Monthly Archives: March 2014

10 Ways to Make Exercising More Fun

Last Sunday I went to the gym seeking an open treadmill because even though it’s now officially spring I wasn’t feeling up to toughing the -13 weather outside and I just wanted to walk.  Usually I find treadmills extremely boring but if I have a new podcast to listen to then I can usually zone out and sort of enjoy the fact that I’m walking in one spot for 30 minutes to go nowhere.

Every single treadmill in the place was taken but one. The gym was busy that day, maybe there was some post Saturday night guilt going around.  Quickly I claimed my territory on the treadmill, put my headphones on and started walking. The treadmill I was using was on the second floor of the gym. Directly in front of it was a giant t.v. and a view of the lower level which had most of the cardio equipment on it. If I had to guess from memory there was probably 40 to 50 pieces of cardio equipment on the floor, laid out warehouse style and every single one was being used. As I was trying to concentrate on listening to Coffee Break – French  I couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling that the gym (specifically the sea of cardio equipment) reminded me of a science experiment involving mice who learned to run on a wheel for their food or to avoid punishment.

I’m not knocking treadmills or people who work out in a gym. Gym’s can provide a sense of community, motivation and a platform for building strength and It’s also true that some people genuinely claim to love doing stationary cardio but let’s face it – no one is jumping onto a cardio machine simultaneously thinking “Wow, this is SO much fun! I wish I could do this more often”. Usually the dialogue sounds more like “Gee, I haven’t done much exercise today. Maybe I should log some miles on the treadmill? I hope my ipod is fully charged”.

The image of mice got me thinking. Have we forgotten to move for the sake of moving? Do we exercise like conditioned mice in a gym because we enjoy it or because it has become the social norm? Certainly we moved as children because it was fun. We didn’t play tag because we were trying to be healthy. We just did it because we wanted to, because it was play and it brought joy.

Becoming an adult too often causes play to mysteriously disappear from our lives. We are taught that play is for children and it’s important to get down to business and start being an adult. Choosing exercise you don’t enjoy and expecting to be successful with it through sheer willpower is going to end in disappointment and discouragement.  If you don’t like walking on a treadmill, don’t do it. If you don’t enjoy biking, don’t bike. Not only will the quality of your life improve because you sincerely enjoy what you’re doing but finding exercise that you enjoy (structured or not) will help you stick with it long term. It’s human nature to avoid things we don’t enjoy. Now, there is a time and place for hard work but If dread is what’s stopping you from getting off of the couch or computer chair remember that movement should be fun!  Here are 9 ways to make exercise fun again:

1. Dance

If you love to dance or always wanted to try a dance class, now is the time! You won’t even realize how much exercise you are getting because you’ll be having so much fun. It’s also a great way to try something new and meet new people. Or just go dancing! Every Sunday Babylon nightclub hosts Mod Night, dance your worries away. Heck, just blast your favourite song and let loose in the comforts of your own home. Who knows, you may discover your inner dance queen.

2. Sports

Join a sports team that you really enjoy or if you’ve never been into sports try something new that you think would be a good fit for you. Winter sports are abundant in Canada, there is no excuse to be cooped up inside all winter. If it doesn’t work out you can try something else. Being on a team helps keep you accountable and if you’re really out of shape and you love your sport then you’ll be motivated to get more fit.

3. Get Outside

Get outside. Pack a lunch, grab a friend and get going. Ottawa is fortunate enough to be right next door to the Gatineau Park which is a great place to go for a hike. On a sunny day head to the ByWard Market and spend the day walking around checking out the sights. Go biking on one of the many bike paths Ottawa has to offer. Every Sunday the City of Ottawa closes down major roads to be used as oversized bike paths. Check out Sunday Bikedays to find out where to ride. In the winter go skating on the World’s Largest Skating Rink. You can take up cross country skiing, downhill skiing or snowboarding. Invest in a pair of snowshoes and trek unbeaten paths. If winter usually brings you down, don’t stay cooped up inside. Dress warm and get out there!

4. Try Something New

Are you adventurous? Try rock climbing at Vertical Reality. Learn what the Crossfit craze is all about. Check out Algonquin’s Impact Zone to experience different disciplines of martial arts. Maybe powerlifting is your thing?
If you already have enough excitement in your life try Yoga if you haven’t already. There are hundreds of group fitness classes just waiting for you to try them.
There are so many different communities out there. If you look for them you are bound to find one that’s perfect for you.

5. Walk Your Dog

This should go without saying but if you have a dog, walk it.  Your dog needs exercise, you do too. You will both be happier because of it.

6. Be More Playful

Do you have children, younger brothers and sisters, younger cousins? Take them to the park or play structure and go exploring together. See if you can still swing on the bars, create mini challenges like how fast can you climb, what about cartwheels? Not only will you make the kids day (because adults are boring) but you will surprise yourself with how much fun you can have. This may not be a good idea if the structure is packed with kids who recently learned how to walk.
Go on a new nature walk and view your environment as a giant play ground. See if you can climb any rocks or trees, discover the size of rocks you can or can’t lift. Try new paths or “wannabe” paths. Go exploring.
Darryl Edwards, an exercise therapist specializing in the art of play, introduces great ideas on how to interact more with your environment to facilitate movement as play.
Check out Episode: 10 on The Primal Blueprint Podcast on itunes to hear what he has to say.

7. Change Gyms

If it’s the gym you don’t like (too busy, too stuffy, bad atmosphere, grumpy staff, poor location, etc.) then try out another gym! Not all gym’s are created equal. Give some local fitness facilities a call and tell them you would like to try their facility. They will be more than happy to introduce you and set you up with a free workout. You may find that your whole attitude changes. Environment influences performance.

8. Try Personal Training

Talk to different personal trainers and see who you mesh well with. Tell them that you want your workouts to be fun… REALLY fun! Finding a personal trainer who can get you to work hard without knowing it will get you results you didn’t think we’re possible.

9. Social Influence

Exercising with a friend or friends provides you with a social outlet and keeps you more motivated to exercise. Surround yourself with like minded people who are active or want to become more active. Tried and true, this is one of the best ways to stick with exercise. Its also a lot of fun.

10. Clean?

Ok, so this might not be “fun” or play, but if you have some household chores that need to be done blast your favourite music and vacuum that house. By the end you’ll notice you’ve actually done a fair bit of moving around. Heck, sometimes I get a small sweat going when I catch the cleaning bug (Is that just me or does anyone else get this?). You will feel better afterwards because now there’s one less thing you have to do and you have a clean house. Yay.

“Movement is Medicine” –– anon. 

Thanks for reading, I hope you found it helpful. Thank you to everyone who has been sharing and following the blog, it really means a lot to me. You guys are great! If you haven’t done so already, it would really help me if you spread the word about fitnesswithjules.

– Jules

What About Fruit?

If you are currently digging the morning fruit smoothie routine that’s been established because you read somewhere that they are delicious AND good for you then prepare to cringe.

In 1 large fruit smoothie with 1 banana, 1 apple, 1 cup of berries, 1 cup of skim milk and 1 fat-free berry yogurt you are consuming roughly 83.8 grams of sugar.
To put that in perspective that’s almost the equivalent of a LARGE Dairy Queen chocolate sundae.

Recently I have been receiving a lot of questions about fruit. If sugar is bad for me and there is sugar in fruit then is fruit bad for me too? If sugar causes fat gain then won’t eating fruit cause me to gain fat as well? How much fruit should I have a day? Should I never eat fruit again? TELL ME WHAT’S UP WITH THE FRUIT!?

Let me try to explain why fruit consumption still seems to be a mystery for some folks. According to Canada’s Food Guide the recommended consumption of fruits and vegetables ranges from 7-10 servings a day. There are no recommendations as to how you should split your servings of fruit and servings of vegetables. So in theory according to Canada’s food guide If you were to drink the smoothie with 83.8 grams of sugar you would be getting a seemingly modest 4 servings of fruit, totally healthy right? … right? Not exactly.

All sugar is linked to fat storage because it is directly responsible for the secretion of insulin, which is the hormone that is responsible for fat storage. Insulin’s job is to transfer energy from the food you eat into your body’s cells to be used as energy. Glucose is the bodies preferred source of energy from sugar and it is mainly stored in the liver and muscles. Your body only has so much storage for glucose before it reaches capacity and begins to store any excess as body fat through a conversion process that happens in the liver.

So essentially all forms of sugar including carbohydrates eventually get converted into glucose to be used as fuel.  Any excess will be stored as body fat.

If you think you eat a lot of fruit, pay attention. Fructose, the simple sugar that is found naturally in fruit and tastes very sweet is metabolized first by the liver to be converted into glucose. When too much fructose is consumed, the liver cannot convert it fast enough and so most of it will be stored as body fat instead.

To sum things up all excess sugar that the body cannot use is stored as body fat. Sugar from fruit can only be metabolized by the liver and the liver can only do so much at a time. There for the majority of fructose is more likely to be stored as body fat.

 So what’s up with fruit? You can enjoy it in moderation without risk of fat gain because your liver can metabolize small amounts. A general rule of thumb for maintaining weight is 1 serving of fruit per day. Do not shun fruit from your life forever. It is important to try and understand how and why certain foods affect your body the way they do. You might want to think of fruit as an occasional treat and start including more colourful veggies into your diet. If you really love the convenience of smoothies but want to avoid the potential sugar bomb then here is a link on how to make green smoothies which won’t be as sweet but will be kinder to your waistline and encourage you to eat more healthy green veggies! Yay!

How to Make a Green Smoothie

Hopefully after reading you feel a bitter more confident about fruit. If you found the information of value I would really appreciate it if you could share the link with friends or family. Thanks for reading!

– Jules

Resources:
Canada’s Food Guide        Glycogen
Calorie Count                    Fructose
Insulin/Glucagon               Fructose and Fat Storage

Cut Sugar From Your Diet – 5 Resources to Explain Why

You may have heard it before or you may just be starting your personal journey now (congratulations!) but any health, fitness or weight loss journey should begin with the food choices that you make to fuel and replenish your body. It has been said by experts again and again that results come from   80% nutrition and 20% exercise. This is mostly true with the addition of other important aspects of health such as sleep, environmental, social, emotional and psychological health. If your nutrition isn’t great then it becomes more difficult to make better choices towards each aspect of life.

You cannot experience optimal health and body composition if you don’t make informed decisions about what you eat. With so much conflicting information out there about what is right and what is wrong it can be extremely daunting and discouraging when you want to make better health choices but don’t know who to trust. Eat low fat foods and dairy, avoid saturated fats, eat fewer calories, try the Atkins, Zone, Dukan, Juicing, Vegan, Paleo and Raw Food diet or even *Gasp* Canada’s Food Guide. How can you feel confident about taking control of your health when everyone seems to have a different opinion on what is right and what is wrong?

You deserve to look and feel your best at every age. Optimal and dare I say extraordinary health is in your grasp and my intention for this blog is to empower you with the right information and resources so you can really start taking control of your health. In next week’s post I will introduce you to a few life changing resources that challenge the status quo on health and have been making incredible strides in providing new foundations on how to be and feel awesome. There is an entire community of people who live and preach the same concepts that have helped literally millions of people truly change their lives. In the meantime however I want to provide you with some insight into what you can do TODAY to kick start your journey by highlighting THE most important piece of information you can use towards fat loss and better health:

Carbs_Are_Killing_You     *Gasp*

This is pretty standard common knowledge in the fitness, health and science world but yet diet companies still label their foods low-fat or non-fat for profits and subsequently fill their product with processed SUGARS that keep you sick, addicted and frustrated with your lack of results. Not only does sugar play a role in fat storage it can also mess up your hormones, mood, satiety and a bunch of other nasty stuff.

 CUT REFINED SUGAR COMPLETELY FROM YOUR DIET

Instead of regurgitating information that has already been beautifully communicated, take the time to look at these resources about the effects of sugar on the human body:

1. Mark Sisson’s Definitive Guide to Sugar

Full article here > Definitive Guide to Sugar

 

“Sugar stimulates a physiological stressor-reaction cascade that provokes adrenaline and cortisol release and thickens the blood.

-Sugar effectively disables your immune system by impairing white blood cells’ functioning.
-Sugar decreases your body’s production of leptin, a hormone critical for appetite regulation.
-Sugar induces significant oxidative stress in the body.
-Sugar appears to fuel cancer cells. (Check out Free the Animal for much more on the cancer connection.)
-Sugar promotes fat storage and weight gain.
-Sugar disrupts the effective transfer of amino acids to muscle tissue.
-Sugar intake over time spurs insulin resistance, subsequent Type II diabetes and the entire host of related -health issues like nerve damage and cardiovascular disease.
-Yes, sugar is one insanely powerful drug. Addictive, to boot.” (Mark Sisson, 2010)

2. How Sugar Affects the Brain

3. CARBS (sugars) ARE KILLING YOU

Ok, Carbs are definitely not KILLING you, but simple sugars might be! A good representation of the process your body goes through when you consume sugar (simple carbohydrates)

Carbs a

4. Jean-Luc Boisoneault, owner of Free Form Fitness Ottawa, uses an excellent visual to demonstrate how your body utilizes sugar and subsequently stores fat. SKIP to 2:30 in the video.

5. Dr. Mark Hyman answering the question “is saturated fat really that bad for me?” with some truth about fat and sugar in your diet.

 

Please share this blog with family and friends it you found it helpful. Sharing is caring 🙂  Feel free to leave comments or e-mail me with questions or feedback.

Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s post and thanks for reading!

– Jules

Super Resource

Touchdown, Canada!

I landed safe and sound last Thursday at the Ottawa International Airport with friends and family who braved the cold to welcome me home at midnight. It felt good to be back, especially after the long flight. I think I had been awake for close to 30 hours. Leaving the airport and feeling the first sharp breath of -20 air in my summer lungs was a shock and a bittersweet reminder of what’s in store for the next month.

Lack of movement, sleep and “real food” on the journey home, coupled with some homecoming stress left me feeling a bit off of my game in terms of nutrition and health. A “healthy” labelled chicken salad from Vancouver airport left me with a sodium bomb that had me drinking copious amounts of water for hours afterwards and even left a tingling sensation on my tongue. A nice reminder of why I eat whole foods. Good thing I bought some raw, unsalted nuts for the plane beforehand. The lack of sleep will take some quality Zzz’s this week and getting back into a healthy exercise routine (no more sprinting outside!) is a welcome challenge!

IMG_3222

It has been just under a week that I’v been home and it feels great! I was surprised by my hubby over the weekend with a wonderful whole food meal at Town on Elgin st. (I had the Notorious P.I.G) followed by a night at the fairy tale Fairmont Cheateau Laurier. What an excellent way to be welcomed home to your city. The weather was mild (for Canadian winter) and light flakes of snow were falling over the Ottawa Canal where couples and friends were enjoying their hot chocolates and beaver tails while skating through downtown Ottawa. Man, this city has charm! Long story short I have been happily busy relocating and making plans for my new life in Canada.

My initial intention was to write this weeks article on sugar and carbohydrates and what the heck they do for your health and waistline but that article will have to wait for next week. In the meantime, while my life is being smoothed out, I want to share this amazing fitness & health resource with you that cuts the BS, isn’t sponsored by companies trying to steal your money and preaches “Real food for real results”. The owners name is Abel James. You may have heard of him because at the moment he is blowing up the itunes podcast charts and consistently coming out in thetop five health podcasts. On his website you can watch videos where he interviews leading wellness experts and discusses what ACTUALLY works and what is a waste of your time and health. This guy is the real deal for fat lass resources. He’s been there before and found the solution for lasting fat loss and better health. I have learned so much from him and the gurus he interviews. It also helps that he is pretty easy on the eyes so you should probably check him out just for that. You can download podcasts to listen to on the way to work, watch videos on his website, or download some free recipe books. I promise the information you findis legitimate and not smoke and mirrors.

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http://www.fatburningman.com

Leave a comment below on what you thought of fatburningman.com and share the resources with people you care about! Stay tuned for next weeks sugar and carb article and share fitnesswithjules if you like the information.

Thanks for reading!!

– Jules