Archive for the ‘Strengthening and Conditioning’ Category

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In a fitness enthusiast’s ideal world, this would be the every-day checklist forever:

> Wake-Up
> Workout
> Repeat

Unfortunately, that world doesn’t exist.
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Our schedules get messed up, we get sick, projects take longer than expected, injuries and emergencies happen, and so on. It doesn’t even have to be a negative reason to miss workouts.
I have had clients who miss weeks and months of training due to work promotion or because their business is booming, or because they have to welcome a new family member, or simply because they have to go on a nice vacation on a sunny island.

There could be numerous reasons for this fantasy checklist to not exist.

Sometimes it gets frustrating especially when you were keeping up a pretty impressive routine, then it suddenly had to stop.

Thankfully, you don’t have to sulk in despair – it won’t do any good, anyway. If for any reason you had to take a recess from training, here are some things to keep in mind when it’s time to get back on track:

1.) Go Easy.
I know, you want to jump straight to when you left off. You weren’t away for so long anyway, so why not?
You may be familiar with the Training Principle called “Progressive Overload” which states that your strength and conditioning increases slowly and gradually as you keep overloading the stimulus (exercise). Well, you may not have heard of the Principle of Reversibility, which as it name implies, means that any adaptation that has taken place as a result of your training will be reversed once you stop training!
The speed at which reversibility happens depend on a lot of factors, but even pro-athletes are not exempted! On average, training loss occurs at about one-third the rate of the gains. Some sports skills can be lost in one to two weeks.

The good news is, reversibility stops once you get back to training! But the best way is to take the Principle of Progressive Overload into consideration.

Start easy but challenging, then go from there.

2.) Build your Base.
Base strength refers not just to how much your muscles can lift, or how long your heart can keep pumping, but also includes your ligaments, tendons, joints, and bones. These guys take a little longer time to adapt and recover to the stresses of training, and are more subtle. Avoid high-intensity movements that involve a lot of jumping, plyometrics, fast movements, or heavy maximum lifts. If you took the time off because of an injury, you should even be more careful.

3.) Take your Time.
The longer your break was, the more time you need to give yourself to come back to where you left off. Unless you have an upcoming competition, or a deadline to show your six-pack, you don’t need to rush! Other factors such as fitness level, age, body type, health history, and so on affects the time it will take for you to get back. Remember that exercise is also physical stress to your body, and doing it too much too quickly can cause more harm than good.

Make small progressive increments. Consistency is the key to success, and patient hard work pays off.

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It happens to everyone.
Even elite athletes fall off their training.
Life just has its ups and downs.
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Remember that the goal of your training is to improve your quality of life. If life happens, then so be it. Get back to training and you know that you’ll reap the rewards of a physically active lifestyle in its time.

“Squats are like life.
It’s about standing up when something
heavy keeps you down.”

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Before anything else, watch this 77-year old woman lift heavier than you do!
“I never used the words “I can’t”…I would just say “I will try.” That’s how I lived my life, just trying to do my best – everyday.
 
I can do what I need to do, and I’m proud of it…
…I can shovel my own driveway when it snows, thanks to the power-training.
…my grandchildren, I can lift them up without any problem.
…and the best of all, I don’t need any help when I carry my groceries.
 
That’s what [lifting] is about – it’s about life.”
 
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
 
Who says you have to stop lifting after hitting a certain age?
 
Willie Murphy, the strong woman on the video, started lifting weights at age 50.
One of the largest determinants in quality of life and functional independence is STRENGTH. Unfortunately, a lot of people who were once strong suddenly stop when they hit 70, 60, 50, and some even 40 or younger.
A lot of functional everyday movements which are relevant especially as we age are based on STRENGTH:
– walking, climbing stairs, etc.
– sitting down and standing up.
–  carrying groceries, kids, etc.
– keeping our balance.
At the gym I work at as a Personal Trainer, I focus on helping people with muscle or joint pains be able to exercise pain-free. Most of these people – both men and women- are aged 50 and over. They come to me with these Top 3 goals in mind:
1) To get stronger.
2) To improve stamina/endurance.
3) To lose some weight.
I’ve had people who just started going to the gym later in life. I’ve had people who had been active before, maybe played some sports when they were younger, but had an injury or life just happened and stopped, but wanted to get back.
It is possible to ‘get back’ to being physically active.
It is  beneficial to be active and get stronger especially later in life.
Just like Willie, always keep a perspective of ‘trying.’ Try to do your best everyday. Try to be better most days. Just try.
You will not know what your body is capable of until you try. With proper guidance and training, you can succeed to be better and get stronger, even over 50.
Lifting is not just about losing weight, or looking good… it’s about improving your quality of LIFE.

Happy New Year to every one!

It’s the time of the year again when people get busy starting anew with their fitness goals. Get ahead of the pack and start off with Online Training! Train Smarter this year and reach your fitness goals FASTER.

You don’t want to be like a firework: start working out to get fit in January, but quickly fading away the next few months!

Trust me, as a Personal Trainer, I’ve seen lots of those. I’ve talked to lots of gym members who seemed pretty motivated at first, optimistic about what they want to achieve, but eventually falling off simply because they didn’t have a plan to follow!

I want to help YOU get ahead and commit to an effective training plan. Don’t waste your time and money signing up in a gym if you would eventually fall off. Answer the quick form below so I could get to know you better, and I’ll email you back to get you a spot in my Online Fitness Coaching:


Train hard, but train smarter. Talk to you soon!

It’s the time of the year for giving!

If you have been good the past year with your fitness goals, and have consistently made gains from your training, then don’t miss time to share the gift of fitness. Fitness is not just about abs and arms, but about improving your health and overall quality of life. If you have exercised regularly enough, you probably have felt more energetic, alive, and just happier about life. This is something that you would want your family and friends to have, right?

As a Personal Trainer both in-person and online, I know it could be tough most of the time to motivate other people to get into fitness, especially family and friends. But like what I always say, “Consistency is the key to success” and I’m sure eventually they will agree with you and might even come with you to the gym!

So start them off by giving them something inspiring and useful this Christmas from my list below that would hopefully get them to think more about their fitness. Maybe you could even get one for yourself! Simply click the links below to lead you to an Amazon page where you can easily order your gifts. Amazon offers FREE SHIPPING for orders over $25.00!

Here’s my Top 5 Fitness Gift Ideas for Christmas 2016:

1.) Ab roller – the ab roller is a small but absolutely effective equipment to work the abs. When used properly, it could target not just every muscle of the “core” but also the arms, shoulders,and even legs! I personally like the dual ab roller, because it provides more challenge to shoulder stabilizers and core, but better give a standard uni-wheel ab roller for beginners and intermediate exercisers.

ab-wheel_dumbbellClick the link to get it from Amazon:
SKLZ Core Wheels Dynamic Strength and Ab Trainer

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Click the link to get it from Amazon:
Fitness Depot Ab Wheel

2.) Exercise Bands – yet another small but tough fitness equipment to have, exercise bands are very portable and could be used almost anywhere! There will be no excuse left not to workout with these ones! Exercise bands promote eccentric contraction when used in a controlled manner (vs. jerky, fast movements) which is great for building strength and muscle tone. This is a good choice if the person you’re thinking of giving a gift to is someone who is not confident of their body and overall strength, and needs something simple to get started with. You can also give them an exercise band manual to compete the package.

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Get it from Amazon:
Synergee Exercise Bands with Guide

3.) Suspension Trainers – suspension training have been a hit a few years ago, but like any fitness trends, the hype about them has subsided. Whether it’s still an “in” thing to do or not, it’s effectiveness remains unchanged! This is an option for people who have a significant base strength and are looking for a challenge. As long as they have something to anchor it to, suspension Trainers can be a fitness friend for frequent travelers or out-of-gym exercisers. There were a few types and brands that came out during its peak, but below is my personal choice:

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Get the TRX Suspension Trainer Full Workout Kit from Amazon.

4.) Nutrition App – the notion “abs are made in the kitchen” is true. For tech savvy individuals who are looking to eat healthier and/or lose weight, surprising them with a nutrition app installed in their phone could be a simple but thoughtful gift. Below are apps that I recommend, some of them I even used with my clients:

Eat this much

My Fitness Pal

Fitbit App

5.) Fitness Tracking Device – some people say they don’t work because steps aren’t measured accurately. What I say in response is, how can you expect it to measure accurate steps if it’s strapped in your hand?? I don’t intend to start a group of people wearing anklets of fitness trackers, but the point of wearing one is not to measure how many steps a person does in a day exactly. Wearing a Fitbit myself, I realised how it’s very motivating to ‘put in steps’ each day and just keep being active. They are a great tool to motivate people to move and be active, and even ‘compete’ with their family or friends for more fun and challenge! Here’s a couple of choices of awesome fitness trackers you could get:

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Fitbit Charge 2

samsung-gear-fit-2Samsung Gear Fit 2

If the person you’re thinking about is seriously considering committed training whether in the gym or at home, then signing them up for Online Training is the best choice! As a treat, I’m offering a 12-Days til Christmas special: Sign up on or 12-days before December 25 2016 and get a 25% off on any Fitness Coaching Package offered from Fitness Coaching for Me. Simply answer the form on the Services page here, and we’ll get started.

Don’t miss the opportunity, sign up NOW!

Steven has been training with me on my Online Fitness Coaching program for 8 months now and has improved a lot since we started! He initially wants to lose body fat and gain more muscle mass but upon achieving that goal, he now trains for athleticism and overall fitness. I give him a three to four workout day routine each week that he does in his own pace and time. When he started the Online Fitness Coaching, the routine included a cardio guide, the strengthening or resistance exercises, and some home core workouts. The routine keeps changing and adapting to his progress and now his workout even includes Agility Drills! You see, progress is not only measured by how many pounds you lost, or how much more weight you can lift, but also on how many other stuff you can do — and that is Fitness.

My Online Fitness Coaching program provided Steven some serious guidance through periodized training programs that elite athletes follow, but customized to his fitness level, abilities, and schedule.

“My trainer, Billy, is an amazing motivator and always challenges me to push my boundaries and strive for excellence bringing  me to new heights. Billy quickly identified my strengths and my weaknesses and showed me how i could improve and regain my health. Billy has designed a training program that has made it possible to achieve my goals and consistently pushes me to prove to myself that I can exceed my expectations.

He tailors my workouts to my individual goals and needs. Although the workouts can be tough, Billy makes them fun and gets me excited, I dropped from 180lb of mostly  fat to 165lb of mostly muscle.

With Billy’s Online Fitness Coaching I have been able to reclaim my life in terms of my health, and all on my own schedule. Thanks for making my workouts fun and keeping me on track!!”

– Steven, a Successful Online Fitness Coaching Client.

Watch Steven do perfect squats even after finishing 20 minutes of Agility Ladder Drills:

https://youtu.be/hsDKF3gAjyA

My wife and I have been looking for a short but fun get away this summer. We just came from Niagara-on-the-Lake last Thursday, rested at home for a day, and took a 3-hour road trip to Tobermory and Collingwood last weekend. This time we are hoping for a Fitness filled adventure!

Read about the FITT Principle here

Since we didn’t want to drive for four hours, we joined a bus tour under ShengNuo tours. The tour guide translated his script to both English and Chinese at the start but for the most part of the trip, everything was in Chinese. That was fine for us as long as we get in our destinations! He also gave us some flyers that we told us to review so we don’t miss out.

Flowerpot Island

We went to ride the Glass Bottom Boat Cruise to Flowerpot Island on our first day after a long 3-hour ride. On the way to the island we spent around 15 minutes at a shipwreck. The boat had a small section where you can see the Lake floor through the bottom of the ship — don’t expect the whole boat to have a glass bottom!

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We arrived at the Flowerpot island with just enough time to hike the trail (about 25 minutes one way to the lighthouse), take pictures, hangout and enjoy the scenery. The island was named after two limestone rock formations that is shaped like flower pots. Get your selfie sticks ready for the awesome view!

Selfie Stick

Take amazing pictures with a SELFIE STICK!

(Buy an extendable Selfie Stick from Amazon with Bluetooth remote. Click here.)

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The trail at Flowerpot Island was fairly easy and it’s something the whole family can enjoy. Both kids and even the elderly can follow the trail up to the lighthouse. There are some areas which are very rocky and some requires climbing up a rock, but there are lots of friendlier shortcuts. If you’re planning to wade in the water make sure you bring a pair of swim shoes as the smooth rocks on the floor of the Lake can be very slippery. It was also breezy cold when we went (at around 23C) and we only saw a few people who dared to swim. Before approaching the lighthouse, there is a cave that can be climbed easily through steep wooden stairs. You’ll get rewarded by a majestic view of the green canopy over the island that merges with the fresh blue lake.

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We spent a few hours in the island before taking the jet boat back to the port, so we went to our 3 other destinations the day after.

Inglis Falls at Owen Sounds

We first visited the Inglis Falls – we thought our tour guide made a mistake because we knew it was the Owen Sounds Falls, but he was right! It was named after the Inglis family who owned a factory in the area. There was not so much to see apart from the Falls and we spent only 15 minutes in that location. There is a 10km river trail available that we didn’t go through because it was not in our itinerary. Also there’s a lot of big mosquitoes in this area because of the stagnant river water near the dam so be prepared especially if you go there with kids.

BuzzBarrier Mosquito Repellant Band

Keep yourself and your kids safe from mosquitoes with BuzzBarrier

The BuzzBarrier Insect and Mosquito Repellant Wristband is perfect for this occasion — no more hassle of applying lotions to your kids, they just have to wear the wristband and have fun! Get your Mosquito Repellant Wristband here.

 

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Georgian Bay Trail

Next stop was the Georgian Bay trail. This is another spot that you might not want to miss at the Bruce Peninsula. It’s included in UNESCO’s list of nature reserves which means that you’ll see nature’s pure beauty and wonder. Get your cameras ready for this one!

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There are a lot of trail options available but since we have one more destination (and we have a few seniors with us), we took the shortest route. It took an easy 40 minute hike to reach the Georgian Bay and a few more minutes with some rocky climbs, you’ll reach the Grotto. The Grotto is another rock formation shaped like a cave from years of erosion. Stretch your tired back, legs, and feet while you enjoy nature’s wonder. It is highly recommended to check this place out!

Click here to read How to Stretch Properly

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Scenic Caves Adventure Resort

Last stop, but definitely not the least! We went to Scenic Caves Adventure resort. It’s a big compound that encloses a nature trail and mountain hike featuring the Caves, a panoramic view of the bay from the longest suspension bridge, an adventure play area for kids, and a lot more! This was the longest and may be the hardest trail of our weekend. It involves a lot of steep climbs and a few slippery rocks. You’ll surely feel your Heart Rate go up a dozen notch! (Need a Heart Rate Monitor when you workout?) You’ll be rewarded with an awesome experience so get ready to hike!

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Be a PRO Adventurer with GoPro!

This adventure trail is best captured with a handy GoPro. Get your GoPro from Amazon here.

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All in all, my Fitbit Charge registered 16,905 steps. Scenic Caves is still designed to be enjoyed by the family and there are stairs and occasional rail handles. If you have any heart conditions this might not be for you as the steep climb could really boost your heart rate. Elderly people who have difficulty walking can stay in the Souvenir Shop or by the man-made lake.

After a two long days of hiking, we just felt like getting a massage to release those tightened trigger points in our sore muscles. And guess what, we found this gem from the Scenic Caves!

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It’s the Relaxus Harmony Roller — an innovative tool for self myofascial release for your neck pain, tight shoulders, sore legs and back. It’s easier to use on smaller areas of your body like your neck and shoulders and is more portable than the foam roller.

Get your Harmony Roller from Amazon

Going to the Flowerpot Island, Georgian Bay, and Scenic Caves was absolutely worth it and a must try if you’re looking for a family friendly adventure!

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You spent hours and hours in the gym doing your Chest Exercises. You commemorate Mondays as “International Chest Day” with your Gym Bros. You’ve tried all variations of the Bench Press on all angles of Incline and Decline, different variations of the Push-Up, and done all the exercises you researched from YouTube, yet you still can’t seem to make progress.

What keeps you from building that strong and massive Chest so that you can proudly wear your Superman shirt?

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You might think that to build a stronger and massive chest, you need to do more chest exercises. That simply follows logic, and it’s correct. But what keeps you from building a stronger and massive chest is the same thing! Doing Chest and Arms three times a week in your exercise program will not help you build a massive chest, but it will only lead to plateau and even overuse injury in the long term.

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Here’s the secret to building a massive Chest and Stronger Bench Press:
If you want to improve your PUSH, you have to work on your PULL.

Gym bros logic think that because you cannot see your back in the mirror, it does not exist. You want to build muscle mass that will make you look good, and since you can’t see your back, it’s useless! Right??

Wrong.

Working on your PULL will actually enhance your PUSH. Strengthening the shoulder stabilizers (Rotator Cuff muscles) and activating the posterior scapular region (mainly the Trapezius and Rhomboids muscle) for the Upper Back increases reciprocal inhibition and dynamic stability. The more stable your shoulders are, the more efficient your Bench Press will be! And of course with more efficient Bench Press you can lift heavier weights and build massive Pectoral muscles.

The “Strength Doc” recommended a Push to Pull ratio of 2:1 for healthy shoulders. On a daily basis, we’re underworking the back muscles by sitting slouched on our office desks and obsessive handheld technology use. Having this slouched posture keeps the Pectoral muscles on a contracted state and ‘hides’ them from full view. Strengthening your Upper Back improves your POSTURE which helps you flaunt your Pectoral muscles that you’re working hard on.

If you really want to improve your Bench Press, build a massive chest,  and look good overall, working your Back is the secret!

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Here are other great ways to improve your Bench Press and build a strong and massive Chest:

• Give your chest proper rest and recovery time. Getting a massive pectoral muscle doesn’t come from blasting your chest five times a week. Give each muscle group you work on – including the chest muscles – one to two days of rest in between workouts. Remember: No Recovery, No Improvement!

Stabilize your shoulders. A powerful push comes from a strong foundation for your arms from your shoulders and core. The more stable that foundation is, the more you’ll be able to bench press. Learn how to stabilize your shoulders here.

Improve your form. The bench press is simple: unrack the bar, drop and push – repeat ‘x’ number of times, then rack the bar. However, this simplified mentality might be what’s holding you back. Like what I mentioned previously, even your shoulder placement affects your Bench Press. Is your grip correct? How wide or narrow should your hands be? Where should you bend your elbows? Do you keep your spine flat? Do you keep your feet down? Get the right answers for these questions from a certified Personal Trainer to get faster results.

Get a well-designed program for your Chest exercises. Stop listening to the meat heads in the gym and start training seriously! There is a Training Principle called the Principle of Individuality which states that each individual has their own response and adaptation to any training program. This simply means that what might have worked for that meat head will not necessarily work for you. So if you want real progress, then stop following random advices from people you see in the gym.

If you want to achieve the best results, then follow the best program! Get your customized program by clicking here.