Archives for March 2013

My paleo diet success story | a guest post from a paleo pal

Way back in September, I followed the paleo diet for a little less than 30 days. Even though I’ve since added some grains and a small about of dairy back into my day, I’m still curious about this approach to nutrition. And I know, from your questions and comments here and in response to anything I post about paleo on Facebook, that many of you are too.

Today, please welcome my friend and fellow healthy lifestyle blogger, Kerri of Fitviews, as she shares her family’s reasons for and experiences with adopting the paleo diet.

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I’ve been eating Paleo for about a year and a half now. In August of 2011 I did a “Going Paleo” experiment on my fitness blog. Typical to my style I jumped in with both feet and went strict Paleo a la Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution for 30 days. It was tough, but worth it.

paleo diet

Recipe link: http://fitviews.blogspot.ca/2012/05/easy-paleo-trail-mix.html

At the end of that little Paleo experiment I felt AMAZING. So amazing that I was struck by how not-amazing I’d been feeling without realizing there was a problem. Paleo has become a game-changer in my life. In my health, in my fitness, and in my over-all sense of feeling well.

After that experience there was no going back. I’ve been Paleo ever since.

paleo diet

A typical paleo breakfast at Kerri’s house

This wasn’t the first time I’d taken a stab at Paleo however. A year prior I’d tried Paleo and Primal both and failed miserably. I just couldn’t stick to either. What was different this time around? Why was I able to stick with it for 30 days and beyond? My husband.

You see, my husband has narcolepsy. The worst case his sleep specialist doctor had ever seen. As you can imagine it had a huge effect on his life. It was tough on all of us.

A couple of years back I began noticing that he seemed worse after eating certain foods. Through trial and error with his diet we found that Paleo (actually maybe a tad closer to Primal for him, he does some dairy) made all of his symptoms rare if not completely absent. He didn’t start out trying to go Paleo. He was simply removing foods that seemed to be an issue, but where he wound up was very much Paleo.

On Paleo my husband is now taking half the dosage of all his medications (or less) and doing 1,000 times better than we ever dreamed possible. Needless to say this was a big incentive for me. I wanted to be supportive to him, but I also wanted to see what Paleo could do for me.

It’s done a lot. Eating Paleo I feel just all-around well: energetic, clear headed, and ready to take on my days. My urge to binge eat is non-existent and my adult acne is no longer an issue (it seems to be dairy that causes that for me). It also cleared up myriad problems I’d struggled with for years with my periods, PMS, etc. Yes, I’ve lost pounds and inches too, but for me sticking with Paleo has more to do with how I feel.

Needless to say, we’ll be eating Paleo for years to come.

paleo diet

Recipe link: http://fitviews.blogspot.ca/2013/02/easy-paleo-tuna-salad-recipe.html

paleo diet

Recipe link: http://fitviews.blogspot.ca/2011/10/recipe-spaghetti-squash-spaghetti.html

Is Paleo for everyone? I won’t even pretend to know the answer to that one. What I do know is that we should all be searching for what works for us and not just following the crowd. In that quest I firmly believe we need to pay more attention to how food affects us. How it makes us feel. What physical reactions we are having to it. 3o Days of Paleo is an awesome way to do just that. Like I said, it’s tough, but absolutely worth it.

Would you ever try 30 days of the Paleo diet?

KerriheadshotKerri Olkjer is a wife and homeschooling mom from rural Colorado. Most days you can find her wrangling kids (the people kind and the goat kind) and chickens, all the while sharing her adventures via instagram and twitter. She blogs about her wanna-be-farmer ways on 4acresfarm.com and fitness, family, and good food on FitViews.com. Join her the first Wednesday of each month for #paleochat on Twitter.

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#FatblasterFriday | 5 benefits of stretching more frequently

I’ll be the first to admit it. I don’t stretch enough. Although I preach the value of stretching regularly to my group fitness classes and personal training clients, when given the choice to spend my last 10 minutes in the gym on cardio, strength training or stretching, I’ll always opt for one more set of squat presses 😉

If you’ve seen me in yin yoga class, you’ll know that flexibility is not my strong suit. Forward fold, pigeon pose, seated hamstring stretch; all are torture for me.

5_Reasons_To_Stretch

Despite knowing the benefits of stretching, I simply don’t do it enough.

Why stretch, you ask? Besides the obvious, ‘it feels good’, here are five benefits of stretching more frequently:

  • improved range of motion. Want to be able to kick higher? Throw harder? Run faster? Increasing your range of motion at knee, hip and shoulder joints can improve the speed and power of your every day (and sports-specific) movements. Joints with limited range of motion tend to get stiffer and tighter over time, eventually limiting mobility and independence.
  • better circulation. Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. Better blood flow means faster flushing of post-workout waste products out of the muscle tissues and more rapid recovery between workouts.
  • improved posture. Muscles work in pairs to help you maintain proper posture. Muscle tightness on one side of the body results in over-stretched (and often weak) muscles on the opposite side. To improve posture, stretch tight muscles and strengthen their over-stretched counterparts.
  • pain and injury prevention. Lower back pain is often a direct result of tightness in the hamstrings, hips and glutes. Tight muscles pull the pelvis out of it’s natural alignment and result in increased pressure on the lumbar spine.
  • relaxation and improved mental health. Combining slow, gentle stretching with deep, regular breathing often leads to the release of relaxation and ‘happy’ hormones. Practiced just before bedtime, stretching can also act as a sleep aid; one of my favourite benefits of stretching!

Today’s #FatblasterFriday video is a guided stretch. Lasting about 8 minutes, it will guide you through a gentle, whole body stretch,.focusing on the muscles that are most commonly tight and in need of lengthening. Listen to the birds in my backyard and enjoy a few minutes of relaxation and rejuvenation with me!

Feeling all happy and relaxed? Then PLEASE

Disclaimer: Although I am a registered Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

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5 tips for fitting in exercise on vacation

Spring break is finally here 🙂

exercise on vacation

If you’re lucky enough to be heading someplace warm and sunny, are you planning to exercise on vacation?

While taking a break from working out can sometimes be beneficial, abandoning exercise entirely while on vacation only leads to a painful week or two of ‘re-entry’ when you head back to the gym…

5 tips for fitting in exercise on vacation

Plan. When searching for a hotel online, I have three criteria that need to be met; (1) a fitness centre, (2)  a kitchenette in the room, and (3) a room on the highest floor available.

exercise on vacation

The fitness centre need not be state-of-the-art; some free weights and a cardio machine will suffice.

Eating breakfast in the hotel not only saves time and money, it’s also keeps portion size in check and limits the sugary, starchy carbs that are the mainstay of most kid-friendly restaurants’ menus…

Choosing a room on a higher floor gives us the option of taking the stairs at least once each day; a great antidote for time spent parked by the pool or in the car on road trip vacations.

Pack. Make sure to pack at least one set of workout clothes. Don’t forget your running shoes.

exercise on vacation

You can always rinse tank tops and shorts in your bathroom sink; technical gear dries quickly. I also make sure to pack my workout journal; having a workout planned ahead of time makes it much easier to get in and out of the fitness centre quickly!

My go-to hotel fitness centre workout? 15 minutes cardio, 15 minutes of strength training including combination moves like squats/shoulder presses, lunges/bicep curls, deadlifts/rows and pushups, of course! (You might even try the hotel gym workout I videotaped over Christmas…)

Pre-empt. Don’t wait until there’s a lull in the activity to fit your workout in. Early morning is the best time to exercise on vacation. Get up and get it done while everyone is waking up, reading the newspaper, checking Facebook 😉 and showering. If you leave it until after your day’s adventures are over, it probably won’t get done. Cocktail hour can be hard to resist…

Play. Plan for at least one activity every day that requires physical exertion. Hike, swim, water ski, snorkel or kayak. All will burn more calories than sitting poolside. In addition to getting in a little extra exercise on vacation, you’ll also be making fabulous memories with your family and friends.

exercise on vacation

Permit. While maintaining your usual exercise routine while on vacation is admirable, give yourself permission to do a little less than you normally would in the gym. Remember that you are on holidays and that rest and recovery are valuable tools in your muscle-building-fat-burning toolbox.

Are you heading anywhere exciting for spring break?

Do you plan on fitting in exercise on vacation?

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#FatblasterFriday | Strength, speed and balance training on the BOSU

I used to teach a weekly Bosu class. Sixty minutes of balance training, core, speed, agility and strength. I gave it up because it conflicted with Sunday family time.

balance training

But I miss it (and my body misses it; the ‘use it or lose it’ principle definitely applies to balance training 😉 ).

Never used a Bosu balance trainer before? Here’s what you’re missing out on:

  • improved balance (guess that’s why it’s called a ‘balance’ trainer)
  • better core stabilization (just standing on the dome activates all sorts of tiny stabilizer muscles; muscles you probably didn’t even know you had)
  • stronger knees and ankles (a must if you want to protect yourself from falling on ice or tripping over your children’s toys)
  • enhanced proprioception (knowing where your body is in space)

Today’s #FatblasterFriday workout combines upper and lower body strength moves with some plyometrics and a bit of fast foot work. Only 6 exercises, performed circuit style, 30 s on, 10 s off. Twice through the circuit and you’re free to get on with your day!

You’ll need a set of hand weights and a Bosu balance trainer (but don’t fret if you don’t have one or somebody let the air out of yours… I’ve included Bosu-less options as well).

balance training

Did you like this workout? Then PLEASE

  • WATCH and DO the workouts with me
  • SUBSCRIBE to fitknitchick on YouTube 
  • CHECK OUT the #FatblasterFriday Playlist for more, real time workouts
  • PIN the above WORKOUT PHOTO
  • GIVE me your FEEDBACK on YouTube or in the COMMENTS section below
  • LIKE and SHARE my videos with your friends via email, Facebook and Twitter

More VIEWS, LIKES, COMMENTS and SHARES –>> More VIDEOS!

Disclaimer: Although I am a registered Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

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#FatblasterFriday | whole body pyramid workout

Jeesh. You guys don’t make it easy. When I asked my Facebook group for suggestions for this week’s workout, the responses were all over the map!

pyramid workout

You guys know what you want and you want it ALL! LOL! (Thanks for keeping me on my toes; I really do appreciate your feedback!)

I put my thinking cap on and came up with a quick, whole body pyramid workout that you’ll feel in your abs, arms and shoulders (among other places 😉 ).

Today’s #FatblasterFriday video is a whole body pyramid workout. We’ll be switching up the exercises and reps continuously throughout the workout, moving from single exercises to one big compound chain and back again. Metabolic strength training at it’s most fun!

All you’ll need is a set of hand weights (moderate to heavy) and a mat, as well as a little faith that the above description will all make sense when you watch the video!

pyramid workout

Did you like this workout? Then PLEASE

  • WATCH and DO the workouts with me
  • SUBSCRIBE to fitknitchick on YouTube 
  • CHECK OUT the #FatblasterFriday Playlist for more, real time workouts
  • PIN the above WORKOUT PHOTO
  • GIVE me your FEEDBACK on YouTube or in the COMMENTS section below
  • LIKE and SHARE my videos with your friends via email, Facebook and Twitter

Disclaimer: Although I am a registered Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

Why over 40 women make the best personal training clients (for me)

When I first started working as a personal trainer in a public facility I trained whoever my supervisor asked me to.

Young (13 year old Irish dancer training for the Canadian nationals), old (75 year old grandmother wanting to keep up with her grandkids), women (new-to-the-weight room cardio junkies) and men (out of shape weekend warriors). Whatever their goals, I trained them all.

For many of them, I was not the trainer they needed.

Our fitness perspectives and life experiences didn’t mesh. I didn’t get them. They didn’t get me. Clients came and went. Some met their goals. Some didn’t. Some found other trainers. Some disappeared off the face of the earth (or at least from the gym 😉 ).

Those that have stuck with me over the years (and through my evolution as a personal trainer) are members of a very specific demographic; all are women over the age of 40.

In fact, 22 of the 24 clients I  train regularly are over 40 women. Women who have sought me out to be their trainer as a consequence of attending my group fitness classes, a friend’s referral or seeing me training other over 40 women in the gym.

Why the change? I believe that personal training clients are attracted to trainers they perceive as having similar values and life experience. Trainer who will understand their perspective while motivating and encouraging them towards their fitness and health goals.

For me, over 40 women make the best personal training clients because;

  • They’re in it for the long haul. Let’s face it; older women often have more disposable time and income than their younger counterparts. Both of which are required for a successful personal training relationship. They also don’t expect results in a month and aren’t training to fit into a wedding dress or vacation bikini (although many of them rock theirs!)
  • They value function over aesthetics. While still wanting to look their best, they don’t worry about 6-pack abs or buns of steel. They understand the functional benefits of lifting weights and celebrate being able to do more challenging work over time.
  • They’re quick to identify non-scale victories. Better sleep, better sex (personal trainers are kind of like therapists; we talk about everything with our clients!), fewer aches and pains upon waking, more energy, and better range of motion are just a few of the many non-weight related benefits my clients spontaneously report to me.
  • They rarely cancel because something better came along. They know that there IS nothing better than a good session with their personal trainer! They prioritize their own health and well-being and enjoy the hour we have to work together towards their goals.
  • They love to learn and ask lots of questions. My clients, like me, are almost all women who’ve discovered strength training a bit later in their lives. When I ask them to do something, more often than not, they challenge me and ask why. What muscles am I using? Where should I be feeling this exercise? How will it help me reach my goals? Education is one of my favourite parts of the job and they frequently give me opportunity to share information and knowledge.
  • They’re not intimidated by the free weights section of the gym. Indeed, many of the young men grunting and groaning in the squat rack are young enough to be their sons!

The two clients who aren’t over-40 women? One is close (but I won’t rush her) and the other, an over-70 male who shares many of the attributes of my female clientele (without the extra X chromosome…’atta boy, John!’). I love training them just as much as my over 40 women, despite their respective youth and gender 😉

Are you an over 40 woman looking for an experienced and knowledgable over 40 personal trainer? Why not try online personal training with fitknitchick? I’d love to help YOU reach your health and fitness goals!

Do you consider similarity in age and life experience when you choose a personal trainer?

Personal trainers; do you have a specific client demographic that you prefer to train?

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#FatblasterFriday | The ‘hit the wall workout’

The phrase ‘hitting the wall’ is often used in fitness to describe a point at which you either can’t do any more (as in, “at the 20 mile mark, I hit the wall”; I wish!)

wall workout

or you’ve reached a plateau and you’re no longer progressing on your current program (and well all know how to remedy that situation, right? A change is as good as a rest!).

I sometimes use the term literally in my group fitness classes, telling my participants to “hit the wall and give me 20” (wall squats, pushups, medball slams, whatever).

Today’s workout requires a stability ball and an optional set of dumbbells. Oh, and a wall, of course!

The “Hit the Wall Workout” is a timed circuit. Five exercises, 30 s of each, resting for 15 seconds before moving on to the next. Get through it at least twice for a quick, whole body workout! Four rounds is less than 2% of your day. Just sayin’…

And for those of you who want something they can Pin or print out and take to the gym… 😉

wall workout

Your response to these workouts has been incredible! Don’t let me ‘hit a wall’ with page views!

Please SHARE this video with your friends!

SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel and blog!

Leave me a COMMENT or three (comments make my day!)

Disclaimer: Although I am a registered Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer (although I could be! Check out my NEW ONLINE TRAINING PROGRAM). Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

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