All of us get lost in the darkness, dreamers learn to steer by the stars

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.

Ask yourself the question, when you decided to get a driver’s license and you had never driven a car, did you attempt to learn how to drive by getting behind the wheel without any guidance at all? I’m thinking probably not. Either you had some help from a family member, or you attending driving school. Why? Why not just get behind the wheel and start driving? Probably because learning to drive can be quite the daunting task, and also there is a lot of risk when you screw up.

So why do we look at exercise differently?

Self promotion

In most of my posts I reference the use of a personal trainer. Some people might think that since I am a personal trainer that I am just promoting my field to drive up business. Makes sense doesn’t it. But that’s not what’s going on. Much like learning to drive a car, one of the benefits of having a personal trainer is to learn how to do things properly. I’m sure people laugh at this thought or dismiss it. ‘I already know how to work out, why would I need someone to show me how?’ is the common response to why don’t you get a personal trainer.

For whatever reason most of us decide to undertake activities that put our bodies through abuse, large amount of stress and activities that can have detrimental short and long term affects. I don’t think this is done purposely but I think it’s because we feel that the training we do is working for us. We sweat, hopefully, our heart rate goes up, our muscles may ache, and generally we feel better. Can we always notice damage being done to our body because of improper technique? No. Are we able to show the correlation between a health issue and improper training? No. So we kind of go along blindly thinking everything’s rocking.

Unfortunately people don’t realize the benefit of having a personal trainer until they have a personal trainer. That is usually when they have that ‘a ha’ moment of why didn’t I do this a long time ago.

Does this make sense so far? To also help you understand that this article is not being written as a way for me to increase my client base, or to drive up other trainer’s client base let me explain why I became a personal trainer. It really was for my own benefit of learning more about the human body. I have always had a love for fitness and wanted to learn more about why the body works the way it does, and why we do certain things and get the results we do. Also, my responsibilities at the dojo where I train started to change as my rank changed. I was more of a teacher and started to run and coordinate the warm ups of the students. Because of this I wanted to be able to do these things well, and I wanted the people I train with to benefit from proper work outs thus becoming stronger and healthier.

It was never my goal to become a personal trainer to start a business full time or to focus on how to get more clients. This is not to say that I won’t take on clients. Absolutely! But personal training is not my full time job.

What are they

Let me list in no particular order what I think are the benefits of having a personal trainer, and also describe those benefits:

  • Identifying your strengths and weaknesses – A personal trainer should be able to identify your strong and weak areas. This will result in a program that will build those weak areas, balancing out your body which will help reduce injuries due to muscular imbalances. Read my post on muscular imbalances and the impact of them
  • Technique – I mention it quite frequently, train smart. Working out be it cardio or resistance training requires proper technique to realize the benefits of this training and also to prevent injury. In my opinion, a large amount of people stop training because they don’t have an understanding on how to train for what their goals are. This results in a lack of motivation because they are not making gains and also they may incur an injury.
  • Made for you – You are unique, we all are. What works for your friend may not work for you. You have goals and why would you not want to reach those goals as soon as you can? A personal trainer will ask you what your goals are and will tailor a program specifically to help you achieve those goals. It’s like having your own personal mechanic for your body. The personal trainer has the tools to make adjustments to your body based on your body.
  • Gets you going – If you aren’t motivated you aren’t working out. A personal trainer is there to keep that motivation strong, to fire you up and get the most out of you. When you have finished your workout you should be going home feeling strong, feeling awesome and looking forward to your next workout.
  • Knowing when and why – As you work with your personal trainer, she or he should be aware on your performance and your progress. As you are reaching the point of hitting that plateau they will be aware and ready to change things up so you miss plateauing. Your gains in performance will happen quicker as you are not wasting time hanging out on that plateau.
  • More training, less time injured – A personal trainer will be there to ensure you warm up properly, cool down, and take the time to stretch and work on your range of motion. This, along with using proper technique will reduce downtime due to injury.

Why not

Do you need a personal trainer all the time, forever, and ever? No, I don’t think so. Use a trainer to review your technique and have those issues addressed. That may be all you need, especially if you are someone who already had a strong understanding of fitness. Assess where you are. Have you been making the gains you should be? Are you motivated? Have you plateaued?

It’s up to you, of course. You know where you are going, now how are you going to get there?

Yours in health,



I will stare the sun down til my eyes go blind, I won’t change direction and I won’t change my mind


…we find out how committed we really are and whether we’re going to see things through to the finish or quit.

In a previous post I talked about plateauing, getting to a point in our training where gains are no longer being made. Plateauing can happen in both our cardio training, and resistance training. What can cause plateauing? Doing the same thing every time you train and not challenging your body when you train. Becoming comfortable. Your mental state can also cause plateauing. If you are working out physically, but not mentally in the sense that you are just going through the motions, you probably will not make any physical gains. In fact, you may actually lose some of your gains.

No one wants to plateau. Who would want to do the same amount of work, but not make the gains you could have made.


I want to spend some time talking about the psychological aspect to our training. In my opinion the mind can have a significant impact on our training.  If your mind is not into what you are doing, you will probably either stop doing it by finding ways to avoid working out, or you will end up halfheartedly going through the motions.  If this is the case for you, it’s time to change what you are doing. The mind is powerful, and what is going on in your mind will find a way to express itself in your body.

I’ve seen it myself where when training people for a while using the same routine, they become bored, and the energy level drops, and the effort drops. Or they become complacent, comfortable in doing the same thing over and over, afraid of change. Changing the workout or doing something to bring the energy level up can make a huge difference. It’s amazing, nothing has changed physically with the person but the perception of things changed and the body responded. This may require you to get out of your comfort zone which can be uncomfortable. But the rewards can be, well, fantastic!

Things that can be done to address mental fatigue are:

  • Try working out at a different time of day
  • Try working out with music. If you already do this, change up the music to something new
  • Try working out with someone that can motivate you
  • Try something new. Sign up for a new class, or try a different piece of equipment
  • Get a personal trainer that will motivate you

Try to be aware of your mental state while training. If you are lacking motivation, constantly yawning when training, and generally uninterested, it’s time to change things up.

What else

Time to look at resistance training and what can be done to address plateauing. Good news is there are a lot of options. I’m going to get right into them:

  • Supersets – Instead of resting between your sets, throw in another set working another part of your body. An example would be between your bench press sets, do seated cable rows. Or, between pushup sets, do ab crunches. Supersets are great when you are pressed for time or to work more muscles during your workout.
  • Circuit training – Sets of resistance training and cardio training are combined with little or no break. An example would be a set of pushups, a set of ab bikes, and a set of high knees. Do this for 4 sets for a challenging workout
  • Pyramid sets – Multiple sets are combined in an ascending and or descending fashion. What I love about pyramid sets is you can do this with anything you do, pretty much.  Let’s use burpees as an example. I know, you hate Burpees. Everyone hates Burpees but you know what? Burpees is one of the best full body exercises you can do that is fantastic for improving your cardio. Alright, back to pyramid sets. Start with 15, then a 10 second break. Then drop down to 14, 10 second break. Next, do 13, then 12, then 11 adding the break in between and do this until you get down to 1. Then, if you like, head back up to 15. If a 10 second break is too long, shorten it. This is a guideline, you are the best judge of what you need for a rest.

When change is right, change is rewarding

Challenging yourself, keeping yourself interested are very important things to keep moving forward with your active life. Try not to become stagnant and try not to be discouraged if you reach a plateau. Remember that there are options and explore these options.

It’s up to you what you choose to do. Choose wisely. Don’t stare the sun down.

Yours in health,


I continue to be drawn to clarity and simplicity

Don’t use a lot where a little will do.

This is going to be a relatively short post, but none the less, I think it’s important as it deals with something we can do that can have a large impact on our health. That’s important to me as I feel we need to focus on more than just fitness when it comes to maintaining our overall health.

Less is more

Over the last 4 years I have been fortunate enough to travel to Okinawa, Japan twice. My trips to Okinawa are the result of being involved in karate. You may not be aware, but Okinawa is the birth place of karate. The trips to Okinawa were not to compete in tournaments but rather to better understand the culture of the art I so love came from. It was to be immersed in everything Okinawan for the time I was there. How better to understand the art of karate than to be with the people whose culture it is so ingrained.

If you know anything about Okinawa, you may know that Okinawan’s tend to live to a very old age. It is not uncommon for Okinawan’s to live past the age of 100. To the best of my knowledge this can be attributed to their care free view on life, Okinawan’s love to have a good time and are always smiling, and their smiles are genuine. It could also be because I think they refuse to let their age get in their way and are always active. During my last trip I had the privilege of training with two Okinawan’s who are in their seventies. They were doing everything we were doing, from a very active warm up, to kata, which is very physically demanding. They were not there training because we were visiting the dojo, they were training because that is what they do week to week, year to year.

Lastly, Okinawan’s longevity could also be attributed to their diet. Lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, seafood and legumes. But, importantly, the serving size of a meal is much smaller than what we are accustomed to as North Americans. Their dishes such as plates and bowls are smaller than what we are accustomed to. The same with glasses. I think their drinking glass would be categorized as an extra small here in North America.

Hara Hachi Bu

Hara Hachi Bu – eat until you are 80% full. That is the Okinawan saying and practice that some people attribute to their longevity. Eating to 80% and then stopping will still provide that feeling of being full as the stomach’s stretch receptors will still send the signal to the brain that it is full. This can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. From my experiences I found that eating with chopsticks also aids in providing that full feeling as it generally takes longer to eat a meal because you cannot load up the chopsticks like you can a fork. It’s not uncommon for it to take 20 – 30 minutes to consume a meal with chopsticks whereas eating with our hands (burgers, pizza, etc.) or a fork the meal can be over in as little as 5 to 10 minutes.

How different this is from how we live. The land of $25 all you can eat buffets (better get your money’s worth), super sizing meals, eating until you can’t eat anymore and then having to undo the button on your pants, followed by a nap. TV shows such as Man Vs. Food – ‘Tonight’s challenge will be to eat a 7lb hamburger’. Or the steakhouse that will let you eat free if you finish the 62oz steak with all the fixins.

It shouldn’t be surprising that obesity is becoming epidemic. In North America, we eat until 130% full. What does this do to our body? Firstly, the stomach is an organ that will stretch when it needs to due to consuming too much food in a sitting. If overeating happens somewhat frequently, your stomach will stretch and stretch gradually getting bigger and remaining bigger. So now to fill your stomach requires you to consume more food. Generally this results in weight gain as you are now having to eat more to feel full and satisfied. Also, you are putting greater stress on your body by it having to digest and process a larger amount of food. Since the North American diet generally speaking is unhealthy, high in sugars and bad fats, and low in vegetables, fiber and fruits our body is getting even more of a bad thing.

Good news

I have said it before, our body is an amazing thing. Just like how the stomach will expand over time, getting larger due to having accommodate larger meals, the stomach can shrink back to a smaller size. You can adopt the principle of eating until 80% full and your body will respond over time. It will be tough at the beginning because you are reducing the amount your normally consume, so take it easy and make it a gradual process. You will get there eventually.


I think we are too fast paced in life, always having to do something or be somewhere. We don’t always take time to enjoy the beautiful things in life. Slowly drinking  fine dark roast coffee while reading a book over an hour or two. Looking up at the sky at night, taking in its spectacularness and wondering what might be on one of the planets orbiting one of those stars.

Eat less, take the time to enjoy the food you have prepared. Try that, and I think you may also notice the food will taste different, better.

Yours in health,



…But no one tells us it’s addictive

Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.

Most of my articles have talked about the aspects of training. How to get more out of our training, using training to address imbalances, etc. So I was pondering today what can I write about, what can I write that will help people and also be interesting. Usually when I’m thinking about various ideas for this blog, I’ll work through in my head what I would write about and try to determine if it’s interesting enough to post. Then I’ll start to write the article that I have planned for that day, and as I write the article I’m also trying to be critical of it and still evaluating if the article will make it to the blog. Not all ideas I have make it to the blog. I’m hoping that’s a good thing and that my critical analysis has been of value so far.

Some ideas will come to me from questions people ask me, or also from comments people make. I actually find it really interesting in that one question, one comment can end up being a 1,800 word post. And questions and comments are great for articles because if it was worthy to be a question or comment, it’s probably perfect to write about.

What is it about

This leads me to today’s post. It’s fantastic if you are someone who can get yourself to your workout when planned, and don’t miss many, or any at all. You have a lot of drive, you have the time or you make the time, and you have the flexibility to fit in your workout. You are someone who feels anxiety when you miss your workout. You just have to get it in or your whole day becomes impacted.

This is good, right? Yes, mostly. But, it can also become a detriment to your training, to your body, to your mind, and to your health. Just like too much protein in our diet can negatively impact our health by damaging our kidneys, too much exercise without adequate rest will damage our body, in some cases causing injury.

The first case

Let me first start with someone who has just taken up an active lifestyle. This person was introduced to running, and they have determined that they have found the one exercise they really like. They like running so much that they are running every day, and increasing their distance weekly by large amounts. After about 6 weeks of increases in distance, and the frequency of running, this person is injured and diagnosed having runner’s knee. Time off from running will be 4 to 6 weeks. So much for those gains made.

It’s important to keep in mind that when we undertake a physical activity such as running, biking, swimming, etc., that we need to gradually increase duration, or increase load. Someone training to run a marathon does not go from running 3 miles one week to increasing their distance to 6 miles the next week. I’m not going to spend time detailing all the training techniques and methods, because I think you understand my point. Unless you are an elite athlete, who has access to coaches, vast increase in workout time and load will potentially damage the body. If you think about how our body is made up, the joints, connective tissue, bones and muscles, there is a lot going on. And your body has adapted to your somewhat sedentary lifestyle of the last few years. You need to give it time to adjust, to repair itself after training, to gradually get used to the modest increases in load.

The second case

Unlike my first example, this person lives to workout, and has for a number of years. Probably a day doesn’t go by where this person is not working out. Even outside of workout time, he keeps very active. Not someone to just sit around and do nothing. The problem is this person is not the person they were 5 or 10 years ago, they are older. As the body ages, it’s not able to recover as quickly as it used to. With the body taking longer to recover, you become more susceptible to colds and flus, run a greater risk of injury and can actually lose physical gains you have made and start regressing instead of progressing.

Now by no means am I saying that as you get older you cannot do the things you used to do. I really think I would be the last person to say that or tell someone that. There are a lot of examples of people who have remained very active as they aged, even to the point of being more active than when they were younger. Take Jack LaLanne as an example. This guy was pulling a boat around in the water with the rope from the boat in his teeth. Here is an example of one of his feets: 1979 (age 65): towed 65 boats in Lake Ashinoko, near Tokyo, Japan. He was handcuffed and shackled, and the boats were filled with 6,500 lbs. To be clear, not all of us are Jack LaLannes.  I would believe genetics have somewhat of an influence on his achievements.

But just as the body does not recover as quickly as it used to, there are things we can do so we can continue to workout, and enjoy that part of our life. Sleep is one of our recovery tools that can prevent over training. If you’re an adult and are not getting 7 – 8 hours of sleep a night on a regular basis you are not giving your body the adequate sleep it needs for it to recover. Sleep is a very important part of the recovery process so the body can repair itself.

Another way to help prevent over training is by eating healthy. Proper nutrition, the proper amount of calories and the right calories to fuel and repair your body can be very beneficial. Also reducing simple carbs such as sugar from the foods you eat will help you in recovery, and will benefit you in many other ways.

Listen to your body too. If you are finding that you just don’t have the motivation to workout, then skip it. This is your body and mind telling you that you need a break. Listen to it and take the day off. You will more than likely feel much better the next day instead of feeling even more run down.

Complete the feedback

All good things come in time. Take the time to enjoy the ride, and reap the benefits as you ride along. Give your body the rest it needs. Listen to what it’s telling you or bear the consequences. How much rest is enough? How many calories do you need to consume daily? I don’t know. I don’t know you. But you can tell when you haven’t had enough sleep, and when you haven’t eaten enough. Right? Exactly. Train hard, but train smart.

Yours in health,



You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong

The lesser known is often the more neglected.

Most of us understand the major muscles of our body. Quadriceps, chest, biceps, calfs, back, shoulders, abs are the muscles that I believe most people can recognize and identify on their body. Obviously we have many more. Actually, we have over 650 muscles in our body. Unbelievable, isn’t it. I’m not going to spend time on all of our muscles, but I do want to talk about common neglected muscles that we have that can benefit from regular resistance training.


I have mentioned in some of my previous posts that we all have muscle imbalances. This is common as we tend to use specific muscles more often than the muscles that are opposite the dominant ones. A common example of a muscle imbalance is the front of our shoulders (anterior deltoid). The anterior muscle in most of us is much stronger than the posterior deltoid (back of the shoulder) and somewhat stronger than the lateral deltoid (the one to the outside) because a lot of the activity we do, such as carrying heavy things in front of us such as groceries, cans of paint, etc. work the anterior deltoid. There just aren’t common tasks we do day to day that focus on using the posterior deltoids. So over time this leads to our imbalance in our shoulders. This can then be extended from things we do daily, to the type of exercises we do that exaggerate the imbalance.

The reality is unless you have a personal trainer, we probably aren’t aware of these imbalances, and what exercises we should be doing to address and strengthen the weaker muscles. How many of us know what exercises should be done to strengthen and build the posterior deltoids? Anyone? Hey, don’t feel bad that you don’t know. Feel great about yourself that you are here reading this post trying to educate yourself and do something about it. Feel good that you are actually exercising and trying to lead a healthier life. That is so much more than what a lot of people are doing, or aren’t doing.

What I want to do now is spend some time identifying muscle that most of us are weaker in, and can benefit from some training.

Get it going

I have already mentioned the shoulder muscles, but I will review again. Most of us can benefit from working on our posterior deltoids, the muscles at the rear of our shoulder. You can do the following exercises to strengthen this muscle:

  • Bent over lateral raises
  • Lying side laterials
  • Cable cross laterals

Try these exercises and I think you will be surprised how your shoulders feel afterwards, and the results you will also see. If you are someone trying to build your shoulders, you will love this as it will really help to frame out your upper body.

Sticking with the general shoulder area, let’s look at the upper back. Again, with activities we do throughout the day, most of us have strong upper trapezius muscles as these muscles get worked when carrying objects. The upper trapezius muscles are the ones that go from the shoulder to the neck. So, strong traps (a common term used to refer to the upper trapezius muscles) makes for weak mid and lower traps.  It makes perfect sense. To strengthen the mid and lower traps you need to move the body a certain way. You will see with the following exercises why these muscles are weak in relation to our upper traps. We just don’t do the movements that would strengthen these muscles. Let’s look at what we can do to strengthen them:

  • Sitting cable row
  • Dumbbell lat row
  • Cable lat pull down

In a couple of the exercises above you see the word lat. That’s because these exercises are also working the Latissimus Dorsi muscles. These are the muscles on the outer side of your back, the ones that can give you that V shape on your upper body. The fact that these muscles also get worked is a bonus since having strong lats help counter act having strong chest muscles.

So, let’s get into the mid to lower back, since we have already included it somewhat in the exercises above. If you are someone who does a lot of bench pressing, pushups, then you probably have chest muscles that are stronger than your back muscles, or more specifically the lat muscles. As mentioned above, these are the muscles that give your back the V shape. Let’s look at what can be done to strengthen the lat muscles:

  • Cable Lat Pull downs
  • Dumbbell lat row
  • Chin ups

As you can see, there is some overlap with the mid to lower trap exercises and the lat exercises. That’s ok as long as you understand that when training either muscle group you will be hitting both.

Let’s move onto our arms. Again, most daily activity tends to work our biceps and forearm muscles. The motion we use when carrying heavy objects engages our biceps and forearm muscles. Our triceps, which only become engaged when we use a motion of pushing something down when our arms are bent don’t get used that often. Makes sense doesn’t it. When was the last time you had your arms bent at the elbows, and had to push downward? It really doesn’t happen that often does it. So what can we do? Here are some exercises that you can do to strengthen the triceps, and bring your arms back to being straight.

  • Cable triceps extension
  • Close hand pushups
  • Dumbbell triceps extension

Let’s move down our body to our abs. If you are exercising your abs, great! I think we might be alright here since I think a lot of us have moved away from doing sit ups to doing exercises such as planking as more information is coming out on potential back problems due to stress on the back because of the impact from sit ups. That’s great because unlike sit ups that work the rectus abdominis, planks will aslo engage the less used transverse abdominus and the erector spinae, muscles that provide our core with stability when we stand. The other muscles, the obliques, also provide this stability when standing. Here are some exercises that will strengthen these muscles and help to provide that stability.

  • Ab Bike
  • Shoulder to knee curl up
  • Dumbbell Oblique lateral flexion
  • Stability ball Oblique lateral flexion (semi-prone)
  • Plank
  • Semi Prone Plan

Shoulders – done. Back – done. Arms – done. Let’s move onto the legs. If you are working your legs, way to go! You are in an elite group of people who aren’t wearing extra-long shorts when working out in the gym. You’re doing squats, leg presses and maybe leg curls. But what tends to get ignored are our adductor and abductor muscles. Again it comes down to the things we do every day and the muscles these movements work. Our abductor muscles get worked by moving our leg away from our body to the side, and our adductor muscles get worked by bringing that leg back to centre, all under load of course. I can’t think of anything I do from day to day that includes those movements. Makes sense that these muscles tend to be weak. So let’s look at what we can do to address this.

  • Cable hip adduction
  • Cable hip abduction
  • Tubing hip abduction
  • Semi prone hip abduction
  • Semi prone hip adduction

I’ll leave you with that

Have I hit all of them? No. But I have listed the common ones that once we strengthen these muscles our posture will change for the better, and hopefully we will have less injuries. That’s the reality of it. It may not be easy to do some of these exercises. It will probably be defeating since these muscles will be weak compared to their counter parts.  But you’re not one to get hung up on that, and you won’t let that discourage you.

Final note though, I have listed exercises but did not feel it worthy to describe how to do them. I fear that if I describe an exercise and don’t do a good enough job that you may end up not performing the exercise properly, and not realize the benefit. I’ll take this moment to recommend you engage a personal trainer if you would like to know how to perform these exercises. You can’t beat the value of a personal trainer to better understand how to execute certain exercises, or to help you understand what you should focus on. Of course Youtube will have lots of videos showing these exercises too.

Try these things out. Take charge of your body and you will be the one who benefits, short term and long term.

It’s with you now.

Yours in health,





you just have to feel the waves

In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.

This post probably is going to be considerably shorter than my average post, but don’t let the length of the post take away from the importance of the post. In one of my previous posts I talk about muscle imbalances, how we all have them, and what can be done to address them.

I want to take this time to talk about how we can change up our exercises to help address not the muscular imbalances from one muscle group to another, but the imbalance we all have from our dominant side to our weaker side. It’s only natural that we have this imbalance because we always use our stronger side because, mainly it has better coordination, and yeah, it’s stronger. Because of this, over the years the imbalance may become quite pronounced in that one side may become quite stronger than the other.

I’m working out

You have been working out, resistance training, getting stronger. Good for you! If you look at most of the training we do, it is usually exercises that work both sides in unison. For those doing body weight exercises you are probably doing pushups, pull ups, body weight squats, etc. For those using weights, you’re probably doing barbell bench presses, barbell squats, tricep push downs, etc. See what’s going on here? We are exercising both our weak, and dominate sides together. Typically this ends up where our dominate side picks up the slack and continues to be dominant, doing more work.

For most of us, that’s probably ok. But, for those of us who are involved in activities that could benefit from having both sides of our body equally strong, you may want to look at what can be done to achieve that equalization.

Tell me

The good news is that it’s really easy to bring things back to a balance. You just have to have patience. What you need to do is take any exercise you have been doing where both sides are engaged and separate the stronger side from the weaker side. Let’s look at how we can do that with a couple of examples:

  • Bench Press – Instead of doing barbell bench press, do a dumbbell bench press
  • Tricep Push Down – Try doing a one arm dumbbell tricep extension instead.
  • Barbell Bicep Curl – Same thing, change it up to a dumbbell bicep curl

With the above exercises, and any exercise that isolates one side from the other, start with the weaker side,  then repeat the exercise on the dominant side but doing only as many reps as you did on the weaker side. You need to let the weaker side dictate what the stronger side will do. Over time, this will bring you the balance between both sides.

For those doing body weight exercises such as pushups, try to keep yourself centered and balanced when doing the exercise. It can be easy to let the stronger side take over. Try to resist the urge to have the stronger side power you through those last few reps. Stop when you feel your weaker side starting to fatigue.

That’s it

It’s not that complicated, really. It does require patience as you take the time to strengthen your weaker side to equal the stronger side. But the rewards are sweet as you then realize you are able to do the same activities with the same results on both sides of your body! And there is an added bonus. Because you are working out with dumbbells, your coordination on both the dominate side and the weaker side will benefit! Really, why would you not want to do this? And if you ever break your dominant arm, you’ll be relaxed knowing the other side is just as strong and coordinated and will pick up the slack. No worrying about having to brush your teeth using your other arm.

You are the artist and your body is the canvas. You have the choice of what brushes to use. I’ve just given you another brush.

Yours in health,








humans live in time but our Enemy destines them to eternity

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.

You’ve made the commitment to exercise, to live a healthier life. You’ve set your goals, even written them down so you can go to them every so often for motivation. You have a pretty good idea on what you need to do to achieve you goal. That’s fantastic! You have taken a step in living an active and healthier life.

The next step is figuring out how, or more specifically when are you going to do this. You know people that workout in the morning, some workout on their way home from work, and some workout in the evening. If you have a choice to pick any of these times consider yourself lucky. Sometimes we don’t always have a choice. If the activity you have chosen is a group activity, or any activity that is led by an instructor or personal trainer, you may need to bend to their schedule. Sometimes this can have drawbacks as it may not be the perfect time for you. But that might be OK If there are other benefits such as being more motivated by working out with others. It all depends.

Is there a difference

Does training at different times of the days impact us differently? Definitely. Let’s take a look 2 times of the day, first thing and last thing, and how this can impact our workout. These are really the two we are concerned with:

First thing in the morning:

There are some people who swear by working out first thing in the morning. Personally, I can’t do this. I have tried it before, multiple times, but it doesn’t work for me for some of the reason’s I’m going to explain. Now the term ‘first thing’ is relative, relative to the person who says it. For some, first thing might be waking up, taking care of business, and then heading to the gym. Elapsed time to when they hit the equipment might be an hour or two hours depending. For some people it might be only 15 minutes if their workout is biking or running, something they can do by just walking out their front door.

So what state is our body in fuel wise when we start our workout. This depends on what you ate in the morning and what you ate the previous evening. You did eat something, right? If you have read some of my articles on fueling the body, I am guessing you did have something to eat.

Let me create the following scenario to explain how you can be having really crappy workouts in the morning, mainly due to improper fueling, or eating. I’m going to use somewhat of a worst case scenario, but I think it will make a point. The night before your morning workout, you participated in a fitness class for about an hour, from 8pm to 9pm. This made for a long day and when you finally made it home 45 minutes later, you were pretty tired and decided to have a bowl of cereal and then off to bed about half an hour later. It’s 11 pm and you’re still awake. Soon you will be asleep you tell yourself. 12:30am and you’re still up. This is madness! OK, soon, I know it will be soon my eyes will close and at least I’ll get some sleep. It’s 1pm and you’re finally sleeping. 5:30 am, you can’t believe the alarm is sounding already. You drag your body out of bed and get ready to head to the gym. No time for breakfast, and besides, you never have been someone to eat first thing in the morning as your stomach just cannot handle it.

You made it to the gym and start your workout. You can’t believe how tired you are but you get through it. It was tough, but you did it. Your motivation takes a bit of a hit because that was a really tough workout and for all the wrong reasons. It shouldn’t have been that tough. You’ve done this before and felt good afterwards. So let’s look closely at what made this workout so challenging and sucked the life right out of you.

First off the body’s fuel was never replenished from the workout the night before. That 1 hour intense workout used up a good amount of your glycogen stores and the bowl of cereal afterwards was not really adequate to replenish the depleted stores. With the depleted glycogen stores your body does not have the fuel needed to make energy for your workout. Also, there was no follow up meal higher in protein an hour later to help the body rebuild.

Next, the lack of sleep impacted the body because there wasn’t adequate sleep time to help the body rebuild and repair itself. Sleep is a very important part in the recovery process. Also the lack of sleep plays on us mentally because we feel tired physically and mentally. How can you perform your best when the mind is just not there? Mentally you are already at a disadvantage as you are not prepared to perform. Sometimes this can be overcome by a fantastic personal trainer who can motivate you past this state of mind. Another reason to use the services of a personal trainer.

Lastly, with already depleted glycogen stores, breakfast was skipped and the opportunity to replenish these stores was missed. 8 hours elapsed from the last meal to the workout. That is a long period of time the body is going without taking in any fuel. No wonder energy levels were low.

If working out first thing in the morning is the ideal time for you be sure to get enough rest and be sure to go to bed with your fuel tank topped up. Also be sure to eat something about an hour before your workout. Banana, orange, any complex carbohydrate would do.

End of the day:

What do I mean by end of the day? By this I mean it’s your last activity for the day, other than having a recovery meal and winding down. Usually you would then be going to bed about an hour, hour and a half afterwards.

The end of the day workout is usually one where you have adequate energy and usually perform well. Usually, as the preceding day can impact this if you did not get enough sleep the night before. But, if everything went well, you had enough sleep, you have been eating well throughout the day the workout can be quite satisfying. The trouble starts to happen when your recovery is impacted due to lack of sleep. Why was sleep such a challenge in morning workout example? As what can happen most times when working out at the end of the day, you end up with elevated hormones, elevated endorphins and sometimes dealing with adrenaline dumps. Based on the activity you are doing, it may translate to your mind being so busy reviewing the activity end on end that your brain will not let you relax and sleep.

So what happens is we are up for hours. Instead of 7 or 8 hours, we end up with only 3 or 4 hours of sleep. This directly impacts our body’s recovery process. This can compound and greatly affect us negatively if this starts to be the regular pattern, and not the exception. More and more studies are showing the importance of sleep, be it for physical and mental health. With lack of sleep impacting our body’s recovery process we diminish the benefits we should be realizing, and in a worst case we risk injury.

What’s the answer

I believe balance to be the answer. You have made the choice to become healthier, to feel better and to feel stronger. Yeah! Ultimately we need to balance these things into our life’s schedule. Knowing how all these things impact how we feel and perform, decide what works best for you.

Is there a best time to workout? Yes. The best time is what works for you keeping all these things in mind. There really is no simple answer to the question. All of us are different and react to things differently. I think the more you understand about your body and how your body reacts to varying amount of sleep and food, the easier it will be to address the negative impacts of working out at different times of the day.

Try to be flexible. Train smart and you will find a way. I have no doubt.

Yours in health,



From the ashes a fire shall be woken

To fly we have to have resistance.

In a previous article I espoused the benefits of cardiovascular training. I hope you were able to read it as it shed some light on how we benefit from cardio training and may have provided some information new to you. Personally, I’m always intrigued how our body responds to exercise and how it benefits. From reducing the effects of aging, to improving performance in day to day activities. There are so many benefits and it seems research is unearthing new benefits constantly.

While reviewing the articles I have written so far, I came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t really be fair of me to write an article on the benefits of cardio training, and not write on the benefits of resistance training. By no means am I biased against resistance training, I am a strong proponent of resistance training, I just had other articles to write, and have now finally gotten around to it.


I think most of us understand what resistance training is, but here is the formal definition:

Resistance training, or strength training, is defined as the following: the use of resistance to muscular contraction to build the strength, anaerobic endurance and size of skeletal muscles.

We could also define it as using a load to contract our muscles to build strength and size.

I think most of us have a good understanding of what resistance training is, especially when we choose specific resistance training exercises to obtain certain goals. Unlike cardiovascular training which really plays a part in a lot of our training, even sometimes when resistance training, strength training is more specific, and does not really play a part with all cardio training.

Why should we

There are a lot of benefits to resistance training that you would be doing yourself a disservice to not include it in your training regimen. Let’s spend some time looking at some of these benefits.

Helps to manage weight, or more specifically, reduces body fat.

It may be fair to say that most people exercise to keep control of their body weight by reducing the amount of body fat. The more amount of muscle you have the more work your body needs to do to feed that muscle tissue. This results in an increase in your resting metabolism to get this work done. In simple terms that means when you are not at the gym your body is working a little harder just to maintain itself.

The decrease in body fat also aids in reducing the risk of major life threatening disease such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Increase in muscular strength.

As you become stronger, day to day activities will become easier as you are able to perform these tasks with less effort. Bringing in the groceries won’t be such a monumental task anymore.

Strengthen bones.

This benefit is an awesome one. It benefits everyone short term and long term. From reducing the chance of injury and broken bones to reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

Improves core strength.

Another big benefit. Through a stronger core you have less chance of sustaining a back injury due to stronger abdominal and back muscles. Also your posture will improve.

Improved balance, agility, and coordination.

Who doesn’t want to have better coordination and be more agile? Didn’t think so.

Having said all that

Like all of the training we do, we need to train smart when it comes to resistance training. If you don’t you run the risk of injury and also may make certain conditions worse, without even realizing it. The risk of injury can be immediate from things like poor form, too much weight, and improper technique. The long term risk of injury can be due to not properly training the body as a whole. It’s common to see people working out and training only what I’ll refer to as the common muscles. Chest, biceps, front of the shoulders, and maybe, sometimes the legs. The problem with this is muscles that are probably already stronger than their counterparts are now becoming stronger, throwing our body off balance.

I’ll bet money on the fact that most people who are doing pushups, shoulder presses, bench presses are not doing any exercise for their rear shoulder muscles. The sad thing is the rear shoulder muscles are the ones we should be building since most of us already have strong front shoulder muscles from our day to day activities. This is what we call a muscle imbalance. The problem with muscle imbalances is it affects our posture by putting us into a position that can lead to injury without us even knowing it.

Depending on the muscle imbalance, it can lead to back problems, shoulder problems, problems when exercising such as running, walking, biking, etc. Runner’s knee is a common result of muscle imbalances. Most of us that have muscle imbalances are not even aware of them even when they manifest themselves in injuries such as a runner’s knee, or back pain.

Until we identify these imbalances and start doing the proper exercises and stretches to address them, we run the risk of putting ourselves even more out of balance. If you can, get a posture assessment done. This should address the imbalances and you will then be able to bring your body back to a balanced state.

Did I scare you? I hope not. If I did, don’t be. We all have imbalances be it small or large. Through proper resistance training, and proper stretching you can change this. You have the power. If you are unsure of what to do, consult a personal trainer.

It’s pretty simple

When you look at all the benefits why would you forgo resistance training, and why would you not work the body as a whole? It’s pretty empowering when you think about it.

Look at your body. What about it don’t you like? Do you see any imbalances? Shoulders turning in, maybe? Now, think of what you want your body to look like. Shoulders back, arms aligned with your legs, your legs somewhat larger as they have become stronger. Your back is a little wider, somewhat V shaped, positioned below your nicely squared shoulders. Nice.

It’s empowering knowing that you can become all this if you so choose. Your body is the canvas and you, the artist, have been given the brushes to make the changes. Another benefit.

Yours in health,