Lil Miss Fitness Freak

"And though she be but little, she is fierce"


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Citrulline Malate…Fitness Friday 38

My friends! It’s March can you believe it? Seems like it was just New Years and now we are three months in already and Spring is in close reaching distance. Guess that is what the internship/Masters application process does to you…makes time fly.

Sidenote: I saw robins yesterday! I was partially excited (cuz spring sign!) but more so concerned because this was after a full on 20-25 degree reduction in temperature in one day. Please don’t be baby-makin yet birdies!

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I’d be making that face too if it was 16 one day then I woke up to -10.In fact, I probably did look like that yesterday…

So coming back to another active ingredient in pre-workouts and also BCAA’s, I have always really wondered what this guy was good for. I mean, my coach said it was a good thing and it provided benefits, but apparently I was too busy to think about educating myself on why. I don’t like that….

I always stand for the whole ‘know what and why you are putting something into your body” philosophy and I obviously didn’t follow through with that on this one.

Time to take a scientific looky at it to settle my conscience.

Citrulline Malate

What is it?

Citrulline malate is the quite simply the combination of citrulline and malate. Pretty obvious eh? Citrulline is an important component of the urea cycle, which is where urea is formed from ammonia in the liver. This conversion is important because ammonia is actually toxic in the body if it builds up, while urea is a bit less harmful. Malate, on the other hand, is an intermediate in the  Kreb’s cycle, which is the cycle that releases energy from our macronutrients through oxidizing acetyl CoA.

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What does it do?

It has been used in the past as an aid to decrease muscle fatigue and increase functionality. Many studies have shown these effects, whether human or animal (I will present some of the human ones below), in addition to speculating other benefits such as higher clearance of ammonia from the blood post exercise, a possible role in lactate metabolism and some effect on acid-base balance. The mechanism behind all of this remains unknown at this point however.

So, although it has shown benefits for athletic performance, particularly with respect to a more efficiently functioning muscle , we don’t have a strong conclusions as to how it is doing it.

So, below I will highlight a few studies and provide their findings, conclusions and hypotheses regarding a potential mode of action.

Bendahan et al (2002). “CM ingestion resulted in a significant reduction in the sensation of fatigue, a 34% increase in the rate of oxidative ATP production during exercise, and a 20% increase in the rate of phosphocreatine recovery after exercise, indicating a larger contribution of oxidative ATP synthesis to energy production.” Their conclusion? The mechanism of CM’s action that reduces weakness and fatigue could be that it increases aerobic ATP production through providing more of the intermediates to replenish those that were lost more quickly than if you weren’t supplementing. [6g CM used]

Perez-Guisado et al (2010). Their study found that males athletes supplemented with CM saw more than 50% increases in the number of repetitions for barbell bench and a significant decrease in muscle fatigue 24 and 48 hours following the study’s training regime in a double blind, within subject study. In their research, they stated that studies have begin to speculate a role of ammonia in in “blocking cellular energy processes” and causing earlier fatigue. It has also been seen that it plays a role in NO reactions, which has been associated with recovery. Overall they concluded that the results from their study showed that one dose of CM helped with recovery and performance in high-intensity anaerobic activities with short rest times. [8g CM used]

Sureda et al (2010). They took subjects and had them cycle for ~137km with one difficult hill. All were given the same amount of food and fluid. They measured all variables (amino acids and all important exercise related metabolites) 3 hours prior to the race, 15 minutes following and 3 hours following. Overall, they found that the CM group showed a significant decease in the amount of the branched chain amino acids post race, which they said was due to the BCAAs being more effectively used for energy, than the control and higher arginine concentrations, which would contribute to many arginine derived metabolites such as nitrite, urea, creatinine and hormones like growth hormone that are beneficial for muscle growth and function. Finally, they also saw greater nitrogen availability in the CM group, which they stated could increase protein synthesis and protein concentrations in the muscle during exercise leading to better use of the amino acids (particularly the BCAAs). [6g CM used]

Overall, although I only highlighted a few interesting studies I found, I will say that the vast majority of studies I saw (which, I couldn’t have seen them all obviously…) showed significant improvements with its usage, so I have some confidence that it could provide a benefit to those who are looking (and can afford) to get a supplement that may actually do something useful and perhaps give a slight edge with recovery. Is it required to be a better athlete? Well no. Like all supplements, its not a magic powder that will give you huge energy bursts or make your recovery happen in 5 seconds. It is simply supplementing your routine and could provide some little bits of assistance and/or performance enhancements.

Happy Friday Friends!

-Chelsea

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Don’t Flatten Yourself Out…Fitness Friday 37

My friends, today…actually, scratch that, this entire week has been exhausting. So much for Reading Week eh?

So what was I doing running all over the place? Graduate school interviews…thats what I was doing. I had the MAN program (combined master/internship) at Guelph U on Wednesday, phone interview with London Health Sciences Internship yesterday and trekking it all the way to London for my interview with Brescia’s department for their combined program today.

I’m exhausted. The face-to-face ones were intense, but the Brescia one was a bit more casual and relaxed due to the group setting rather than one-on-one, which I had the pleasure of doing for the MAN program.

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Overall, its 2-2.5 hours of them probing your head with scenarios in timed stations. One after the other after the other and that is all on top of the fact that you are super nervous because these will dictate the future of your fall semester. Catastrophizing much?

Ugh.

I did it though. I didn’t die and I feel overall they went well. Now to try to relax for this weekend to let my stomach come back to normal (hello camel belly thanks to cortisol overload…)

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Anyways, I wasn’t planning on doing this today because, I’m sorry, I’m tired, but I was listening to a Youtube collab between Steve Cook and Layne Norton on contest prep myths that I just had to share.

It’s not only because right now is cutting season for the spring and summer shows, but also because so many people still fail to turn to science and simply follow some of the engrained procedures (dogmas) of the final stages of prep that really have no evidence to support their benefits.

So, for your education and entertainment, check out the video link below for the full discussion and head to my lil summary below so that you too can work at bringing your best ‘package’ to the stage if thats in the future for you.

They also discussed flexible dieting on prep, but I was more interested in the sodium/water cuts.

Cutting sodium is a no no.

Cutting water works against you.

Overall, these two things alone will leave you looking flat on your day to shine. Meanwhile, the next day you look the best you have ever looked because, well, you ate some salt and drank some water.

Why?

Quoting Dr. Norton, lets see his explanations on why these things really work against you, despite the fact they are seen as ‘common practices’ for the competitors.

So, as we all know, our body likes ‘sameness’ and it works hard to keep the body in a state of homeostasis. So, if you start to try to take things away, it has ways to bring you back to normal. Although this ability is great for situations where you are not in control and needing to ‘survive,’ these compensatory mechanisms are often NOT what you want when you are trying to look your best…aka shredded.

So one, you cut your water. When you cut water, the water is often intially lost from the extracellular space (i.e. outside the tissue/cell/muscle), not the intracellular space. That being said, when you loose that extracellular water, your body needs to re-balance that because volume is important to keep the same. So, to do this, you will end up loosing water from the intracellular space and adding water outside the cell. So a deflated muscle cell is what you end up with.

You than add to this problem by also cutting sodium because, once again, the body needs certain amount to maintain functionality. So what does it do? Your blood levels have been shown to stay the same and it’s mostly due to a few more compensatory mechanisms. Overall, if you’re not getting any sodium your body gunna loose any either, meaning you are not going to excrete ANY sodium. This is because another hormone (ADH) starts getting upregulated due to water volume changes and that causes you to reabsorb sodium and also hold water (because you cannot reabsorb sodium without water).

So these two combined simply lead to flat muscles and a watery appearance as all that water goes right to the extracellular space, which is where you want the least amount of water. Great for stage eh?

“If your muscle is not pressing against the skin, you will appear watery and not as tight as you want… Muscle tissue without water is spongy, shrivelled and just doesn’t look good”

Other issues that come along with your body being stressed…

~Bloating and general gastric upset that can lead to you not being as tight and shredded. This may be partially due to the fact that the transporters of carbohydrates in the gut are dependant on sodium. With these not working as efficiently, malabsorption of some carbohydrates can occur. Unfortunately for you, in many cases, those are than fermented which causes gastric issues. This also means that you are going to be absorbing as many of those carbs are you are eating.

~Low sodium often makes it really hard to get a pump or any vascularity going

Other interesting things he said…

~You should add carbs SLOWLY. The traditional notion is that you carb up with a huge amount in 1-2 days pre-show is not smart. It takes a bit for those carbohydrates to be digested and absorbed, so it therefore also takes time for your body to refill those glycogen stores and for you to see if you need more. You want to be in the ‘add more’ category, not the ’emergency repair mode from spill over’ category… yes?

~During peak week, there really isn’t anything special to do. You are essentially just trying not to screw up what you have worked for. DONT GO MESSING WITH MULTIPLE VARIABLES! If you’re not shredded at this point, you’re just not shredded enough. Tweaking a bunch of things during that tiny time period can either not do nothing for you or it can make you look worse simply because your body is stressed out. 

~Peak week should be about rest and loosing external stress. Yes it’s selfish, but your appearance is also the result of your emotional and psychological state. To a much more minor degree as the rest of prep, but it does count. 

Overall, these things make perfect, rational sense when you think about them and about how the body works to survive, but most don’t challenge the old and traditional ways.

Learn to go to the literature and do your own research. When you get up on stage and look better either the week before or day after, its time to get off the ‘bro-train’ and actually suffer less to look your best.

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Hope you enjoyed this lil video post. Happy Friday friends.

-Chelsea


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Exercise As Part Of Treating Eating Disorders? Fitness Friday 35

Well ain’t that a controversial topic for discussion….

In the spirit of this week being #Eating DisorderAwarenessWeek, I thought I would bring that into our lil regular Friday Fitness chat.

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I knew it would be a big deal. I know that many will not agree with my words, but hear me out, have you ever thought that treatment and exercise could co-exist when looking at eating disorders?

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I know what you’re all thinking.

Exercise is a method to fuel eating disorders

Exercise is a means of dropping weight and burning too many calories

How the hell is exercise going to help put weight on when clearly it just increases their energy requirements?

This is why this topic is a great one to discuss.

The points above are completely valid. In fact, those are the beliefs that many professionals give or yell if the thought of exercise is brought up.

Take me for example, during my short time at the Oakville outpatient program for family therapy, it happened to slip out that I was going to be starting to slowly get into training (this was a few months post-inpatient) and my therapist freaked the eff out. Like I’m not kidding, she actually called my house and my parent’s cells and left frantic messages saying  “Chelsea is not to workout!!!!”

Not that her words stopped it from happening, and honestly, we left that place faster than we came in (not because of that incident, but a bunch of other things..), but I’m just trying to give you an idea of how most clinicians feel about this topic

I.e. They are mostly against the thought of exercising.

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…or ever…

Like I said, these arguments are all valid concerns and I see where they are coming from…

~I was a compulsive exerciser

~Most use it as a way to burn more calories and loose weight

~Most don’t know limits or when to stop

~Many can let it consume them and take over their lives

So I will say again, I understand their fears, but look at it from another perspective. When you just say NO and/or NEVER AGAIN, where does that get you? It teaches the individual nothing about control or other benefits aside from the superficial ones. It tells them that they have lost a free right to do something many people do. It places restrictions on them, which can lead to them deciding to go and do it anyways. Lastly, it prevents them gaining some of the many benefits you get from exercise that can be critical to the health of a person struggling with an eating disorder (*provided they are stable enough to perform exercises) such as bone and cardiorespiratory strength, helping with psychological disturbances, distraction from nagging negative and obsessive thoughts and potential social opportunities.

There are many people I have seen who have gone from treatment to the gym and are strong, independent people who are in control and did not slip back into old habits. They successfully took their health into their hands and chose to use exercise as a way to ‘come back’ and heal. A way to gain strength when their body was so weak before. A way to build confidence in themselves and eventually find that the gym is more than a place to burn calories. It’s gives them a place to deal with their emotions and re-build themselves physically and psychologically.

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So with all of that being said, I wanted to present you with some research on the topic and how these types of interventions have faired in the treatment of eating disorders. I mean, you have heard my story and I could give you anecdotal evidence of the possible benefits for some, but does it actually show more pros than cons in treatment settings?

Lets find out.

To be honest, I was shocked at the number of articles I actually found. I still believe most are completely dead set on NO EXERCISE but there was a surprising number of studies and pilot programs in treatment facilities exploring the use of exercise as intervention. 

I will stick to the main findings of each study and link each so that you can read more if you desire. I am also going to label them in order of earliest to latest. Lastly, I could have found more, but for the sake of your attention span, I left it to these interesting ones.

Thein et al (1999) –> “Pilot Study of a Graded Exercise Program for the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa”

Main Findings: With the addition of exercise (amount based on % of ideal body weight IBW), the experimental group (diagnosed with AN) showed no difference in change in BMI or body fat, suggesting that the exercise did not inhibit the primary goal of weight gain. The EXPT group also saw a general increase in quality of life measures while the control saw a trend downward from their initial testing.

Szabo and Green (2002) –> Hospitalized anorexics and resistance training: Impact on body composition and psychological well-being. A preliminary study

Main Findings: Study included a non-AN group (exercise group and non-exercise group) with a group of girls currently in an inpatient facility for AN (exercise and non exercise groups). They were both on an 8-week training program of resistance-based exercises. There were trends found for the psychological variables, however it was speculated that perhaps 8 weeks was not enough. Interestingly enough, there was no decrease in weight of the ED-exercise group but a significant drop in those not in the exercise group.

Lutter and Smith-Osborne (2011) –>Exercise in the Treatment of Eating Disorders: An Alternative View

Main Findings: Exercise was significantly associated with greater improvements in eating disorder and depressive symptoms where the number of METS was associated positively with improvements in the measures of depression (BDI) and eating disorder behaviours (EDI). This study was interesting because the exercise was equine based.

Hall et al (2016) –> Use of yoga in outpatient eating disorder treatment: a pilot study

Main Findings: Adolescent girls (all met the requirements for AN/BN/EDNOS but were clinically stable) in an outpatient eating disorder treatment facility attended 12 yoga classes at one class per week. After the intervention, there was no decrease in BMI and significant improvements in anxiety, depression and body image disturbance scores. 

I did a yoga class or two when I was an inpatient at Sick Kids. This was for the advanced stages only but was a nice change of pace. Definitely saw first hand the mood enhancing features. 

This article by Hausenblas et al (2008) also provides a good overview of 6 further studies showing the benefits of exercise based interventions in eating disorder populations on social, psychological and biological factors if you’re interested in even more reading 😉

Finally, here is an article, Bratland et al (2009), that discusses how exercise based programs are managed in treatment facilities and how many places actually have them! It was limited to a few countries in Europe, but can provide some insight for how they could be implemented and managed here.

So…

To conclude, many articles find that there are benefits to exercise in both outpatient and inpatient treatments for eating disorders. Also, rarely did any study (I didn’t find any) report negatives (such as weight loss or stalling the weight gain process) of incorporating exercise into the programs.

I want to say that, yes I know it may take more work and there will have to be strict guidelines in place, like ensuring they are stable enough to participate, etc, but from what I see from research and from my own experience I definitely think that it would be something to really look into further and do more pilot studies on.

Weight gain is already hard enough, try to make it easier on us all. Plus, by being exposed to it in a controlled setting it can also help to make the transition back to ‘reality’ potentially more smooth.

Something I would like to know is if incorporation of exercise during treatment can lower the risk of over exercising or going back to negative exercise habits when they are discharged. 

What are you thoughts?

-Chelsea


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From The Eyes Of A PT… Fitness Friday 34

Something I have been wanting to talk about for a lil bit in this space but was a bit worried I would be coming off as a know-it-all or too-proud or like I’m something special….

..I’m not and not trying to appear as such, but as someone who has done personal training (PT) in the past and trains clients today, I can positively say that some things I see some trainers doing are straight up irritating.

Sometimes it’s not their fault and I have to give them a bit of a break because they think they are providing something good. Other times, it’s just because being a PT is just a job to them and, I’m sorry, well not really actually, when working with people and when you are trying to help them better their health, you need to care.

So here are a few things that I see all the time and are things you need to avoid if you want someone who actually will care about their time spent with you. Plus, PT’s are $$$$ so spend your money wisely.

Having clients do their cardio warmups during your session.

Unless it’s their first session and they need help working the machines OR you are showing them some new way of doing cardio they are not used to (something like HIIT for example), don’t waste your client’s time by them staring at them on the treadmill. I’m pretty sure they know how to safely walk.

*Other potential exception is for elderly, injuries or disabilities*

If your trainer does this tell them you will do your cardio before your session so that you can spend your hour doing exercises that you want to learn about. They won’t (shouldn’t!) be offended because that is their job.

Not paying attention to clients

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This one really irritates me. I have seen some trainers full on walk away from their clients when they are in the middle of a set. NO. You are glued to their side throughout the session. That is your job! If you need to grab something, get it before they start or while the are resting.

I also love when trainers look like they are lost in space while training. Their clients could be doing something completely wrong and they don’t even notice…

Which brings me to another annoyance…

Trainers who allow for CRAPTASTIC form to continue.

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Isn’t it your job to correct their form? I know you are under time restraints BUT allowing for improper form to continue just so you can complete your workout in a timely fashion is 100% a no-no. Not only does this put your client up for potential injury under your watch (you are trying to prevent that remember?), but your letting them think they are doing it okay can be a problem later down the road…

Them telling others to do it ‘their’ way

Them loading more weight and still having form issues–> injury to come

No progression because we all know form is integral for results to occur. 

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Be patient. Take your time. Teach!

Socializing too much.

Sometimes its the client who is just very chatty, but you need to keep them on track. Talking and talking away leads to lack of work being done and obviously less potential benefits. If their workout sucked because you allowed too muchChatty Cathy-ing” to go on, thats on you not them.

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Nutrition advice…

Need I say more? Unless they are coming from more of a background than CanFit, be over-cautious about nutrition ‘tips’ they provide. Some beauties I have overheard more than once…

~Make sure you have your protein shake right after your workout but don’t eat anything for at least an hour…

~Describing what bad carbs are…. (lil tidbit, white doesn’t mean bad. GASP. Also, why we saying food is bad?)

~Need to eat every 2-3 hours to keep that metabolism firing…(my rant here)

Being a nutrition student and someone who listens to a podcast or two about the latest in nutrition research, it makes me cringe when I hear myths continue to be taught to clients. I know I know that often times it’s because the trainer believes them too, but I wish some would keep more up to date on their nutrition science before spreading lies to open ears.

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Fitness Nutrition

Still on nutrition…

Taking your clients right to the good ol’ smoothie bar post workout.

Wow more money from your pocket to the gym…

Please know that post workout doesn’t automatically mean you need to run to get in your protein shake.

If you like shakes, than do you, but they are not required. Always remember that supplements SUPPLEMENT your diet. Do you need whey post workout? No. Can you eat normal food? Yes. See here for more.

Sticking to the same things.

Unless there is a particular goal in mind that requires some sort of structure and restraint on exercise variety or training style OR they are 100% new, SWITCH IT UP! I often see trainers sticking to the bare bone basics. Lets do a shoulder press, now lets do a leg press…

ZZZZZzzzz…

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If your client understands the basics, teach them new things to fire up their interest. What about showing them new equipment to use like kettle bells or playing around with a sled or battle ropes if your gym has them?

The point of your sessions is to 1. teach, but you should also be challenging them both physically and mentally. Make them look forward to coming to your sessions.

Finally, I wanted to end off on the most common stereotype about trainers because that means I can’t rant too much about it…

Cookie Cutter Plans.

This kind of falls into the ‘you don’t care about your clients’ category because, well, clearly you don’t if you plan on giving them some plan that has been given 0% thought about their needs and goals.

How is that going to help them?

Sure, if they are brand new they might see some benefits (hello newbie gains, aka growth simply because it’s a new stimulus) but if a client already has some experience and wants something new OR has special challenges OR is rehabbing, giving them pre-planned workouts just ain’t gunna cut it.

So now that my ranting for the night has been met, please don’t take this as me being overly judgmental. I’m not trying to be. I believe that PT’s should be people who care about the well being of their clients and if they truly care, they would agree that all of the above things shouldn’t happen because that is putting their client at risk, not teaching them anything OR even worse, teaching them the wrong things.

I wish that all PT’s loved their job the way many do, including myself, but that is unfortunately not the case. I wrote this to try and help you see when someone is there for you vs. someone just wanting an easy pay check. 

Bad experiences with a PT?

-Chelsea


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Spot Me Bro…Fitness Friday 31

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So I was listening to a vlog the other day (by Ellyssa Brooks for those YT watchers) and she was discussing the types of spotters in the gym. As I listened, I thought this would be a great topic to share my thoughts on for a Fitness Friday because there comes a time in a serious lifter’s career where they’re gunna need a spot and I want you all to be able to avoid those who really can’t get the job done.

Plus I have seen and experienced my fair share of bad and horrific spotting in my 10 years of training..

The OVER spotter

Out of this one and the next one I don’t know which is worse. I guess the next because it’s risking your life and all….  In this case, your spotter doesn’t take his/her hands off the weight during your entire lift making you feel as if you did nothing.

OR in some cases where appearances are what matter, you may spout off saying you got a new PR when really it was a team effort.

The first case is really bad for female lifters. From my experience, I can tell some people until I’m blue in the face to NOT TOUCH THE WEIGHT unless it’s going the wrong way but they will still grab it the entire time.

Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I can’t do the job alone. I asked for assistance for the last 1-2 reps or just to watch to make sure I was good, not for you to help me through the whole lift.

Thanks but no thanks. 

For the second issue, this is a problem because you may have just given them a false perception of their strength. When they go to lift again, they may try to do that weight on their own and ultimately struggle, or worse, fail and get hurt.

The UNDER spotter

Either they forget they are spotting you or are really determined to see if you can pop a vein trying to lift that weight up themselves when they are failing. This also includes a kickup help. I don’t know how many times I have asked someone to help me with the initial kickup and they than just stand there…

Thanks for watching me struggle, nod at you like I’m asking for help, and you still stand there. -_-

If someone asks you to spot them, they are assuming that if the weight is coming down on them you will help them out. Don’t be the hard ass or the distracted/clueless spotter who just stands there and lets them fail. PAY ATTENTION!

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The UNEDUCATED spotter 

The one who agrees to spot you but has no idea what they are doing.

Example: When someone tried to killed me when spotting my decline dumbbell chest press. When helping a person kick up the weights, DO NOT grab the dumbbell portion of the DBs. This type of spot led to the DB falling inward and putting too much force on my tiny wrists and they fell…on me…ON A DECLINE!

Hello 40lb weights to face.

Thanks to the fact that I know to tuck my chin and turn away or my face may have been a bit more colourful leaving than it was coming in.

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The SNEAK ATTACK spotter

You know when you don’t ask for a spot but magically someone appears anyways? Yeah, they just slide themselves behind you and will say “just helping ya out.”This may be more of a girl problem but for me personally, I apparently freak people out when I lift a weight up so they feel the need to jump in a save me…when I don’t need saving.

Thanks for ruining my set brraaaahh

If they don’t ask, don’t jump in. That is all. Unless they are clearly failing, than it’s more of an act and talk later…

The BUDDY spotter

You know when you ask your ‘bro’ to spot you and he decides to do everything but pay attention to you. Text. Snapchat. Stare at the wall. Whatever, and lets you do your own thing and than maybe, just maybe help you out when you fail.

This is mostly directed at guys…

Guys, if you’re with a buddy in the gym, make sure if you ask them for a spot that they are actually into lifting and are not just there for the social hour. Your life will thank you later. OR, don’t and you and your crushed face will end up on their snapchat.

So some final tips…

For the person doing the spotting

~Say no if you know you can’t lift the weight in a case of an emergency

~Ask how they want to be spotted

~Say no if you’re not sure how to spot properly or if you never have spot someone

For the person being spotted:

~Tell them specifically what you want and how you want them to do it. Wrists vs. elbows. Help up? Etc

~Come into the lift knowing how many you can approximately do. They are there to help IF NEEDED, again this is not a team effort. If the arms of your spotter are flexing or straining, they are doing too much work.

Also a few things to keep in mind..

Squats. This is a tricky topic. Some say never to spot a squat because it’s too dangerous. Some say you can. I say, yes, but with a few important things to note.

~DO NOT SPOT FROM THE BAR or do that stupid “I’m giving you a hug” spot. Most of the time a squat fail that can cause the most harm comes from the core failing. In this case, they may come back at you with the bar and all. You want to spot from the ribs to support the core.

~With that in mind, you should be large and/or strong enough to be able to support the person squatting and their squat weight

~Do not even attempt to spot a squat if you feel uneasy about it at all. I have heard of people being crushed trying to spot a squat, so don’t make yourself part of that group.

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Just no.

I hope the next time you ask for a spot, you are now more prepared to make a good choice. Just because a guy is big doesn’t mean he’s a good spotter. Be aware of how people lift and act in a gym as that will be a good indicator as to who will do it right.

-Chelsea


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Friday Fitness Fives…Fitness Friday 30

Before we begin, let me just link you to my excitement of the day. I literally almost cried. I was so proud of myself. That was a big EF you to all my body and health struggles this year.

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Anywho, onto the main topic..

Fitness Friday! 

Wow number 30 friends! I hope you enjoy this random survey I decided to do for todays topic.

5 Fitness Myths That are not the obvious…lifting makes you bulky…

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  1. You don’t need to pile on massive amounts of weight to put on muscle mass. This is really not beneficial as that makes your cut harder/longer and probably your muscle losses greater.
  2. Not all squats look the same. Don’t look at someones squat and tell them they are doing it wrong if they are more forward than you are. Bodies are different and that means that lifts are going to look different.
  3. More is not better. Doing squats on a boss ball to hit your legs and your core and your balance, etc, etc is not better. You are not able to give your all to any one of those components and probably not really doing much as a result.
  4. Heavier is not always better. Yes, lifting heavy is great and progressing forward is part of getting stronger, but if you start doing half the lift as a result of upping the weight than you are not benefiting optimally from it. Form than weight ALWAYS
  5. Not everyone is made for the stage. Just because you’re into fitness doesn’t mean you have to compete. Competing is a special thing that not everyone is good for. Dieting, genetics, dealing with body image issues and having a goal at the end for yourself not for a win are all parts that torture people during prep. Really think about it before you go into it.

5 Body Parts We Tend Forget About But Shouldn’t…

cardio

  1. Rear Delts –> Required for a fully defined and balanced shoulder.
  2. Core –> Not really forgotten, more like purposely ignored because most hate core work. This will help you with all your compounds friends because all lifts start with a strong core.
  3. Glutes –> Guys this is looking at you because you know that girls don’t have an issue with this part. Strong glutes help with a ton of lower body movements. Do them.
  4. Chest –> Turning those looks back on you ladies. Benching is so empowering and if you train one body part, don’t neglect others. You won’t loose your boobs from benching (that is overall fat loss) and you won’t randomly sprout pecs…
  5. Heart/Lungs –> Yes, these are muscles you aren’t supposed to forget about. Again, females tend to overdo this, but many guys go into bulk season and completely stop any form of cardio. It’s not just about aesthetics friends.

5 Workout Gift Ideas

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  1. Hip Circle–> do it for them glutes!
  2. Bands –> also great for glute activation and low impact stimulation. You can use bands and recover quickly and not really interfere with weight training while they still activate and get some blood flowing into the glutes.
  3. Foam Roller –> They may hate you while they are rollin, but they will come around when they see the benefits of adding daily rolling into their routine.
  4. Massage Gift Certificate–> What I would give for a massage…
  5. For the Guys–> A solid pair of straps. This could totally be a for a girl as well, but was trying to come up with something appealing for a guy..

5 Cool Fitness Circuits

5 Favourite New Exercises

Print

  1. Rack Pulls. Back day has never been so exciting. These are so satisfying and a core killer as well.
  2. Squats. It’s a love-hate thing. I’m so driven to get my numbers up that I really want to squat, but do I truly love squatting when I’m doing it…
  3. Sumo Deadlifts. I have mentioned before that deadlifts are one of my weakest lifts. Damn hammies. I began to do sumos a few months back for my glutes but than stopped for a bit to switch over traditional as I thought that felt more comfortable (sumos were hurting my knees). BUT I came back because I’m stubborn and hate to say I don’t do something. Tweaked my foot position (I can’t have my feet pointed on an angle, they have to be straight) and voila, much better.
  4. Barbell Hip Thrusters. I was doing these on the leg extension machine for a while because I felt like I got a better feel that way and I was annoyed whenever I had to set it all up. Guys, these are worth the set up and practice if you want to build them glutes and the first time I went back to barbell I got up to 125lbs. #Shocker
  5. Plank Side-To-Sides. These are just fun. Even my housemates like them.

5 Favourite Foods That Are Stereotypical GymRat

fitness-food

  1. Rice Cakes. These are my love. Recently, all main-chain grocery stores in Guelph were not receiving ANY of my rice cakes and I didn’t know what I was gunna do. Dramatic eh? But because of my dietary restrictions right now, these are a major carb staple for me. I eat pretty much half a bag every day… #GimmeAllTheCarbs
  2. Peanut Butter. Duh! Natural obviously and #TeamCrunchy
  3. Cream of Rice. This used to be oats, but after my parasite treatment my oats tried to kill me (too much fiber for my poor tummy) so COR it was. I missed the texture of oats at first, but now I really like it.
  4. Whey. Diesel all the way. Lactose and all things chemical and sugar free. Plus amazing flavours! Favourite flavour is the peanut butter chocolate OR the salted caramel
  5. Egg Whites. We all love our fat free egg whites. So versatile and you can than add whatever you want to them. Sorry I just can’t get on the sweet egg train. Yuck.

5 Favourite Fitness Juuu-Tubers

These are always changing, with some exceptions, but here’s my list of top tuber’s

  1. Amanda Bucci –> Just entertaining to watch. She offers lots of advice, is straight up about everything and is consistent with her quality and material.
  2. Taylor Chamberlain–> Lots of tips and tricks and I love her positive and happy personality.
  3. Emily Duncan–> Love her perspectives and thoughts on life. She gives great fitness tips and her videos offer great variety.
  4. Valentina Esteban–> Cannucks say Hhhheeey. I love her perspective on just about everything. Think positive, follow your dreams and work towards your goals even if they are hard at times. Stay objective.
  5. Jeff Nippard –> hello science backed training advice and his video quality is amazing! It’s interesting how he’s serious but so entertaining at the same time.

I hope you enjoyed these 5 fitness lists. What is a fitness related 5 list for you? 5 songs? 5 Foods?

Christmas Eve is tomorrow.. are you ready?

-Chelsea

 


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Back To Basics…Fitness Friday 28

Hello my friends, short and sweet today as I’m in the midst of finishing up final assignments, studying for exams and attempting to squeeze in writing maayyybbee something I can call a coverletter of sorts for my masters/internship applications.

But the fitness-ing must go on!

And by go on I mean, read this post then drop the floor and try these lil numbers out.

I dare ya 😉

So we all know the many benefits of the good ol’ plank, but did you know of it’s children? Oh yes, the plank is now longer alone, its got some newer versions and they are quite the upgrade if you are ready for them.

Lets take a peek shall we.

You have the basic plank

Cues:

~Squeeze EVERYTHING. Glutes, quads and core should be all nice and tight.

~Focus on pulling that navel back towards the spine 

~Roll the shoulders back. Even in this picture, the ‘model’ has hers coming a bit past her elbows. Avoid this, they should be in line with the elbows

~Your back should be straight, enough so that you can put something on it and it won’t fall off.

~Do not crane your neck up, keep it looking at the floor to keep your spine neutral

~Hips should not be sagging and your butt should not be pointed in the air. Again, keep hips parallel with the floor. 

Now you can be a lil fancier even with this basic movement by having one foot off the ground and hovering the leg (did your position change? if the hips dropped, you’re not ready for this yet.) More? Throw your opposite arm out in front of you, parallel with the floor as well. Again, only if proper form is maintained.

Now what about the plank upgrades?

How about the Body Saw?

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Link to Video

This one is said to be an ‘anti-extension’ core movement where the dynamic movement (shifting your body forward and backward) places greater tension on your core to maintain your proper position. You don’t need the sliders as shown in the video, even the small rocking you can do with your elbows and toes is enough for a great burn!

Or what about the RKC plank?

This lil number comes from the Russian Kettlebell Challenge and is simply a few lil shifts in your positioning BUT those few little shifts do a lot of damage!

rkc-plank

I feel like Brett Contreras (glute masstta!) really spoke about it well so here is his thoughts and description:

Basically, he had me get into my normal plank position and then made adjustments. First, he had me place my elbows slightly further out in front of me and closer together to increase the lever arm length and reduce the width of the base of support. He then had me forcefully lock out my knees by contracting my quads.

Finally, he had me contract my glutes as hard as possible to the point where my pelvis posteriorly rotated [rotated backwards]. These adjustments left me quivering like a school girl. I highly recommend experimenting with this new variation as it blows away the core activation of a normal plank. (In fact, I suggest you stop reading right now, drop down to the floor, and try it for yourself.) Chalk up another one for the kettlebellers!

So there you have it! Go right now and try one of these babies out if you have ever said planks are a cake walk. I promise, you will be eating your words.

What’s your favourite type of plank variation?

-Chelsea