Category Archives: mind body

#MPOWERment Playlist #48

Again, for those who have followed my blog on the other site in the past, these #MPOWERment playlists are like the artist formerly known as Prince in that these are playlists formerly known as Melisscious’ Delicious Discography 😉 As per usual, you have your warmup and cooldown jams.

Plug in or Play it Loud and Go Get it!

1. Punjabi MC feat Jay Z and Pharrell – Beware of the Boyz

2. Die Mannequin – Sucker Punch

3. Fito Blanko feat Fat Joe and Sophia Del Carmen – Take Over

4. Calvin Harris and R3Hab – Burnin

5. Jessie J feat 2 Chainz – Burnin’ Up

6. Travis Barker feat Busta Rhymes, Lil Jon, Yelawolf & Twista – Let’s Go

7. Fergie – A Little Party Never Hurt Nobody

8. Showtek – We Like to Party

9. Shaggy Mohambi Faydee Costi – Habibi

10. Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud

Indulging in Treats and Napping Just May be Your Key to a Healthy Holiday Season

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The holiday season is full of celebrations. From office parties to family events, everyone gathers to spread a little extra cheer. While people may be wary of what all of the holiday treats will mean for their health, avoiding all of the revelry could cause more harm than good.  Creating a balance between restraint and indulgence will help sustain physical, mental and emotional well-being. Come out of the holiday season feeling just as good as you did when you went in with these easy tips.

Choose wisely.

During the holidays there are tempting treats everywhere you turn. From cookies at the office to fondue at the holiday party, your favorites can be hard to resist. But if you choose your treats wisely, you can guiltlessly enjoy every bite.

Browse the buffet line for healthy options like veggies or fruit, shrimp cocktails or chicken skewers so you won’t have to skip dessert. You can always share a sweet treat with someone else to keep you accountable. And if you’re worried about not having the will power, it’s a good idea to eat 1.5 ounces of healthy protein before an event to keep you feeling satiated.

Don’t deny yourself.

Food is connected to family, culture, tradition and celebration, and it should be a source of enjoyment. Avoid creating a list of items you cannot have. “When it comes to tempting foods, forbidding them only makes you want them even more,” says Debbie Swanson, registered dietician, and nutrition and healthy-cooking tips instructor at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Colorado. She suggests eating smaller portions of your favorites, such as a bite of pie instead of the whole piece. “My friend makes the best apple pie. I always have two bites,” Swanson says.

Work it off.

The best way to prevent the extra pounds from sneaking up on you is to engage in a regular exercise routine. Doing something as simple as parking farther away from the office or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can help increase the number of steps you take each day.

Individuals typically gain around two pounds during the holidays, according to the Mayo Clinic. “The problem is that we don’t lose the weight,” Swanson says. Rather than adding weight that you have to work off later, maintain a workout regimen or find other ways to burn the calories you consume throughout the busy day.

Make “me” time.

Research over the past two decades has begun to demonstrate the strong connection between mental health and the strength of the immune system, which affects overall physical well-being, according to Jim Wasner, dean for the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University | Schaumburg. Wasner says that the strength and resilience of everyone’s overall immune system, feeling depressed or overly anxious, often correlates with poorer physical health and vulnerability to illnesses. “Relax and schedule time for yourself,” he says.” Go easy on the alcohol and sugar. Catch up on your sleep.” Maintaining this overall balance will keep you physically and mentally healthy during the holiday season.

Allow yourself to enjoy the celebrations, just maintain the balance between health-conscious and indulgent decisions so the holidays don’t get the best of you.

Seriously though, be more like this otter images (omg this little guy is so cute and really just wanted a reason to put this somewhere lol) and just chillout a little. The effects of stress and stressing out about a pound or two or and inch or two :p will do you more harm than the laughter and enjoyment you will experience from the little bit of indulgence with good friends and family 😉

MOVEment Playlist (Formerly Known as Melisscious’ Delicious Discography) #45

I have been trying REALLY hard to pull back in terms of my training intensity and ridiculous frequency for the past while to allow my body to heal. The minor injuries I can get by on but your spine is not something to mess with nor is all kinds of  burnout! Really much better now but I’ll give it another couple of weeks I think is best. I know better in terms of the importance of recovery but doing it has been another not to mention my serious dislike for backing down from a challenge (or what in my ego perceives to be a challenge :p). You absolutely have to take a step back so you can make giant leaps forward. Hard to do for some, but essential I promise you.

I have found that back in the day it was another thing to implement the important side of recovery methods like yoga, meditation, foam rolling, mobility and flexibilty etc. I easily bore and quite simply find I do not enjoy and therefore do not make time for it. If this sounds like you can I get a hellllll yah! Ok so what do I do to forcefully yet joyfully endure this necessity? I LOVE to dance! Dancing (all kinds but especially choreography-style) is a great way to keep you challenged, helps you be in the moment, and it seriously helps you with your fluidity in movement.  I have been getting back to my love of dancing, although choreography is something I just started this past year but I love it so much! I have been subbing it in for where I would do non-stop horrible things to myself lol and I am also not as angry 😉 I have to keep a balance because i want to have that and to ME that means kicking ass but with that “feminine” sass 😉

Aside from dancing, another great way to help with the recovery is to use guided meditation apps, mp3 and the like. It is tough to slow down your mind and be totally present and the guided for, as well as in-person classes, helps tremendously.

Alright so this playlist is going to be dedicated to my bringing some of my yin back to my yang, or is it yang back to my yin? I digress but you will no doubt see (hear) what I mean. To those of you looking for my typical hardcoreness, meh, we ALL need a lil bit o the softer side 😉 (btw if you are a guy reading this, chicks REALLY dig guys who can dance so figure it out)

1. Beyonce – 7/11

2. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk

3. Janet Jackson – All Night

4. LL Cool J feat Raekwon and Murder Mook – I’m Nice

5. Outkast – Da Art of Storytellin part 1

6. Da Brat feat Tyrese – Watchu Like

7. Foxy Brown – Get You Home

8. Mavado and Nicki Minaj – Give It All To Me

9. Gyptian feat Nicki Minaj – Hold Yuh

10. Tinashe – All Hands On Deck

Your health tip for this month:

This is probably one of the most stress filled times of year. A time when we often take many things, many people for granted. Take that this is a chill list and regardless if you like these tunes or not, take some time to CHILL. You owe no one anything if it means your health and sanity. Take time to write down something every day you are grateful for. Start each day, not with news of ANY sort, but with a song you love, a quote that inspires you, and end your days the same. Make love to your loved one (even if that is yourself lol!!!). If you feel alone this holiday season or have a hard time this time of year, reach out to someone or better yet, get outside of yourself and help others by volunteering somewhere. You are amazing, know that, remember that, take time to chill and appreciate that 😉

Don’t worry the next playlist will be more RAWR-ish 😉

T.A.M.I. York Region – Stomping Out Stigma

It truly is a joy and a blessing to hear people’s stories, whatever they may entail. It was about about 10 days ago now but I am just getting the chance to write this quick blurb about the T.A.M.I York Region event where a group of amazing people and organizations came together to help stomp out the stigma of various mental illness (and related) issues.

I was very humbled and honoured to be with this amazing young lady named Morgan (she rocks and is going to do, already does do, incredible things!) as we were ambassadors for Kids Help Phone at the event. We were helping to spread the word at a booth as well as speaking in front of a group of students, teachers, officials and other guests (thank you for this experience and the lessons I have learned 😉 ) I have said it before and I will say it again, KHP is SO much more than a help line for young kids and the people on the front line, on the phones, in the office, behind the scenes, are all just unbelievable in every regard.

There were some other booths related to health, mental health and how to kick ass in life, but the guest speakers and even the students who shared their stories at the table were amazing. I really just wanted to post this to quickly say thank you not only for the opportunity to represent and spread goodness, but to be able to hear stories, share stories and be reminded of just how awesome people REALLY are 😉

Moral of the story here is while we all have our moments or days, do your best to lend a hand, be compassionate and kind, be you, do you, you can and will get through whatever it is just keep reaching, voicing, and you are absolutely not alone!

Thank you Kid’s Help Phone, York Region and all of those in attendance for this amazing opportunity.

Please keep doing all the good you do 🙂

p.s. I am not sure if the video is able to be posted but if it is, I will post here later.

Macho Muscle, Mean People Suck aka Mental Health, Muay Thai and Me

I legit have not had the opportunity to sit and put something decent together in terms of a training, health, fitness article for you here so this is what you get for now, sorry!  Some random stuff I have been up to this month and have upcoming this month:

I have been a huge fan of Iron Radio and more so Dr. Lonnie Lowery and Phil Stevens for years now. We conversed a few times via the net but I finally got to meet Dr. Lowery and he was just as groovy and by groovy I mean he will blow your mind with his knowledge bombs AND his guns 😉

Anyhoo…I was asked to come on to the show and ramble (ok so that wasn’t exactly the projected outcome but Lonnie is aware of my gnat-like attention span so they managed me quite well). Here it is and be sure to subscribe to the cast, donate if you like to support all things awesome whaaaat and just enjoy the amazeballs that is their site:

NEXT UP…

This coming weekend, Saturday October 25th from 11am to 1pm I will be providing members and guests of Southside Muay Thai some info, goodies and the chance to win some Lebert Equalizers and Stretch Straps. Honestly these people are not only extremely skilled, they are good peeps so please come out to say hello, try some classes or just stare eerily in the windows in admiration…whatever works for you lol.

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and then we have the T.A.M.I. Summit happening November 6th from 8am to 3pm. I think it might be one of the biggest honours to be asked to be an ambassador for Kid’s Help Phone at this event and am beyond grateful that such an amazing group of people, such an incredible organization, would entrust upon me to be one of the ambassadors at this summit 🙂

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There are some other cool things on the horizon but for this month, this is enough I think. Hope to see you out!

The Future of Health and Fitness

I have such a love-hate relationship with how health and fitness has been going the past few years. I think it is ridiculously awesome that there are so many apps, gadgets and other scientific tools to help track, monitor and improve ourselves. Whether you are simply a busy exec trying to manage your stress levels to prevent a heart attack or aneurism :p, an athlete looking to improve performance, or just someone looking to look and feel optimal, there is officially an app for ALL of that! I think the only reason I hate this at all is simply because they can be darn pricey and can be hard to grasp for those less technically inclined.

Fit Bit– This is one of the currently most popular gadgets. There are different items that you can use to track and monitor your activity, sleep and eating behaviours. The most popular seems to be the wireless band and app download. The average price is $99.95 th

Healbe– This is a new and seemingly cool concept that was tweeted to me. It is still in the process of being fully launched so you can grab it before it really hits the market at $299.99. I am a little skeptical about this one as it’s FLOW technology seems a bit farfetched. You do need to know though that algorithms are not my forte so this just may be fully legit. I am not sure about paying that much without really knowing feedback but the concept is pretty cool. It says it measures calorie intake and output, hydration levels, stress, heart rate and sleep.

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Push – This is a device and app that I was introduced to. I have not yet had the privilege to fully experience it but I did get to mock trial it at their facility. This is a gadget geared towards lifting that measures reps, sets, tempo, power and so on. It seems to be one of the easier and definitely more accurate ways than many straight up apps you can download to your phone. You can currently pre-order it for $149 before it too hits the market.

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Polar– The Polar brand is one that I have used and trusted for a long ass time. I have typically gone for just the cheap-o basic model of HR measure as I did my own calculations. They have come out with some pretty cool features and no doubt to the validity and reliability of the applications and such as they have been doing this stuff for decades. You can now track the various training aspects related to heart rate and training zones, calories, training load and most importantly, recovery status (this is probably utilizing something along the lines of heart rate variability)

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There are hundreds of apps and gizmos out there and it can be so overwhelming. This is yet another reason that I both love-hate this (current) yet futuristic state of the health and fitness industry. I say just do a bit of your own research, ask around and find the best fun tool to help you with your goals. Be sure it has a warranty and technical support. Also be sure that it offers you just what you need and not too much as that can needlessly raise the price as well as your confusion.

Happy training ya’all and a woooooh 2 YOU!

PS If you want some help figuring out what is best for you hit me up below in the comments box 🙂

Quit Arguing

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If you are passionately involved in the health, fitness and performance field, which clearly you are if you are reading this, you no doubt have come across some argumentative aspects on various training modalities. I want to shed some light on two of the most popularly argued protocols/modalities. Thinking one is horrible or being best is not only absurd and a waste of energy, but it may be holding you and your clients back from progressing.

Let me first start with the popular “muscle confusion” form of training and Crossfit. I put these two together because many stake them with several commonalities, similarities that will prove my point of neither being “bad” per se as many will adamantly argue. First of all, Crossfit is a SPORT and secondly, along with the term muscle confusion, is a marketing term for a concept of pretty much “random activity” by definition of what has been accepted as majority. This does not mean that that is true because a lot of the coaches actually do have great ways of tracking and have methods to their “madness”. I will say this, neither concept was invented anytime recently as athletic forms of various training and cross training in general has been around for decades. So don’t argue that. The sport is new(er).

The somewhat randomness is not necessarily a bad thing if your goals are to simply lose some fat, gain some conditioning and if you are a newbie, potentially gain some lean mass. Or is you are advanced, you can get jacked too due to the high loads and volume. Is there a rhyme of reason for doing 30 snatches at high speed with no rest followed by kip-ups and 50 box jumps? No, unless you are training for the sport of Crossfit. That is where I believe people lose sight of things.  Is it bad to confuse your muscles each time you train with different movements and modalities like lifts with HIIT? No, absolutely not unless you are training for a particular sport and need to have the proper movement patterns and nervous system adaptations. Will your joints and nervous system pay for things later? Yeah probably but if you go in knowing that and are willing to stake that claim, that’s your decision. Live and let live.

There are actually some similarities between conjugate and contrast training as well as undulating periodization to these two highly ridiculed forms of training. In fact, the somewhat “randomness” of these types of activities can actually be more helpful to many who have hit  a fat loss plateau or have several years of training under their belts.  You must have a good coach as well as be gradually introduced to these methods but in terms of fat loss, efficiency is something you do not want and to become efficient, you must have repeat behaviors. You also want to keep these to shorter not longer and more frequent bouts unless it is solely your job to do this.

Next up is another two concepts that often has trainers or trainees confused or arguing. The debate of slow and moderate cardio versus balls to the walls HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio or HIRT (high intensity resistance training circuits) for goal attainment is one that I’m sure will not die anytime soon.  If you are looking for performance enhancement, fat loss and muscle retention, HIIT and HIRT seem to be the surefire winner. Does this mean that slow or moderate cardio should be demolished? Absolutely not. If you or your clients have joint issues, injuries or an already stressful lifestyle plus hit the weights with good intensity, further adding to the already high levels of stress with HIIT/HIRT can make them feel rundown, sick and even make them lose muscle and gain fat over time. Some people just cannot get the physiological response safely with certain types of activities.

Slow to moderate cardio work is a great tool for not only burning off some calories, because they DO ultimately count in terms of fat loss, but it also serves as a mental stimulator and a form of movement meditation for some, as well as it helping your clients to recover from their training. Neither form of cardio should be relied on solely or dismissed as they can greatly compliment each other.

There are so many methods of training, schools of thought that many will waste time arguing on. Having an open mind to various protocols and seeing them for what they are as well as the potential within the methods, will greatly enhance your ability to help your clients and yourself.  If you are looking to improve at a sport, you will want to become efficient in movements, neurological and physiological aspects, but if you are looking to just have some fun with training to be healthy, fit and maybe shed some fat, you will want to be inefficient.

While I firmly believe in getting the basics down first, I am not here to dictate to you my opinions on your best ways to achieve goals and outcomes. I am just here to shed some light and make you think for yourself in an industry so filled with those wanting to lessen critical thinking for their own agendas. The main thing is to prevent injuries and to help make people better in their lives. This means finding the methods and modalities your clients enjoy and respond well to even if it goes against what some may say.

When it comes down to it, you want to continually educate yourself on all sides of an argument in terms of training methods. Don’t fall into the trap that you need to have yourself or your clients doing it all because it is the hot thing right now. There are far too many factors involved and it is supposed to be about making people better at life isn’t it? (Again, we are talking non-sport specific as that is a whole other game).

You must also remember that these are your clients so who should really be dictating your goals, programs and outcomes? You and your client that’s who! Find the fit for them based on what their lives, needs and bodies can do and handle, yourself included. Do what makes you and/or your peeps happy, healthy and feeling good. Don’t tell them, educate them. Help lead them. To that there is not argument.

 

 

 

When Your Belly Fat Grows and Your Mind Blows, Who You Gonna Call? Stress Busters!

I don’t know about you but stress sucks. Wait, too much stress sucks. From creating sleep disturbances to overeating or just not utilizing food properly, poor workouts and recovery, depression, memory loss and fatigue, chronic stress is a killer.

Even if you are following a healthy eating plan and regularly exercising, too much stress can still damage your mind and body. There are many lifestyle factors (saying no, mindfulness or movement meditation, laughter, sex, lighter workouts, nutritious foods etc.) to reduce this killer in your life and those should be addressed first, but what if there were some other things to help you along?

Everything starts and ends with your brain and your nervous system. Physical stress or breakdown is nothing in comparison to mental burnout. Couple these two and you are in serious trouble. The thing is, if you prioritize the mind, the physical will follow. It may take years if you let it get too far so let’s nip things in the bud and call upon these additional stress busters.

Citicoline. This seems to be a promising supplement that may offer cognitive enhancing effects like memory retention, reduction of depressive symptoms and oxidative damage to the brain (1,2). Adding this to your lifestyle overhaul just might be worth trying.

L-Theanine. This is a no-brainer (lol pun intended) as this is not really a new discovery. L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea and has both calming effects on your body as well as protective effects on the brain (3,4).

Fruit and Veggie Supplements. There are many “greens” products out there and some really can make a difference. Yes, absolutely you want to eat a ton of produce but supplemental extracts just may be of benefit after all (5).

PUFA’S. This will be of no shock to you maybe but PUFA’s (polyunsaturated fatty acids) like those found in fish oil, have great benefits to your brain and body’s responses to stress (6,7).

Summary

Every body is different and will respond differently to the above but if you are under chronic stress and want to try something additional to lifestyle modifications, you just might want to call on these stress busters.

PLEASE watch this:

 

References:

  1. Xiaonan, Y., Qiyi, M., & Nengrong, P. (2007). A control study of citicoline in the treatemnt of dysmnesia due to MECT [J]. Journal of Clinical Psychosomatic Diseases, 4, 009.
  2. Hatcher, J. F., & Dempsey, R. J. (2002). Citicoline: neuroprotective mechanisms in cerebral ischemia. Journal of neurochemistry, 80(1), 12-23.
  3. Juneja, L. R., Chu, D. C., Okubo, T., Nagato, Y., & Yokogoshi, H. (1999). L-theanine—a unique amino acid of green tea and its relaxation effect in humans. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 10(6), 199-204.
  4. Kimura, K., Ozeki, M., Juneja, L. R., & Ohira, H. (2007). L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biological psychology, 74(1), 39-45.
  5. Joseph, J. A., Shukitt-Hale, B., Denisova, N. A., Bielinski, D., Martin, A., McEwen, J. J., & Bickford, P. C. (1999). Reversals of age-related declines in neuronal signal transduction, cognitive, and motor behavioral deficits with blueberry, spinach, or strawberry dietary supplementation. The Journal of Neuroscience, 19(18), 8114-8121.
  6. Ferraz, A. C., Delattre, A. M., Almendra, R. G., Sonagli, M., Borges, C., Araujo, P., … & Lima, M. (2011). Chronic ω-3 fatty acids supplementation promotes beneficial effects on anxiety, cognitive and depressive-like behaviors in rats subjected to a restraint stress protocol. Behavioural brain research, 219(1), 116-122.
  7. Ochoa, J. J., Quiles, J. L., Huertas, J. R., & Mataix, J. (2005). Coenzyme Q10 protects from aging-related oxidative stress and improves mitochondrial function in heart of rats fed a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)-rich diet. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 60(8), 970-975

Butts and Guts Workout

Sometimes in order to get comfortable in your own skin, you have to first get really uncomfortable in your own skin! This is a (ahem) fun workout that you can do with a partner, no gym required. Things are always more fun with a buddy and you are doing each other a huge favour by helping one another to be healthy, fit and achieve your goals.

This workout can either be done on its own or as, what I like to call, a post lifting FUN-ISH TO FINISH (finishers schminishers lol) yeaaah these are the ish ;D

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This workout is designed to help shape your booty as well as your mind. Tap into that aggressor within and be gutsy in pushing yourself, each other. The first 2 rounds will serve as your warmup as you grease your grooves and get your muscles, nervous system and cardio warmed up. After that though, start bringing that A game 😉 45 seconds each exercise with 15 seconds to catch your breath or transition. 4-6 rounds with 60 seconds rest in between rounds.

Partner High-Five Power Squat Hops – facing each other, squat down and touch the ground than pop up into a jump squat and high five your partner. Squat and touch you right hand to your left foot, pop up and high five your right hand to your partners opposite hand. Switch sides and repeat for time.

Partner Pushup Punches – face each other in a pushup position. You both do a push up than as you come up, reach out to the opposite side and lightly punch your partner in the face (lol just kidding!) tap your partners hand.

Lateral Lunge to Crossover Smack – face each other with feet shoulder-width apart. You will both step to the side (lateral lunge) but in opposite directions. As you push off, come back to stand and high five (smack) your partners hand like tag teaming in wrestling lol and you immediately switch to lunge the other way. Repeat for time.

Jab-Cross Sprawl – face each other in a strong athletic stance. Partner 1 will hold their hands out front while partner 2 hits their hands with a 1-2 jab-cross combo than sprawls our (like a burpee without the pushup). As soon as partner 2 gets back to their feet, partner 2 holds out their hands while partner 1 hits the hands than the ground.

Leap Frogs to Inchworm to Pushup – just like when you were a kid, one person is curled on the ground while the other will (with wide legs) leap over. When the frog lands, he/she will inchworm walkout, perform a pushup, than be the ball on the ground for their partner.

Partner One-Legged Squats –I actually found a picture similar to what I want so here you go. Don’t try to go too deep or you may find too much strain on your knees. untitled

Boom and a Woooooh! There you go. A fun yet challenging addition to your days to bring you a sweet butt and test your guts.

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 (if you want to know exactly how to do these, a program or if you are are in the GTA and need that partner to push you, hit me up!)

Rooftop Fitness Party in Downtown Toronto

This morning brought out an exciting array of fellow fitness instructors, yogis, studio/gym owners and fitness enthusiasts to a party atop the Big Carrot . This fun filled, health promoting event was for the media launch of Tryfit.ca . Before I continue I would like to thank Jake for having me out. It was an exceptional way to start my day. I had to leave early to teach a class but the time I was there was awesome.

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Aside from the banging beats from the DJ, the snacks and spa water quenching my thirst for some awe-inspiring oh yeah-ness, every one there was so friendly. It is always great to see a community of like-minded positive people in one place.

The day was gorgeous (aka sunny and hot wooooh) and the rooftop venue made the mini-workout sessions that were a part of the event much more enjoyable. The ability to network and to share stories was also a highlight. While there was fun to be had, it was all very professional and well organized by all.

I love what Tryfit.ca is doing. There are so many great spots in Toronto and so many different styles, modalities and venues that it is a shame NOT to experience as many of them as you can. The fact that they are also helping to grow and promote good people trying to make a difference, makes me love this concept even more. By offering what they are, they are not only helping to grow the smaller businesses in the community, but they are also helping others to find their fit when it comes to fitness.

Thank you for what you do!

 

P.S. I am totally for hire for teaching classes, events, consulting, event coverage, writing…;) athletictraynor@gmail.com