It’s cold. It’s dark. It’s tough.

Who wants to go outside. Who wants to get out of bed. It’s a very inevitable environment we are in right now. That is if you live where I live, southern Ontario, Canada. We are just at then end of January. Still some time to go until spring is here, and the cold dark days are over.

But, you made a promise to yourself. You promised yourself you were going to make this year different from the others. No more excuses. No more reasons why you will skip the workout today. You looked back at last year and you weren’t happy about it. Easily you came up with reasons why  you couldn’t work out. All justifiable. A day a week became 3 days a week which became 5 days a week. It became the norm.

And it shows. Cardio – sucks. Strength – sucks. Flexibility – sucks.

But this year will be different. Why? Because you know that at the end of the day it was up to you. It was up to you to take that 20 minutes you had that day to rip off some burpees. To rip off some push ups. To rip off some Tabata. It was up to you to do it. You want to be healthier; stronger, faster, bigger, smaller, whatever it is. You know what? These things do not happen without making them happen. These things are not going to come across an Instagram post, a tweet, a Facebook news article. These things are not going to happen while you lay on the couch, lay in bed because it’s too cold, binge watching Netflix, because you are tired, because you cannot find the energy or motivation to get your ass out of bed and do it. You’ll do it tomorrow, right? Yeah, that will happen. Do you honestly think these things will happen without putting in the work?

I was in California a couple weeks ago for an instructors retreat. I was fortunate enough to get to train with a lot of top level karateka, one of them being a Kyoshi. After training for the day was done we were back at Kyoshi’s house enjoying some time for everyone to get to know each other. I was having a conversation with a fellow karateka and he mentioned how awesome Kyoshi is, how he can speak Japanese, play  multiple musical instruments, is in more than one band, and of course, is an amazing martial artist.

All these things are true. Kyoshi is an amazing person who does all these things. Oh yeah, and he can also launch a shoe off of his foot and hit someone over 30 feet away. I’ve seen him do this more than once. That ability alone must take considerable time to master.

So back to the point of this post. When this person mentioned this to me, my response was that you could do all these things too. Yes Kyoshi is an amazing person but lets not neglect the reality that to be good, really good at all these things takes work. Hard work and dedication. Things very rarely come to people without putting in the work. I asked him what his priorities are in life. Do you want to be fluent in Japanese, do you want to have a better understanding of your karate, be better at your ground game, or throws? At the end of the day, or the end of your time, you live with the choices that you made. It is up to you to determine what is important to you.

Whatever those choices are. At the end be it the end of the day, or the end, you probably want to be happy about the choices you made. Is it easy? Not really. Sometimes we like to think it is but discounting that person’s hard work with words like ‘he’s so lucky’, or ‘it must come naturally to that person’ is the easy way out and misses the point. It’s easy to forget that we don’t have an insight to what that person is doing when we don’t see them. We don’t have visibility into their daily life, all the hard work they put in.

You owe it

Life is full  of regrets. Life is full of disappointment. Don’t let those regrets and disappointments be because you didn’t do anything about them. You are more than that. You have the power and the ability to change your life to what you want it to be. Whatever your priorities are, make them your priorities.

It’s hard, but it’s satisfying too!

Yours in health,



until later

All the world’s a stage…

It’s been almost two years since my first post. I’ve had periods where I could write 4 posts in one week. And then there has been times where a month would almost pass before I could put something up. And in both cases I have felt that what I wrote was something that someone could read and bring from it at the least some insight into their health and well being.

Have I achieved that? I don’t know. I hope I have. Only you know if I have.

And what lies ahead of me are a few things that will consume more of my time. I have a very important grading coming up at my home dojo. I also then have a very important trip to Okinawa Japan to also grade at our Hombu (head) dojo. And lastly  I am teaching Wednesday nights and soon to come Friday nights in addition of my regular nights of Tuesday and Thursday.

I don’t want to end up posting entries that are less than what I expect from myself. And that takes time. So what I’m getting to is you probably won’t see any new postings from me probably no earlier than August this year.

I know, how will you get through your week. I look at it as a great time to go through the archives and reread some posts.

Take care, and I look forward to my next post.

Yours in health,



a drop of free water

“All great achievements require time.”

I like to take this time of year to write a post that will help people new to fitness/working out and also to those that are already active. Be it that we are new to fitness, or a veteran, everybody can benefit from motivation. I think it’s fair to say that working out in itself is not overly difficult, it’s getting there and getting started that is the tough part for most people.


Trying to find things that can motivate us can be easy or difficult based on where we are on our path of fitness. It might be a new gym membership for those who are starting up in the new year. It could be a new training method such as TRX to bring motivation back. Regardless of what gets us motivated, most times that motivation starts to wane after some time. Could be a few weeks, a month or two or could also be after a year.

Let’s look at some things that we can do to keep motivated:

  • History – how do we know where we came from if we don’t have a map? Ok, that’s the best I can do for an analogy, not the best but what I’m saying is how do we know that we are healthier, stronger, have less body fat if we don’t know what those things were at the beginning, or months back? I realized myself after having some time off due to injuries and starting up again that my fitness level was pretty good before the injuries. How did I know this? Because I knew what my numbers were. I was able to compare my fitness level to what it was before my time off. Knowing where I was and where I am motivated me knowing that my fitness really dropped off. How awesome would it be to weigh yourself at the beginning of an 8 week or 12 program and at the end of that program weigh yourself again and see the improvements! Or to know that 6 months ago you could do only 5 pushups and now you can do 12! Could be a good motivator. Keep track of your workouts in a journal, or maybe try one of the new fitness tracking devices to have it do it for you.
  • 80% – I wish there was a way to get a taste of that feeling after you have a good workout, before you work out. I know on those days that you are tired, or not motivated to work out but you still go and you feel so awesome afterwards! You have that feeling that you’re glad that you worked out instead of skipping it. 80% of working out is just getting off of the couch and doing it. Once we get off the couch and make that commitment, we usually finish. And we feel great! But it’s difficult when you are in that moment, in that zone and you try by telling yourself you’ll feel better but it’s not the same as the feeling itself. If there was some way to activate that feeling in the brain for a small moment, knowing that a work out will give you that feeling for a prolonged period motivation might not be an issue.
  • Get Oriented – Do you know why you train? Do you have a goal(s)? Training for reason such as I want to feel better, I want to live a healthier life, etc. are good reasons but they are not measurable goals. What about I want to run a marathon, I want to run a 10k under 50 minutes, I want to add 5lbs of muscle to my body. These are goals that you can measure, track and hopefully are realistic enough to achieve them. An example could be I want to complete a marathon 1 year from now. It’s great to have goals but we need to keep them realistic otherwise that goal can end up deflating any motivation you have. Something else you can do if your goal might take a fair amount of time to complete is to set up sub goals. Let’s say your goal is to add 10lbs of muscle to your body. A fantastic goal. But this could take maybe up to a year to achieve depending. Break down this goal into sub goals of adding just over 3lbs of muscle every 4 months. This way you are rewarded sooner in the process and will probably feel really good about each achievement.
  • It’s powerful – Getting motivated can be more complicated certain times. If you find that you are having a hard time getting motivated to do other things, simple things, it may be something deeper. It might be depression, or something like SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I know this time of year here in Canada it’s tough to do things you would normally have no problem doing in the summer. There’s less sunlight during the day. Most of us drive to work in the dark and drive home in the dark. And it’s cold! If you think this might be you see if you can seek out a professional to help you. And don’t view it as a negative thing. It’s not. I’m hoping one day people will start looking at mental health as they would look at the rest of the body. I don’t understand why we look at depression, etc. differently than we would look at a broken arm, or a heart attack. I think we are getting there though.


Sure, it’s easy for me to sit here and provide points on motivation. I wish it was as easy as having someone read this post and find what they are looking for. I know it’s not. If it was that easy there wouldn’t be a multi-billion dollar industry selling DVD’s, seminars, etc.

I guess my goal of this post is to help you find or keep that motivation. If I’ve done that it makes it all worthwhile.

Yours in health,


I’m tuned in


I can’t believe it but this will be my 150th post. I never thought I would make it this far, having so much to write about. I have covered topics to do with types of exercises, healthy eating, training properly, getting the most out of your time, etc. And hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading them. And stay tuned for some posts on the technical details of certain exercises. I’m hoping you’ll find those interesting.

Now I am throwing this out to you. Is there something I haven’t covered that you would like me to? Something you need clarity on, or would like more information on? Let me know. Leave a comment or send me an email. I’ll do my best to write something decent.

After all, this blog is for you.

Yours in health,


December is here before it’s June

…just a taste so i want more

It’s been just over a year since I became a certified personal trainer. Becoming a personal trainer was never done so I could become a personal trainer full time, or even train individuals on a part time bases, well, other than maybe one or two. The reason I decided to do this was to become more knowledgeable about anatomy, exercising, fueling, etc., and to help those with whom I train with. I am fortunate enough to get to train a bunch of great individuals, at the dojo I train at, two times, sometimes 3 times a week. Looking back, maybe I should have taken the group fitness trainer certification.


I look back at the last year and the people I train and it amazes me. I look at the work they do now compared to a year ago and the progression is incredible. My workouts become tougher and tougher and I have to do that, even though I can see eyes glaring at me, because my students have become that much more fit.

I guess you can almost call this an art. I’ve taken bodies and have sculpted them over the months to something different than they were a year ago. My students are the clay and I am the sculptor of that clay, the sculptor of their bodies. I remember one night where I created a workout that was fairly tougher than the ones we have been doing and thinking it was too much, I’ve gone too far. Going through the workout I would monitor the faces, the expressions of pain, of agony and of frustration. I thought to myself that I have taken the workout to too high a level and it was too much. I was thinking of scaling it back half way through. But I didn’t. I kept going knowing that they could do it, they could finish this workout because it was achievable and the drive was there.

We made it through. Yes, we. I feel very much part of the workout even though I’m not participating. I can vicariously feel the pain and the frustration of my students. We made and and we grew from it.

That’s it. That’s the reward I get when I do this. Seeing my students double the amount of pushups they can do. Doing 45 second intervals full out over and over. Doing all this and not complaining but instead thanking me for doing this for them. I’ve had students tell me that feel fitter and that they can do more throughout the day without feeling tired. Maybe it’s selfish of me, but that’s what makes me feel good about training.

Do I feel good? Yeah, I do, but I tell them that they should thank themselves and they should feel good about pushing themselves to places that are uncomfortable and painful and then doing it again, and again and…

The downside

I’m not sure that this is really a downside, maybe. It’s hard for me to watch people workout and not push themselves. Do they know that they need to? Are they uneducated with respect to exercise? Are they afraid? Are they lazy? Probably yes to one of these. It’s tough to stand by and not jump in and say something. I try not to jump in because it can be a delicate area of discussion telling someone they need to work out to the point they feel exhausted and almost want to puke. Usually I don’t say anything unless I’m approached and asked. Then, you can’t shut me up.

Maybe that’s just me though. But I do know there is a lot of lack of understanding of exercising. The other day at work I was talking with two people who were complaining that although they workout they just can lose the weight. I see these two working out at the gym we have at work and it’s apparent that they don’t have the understanding they need. They are doing the same thing every time and the effort is maybe 50 to 60 percent output, never 100 percent. I tried to get a conversation going by saying ‘hey, did you know I’m a certified personal trainer?’, but no one bit. That’s ok though, we have all been there and I think you tend to find these things out when there is a desire to. Some day.

Another one

Over a year, over 140 blog posts. What lies ahead for me? I don’t know. I’ve always been interested in becoming certified in plant based nutrition but I don’t have the time at this point. This is something that is close and important to me. Just like exercising, there is a lot of misinformation regarding plant based eating. I can talk to it somewhat, but I find that people listen better when they know you are qualified in the area you are talking. Maybe later this year when things quiet down a bit. We’ll see.

I do know this though that there will be more posts, more training and more learning.

Oh, and yeah, more handing out ass whuppings.

Yours in health,


Thanks everyone for taking the time to read my blog. I am truly lucky.

worth its weight in gold

Rain on me.

This article may be more relevant for people living in my geographical area, specifically North America because we are coming up to summer. Five days from now it will officially be summer.

I thought it would be a good time to remind everyone that we need to stay hydrated and it is especially easier to lose that water when it’s warmer. Your body needs water to function and if not adequately hydrated, you can run into performance issues and even health issues. If you are someone who sweats a lot be sure to also replenish your electrolytes.

If you want more information on why we need water and electrolytes, read the following post.



Remember, by the time your body gives you that thirsty signal, you are already dehydrated. If you are training in hot weather, or a hot room, be sure to have a water bottle with you.

One last thing. Don’t be someone who thinks it’s better to tough it out instead of having water. That doesn’t do anyone any good.


Yours in health,


And the day came

For that is just the place and time that the tide will turn

Do you do a lot of sitting? Do you suffer from back pain occasionally? If you do, you are part of the majority. We can probably blame technology for the amount of sitting we do. Technology be it computers or other devices is ubiquitous. Most of our devices are used while we are sitting and less time is spent out of the sitting position. And, the majority of people are not getting an adequate amount of exercise weekly (some studies have concluded that the number is as high as 80%). Today  I came across an article saying it’s time we pay employees to exercise.

This post isn’t going to get into the benefits of having a workplace that encourages working out, but I think this shows the importance and the slow realization that we perform better when we are active or workout.

My point I guess is that our body is taking a beating from all the sitting we do, and it needs to be addressed. Outside of working out, I want to spend some time on explaining some of the things we can do to loosen those tight hip flexors.

What are they

Hip flexors is a general term used to refer to the muscles that move our femur to a flexion position. There are a number of muscles that comprise what we call the hip flexors. I’m not going to name them but instead I want to explain what they do. Flexion is the movement that decreases the angle between two bones at a joint. Hip flexion brings the femur (the bone in our legs above the knee) closer to our body. Now if we compare the position of the femur when we stand to when we are sitting you can see that the femur is closer to our body when sitting. Muscles can only contract and pull so to bring the femur closer to our body our hip flexors pull the femur to keep it in that position.

And because we keep our legs in flexion state because of all the sitting we do, these muscles stay in the contracted position and end up becoming tight. We probably don’t even realize it. The indicators of tight hip flexors don’t so much point to the hip flexors as the issue but instead manifest in other issues such as back problems, knee problems, hip problems and so on.

Alright, having said all that let’s spend some time looking at what can be done to loosen our hips. I’m going to list some stretches you can do, but I will defer to external sources for some of these because I can’t really explain them well enough for you to get the benefit.

The remedy

I’m going to start with one of my favourites, and oldie but a goodie, the kneeling lunge. This one is really straight forward, easy to do and doesn’t require much.

Kneeling lunge: Start by kneeling on one knee. The front leg should be bent at about 90 degrees. The back leg should be straight behind you, having your foot as far back as it can go. Have your foot on the back leg positioned so the top of your foot is on the ground. Keep about 55 – 60% of your weight on the front leg. Gently press your hip forward feeling the stretch. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds then switch legs.

Things to watch for: Watch that you don’t extend the front knee forward of your toes. Keep the leg that is behind you straight back from your hip. Don’t let it move to the outside or the inside.

Half Pigeon Pose: This is one of the stretches that I’m going to defer to external sources.  I would recommend that you take yoga classes to learn this pose. The half pigeon pose is great for stretching the psoas muscle which is one of our hip flexors that end up becoming tight. It’s a tough one to do if you have tight hips but if you work at it you will loosen up your hips.

Things to watch for: This can be a tough stretch. Ease into it. Let time do it’s thing to loosen up the muscles.

Kneeling lunge variant: This stretch is the same as the kneeling lunge with the modification of putting the back foot up against a wall behind you. Position yourself so your back knee is about 8 inches forward of a wall. Now with your leg bent, rest your foot against the wall. Now lower your hips until you can feel the hip flexors of the leg that has it’s foot up on the wall start to stretch. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds than switch legs.

Things to watch for: Same things as the kneeling lunge.

So much more

It shouldn’t take much to do these stretches but the benefits will be huge! Try to make it part of your weekly routine, and then maybe your routine every other day. Watch for the progress and see if other parts of your body feel better, are less injury prone.

It’s your body, give it the respect it, and you deserve.

Yours in health,


reasons only knew

And I heard everything
Now here I go…

Every 18 months the amount of transistors that could be put onto a computer’s processor would double. Basically that would mean that every 18 months computers performance would double. This has been the case for years.

Along with the increase in speed came the decrease in size, technology getting smaller. Smart phones have been coming with quad core processors for a while now. Recently at CES Intel showcased a system on a chip the size of a shirt button. The device will be used to power wearables along with other devices that need to be on. Computers in a sense are getting smaller and smaller and will continue to do so.

By now you are probably wondering what this has to do with fitness. Or you are thinking that I have totally forgotten that I am supposed to be writing a fitness blog. I’m ok, so don’t worry.

What it is

Just like we have smart phones, smart watches, etc., technology has made its way into the fitness world. Technology has already been there in the sense of heart rate monitors, timers, applications that run on your smart phone to track your runs, etc. But we are getting into a new area where performance feedback will be at your fingertips capturing important metrics, and in some cases capturing these metrics all day.

Clothing embedded with sensors analyzing your body’s metrics, fitness bands that monitor your activity level, and monitor your sleep. Socks that track your run. These devices are getting smaller and less obtrusive to wear. It’s coming to the point that all you need to do is put on a shirt and your vitals are monitored.

The new

Fitness bands. From monitoring heart rate, activity level, to sleep patterns. Personally, I think everyone would benefit from a heart rate monitor, at the least to prevent over training. Heart rate monitors are vital if you are serious about building your cardio or if you compete. It’s an easy way to know you are working at the intensity you need to. If you knew that your performance would increase by 10% in the same amount of time, or your recovery time would be less if you used one, would you? Another benefit of a fitness band is some of them will let you compete with others. You can share your results using social media, or you can compete against others who use the same band. It can be a fantastic motivator.

Sensoria offers socks that have sensors that tell you how far, how fast and also how well you ran. They have shirts and sports bras that will communicate to a heart rate monitor. No more having to wear a strap around your chest to monitor heart rate.

And what about a device the size of a band aid that you can wear 24×7 to provide feedback daily such heart rate, body temperature, exercise load. With this data you can train in the correct exertion zone and also be alerted if you are over training which can prevent sickness and or injury.


The road

Where is all this going? I believe that we are on the cusp of technology being integrated into fitness for everyone. Devices and the tech behind them are getting smaller and smaller and this is being done with what we understand about tech and with our current technology architecture if you will. Some people believe we are close to harnessing the functionality of quantum computing which will be the equivalent of moving from horse and buggy to a formula 1 race car. Also we have seen over the last 10 years more and more use of nano technology. I think we are not far from being able to swallow a tracking device that will communicate our performance and vitals to a wearable device.



Some people may see this as a bad thing, or unnecessary. I guess it depends. If you are training to make gains be it strength and size, or improving cardio fitness, how will you know how you did if you haven’t measured your performance or body feedback? To take something I heard today, “working out is not rocket science”, but it is science especially if you want results and aren’t happy doing something that may hinder your results or slow down the process of getting these results.

How many people stop training due to over training at the beginning? What if those people had the technology to alert them when they hit the level that brought them out of the target area they should have been training? Would they have continued? Maybe.

How about using peer pressure and competition to keep motivated? These devices can give you that.


Do you need this technology to train? No. Do you need this technology to train smart? I believe so. Think of that red zone on your tachometer in your car. You stay away from that red zone, hopefully, because going into it is not good for the engine. Then why do we let our body go into the red zone.

If you are interested in some of the technology I have listed, decide what it is you want to monitor, or what features you are looking for and see what’s available that meets those needs.

Think of it as a small investment in your health and well-being. Believe me, you are worth it.

Yours in health,