa.
  7. Try to make it flow. Structure your routine in a way that makes it easy to transition from one move to the next.

When I perform barbell complexes I typically choose 6 exercises and begin with 6 reps each. I then rest for 60 seconds and move on to round two where I perform 5 reps, then 4,3,2,1. I try to decrease my rest periods as I move closer to that 1 rep.

You do not have to use this rep scheme, you could always complete 10 reps for one exercise, then 5 for another and keep the reps consistent as you complete 3-5 rounds. Whatever works and challenges you the most while keeping your goals in mind.

Example Full Body Complexes:

Example 1:

  1. Front Squat
  2. Bent Row
  3. Romanian Deadlift
  4. Push Press
  5. Back Squat
  6. Goodmorning

Example 2:

  1. Squat Press
  2. Single-Arm Linear Jammers
  3. Landmine 180’s
  4. Single-Arm Bent-Over Rows

Example 3:

  1. Hang clean
  2. Reverse Lunge with front squat grip
  3. High pull
  4. Stiff Legged Deadlift
  5. Sumo Squat
  6. Calf Raise

I forgot to mention that complexes highly challenge grip strength, so if you’re not used to holding the bar for this long, get ready to feel your forearms burn!

Try complexes, but don’t forget the puke bucket 🙂