6 Ways to Increase Your Push Up Count

If you are training for a fitness test that includes max push, make sure to note their protocol first to ensure you are performing them the way that is required prior to your test. Some fitness tests have you perform max push ups in a given time, or more likely, there won’t be a time limit but will be terminated if there is a pause in performance. Furthermore some protocols have you touch your chest to the floor or object on the ground. However what I have been seeing more commonly is that you have to achieve a 90 degree joint angle in your elbows in order for the rep to count, and a full lockout at the top.

Lets quickly talk about proper form. Starting in the prone position (on your stomach) with hands under the shoulders directly next to the chest, push up into a high plank position with the core engaged, glutes squeezed and feet together. While performing the push ups your arms will be like an airplane or an arrow, hips shouldn’t be sagging and the butt should not be sticking up in the air. If this is not possible you may have to first work on push ups from the knees or possibly on a wall and work your way to the floor.

Now, here are 6 suggestions towards helping you increase your repetitions while performing push ups:

  1. Perform max push ups 2-3 times over the course of your day

This will allow you to get uncomfortably comfortable with the challenge of going to failure. It will also improve your muscular strength and endurance, as well as mental stamina.

2. Choose a number of reps and complete them throughout your day

Choose a number, say 200, and break them up over the course of the day. This is a great way to achieve volume without the accumulation of fatigue. Take the opportunity to emphasize good form for every rep.

3. Utilize weighted push-ups

Wearing a weight vest or a loaded backpack is a great way to increase your push up count. Obviously if you can perform multiple push ups under additional load, your body weight will feel much lighter. In my opinion you should be efficient at performing unloaded push ups first before adding load, and when you do, introduce weight in small increments.

4. Incorporate different variations

While there are tons of variations of push ups, utilizing wide grip push ups to emphasize the otter fibers of the pecs, narrow grip to emphasize the inner fibers and the triceps, as well as incline and decline for the upper and lower pecs are some great options for you to use.

5. Incorporate rest/pause methods, as well as mechanical drop sets

Mechanical drop sets – You start with the hardest or most difficult variation of an exercise, and as you reach technical failure, meaning you cannot maintain good form, you move to an easier variation. Since we are talking about push ups, one could start with weighted push ups, move to unweighted from the toes, then drop to the knees, then move onto incline push ups, and then could take it even further by pressing against a wall.

Myo reps – This is a specific rest/ pause training technique that involves taking a working set to the point of failure to ensure maximum muscle fiber activation, then maintaining this muscle fiber activation over a sustained period of time by using short rest periods. To do this you will perform 1 set of push ups to failure, then rest for 20 seconds, complete 3 more reps, repeat this pattern until you cannot even do 2 push ups.

6. Strengthen core muscles

Its not just the pecs involved in push ups, your mid and low back muscles and even your glutes need to be able to withstand high repetition push ups. Incorporating exercises such as variations of planks, dead bugs, good mornings, and bridges are some excellent choices that will carry over nicely when performing max push ups.

My Favourite Single-leg Exercise: Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats

Rear foot elevated split squats, Bulgarian split squats, call them what you may as long as you include them in your training.

Unilateral exercises are important but sometimes overlooked, which is unfortunate because they offer many benefits. They help correct muscle imbalances, improves coordination, uses core muscles, and aids in injury prevention and rehabilitation.

The Bulgarian split squat challenges all the muscles of the lower body and helps improve mobility while at the same time increases stability and balance. It is a great alternative to barbell back squats as it puts less strain on the low back, but can also be used as an accessory exercise to improve your back squat.

Personally, I utilize many different variations of the RFESS in addition to back and front squats. Over the course of the COVID-19 lockdown here in Ontario I did not have access to a squat rack. Instead, I decided to put my focus on unilateral training and slow eccentrics. The RFESS was at first extremely challenging, but quickly became my favourite unilateral lower body exercise.

There are many variations of the RFESS, but before you add external weight should master your own bodyweight first. In my opinion you should be able to perform at least 10 smooth, controlled reps with a pause at the bottom on each leg before grabbing dumbbells, kettlebells or a barbell.

Despite the variation, the set up and execution of this exercise is the same. Using a bench or chair or box no higher than knee height, elevate your rear leg by placing the top of your foot on the bench. I try to find the correct placement of my front leg before doing this, but sometimes I still need to adjust and wiggle around a little bit. I use a narrow stance to avoid pulling groin muscles and lean my torso forward for proper hip hinge mechanics. As I descend my knee travels on tops of my toes, but not excessively past them. You may have to play around a bit and find the ideal position for yourself.

Here are a few of the variations I regularly utilize below. I encourage you to add this exercise to your repertoire.

Keep moving!

4 Training Techniques to Include in Your Workouts

1. Eccentric Isometrics

You may also know them as paused reps or time under tension. Eccentric isometrics is an old training technique where you perform the eccentric or negative phase of a lift in a controlled manner, then holding the stretched position for a given duration before completing the lift/concentric phase.

For example, take your basic air squat. Instead of performing 12+ reps, cut your reps in half and slow it down. Take your time as you lower into your squat, hold the stretched position for 2-4 seconds, and then stand back up quickly. Focus on good form and keeping tight, using optimal/natural range of motion. Do not collapse. 

Eccentric isometrics is an excellent technique to help clean up form through increased proprioception and sensory feedback. “Ultimately movement modification, body positioning, neural firing patterns, and overall motor control are maximized from this heightened state of kinesthetic awareness and sensory integrated movement.” – Dr. Joel Seedman

2. Offset Loading

Offset loading is exactly how it sounds, you load more weight or place more tension on one side of the body. This can be performed using various equipment and even body weight.

Offset loading exposes imbalances and helps eliminate them as it forces the weaker side to catch up to the stronger. It also results in extremely high core activation as you are resisting rotation and lateral flexion. In addition, it requires the lifter to move in a slow, controlled manner so both sides move in unison which improves mechanics, and is effective for hypertrophy training.

You can apply this technique to almost every lift. For example, the dumbbell chest press. The heavier dumbbell should be 2-3x as heavy as the lighter dumbbell. Perform 2-4 sets of 3-5 repetitions. Repeat on other side. 

You can also try barbell back squats, deadlifts, rows, and presses using this technique. Offset kettlebell or dumbbell carries are another option. If you find yourself without any equipment, 1-arm body rows using a door frame and single arm planks are other great options. 

3. Unilateral Work

Unilateral exercises are single-leg or single-arm movements. They often get overlooked in training, which is unfortunate because they highly improve their bilateral counterparts. 

Variations of lunges, 1-arm presses, and rows helps to isolate and correct muscle imbalances, improves coordination, uses core muscles, and aids in injury prevention and rehabilitation. 

In addition when you train one side of the body, the opposite side is also stimulated. This is referred to as cross-education of the muscles, and is thanks to the nervous system. The brain pathways that are used for the primary unilateral exercise stimulate the same muscles on the opposite side of the body. Cross-education is greatest on lower body muscles and when eccentric (lengthening) contractions are used. 

4. Eyes Closed Training

Most gyms have mirrors lining the walls, but individuals should rarely rely on them while training. Instead, try the eyes closed training technique as this teaches the lifter to rely more on kinesthetic awareness instead of sight. 

It’s not necessary to perform your entire workout with your eyes closed, instead choose 1 or 2 exercises and really hone in on the muscle(s) you are working. It may be necessary to reduce the reps and/or sets, but you should be able to handle 80-90% of your typical load. 

This method is an effective way to clean up technique and movement patterns as faulty alignment and poor posture is quickly corrected. It forces the lifter to look inwards allowing them to better tap into their mind muscle connection. If you have never tried this before, try it while performing basic bodyweight exercises before adding external load.

Bigger, Stronger Traps: My top 3 Moves

Lu Xiaojun
Lu Xiaojun – one of my favourite Olympic Lifters

 

#1. Snatch and Clean Pulls + Shrugs: If you really want to improve the size and strength of your traps, just take up Olympic Weightlifting. Oly lifters have some of the most impressive backs imaginable. The sport is extremely technical however, and I wouldn’t suggest trying it without a coach; but clean and snatch pulls are a great start and extremely effective in making the trapezius grow.

#2. Dumbbell Rows + Shrugs on an Incline Bench at Varying Angles: The trapezius does more than just shrug –  it elevates, depresses, retracts, and rotates the scapula, or shoulder blade. Performing the rows and shrugs at varying angles will ensure more of the traps are being hit – not just the upper fibers.

#3. Farmers Walks + Shrugs: Farmers walks are excellent at developing the core muscles, and so long as you are standing up straight with you your shoulder blades pulled back, your traps will take most of the beating.

 

There are plenty of other exercises that are effective at developing the traps, but these are 3 of my favourites – and from my experience the most effective. You must have noticed I add shrugs at the end of each move, and incorporate time under tension every now and again. I do this when I want to put extra focus on those suckers and I vary the reps from 3-8 depending on what I am pulling.

Keep Moving!

GABA

Gaba photo 2

What is it?

Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid is an amino acid and an inhibitory neurotransmitter.

What does it do?

Gaba reduces the activity of nerve cells in the nervous system.

Why am I talking about this?

Because it has helped me immensely in regards to sleep, anxiety, and preserving lean muscle mass.

Gaba 3

Intro:

Gaba is a chemical messenger that is widely distributed in the brain. Its natural function is to reduce the activity of the neurons to which it binds. Furthermore, Gaba receptors are probably the most common kind in the mammalian nervous system. It is estimated that close to 40% of the synapses (connections) in the human brain work with Gaba and therefor have Gaba receptors (thebrain.mcgill.ca, 2018).

I’d like to have a look at some research, starting with Gaba’s ability to preserve lean muscle mass. If you’ve read my Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Training article, you may have picked up that I have a thing for growth hormone. I came across a randomized, double-blind, cross-over study who’s purpose is to determine the growth hormone responses to Gaba ingestion at rest and after exercise (Powers et al., 2007).

11 healthy resistance trained males participated in this study. They were randomly assigned and either given 4 gaba (750mg), or a 4 placebo (sucrose). Neither the researchers nor the participants knew which one they were taking until the study was over. Subjects participated in 4 experimental trails, each separated by 1 week. This consisted of 2 resting and 2 exercise bouts completed in a counterbalanced fashion. They were told to continue their normal daily activities, keep their diet, refrain from any drugs or supplements proposed to have an ergogenic (performance enhancing) effect, as well as lay off exercise 24hrs prior to each experimental trail. Blood samples were taken before each trial as well as 15, 30, 45, 60, and 75 minutes after supplementation.

Figure 1 gaba article

Results: There was no difference in the total number of reps completed when comparing the exercise with gaba and exercise with placebo. However, serum growth hormone concentrations increased approximately 18-fold above pre-ingestion value during both exercise with gaba and exercise with placebo. In addition, an approximate 15-fold increase above baseline was observed during the rest with gaba trail; but no difference throughout the rest with placebo.

More importantly, the GH response 30 minutes after the cessation of exercise was about 200% greater in the exercise with gaba responses than the exercise with placebo. Therefore, gaba supplementation results in the greatest increase in serum GH hormone levels while at rest, as well as immediately after and 30 minutes post-exercise.

There are many reasons why one should care about their levels of growth hormones as it serves important roles in adult life. This includes maintenance of lean body and bone mass, promoting lipolysis (breakdown of fat), thereby limiting visceral adiposity (fat stored around important organs), regulating carbohydrate metabolism, cardiovascular system function, aerobic exercise capacity, and cognitive function (Chertman et al., 2015).

GABA AND SLEEP

I take 750mg of gaba every night, 30 minutes prior to bed. It has a calming, sedative effect and helps me fall asleep quicker, and remain asleep for longer. A 2015 study found that subjects taking gaba did in fact fall asleep sooner by an average of 5 minutes. In addition, a 2008 study found that patients suffering from insomnia had 30% lower levels of gaba compared to the control group (Tatsuzaki et al., 2015).

GABA AND ANXIETY

I am all too familiar with the body jerking; heart pounding; unable to concentrate or think straight feeling brought on by anxiety. If you’ve experienced it you know how much it can negatively affect your health, especially if it’s ongoing. Gaba reduces the activity of nerve cells in the nervous system, which could be linked to anxiety and fear. When my anxiety starts to climb I reach for gaba and take about 300mg. Within 5 to 10 minutes I notice a difference – my heart slows and my concentration improves.

A 2002 study found that those with panic, mood and anxiety disorders, or a family history of these disorders had decreased brain concentrations of gaba (Kent et al., 2002). There is significant amount of data supporting gaba’s ability to reduce anxiety and well as help treat depression.

gaba photo

SUMMARY

Gaba is an amino acid and an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps reduce the excitability of nerve cells in our central nervous system. Research supports that supplementing with Gaba relieves anxiety, improves sleep and increases levels of growth hormone. In addition, it can reduce depressive symptoms, relieve PMS symptoms, decrease inflammation, and improve focus in ADHD.

I have been supplementing with Gaba for over 2 years and I have not experienced any adverse effects. You may experience a tingling sensation at a higher dose. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should steer clear because it’s affect on these individuals has not yet been studied. If you are currently taking medication for anxiety or depression, make sure to speak with your doctor before using Gaba; as it may affect these medications.

Finally, there is controversy on whether or not gaba crosses the blood-brain barrier. Some research says it does not, other research says it does. All I know for certain is this natural supplement has helped me immensely and I wanted to share this in hopes it helps others.

Keep Moving.

 

 

References:

Chertman, L.S; Merrium, G.R; Kargi, A.Y. Growth Hormone and Aging. NCBI Bookshelf. A service of Natural Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health. 2015.

Lydiard, R.B. The Role of Gaba in Anxiety Disorders. J of Clin Psychiatry. 2005; 64 Suppl 3: 21-7.

Kent, J.M; Matthew, S.J; Gorman, J.M. Molecular targets in the treatment of anxiety. Biol Psychiatry. 2002, 1008-30.

Powers, M.E; Yarrow, J.F; McCoy, S.C; Stephan, E.B. Growth Hormone Isoform Response to Gaba at Rest and After Exercise. Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, Centre for Exercise Science. 2007, 104-108.

The Brain From Top to Bottom. Anxiety Neurotransmitters. McGill, 2018. (thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/d/d_04/d_04_m/d_04_m_peu/d_04_m.peu.html) (Accessed April 1, 2018).

Yamatsu, A; Yamashita, Y; Maru, I; Yang, J; Tatsuzaki, J; Kim, M. The Improvement of Sleep by Oral Intake of Gaba and Apocynum venetum Leaf Extract. J Nutri Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2015; 61(2): 182-7.

 

 

Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Training

Occlusion-Training

What is it?

Blood flow restriction (BFR) is a training strategy involving the use of wraps or cuffs placed proximally around a limb; with the aim of maintaining arterial flow while occluding venous return during exercise (Scott et al. 2015). In layman’s terms this means that blood is flowing into the muscle; but none, or very little is getting out.

How is it performed?

A popular method is to use elasticated knee wraps and wrap them around the upper thighs or upper arms. A perceived wrap tightness of 7/10 will result in complete venous, but not arterial occlusion and has been used in a study by Lowery et al. (2014).

One must ensure the wraps are not too tight nor too lose. Loenneke et al. (2014) found that pressure appeared to increase muscle activation from 40-50% arterial occlusion but did not result in further increases at higher pressure. In other words, if they’re too tight
you will not elicit any benefits and you’ll increase risk of injury, if they are not tight enough blood easily leaves the muscle, eliminating the purpose of the wraps. Many strategies have been reported, however relatively light load resistant training using 20-30% 1RM is most common. Performing 4-6 sets to failure of exercises such as leg extensions, hamstring curls, squats, lunges, biceps curls, and triceps extensions.

Why use this technique?

Takarada et al (2002) did a study on a group of 17 male athletes and divided them into 3 groups – low intensity with occlusion (LIO); low intensity without occlusion (LI), and normal training.

The LIO group had both sides of their upper thighs trained with the proximal portions being compressed by a specially designed elastic belt. The subjects performed bilateral knee extensions for 4 sets at approximately 50% of their predetermined 1RM to failure, with 30 second rest intervals. Sessions lasted no longer than 10 minutes. The LI group then had to match the number of reps performed by the occlusion group. This was completed twice a week for 8 weeks, totalling 16 sessions.

This study aimed to measure several things including changes in muscle strength through measurement of isokinetic strength at preset angular velocities, and measurement of isometric torque at a knee angle of 80 degrees. They estimated changes in muscle endurance by having the subjects perform 50 repeated contractions of leg extensions and comparing the average value of peak torque during the last ten contractions compared to the initial ten contractions.

In addition, an MRI was used to retrieve cross-sectional images of the thigh in order to determine if an increase in strength was due to muscle hypertrophy or neuromotor adaptation. EMG signals were recorded from the vastus lateralis muscle as an indicator of muscle fibre recruitment during isometric torque exertion. Tests and image results were recorded prior to and after the 16 sessions.

The results of this study are undeniable as dramatic increases occurred within the LIO group in comparison to the LI and untrained control group. Percentage increases in strength after training were 14.3 (2.0)%, and 3.2 (2.3)% for the LIO and LI groups, respectively. Significant improvements in muscle endurance was seen in the LIO group only, which was believed to be caused by metabolic adaptations in the muscle fibres instead of an increased resistance to fatigue in the nervous system.

Both pre and post training MRI images were taken of the LIO group only. After the 8 weeks of vascular occlusion there was an approximate 15% increase of the cross-sectional area of the knee extensors. These results suggest that the increase in strength after occlusion training is due primarily to muscle hypertrophy.

Since hormones basically control everything, I want to quickly refer to a separate study previously conducted by Takarada et. al (2000). This study looked at growth hormone after low-intensity exercise with occlusion. The protocol was very similar to the one mentioned above, but used just 20% of the subjects 1RM.

The results of this study indicated that exercise with occlusion can provoke strong endocrine responses even at low intensities, as growth hormone increased 290 times as high as that before exercise. This is a significantly greater increase than that reported by Kraemer et al. (1990) for high-intensity resistant exercise with a short rest period (typical bodybuilding routine).

Conclusion

Blood flow restriction is a training strategy that can elicit major increases in muscle size and strength, as well as improvements in muscle endurance using just 20-50% 1RM. Major increases in growth hormone, peaking 15 minutes after the completion of low intensity resistance exercise with occlusion have been reported. This increase is even greater than that found after high-intensity resistance exercise without occlusion.

How I Use BFR

I recently employed this technique in my own training. Thus far I have completed 4 barbell back squat sessions using 35% of my 1RM, and 2 barbell front squat sessions using 30% 1RM. I performed 15-20 reps for 4-5 sets and keep my rest period under 1 minute. Since I do not have access to the special cuffs I have been using elasticated wraps and follow the suggested perceived wrap tightness of 7/10. Since the studies I have read kept the total occluded time within 10 minutes, I do as well; only removing the wraps after I have completed the exercise session.

It is difficult for me to measure if increases in muscular strength, size, and/or endurance is solely attributed to BFR as I train in weightlifting 3-4 times/ week and recently got back on my rollerblades since the weather has gotten more tolerable up in the North. However, I do plan on re-testing my 1RM back squat after a few more sessions, as prior to utilizing BFR my numbers were plateauing. Simply from the way my legs look and feel after these 6 sessions, coupled with the results of these studies, I am confident this will be the catalyst to any increases in my performance.

 

 

 

References

Scott, B. R., Loenneke, J. P., Slattery, K. M. & Dascombe, B. J. (2015). Blood flow restricted exercise for athletes: a review of the evidence. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.

Lowery, R. P., Joy, J. M., Loenneke, J. P., de Souza, E. O., Machado, M., Dudeck, J. E. & Wilson, J. M. (2014). Practical blood flow restriction training increases muscle hypertrophy during a periodized resistance training programme. Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging, 34(4), 317-21.

Loenneke, J. P., Kim, D., Fahs, C. A., Thiebaud, R. S., Abe, T., Larson, R. D., Bemben, D. A. & Bemben, M. G. (2014a). Effects of exercise with and without different degrees of blood flow restriction on torque and muscle activation. Muscle and Nerve.

Takarada, Y., Sato, Y., Ishii, N., (2002). Effects of resistance exercise combined with vascular occlusion on muscle function in athletes. European Journal of Applied Physiology.

Takarada, Y., Nakamura, Y., Aruga, S., Onda, T., Miyazaki, S., Ishii, N. (2000). Rapid increase in plasma growth hormone after low-intensity resistance exercise with vascular occlusion. Journal of Applied Physiology.

Kraemer, W. J., L. Marchitelli, S. E. Gordon, E. Harman, J. E. Dziados, R. Mello, P. Frykman, D. McCurry, S. J. Fleck. (1990). Hormonal and growth factor response to heavy resistance exercise protocols. Journal of Applied Physiology.

Weightlifting

September 1st, 2015 I made the move from Brampton to North Bay, Ontario. I came in light of new experiences and the opportunity to learn how to Olympic style weight lift from one of the best coaches, Larry Sheppard.

My desire to get in shape started when I was 16 years old, and now at 28; I have learned so much through education, personal successes, and failures. However, just when I thought I had a good grasp on everything; my style of training has been completely flipped in pursuit of becoming an athlete.

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For as long as I can remember I worked out to look good. Vanity and lack of self esteem pushed me towards the commercial facilities where mirrors line every wall, and platforms are non existent. I’ve worked out in gyms that don’t allow chalk, and have had employees tell me I can’t drop the weights as I was performing heavy deadlifts.

I dipped my toes in the physique competitions – but in all honestly they were super amateur. It’s something I am proud of in the sense it took hard work and courage; but at the same time I roll my eyes because it just wasn’t me.

I wish I had known someone in the powerlifting or weightlifting community 10 years ago; but would-a-should-a-could-a; this is where I am at now and thats what matters. I began learning the snatch and clean & jerk in early September 2015.

What is the Snatch?

Snatch+Phases+Trajectory-lowres

The Snatch is the first of the two Olympic lifts to be contested, followed by the clean & jerk. The aim is the lift a loaded bar from the floor to overhead, in one smooth, continuous motion.

The athlete begins by setting themselves up so that the bar is directly over their metatarsals with their feet hip width apart; toes turned out slightly. A wide “hook grip” is used on the bar (fingers on top of thumbs), and the arms straight with the shoulders directly over the bar, or slightly in front of it. The thighs should be almost parallel to the floor (depending on femur length), and the back remains straight and tight with extension in the thoracic vertebrae. The chest should be open and head titled back.

“Lift off” begins the moment the bar is separated from the floor as the athlete then moves into the “first pull.” During this phase the lifter begins to extend their knees and moves their hips upward while keeping a constant back angle relative to the floor. Centre of gravity shifts towards the heels as the lifter pulls the bar close to their body. The bar begins to accelerate at the end of this phase as they “transition” to position themselves appropriately for the second pull. During this transition is where you’ll often see the “double-knee” bend.

IMG_0387
$50,000 Eleiko platform from the Pan Am games

The “second pull” is an explosive movement that is executed through the extension of the hips, knees, and ankles (triple extension); followed by a strong elevation of the shoulders (shrug). This is where the bar will “brush” the hips and feet leave the ground to quickly move into the squat position. The “turnover” phase occurs as the lifter begins to pull themselves under the bar, and the “catch phase” occurs the moment the lifters feet have landed on the platform, catching the bar overhead with arms locked out. It is finished only when the lifter shows control of the bar by standing up and bringing the feet together.

What is the clean & jerk?

The clean & jerk is the second lift to be contested and is comprised of two stages which also has the athlete lift the bar from the floor to an overhead position.

They begin by setting their feet under their hips and by grabbing the bar just outside their legs using a “hook grip.” The bar is lifted to the top of the knees where the athlete then performs the “triple extension” through explosive extension of the hips, knees, and ankles; followed by a big shrug. The aim here is to get the bar as high as possible before dropping into the squat and receiving the bar in the “racked” position (bar sits in front of the neck resting on the anterior deltoids). The lifter then stands back up and readjusts their grip width in preparation for the jerk.

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The jerk begins where the clean finishes; with the bar across the shoulders and the back vertical. The lifter dips just a few inches by flexing the knees; then through explosive extension of the knees the barbell is propelled upwards off the shoulders. The athlete pushes the bar with their arms and quickly drops under by splitting their feet in a lunge type fashion (one forward and one back). The bar is received overhead with the arms straight, and once stable; the lifter recovers from the split position by bringing their feet back together.

Ofcouse these explanations may be missing some aspects, but you get a good idea of what I have been up to over the past 8 months. I have competed in 3 competitions thus far and took 3rd place in my weight class in my last competiton on April 9, 2015. I still have a long ways to go before I am even close to competing on a more serious level (these girls are strong!!!), but I am just happy to have found something new and exciting. It feels great to be more concerned over how I perform rather than how I look.

Most importantly, I have been working hard to learn how to coach these lifts. I have engulfed myself in everything weightlifting and succeeded passing my level one weightlifting certification with the NCCP. I will have a second diploma in strength and sports condidtioning in a couple weeks time and I hope to find work in the health promotion and coaching fields.

The past to now

I don’t often treat shape180 as a journal, but this is an exception. I have made major changes in my life and feel it necessary to write out some highs and lows as reminder to myself in the future.

I recently left my job of four years working for the city of Brampton. I worked as a personal/group trainer at a few different recreation centres over those years. I had the opportunity to work with diverse groups of people and gained experience that cannot be learned in the classroom.

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My experiences all involve people and the relationships I made with them. My clients were a pleasure to work with and I would like to thank all of those who helped me grow. More specifically, I will not forget the day when a couple of men from eOne Entertainment distribution centre came in looking to put a class together for their employees once week. I became their boot camp instructor, and that one class a week eventually turned into 6, with myself teaching 5 of them. Their company opened it up to their office and warehouse staff, and 2 years later I can say with honesty that it was successful on both ends.

farewell1

Although the classes were successful; Brampton was wearing me out – overpopulated, frustrating, expensive, redundant. I had lived in the same house for 27 years, only moving out at the beginning of summer to live with a girlfriend before school started in North Bay, September 8th, 2015. I had missed the classroom, and needed a way out. My relationship with me ex-boyfriend lasted about 3 years, knowing him for 5. That was over; a lot of my friends have moved; and I could not be stuck in Brampton for another 27 years.

I started the strength and sports conditioning program at Canadore College and I am fast-tracking a second diploma (thanks to my previous diploma in fitness and health promotions from Humber college). I was so pumped when I was told I was able to fast-track; things were going my way and I am not quite used to that.

So far so good! I am lucky to have my dog with me for the ride – she means the world to me. I am renting a room on a large property with a lot of space for her to run. There are 2 other dogs here – Laska showed them who’s boss so things have been going smoothly since then.

Canadore College

North Bay is beautiful and a breath of fresh air. Its nice to be reminded that civilization hasn’t destroyed all of Mother Nature. I am enjoying my program and cannot believe the difference between Canadore and Humber college in terms of population. It is not crowed here and my experience is so relaxing compared to the past. For one, I have a car and a parking pass (but even if I didn’t, I only live 2km down the road); I used to take the bus to Humber – 1.5 hours one way – and it absolutely sucked. Another reason is all thanks to Humber college; I feel educated in the subjects I am taking and I have a strong background both academically and professionally. This is also largely credited to my experiences in my previous jobs (I worked at Curves prior to the city – at least it was fitness related :P).

It’s just myself and my dog up here but thats ok, I am meeting people quickly and I am training hard like always. I have already met one very important man that I will have to write about another time.

Here’s to a new start.