Well, it’s the beginning of 2015 and many of you probably have at least one fitness, nutrition or health related resolution you want to crush this year. I know you’ve got the best intentions, I know you’re feeling motivated, for many people that’s not the problem.
The problem is first building the awareness of what it is you are doing that specifically sabotages your health goals, making a plan to tackle those barriers, and having the courage and skills needed to see the plan through. It’s about setting yourself up for success. And I’m not talking about success for the month of January, I’m talking about success for 2015 and onward- a long-term approach that still allows you to enjoy your everyday life.
For many of you that don’t know, my wife Julia is completing a Holistic Nutrition program and will be accepting clients later this year. With over a decade of competitive running experience, a Bachelor’s of Psychology, and a Master’s of Public Health, she will be well-equipped to help you with your body composition and performance goals.
In the mean time, check out our top 6 fitness and top 6 nutrition tips for 2015.
Jon’s Top 6 Fitness Tips for 2015
1. Your workouts do not have to kill you
With the popularity of boot camps, Crossfit, and the Biggest Loser TV show, people looking to lose fat seem to think that their workout needs to beat them to a snot. I hate to break it to you, but there is no such thing as a fat loss workout, so stop killing yourself in the gym. Workouts can be designed to burn as many calories as possible, which will help you better your calories in, calories out equation for the day. Get a good sweat going and leave the gym actually feeling better than when you came in.
2. Focus on free-weight or bodyweight exercises first
Choose free-weight exercises over machine-based exercises. These include squats, lunges, deadlifts, pushups, chin-ups, bent over rows and overhead presses. These exercises will challenge your core muscles more than the traditional machine based exercises, which tend to have you seated most of the time. You might as well hit two birds with one stone! There is nothing wrong with machine based exercises – my only recommendation is to exhaust your free-weight exercise options first, then add in machine based exercises after.
3. Choose multi-joint exercises over uni-joint exercises first
Choose multi-joint exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, pushups, chin-ups, bent over rows and overhead press (same list as above, I know) first before adding in isolation exercises. These include biceps curls, triceps extensions, pec flys, knee extensions, leg curls and lateral raises. Multi-joint exercises will burn more calories and help you achieve your fat loss goals sooner. You’ll also develop what the fitness industry calls functional strength, which essentially means strength that you’ll experience in the real world, outside of the gym.
4. Aim to resistance train 2-3x/week and aerobic exercise 2-3x/week
By combining resistance training and aerobic training into the same weekly routine, you’ll develop lean muscle mass and cardiovascular fitness, all while losing fat. As your outer layer of fat gets thinner, you’ll want muscles to show through. A common fear for some trainees is getting too muscly or too bulky. Well, there is no such thing as bulky muscle. You’re either fat with muscle underneath or thin with muscle underneath. The leaner you are (or the less fat you have) the leaner your muscles will appear. There is no such thing as a toning exercise or a toning workout. You need to build muscle, plain and simple. And that means lifting weights and getting strong.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Missing one or two workouts is not going to make or break you. Don’t worry about it and continue the plan as normal as soon as you can. Losing fat and building muscle is more about your actions overtime rather than what you did yesterday. Look at the big picture rather than getting too caught up in the minutia.
6. Perfect your technique
Strength is a skill. In order to get strong (and build muscle) you need to be skillful in executing exercises effectively. If you can’t perform the exercises correctly, you will not be effective at attaining your goals plus you might hurt yourself. Learn the fundamental movement patterns that make up the multi joint exercises listed above:
- Squat pattern
- Lunge pattern
- Hip Hinge (deadlift)
- Single Leg Hinge
- Neutral Spine
- Horizontal Pulling and Pushing
- Vertical Pulling and Pushing
The better your form, the more strength you’ll build and the lower your risk for injury.
Julia’s Top 6 Nutrition Tips for 2015
Hi everyone and Happy 2015! Nothing makes me happier than writing about something I am so passionate about- FOOD! Here’s my top 6 nutrition tips for 2015. I look forward to elaborating on these in greater depth in the near future….
Note: Julia has not completed her Holistic Nutrition program so we can’t call her a “Registered Holistic Nutritionist” just yet – these tips are coming from an elite athlete with an interest in nutrition – enjoy!
First, and this may seem obvious, figure out why your nutrition is not as good as you would like it to be. For example, this may involve a week in which you just eat as you would normally but you document your food intake using a food log to improve your awareness of your food intake. Do you drink too much when you get home from work? Or when you are out with friends? Are you eating too much of the wrong things because you are stressed out or sitting in front of the TV? Locking down on key habits may be your ticket to improving your health, sometimes without really changing much else. A great app that I really like for logging caloric intake (and exercise) is “My Fitness Pal”.
2. Plan for the journey
Are you relying on motivation and willpower to reach your goals? Well, according to weight-loss expert, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, that’s probably not going to cut it and will only set you up for disappointment. In this obesogenic environment where, as Freedhoff says, “cheap calories are everywhere,” you’re going to need to take the time to plan your meals, grocery shop, prepare, and cook. If you can’t find time to do this, then maybe 2015 is the year you resolve to change your priorities. (See Tip #1.)
3. Know Thyself!
Don’t let some celebrity or fad diet tell you how to eat. Or even a governmental organization. For example, if you are not an active person, you probably don’t need 6-8 servings of grain products each day in addition to 7-10 servings of vegetables and fruits. Also, if you question the promotion of a super sugary chocolate milk beverage as an optimal post workout drink for you as an average gym-goer who is trying to reach a weightloss goal, then you are probably right.
4. Get the best nutritional bang for your buck
Think more, not less. Instead of eating a small serving of grains with a meal and potentially feeling hungry 30 minutes later, you can fill up on non-starchy vegetables instead. For example, you can make a pseudo-rice dish with cauliflower and other vegetables using a food processor to make it look just like rice, except you can eat more for the same amount of calories since it is so much more nutrient and fibre dense. Small changes like these add up.
5. Don’t forget about your friends!
A fascinating emerging area of obesity research is focusing on the importance of the gut microbiome and is finding that what you eat has profound effects on the composition of your gut bacteria, affecting not only intestinal health, but also metabolic health. Consider adding some fermented foods to your diet such as sauerkraut or kefir, taking a multistrain probiotic, and eating prebiotic fibre such as raw onions, garlic, banana, and inulin to promote the growth of these helpful little friends. Also, try not to do too much of anything to hurt these guys, like excessive alcohol consumption or antibiotic drug use.
6. Learn from your dietary mistakes and move on
Say you did your best all week but ran out of groceries on Thursday night and didn’t pack a proper lunch and snacks for Friday’s workday. You left work so hungry that you couldn’t wait long enough to get to the grocery store, so you swerved across two lanes of traffic to get in a drive thru line-up. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Try to make the best choice you can – most fast food joints have premade salads and chicken or just get a burger with no fries or pop. It takes time to master new meal preparation habits. Figure out where you went wrong with your meal prep and fix it for next week.
If you are interested in learning more about weight management or nutrition, here are a few of our favourite books:
- The Diet Fix- Yoni Freedoff, MD
- Weightloss Happens on Monday- Josh Hillis & Dan John
- Loose it Right- James Fell
If you want to find out more about training with Jon, click HERE.