Monthly Archives

May 2018

Easy Ways to Improve Performance

By | Interesting Articles

Carry a cold water bottle

With warmer weather upon us, stick a water bottle in the freezer and then carry it outside for your walk, run, or workout. We recently discovered a new study from Stanford University that showed that participants holding a cold device experienced less fatigue and could exercise for longer periods of time in warm conditions. #NowYouKnow

Drink a cup of coffee

Make like an Olympian and have a cup of joe before heading in to exercise. When you have a caffeinated drink before a weight lifting session, you’ll be able to do more before you get exhausted—and you’ll leave looking forward to your next workout. That’s what we call a win-win!

Load up the playlist

It’s no surprise that music and exercise go hand-in-hand. Music has some kind of special, privileged access to the motor system that helps improve performance. When you are listening to music, these sounds engage the areas of the brain that allow us to move and specifically synchronize different muscle groups. So it sounds like it’s time to add some new music to your playlist and get those muscles moving!

Embrace the foam roller

This is a big one. Stop muscle knots in their tracks—without a visit to a massage therapist. Unlike tight muscles, knots can’t be stretched out, and can often lead to tears and muscle imbalances. But with a foam roller, you can treat and prevent knots, using the power of your own body weight. Simply lay with the specific body part you want to work on, and roll until you reach a tender spot. Move back and forth on the area for a few moments very slowly, and repeat daily.

Use apps

You have access to tons of incredible health and fitness resources, all at your fingertips. There’s a range of apps to help encourage, track, and help with your fitness. Whether your barrier is time or sleep, there’s an app for that. If you’re looking to track, monitor and improve your outdoor runs, check out Strava. Whatever the goal is, there’s an app for that. Check out our blog post on apps to help improve your workouts.

Go all-out

With just 60 seconds of all-out exercise (at about 90% of your maximum heart rate) followed by 60 seconds of recovery, you can dramatically improve fitness. Repeat the cycle 10 times (for a total of 20 minutes) and you’ll significantly improve your fitness levels in just a few weeks. Or just add in a few fast sprints to your regular run, walk, bike ride, or elliptical session.

Eat a snack

Your body can’t work to the fullest if it’s running on empty, so gas it up and eat a snack! If you’re eating enough regularly, your body has at least an hour’s worth of high-intensity fuel stored away. But if you feel better with a little food, eat a nutritionally balanced small meal about two hours before a workout, or a small snack about 30 minutes before putting on your workout shoes.

A Super Satisfying Cardio & Core Workout

By | Interesting Articles

Cardio is great for revving your heart rate, burning calories, and improving your heart health. Core exercises will increase your entire body strength, improve your posture and decrease the risk of injury when you lift weights. Together, cardio and core are the perfect combo when it comes to a super satisfying workout. We’re talking about that kind of workout where you feel on cloud nine at the end of it, and think to yourself, “heck yeah, I did that!”

Get Started

Here’s an amazing cardio & core workout to get your sweat on and feel super satisfied afterwards. You don’t need any equipment to perform this workout, just some empty floor space and a can-do attitude! Keep your core engaged throughout the entire workout to get the most effective workout. You can pick up the pace to increase the intensity. Do each exercise for 15 reps / side or 30 reps in total, and you’ll be finished the whole workout within less than 30 minutes!

Workout:

5-minute dynamic warmup
Standing Lateral Crunch
Squat With Side Toe Tap
Squat Walk-Out With Row
Flutter Kick
Weightless Windmill

Squat With Side Crunch
Plank With Elbow Tap
Starfish
Reach and Pull
Standing Kickback
Sumo Squat to Tip Toe


Standing High-Knee Crunch
Frog Squat
Forward Curtsy
Squat With Side Reach
Plank With Tuck
Cool Down: 5-minute stretch

If you have questions about how to perform any of these exercises, get in touch with any of our amazing Coaches and they’ll be glad to support you through this workout!

Measuring Your Fat Loss Progress

By | Interesting Articles

In most cases, when it comes to weight loss, what we are actually trying to do is lose fat.  This is because our weight consists of many things: water, muscle, bones, fat, organs, and waste. If fat loss is your objective, goal setting is vital.  In order to evaluate if you’re on track with your goals, it’s important to find ways to track fat loss progress. There are many methods in which you can do this, here at a few examples:

1. Body weight (scales)

This is the most common method as it is the most accessible tool and it’s easy to track at home.  However, scales are not the most reliable method because there are many variables that can make your weight fluctuate. For example, if you’re exercising and becoming stronger, your increased muscle mass can make the scales go higher, even if you’re also losing fat in the process.

2. Body fat percentage (calipers, DEXA, etc.)

In some cases, the needle on the scale might not move, but there could be improvements with your body fat percentage. Body fat percentage is calculated by taking the total mass of fat and dividing it by the total body mass, times 100. However, there are a lot of variables that go into measuring your body fat percentage, so it’s best to see a Momentum Coach for help on calculating your body fat percentage accurately.

3. Body measurements

Similar to body fat percentage, you can see positive results with body measurements, even if your weight on the scale isn’t really changing. You can use a measuring tape to gather data on waist, hip, thigh, arm or other circumferences on your body.  However, it’s important to note that you can not target an area for fat loss, so it’s important to gather measurements for multiple sites.  See a Momentum Coach for help on gathering body measurements.

4. Progress photos

Seeing yourself everyday makes it difficult to see the small changes that occur daily or weekly.  Using progress photos is a great way to see the changes that accumulate over time.

5. Performance in the gym

Moving easier and more efficiently, increased strength, and better endurance are benefits to consistent workouts and making healthy lifestyle changes

6. Ability to say NO to dessert/alcohol/fries/etc without suffering

It’s important to recognize that these types of foods are not healthy options and should not be a staple in your daily eating.  Treats are treats and should be treated as treats.

7. Ability to say YES to dessert/alcohol/fries/etc without feeling guilty

Knowing you are eating healthy most of the time, it’s okay to still have indulgences. This helps to curb cravings, avoid binging, and helps maintain a long-term healthy eating lifestyle. If fat loss is your goal, you can still have these treats in moderation and achieve success by maintaining your calorie deficit.

8. Behavioural changes

Increased feelings of confidence and self-esteem, and engaging in less negative self-talk is another indication that you’re achieving your fat loss goals.

How to Recover from a Workout

By | Interesting Articles

If you’ve ever had a day when your body hurts all over after a workout, know that there are tons of ways to help you recover faster! Whether you occasionally hit the gym or go twice a day, recovery should be a regular part of your routine. When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, your recovery days and are just as important as the days you crush it. Take the time and do the steps you need to rest and rocover, and reap the benefits later.

Don’t skip stretching

You know how important stretching is, so make sure you add at least 15 minutes into the end of your workout dedicated to stretching out those muscles. Stretching is a great way to reduce muscle tension and likely reduce any muscle soreness.

Protein, protein, protein

Before bed, after a workout, for breakfast.

A light peotein snack before bed allows our muscles to keep repairing while we sleep. Protein for breakfast can give our bodies exactly what it needs to keep repairing our muscles throughout the day, not to mention it can reduce food cravings later in the day. If you’re short on time, remember that Hamilton has tons of great restaurant options for protein-packed food.

Get a good night’s sleep   

Sleep is prime time for the body to undergo protein synthesis, so getting extra zzzs after a tough workout might make for stronger muscles and better endurance. After a tough workout at the gym, there’s nothing better than hitting the hay early and getting a good night’s sleep!

Keep that body moving

The worst thing you can do for your recovery is sit still and stop moving. Even if your muscles are feeling sore and your instinct is to rest, the best thing you can do is get up and get moving. Go for a walk or a jog by the bayfront in Hamilton, or do a light day in the gym. The more you rest, the more stiff you’ll get, and the longer your recovery will take.

Cut out stress

Of course, exercise is a great way to manage stress and feel great. When you exercise, your endorphins go up, which results in all the happy feels. But even if you’re exercising, chronic stress can have a huge impact on how you feel on a day to day basis, and it also affects how quickly you recover. No matter what, stress is going to take a toll on your overall well-being as well as your body’s ability to take on further challenges. Resulting in a longer recovery from your workout. If you’re looking for a way to take unwinding to the next level, go meditate next to one of Hamilton’s many waterfalls. We promise it won’t disappoint!

Drink chocolate milk

You read that right. Coach’s orders! The protein in chocolate milk will rev up your muscle recovery, and the chocolatey carbs can reduce the length of time it takes for the body to prepare for its next challenge. It’s science.

Drink plenty of H2O

The more water you drink, the better your recovery can be. When you exercise while dehydrated, it can cause a lot more damage to your muscles and reduce your body’s ability to repair itself. Reach for water before Gatorade to keep your hydration up and the calories down.

Learn to love the foam roller

A lot of the soreness that you feel after working out is from when your muscles and fascia become knotted. Foam rolling can help remove those knots and prevent muscle imbalances from forming. Check out our video lesson on how to foam roll, and try it yourself the next time you’re in the gym. It’s not exactly known for being comfortable, but the results are worth it.

Go for a massage

Similar to foam rolling, you’re looking to release those knots after a workout. Massages help break up scar tissue and reduce stiffness that goes along with muscle repair. We highly recommend the team at Integrative Massage Therapies in Hamilton. They gave amazing massages to the runners at our 2018 Around the Bay After Party in the gym and the feedback was out of this world!

Take a cold dip

You’ve probably heard of athletes taking ice baths after a big meet to help repair muscles, but you can do it too! It doesn’t have to be ice, but it should be cold. Think of it this way – you know that happy feeling when it’s the middle of the summer and you have sweat beading down your body, and you jump into a nice, cool shower? Your muscles will feel as equally happy when you let them rest in a cold bath after a workout. Trust us!

Recovery is a critical part of any fitness-related goal. Whether you want to get stronger, faster, leaner, or better, you’ll need to incorporate each of these tips into your daily recovery plan. A workout program from a Momentum Fitness Coach will include the perfect balance of exercise and recovery, to make sure you achieve your fitness goals.

Get started with a program today.