Interesting Articles

Are You Periodizing?

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What is periodization?

When it comes to working out, your body can become so confident and familiar with the exercises that it adapts to it. In this case, you need to shock or surprise your body periodically in order to achieve your fitness goals.

This concept can be useful for both strength training as well as cardiovascular training. This type of training is called periodization and can be applied to competition training as well as your every day workouts. Rather than doing the same workout routine continually, you change your training program at regular intervals or “periods” to make sure that your body is being challenged, while still giving it the necessary rest.


Examples of periodizing

This can be done in various forms for both strength training and cardio training. Here are a few examples:

  1. Change the number of reps or number of sets for each exercise
  2. Increase or reduce your resistance
  3. The length of rest time between each set or even the time between workouts
  4. The speed of your workouts
  5. Moving from low resistance and a high number of reps to high resistance and a lower number of reps
  1. Switching between hill repeats and easy flat surface cardio
  2. Increasing or decreasing the speed of the workout
  3. Incorporate strength training by doing sets of body weight exercises throughout the workout
  4. HIIT training for cardio
  5. Recovery time between workouts
  6. Distance or length of time for the workouts

Periodization for Races

With race season upon us, it’s important to use a periodizing program while training for the race. What you don’t want to do while training is complete the same run every time. If you run too easily, and don’t push yourself, you won’t progress. And chances are you’ll get bored. On the other hand, too much speed or high-intensity training will lead to injury or burnout.

If you are serious about improving your time in a 10K or completing a half marathon or even a full marathon, you’ll need a periodized program geared to each type of race. A Momentum Coach can prepare a program for you and help you throughout your training.


How to Set Weight Loss Goals After a Summer of Fun

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Goal setting is an integral part of everything we do.  Without goals, we are on an unknown path without any direction. When it comes to losing fat, setting short-term and long-term goals are great stepping stones to get you where you want to be.


Setting goals the right way will also help you achieve success.  Here’s how to set S.M.A.R.T.E.R goals:


You want to be very specific when setting goals. Instead of saying “I want to lose weight”, say “I want to lose 10lbs”.  Why is being specific so important?  Without specifics, there is no real target.  If you quantify your goal, it’s much easier to visualize and measure your success.


This is the “why” in your goal setting.  When your goals have a deep enough meaning to you, you are much more likely to push through barriers to achieve success.


This doesn’t mean you can’t shoot for the stars.  We challenge you to shoot for the stars!  But shooting for the stars is for the long term.  Each short-term goal needs to be achievable in order to bring you to that long-term goal. For example, saying you want to lose 10lbs in 2 weeks isn’t a very achievable goal.


Goals should be relevant to what you actually want. If your core values contradict your goals, you will just find yourself getting frustrated.

Time Bound

Set an exact date for when you plan to achieve your goals to make your them measurable and help you stay accountable.


By evaluating your goals on a regular basis, you will be much more likely to achieve them because you’ll be reminded of your goals daily. Use cues, reminders and reflection to stay focused.


Speed bumps in the road are inevitable. When something isn’t working for you, it’s important to readjust your methods to continue moving forward instead of throwing your goals out the window.

It’s important to set up rewards for reaching your goals. Celebrating with rewards is a proven way to create excitement and motivation to reach your goals. Without rewards, there is little incentive to work towards your desired goal. Rewards can be intrinsic; for example, peace of mind that your workout this morning contributed to a healthier you. Rewards can also be extrinsic; for example, more muscle definition from your workouts.

Now let’s look at an example of an S.M.A.R.T.E.R goal put together:

My doctor said I need to lose about 40lbs due to some health concerns. Living a long and healthy life is important to me for a number of reasons, so I will take what he said seriously. I want to lose 40lbs over the next year. The deadline I set is April 15, 2018, which means I need to lose 3.3lbs every month. In order to remind myself of the goals I have set, I will write my goals on post-it notes and put them in spots where I will frequently see them (bathroom mirror, fridge, dashboard of car etc). I will weigh myself every 3 days to make sure I am moving forward in the right direction. I know that healthy eating and portion control is the most important contributor to my fat loss, so this is what I will start working on first. If I fall into a rut or get stuck, I will look at other methods or I will seek professional advice on how I can make other lifestyle changes. Intrinsically, my reward is the satisfaction in knowing I am working towards a longer life.  Extrinsically, my reward for losing 40lbs is a trip to Mexico for a week.

If you need help setting your own S.M.A.R.T.E.R goals, get in touch with a Momentum Fitness Coach today. With their help, you can be well on your way to living a healthier, happier life and achieving all of your fitness goals.


The Importance of Sleep for Exercise

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When it comes to exercising, sleep can play a huge role in how your body functions, grows and changes. Having a good night’s sleep is a crucial part of your health routine. So if you don’t have healthy sleep habits already, here are some best ways to quality time with the Sandman.

The science behind sleep

There’s some debate on how long the right length of time for an adult to sleep is. The two major theories are 8 hours each night, or five sleep cycles each night. Each sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes, beginning with NREM (non-rapid eye movement) and ending with REM (rapid eye movement). NREM sleep is a light sleep and gradually deepens during the cycle. Each sleep cycle ends with a period of REM sleep, where activity is high, and dreaming occurs. This is when you’ll have your best, deep sleep. Either way, you should be aiming for approximately 8 hours of a good, solid sleep each night.

Why is sleep so important?

Of course we know that sleep is important for our health. Our alertness and mood are the primary things that come to mind if we’re lacking in sleep. But did you know that sleep is important for regulating the central nervous system as well as your brain function? Sleep also affects the immune system – for example, people who sleep less than five hours are nearly five times more likely to have a cold than people who sleep for seven hours a night. So, the more you sleep, the better your health.

How does sleep impact exercise?

Sleep is the time where the concentration of growth hormone (which contributes to muscle growth and repair) in the body is at its highest. So if you’ve been exercising, whether through strength training, cardio exercise, or something, it’s key to get a good night’s sleep and let your body do its job to strengthen and repair! Not to mention, a lack of sleep can affect strength and power, energy stores, and increase your risk of injury.

How can I get better sleep?

We’ve done our research, and found these to be the best ways to get a better night’s sleep. Why not test these out yourself tonight, and see if you get a better night’s sleep?

  • Avoid stimulants after lunch, like coffee or pre-workout drinks
  • Avoid drinking any fluids during the hour before you go to bed
  • Practice a relaxing routine before bed. Think of it this way: we give our kids a bedtime routine to calm them down and get them ready for a good night’s sleep, so why shouldn’t we do this for ourselves, too?
  • Shut off your screens an hour before bed
  • Turn your thermostat down to a cool and comfortable temperate
  • Try to maintain a consistent time for when you go to sleep and when you wake up
  • If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try following a guided meditation on Youtube or the Calm app.


The Truth About Fat Loss

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When it comes to fat loss, we tend to want results fast, if not immediately.  This leads to fad diets, crash diets, elimination of major foods, or expensive supplements.  As we’ve mentioned in our previous blogs on fat loss, this isn’t an effective method for fat loss, and for so many reasons! Calorie deficits are a proven method for long-term and sustainable success with fat loss. If at any point in your journey you feel like you need more guidance, you can contact one of our Coaches for a reliable and knowledgeable resource to help guide you in the right direction.


Calorie deficit cautions

But how do you know how much of a calorie deficit is best for you?

Too much of a calorie deficit (also known as a crash diet) is actually detrimental to your success.  By reducing your calories drastically or for too long, your body will go into “defence mode”.  An inevitable reaction is for your body to slow its metabolism. This is because your body gets confused. It doesn’t know what a diet is, it just knows it’s not getting enough energy to support energy requirements, thus slowing down processes in your body to stay alive.

The other issue with too much of a calorie deficit is that you are most likely to be starving yourself, resulting in being undernourished and putting your body in danger. Let’s look at the example below to understand why:

Stacy and Jeff both want to lose 2lbs per week. 1lb of fat equals 3500 calories, so if they want to lose 2lbs per week, they would need a weekly calorie deficit of 7000 calories. Broken down over 7 days, this would equal a deficit of 1000 calories per day.

Deep diving

If Stacy’s maintenance calories per day were 1800 calories, by being in a daily calorie deficit of 1000, she would only be able to eat 800 calories per day.  Not only is it hard to live off of only 800 calories per day, but it would get pretty darn boring eating only celery and lettuce.

Smooth sailing

If Jeff’s maintenance calories per day were 2800 calories, by being in a daily calorie deficit of 1000, he would still be able to eat 1800 calories per day.  This is much more manageable, still giving him the opportunity to have regular meals while providing his body with the energy it needs.

So it’s clear that a safe calorie deficit is different for everyone.  In general, losing 0.5% to 1% of your weight per week should be okay for most people, and this should always be coupled with regular exercise. We recommend consulting a doctor or a professional for advice on what is safest for you.

Have questions? Contact one of our Coaches to get your answers and find out what you can do to start your journey today!


5 Questions to Ask a Personal Trainer

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There are so many benefits to hiring a personal trainer. From motivation to education and accountability to proper technique, you’re sure to make a lasting impact and progress towards your goals. Each personal trainer has their own unique style, as well as their own unique journey that got them there. Since personal training is such a personal experience, we want to help you make sure that you’re finding the right fit for you and your needs. Here are 5 questions worth asking a personal trainer.


1. What’s your fitness speciality?

Each Coach has a fitness speciality, whether it’s sports performance, long distance running, weight loss, or something else. Depending on your goals, finding a Coach that works within your scope and goals can be a really beneficial part of your training and progression.

2. What certifications do you have?

There are so many certifications that are available to personal trainers. With everything from Bone Fit to Fascia Stretch Therapy, Precision Nutrition and more, each personal trainer will have certifications that will help you in your fitness journey. Finding out your Coach’s certifications can help guide you in your decision-making process.


3. How do you assess new clients?

Progress can’t be tracked without a benchmark, which will first require a proper and thorough assessment. At Momentum Fitness, we understand that assessments can sometimes be a barrier for some people. However, it’s so important for our personal trainers to assess the way your body moves as well as your body composition so that the Coach can clearly track your results.

4. How do you track fitness goals?

Each of our clients has different fitness goals – some broad, and some very specific. Whether it’s to fit into an old pair of jeans, run a 5km race, or be strong enough to carry their grandkids, tracking those unique goals is important. Finding out how a personal trainer tracks goals with their clients can be an important part of making sure you’ll stay motivated throughout your fitness journey.


5. What’s your preferred style of encouragement?

Do you prefer high-fives, loud cheers or encouraging mid-week texts? How about being told to push harder, or hearing that you’re an absolutely incredible human being capable of so much? Some clients feel highly motivated by it, while others come to tears from the overwhelming positivity. It’s important for you and your personal trainer to determine what their preferred style of encouragement is, and communicate what you’re most comfortable with. The rest will come easy!

Are you ready to become the best version of yourself and make a lasting change? Contact us today to get set up with a personal trainer who’s just right for you!



Everything You Need To Know to Meal Prep

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Meal prepping is a greay way to make sure you’re eating healthy meals throughout the week. Not only will it save you time, but it will also save you money, and can help you achieve your fitness goals through nutrition. All it takes is a little bit of planning and preparation, and you’ll be cooking up a storm in no time! Follow this list to find out everything you need to know to meal prep. If you feel like you need help along the way, contact us and we’ll get you set up with a Coach who’s certified in nutrition!


  1. Pick a day

Meal prep is designed to save you time and energy cooking, but also help you plan for really nutritious and healthy meals. First things first though, you need to pick a day where you can set aside a couple hours for prepping, cooking, and plating. Sundays tend to be good for this, and by the time you’re done, you’ll be so glad of the time you saved in lieu of cooking each day of the week.

  1. Focus on simple meals

Fresh ingredients are undoubtedly the best, but to save time, you can opt for prepared herbs and spices to quickly add flavour without all the extra peeling, chopping, and dicing. Chicken is a favorite among many meal preppers because it can be cooked in an endless number of ways. It’s also easy to store and freeze, and with just a bit of chicken and a few vegetables you can easily prepare three totally different meals. Of course, if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can swap out chicken for other proteins, like chickpeas or tofu.

  1. Consider the nutrition

When choosing the recipes, think about how you want to balance the meals. For example, if you are trying to maintain specific macronutrient goals (proteins, fats, carbs) each day, that should factor into what recipes you choose. Knowing how each macronutrient converts into calories will also help provide more accurate information. If weight loss is your goal, remember the importance of calorie deficits, as explained in our previous blog post.

1g of Protein = 4 Calories
1g of Carbohydrates = 4 Calories
1g of Fat = 9 Calories

  1. Use proper containers

We’ve tested a few different types of containers over the years, and believe us, you definitely want to be sure that you’re using proper containers that you’re excited about! What you should be looking for is:

  • BPA Free
  • Freezer Safe
  • Dishwasher Safe
  • Microwavable
  • Clear
  • Stackable
  • Reusable
  1. Stock your kitchen

Organize your pantry staples so that you can pull together your favourite meals in a pinch. Mason jars are a geat opton to see how much is left of each ingredient in your cupboards. Now, when we talk about the staples, we’re talking about things like quinoa, lentils, rice, pumpkin seeds. These are dry goods that will keep a long time in your pantry, but also provide you with some essential nutrients and can act as a base to any meal.

  1. Cook multiple thing at once

Remember that you can cook lots of different things at the same. Use your oven space to its fullest potential. There’s no need to place one thing in there at a time. Use multiple oven trays if it helps, or use aluminum foil to make dividers and multiply your efforts. Start with recipes that lend themselves to this type of cooking.

Need help figuring out where to start? Contact us to get set up with a Coach who’s certified in Nutrition today!


I’m Eating Healthy, but I’m Not Losing Weight!

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Have you ever analyzed your weight loss progress while eating healthy and not see any results?  Do you wonder why?  It’s the million dollar question with more of a simple answer: when it comes to weight loss, the most important aspect is achieving a calorie deficit!

Help Me Calculate a Calorie Deficit!

A healthy meal plan

Lets dive in deeper by looking at the healthy meal plan below, using a 2,000 calorie day:

Breakfast: smoothie (almond milk, berries, spinach, chia seeds) = 500 cal

Snack: 200g greek yogurt = 150 cal

Lunch: 0.5 chicken + salad + beans = 500 cal

Snack: banana + almonds = 250 cal

Dinner: 0.5 salmon fillet + 1 cup of brown rice + veggies = 600 cal

How to make it work for your goals

Although this meal plan is healthy, if you needed 2,000 maintenance calories per day, you would simply be maintaining your weight with this meal plan. 

If you only needed 1,800 calories in a day, you would slowly be gaining weight because you are consuming more calories than your body needs; a calorie surplus

And if you needed 2,200 calories in a day, you would slowly lose weight since you are now consuming fewer calories than you need in a day; a calorie deficit

If the meal plan above was more junk food based, but still equalled a total of 2,000 calories per day, you would achieve the same results which are explained above. However, eating a junk food meal plan would not be wise for a number of reasons. Eating healthy is always recommended because it provides your body with micronutrients which contribute to many health benefits. We urge everyone to make healthy choices when they can.

Click here for tips on how to measure fat loss progress.  And for any assistance, accountability, tips and tricks, feel free to contact one of our coaches at Momentum in Hamilton!

Contact a Coach!

Why Exercise Makes You Happy

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Have you ever experienced that happy moment after you’ve been exercising when you feel absolutely euphoric? It often happens after you’ve pushed yourself to new limits, or even if you’ve simply gone for a nice brisk walk with your dog. More often than not, we hear our personal training clients say that they feel like they’re on top of the world after they’ve finished a session. The real question is though, where does that feeling come from?

I want to feel on top of the world too!

Here are some top reasons as to why you feel so great from exercising:

Exercise affects your body

We know that exercise improves your physical health. An even more interesting thing is that endorphines (hormones that make you feel good – or even euphoric) are released in your brain when you’re active. Specifically, this happens when the intensity of your exercise is between moderate to vigerous, and longer than 20 minutes. AKA, when you’re exercising long and hard enough to work up a good sweat, you’ll get that euphoric feeling. Coincidentally, the Canadian Phsyical Activity Guidelines recommend this amount of daily physical activity as a minimum for adults. Maybe this is part of the reason why Canadians are often so happy!

 Exercise affects your mind

It’s no question that physical activity has positive affects on your mental health. For example, it can give you a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of empowerment. It can improve your self-esteem and self-efficacy. Being active on a regular basis has been clinically proven to help prevent anxiety and depression, and it’s also used as a teatment tool for both anxiety and depression. No matter how you look at it, it will help to improve your mental health and make you feel happy.

Exercise affects your social life

When you think about team sports, the social part of exercise is pretty clear. Team sports have a supportive atmosphere and camaraderie. Going to the gym is typically considered an “individual” activity, but it doesn’t have to be, at all! The gym can provide a sense of community, especially when you have a workout buddie, join classes, or train with a Personal Coach. Finding like-minded people to enjoy exercise with is a great way to unwind. It can also give you a strong feeling of belonging. Plus, it’s way more fun to be active with your BFFs (Best Fitness Friends)! As humans, we’re social creatures, and exercise can help us filll that need for social belonging and it helps us feel happy.

If you’re at a place where you’re ready to make a change in your life and experience the benefits that exercise has to offer, come in for a tour and start changing your life today!

5 Changes You Will Notice After 1 Month of Exercise

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If you think you have to log tons of hours at the gym before your body will begin to reap the benefits from exercising, think again! Whether your goal is to become stronger, leaner, faster, or to simply become healthier, the human body is blessed with the ability to adapt to new challenges. This means that after just one month of exercise, even if you haven’t worked out in ages, your body will start to change! Reaching your goals will take time, effort, and determination, but our personal training Coaches can help you set goals (and milestone goals) to keep you motivated. No matter what your goals are, we can guarantee that you will absolutely feel better after just one month of exercise.

I Want to See Changes!

Here are 5 wonderful things you will notice after one month of exercise:

1. You’ll be happier & more focused

A good workout increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain. This means that your brain will perform better, increasing alertness and focus. It also releases endorphines, which will help to improve your mood. Fitting in a quick cardio session the night before a big presentation, or after a long, stressful day can help you get in the right place, mentally. Talk about great benefits from exercising!

2. Your skin will glow

The increased blood flow experienced during exercise can help your body get rid of waste products like free radicals which will give you that gorgeous post-workout glow. Sweating also helps to clear out your pores — just remember to wash your skin after!

3. You’ll have more energy

Exercising teaches your body to use oxygen more efficiently. This will lower your heart rate, increasing your heart’s strength and making slightly strenuous tasks feel easier over time. So, when you once struggled to walk the five flights of stairs to the office, it now feels like a breeze!

4. You’ll make healthier choices

You’ll notice that you start to crave healthier foods — or at least you have fewer cravings for unhealthy foods. Exercise is an expression of self care and the more of it you do, the more this attitude will seep into other areas of your life. If you are loving yourself enough to work out, you will also love yourself enough to nourish your body the way it needs. It’s just an other one of the benefits from exercising!

5. You’ll sleep like a baby

If you have a hard time falling asleep at night, you can now rest at east! You will be thrilled to find that exercise really helps you sleep at night. You’ll experience a more restful sleep because your body demands it for recovery. Imagine the sense of satisfaction you’ll feel when you flop into bed and have a great night’s sleep!

What positive changes did you notice immediately after starting your workout routine?

Looking for a place to start? Let our Coaches guide you through the steps to reach your health and fitness goals through personal training. Whether you’re beginner or advanced, our Coaches will design a program that’s right for you.

Let’s Get Started!

How to Apply a Calorie Deficit to Fat Loss Goals

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When it comes to losing fat mass, there are a number of factors to take into account. Our blog, Measuring Your Fat Loss Progress, helps break down ways that can help you track of your progress. But what about calorie consumption and weight loss?

A calorie is a unit of energy.  Your body needs calories (energy) in order to function.  The amount of calories we need in a day varies for everyone depending on gender, body size, speed of metabolism, how much we move, genetics, etc.  We call this daily amount of calories, “maintenance calories”.  If you’re interested in calculating your maintenance calories, contact a Momentum Coach!

Calculate My Calories!

You consume calories simply by eating and you burn calories by the very act of living and moving.

Calorie surplus vs. calorie deficit

If you consume more calories in a day than you burn, you are in a calorie surplus.  For example, by consuming 2500 calories while only needing 2000 calories, you are in a calorie surplus. Being in a caloric surplus leads to FAT GAIN due to your body storing the extra calories as fat.

If you burn more calories in a day than you consume, you are in a calorie deficit.  For example, if you consume 2000 calories, but your body needs 2500, you are in a calorie deficit.  This results in FAT LOSS due to your body being forced to use fat stores to get the energy it needs.

You can see fat loss progress by adopting almost any meal plan, as long as you are maintaining a calorie deficit.

The skinny

Now, we all have at least one friend who has lost weight by cutting out sugar, carbs, gluten, dairy, or some other elimination method.  From the surface, it appears they lost weight simply by eliminating something out of their diet.  However, thats not the case.  The only real reason why weight loss was achieved is because they were able to create a calorie deficit by eliminating something out of their diet.  Though, eliminating major foods/nutrients out of your diet is NOT recommended because it’s nearly impossible to sustain long term success. Can anyone actually live without carbs or sugar? I know I can’t!

The bottom line is that weight loss is a calories-in-calories-out game.  It’s not the removal or addition of individual foods/nutrients that causes weight loss, it’s the calorie deficit.

Habits to help you create a calorie deficit

Sometimes achieving a calorie deficit can be as easy as reviewing and changing current habits:

  • start cooking at home and cut down on eating out
  • start meal prepping
  • smaller meal sizes
  • increase consumption of veggies by 1 serving per day
  • learn to read and understand nutrition labels
  • cut down on processed foods

And for any other assistance, accountability, tips and tricks, feel free to contact one of our Coaches at Momentum Fitness!