0 comments on “2017 Year in Review: The best and worst health and nutrition science news”

2017 Year in Review: The best and worst health and nutrition science news

Lets start with the bad news that came in 2017

Yo-Yo Diet Disaster

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1606148) discovered that people who experience large fluctuations in weight are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke, compared to those who maintain a steadier weight. Does this mean you should just stop even bothering to go on diets, all together? How about no

It means you should adopt a diet thats sustainable for the long haul, as opposed adopting a binge for a while and then avoid for a while lifestyle.

Stress makes you fat!

This one is no surprise, but research published in the Obesity Journal found that those with the highest levels of cortisolaka the stress hormonetend to have the heaviest body weights and widest waist circumferences.

Stop the Turmeric madness!

For whatever reason, people have gone nuts over turmeric in the last couple years in all its alleged health benefit glory. But alas, this might all be a lie. The Journal of Medicinal Chemistry published a study that found zero evidence to support turmerics bold health claims.

Same goes for Kale…

Turns out kale, once deemed a super-fooda word that is proving to mean nothing more than a temporarily popular fadmight actually be bad for your health. Or at least kale salads might cause problems. While kale propaganda has led us to believe kale is heart healthy and has cancer-fighting properties, science from Oregon State University (http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/food-beverages/cruciferous-vegetables#nutrient-interactions) says RAW kale can cause problems for your thyroid.

Green Tea, too!

Green tea also got bumped off the superfood list in 2017. Turns out, it might do more

damage than good (http://bc.ctvnews.ca/health-warning- issued-about- risks-of- green-

tea-supplements-1.3346467). It is now believe that green tea supplements can cause

liver damage. If youre suffering from liver failure, a cup of green tea might even kill you,

theysay! Further, the former superfoodwhen ingested in supplement formmight even decrease the effectiveness of certain antidepressants and anti-clotting medications. Oh, and it also could elevate your heart rate and blood pressure to unwanted levels.

What do you mean diet soda is bad for me?

Once deemed acceptable because they have zero calories, turns out artificial sweeteners in diet sodas etc can still make you fat! Research from Yale University discovered sweetness plays a role in your bodys metabolic response to food regardless of how many calories it has. Apparently when your body experiences sweetness, it ends up storing extra calories as fat rather than converting them into energy.

Dont worry, there was plenty of good news that came in 2017, as well, including:

Hot sauce your way to a longer life

Apparently capsaicin, the ingredient in hot peppers, also has metabolic-boosting capabilities, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. Further, a study that looked at more than 16,000 people discovered that those who ate spicy food and hot peppers are 13 percent less likely to die early.

Your diet doesnt have to be perfect all the time!

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that even those who followed a two weeks on, two weeks off pattern of strict and less strict eating, were still able to lose weight. Researchers believe that balancing out calorie restriction with higher calorie intake stops your body from every going into starvation mode, thus boosting your metabolism.

Your mother was right: Eat your veggies!

A study published in the British Medical Journal found women who consumed 3 to 4 servings of veggies each day are 12 percent less likely to experience high levels of stress in their life. Meanwhile, another study linked veggie consumption to an increase risk of obesity. Duh, right?

Carbs might not be so bad, after all

Its hard to know what to believe when it comes to what you should use as fuel in you body, though recent trends have leaned toward the idea that fat doesnt make you fat, and that carbs should be avoided. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, (http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2017/02/07/ajcn.116.139683) though, says carbs are good, or at least WHOLE GRAINS are good (especially when compared to refined grains). In short, the study found those who ate whole grains burned calories better than those who ate refined grains, and their glucose tolerance was better, too.

5. Breastfeeding? You can keep drinking that glass of wine!

A study conducted by the National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre and Deakin University in Australia found that a glass of wine or so while breastfeeding is absolutely harmless. The researchers looked at maternal demographics and substance use during pregnancy, as well as eight to twelve months postpartum. They also looked at breastfeeding duration, as well as infant feeding, sleeping and development. The result: One glass of alcohol a night had no affect on breastfeeding duration, on infant feeding or on sleeping behaviours, nor did it seem to affect any development outcomes at either eight or twelve weeks.

Are you women? You need to be strength training!

Another win for strength training: A study published in Medicine and Science said strength training significantly lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in women.

What will 2018 bring?


0 comments on “Practical Solutions to Help you Sleep Better”

Practical Solutions to Help you Sleep Better

What you fear, you create.

Can you relate to this?

Most people probably can: At one point in time, we have probably all had an experience where our mind starts worrying needlessly about something, and all of a sudden our crippling fear has created a problem where there wasnt one.

Sports are a common time this happens. Relationships are another: You start fretting about something small, and eventually this fretting turns into paranoia, and then POOFyou find yourself bringing negative energy to the table, and alas your once irrational fear has turned into a reality.

What about this one: SLEEP!!

Theres so much emphasis these days on the importance of good sleep on your health, your heart, your metabolism and on and on, that you feel so much pressure to sleep long, sleep deep and sleep enough that your stress is making your scared to go to bed. Suddenly you have a sleep problem!

Human beings are so adept in self-sabotage, arent we

No more! 

The purpose of this piece is to give you some practical solutions to your sleep stress. Some of them may work for you, others mays not, but its worth generating tangible tools to help you sleep more soundly, as opposed to just fear mongering to you over and over that you need quality sleep to live a quality life.

BLACK OUT BLINDS: Try making your room as dark as possible with blackout blinds (if youre really serious about it, you can even duct tape any small pockets that might let the tiniest amount of light in and make it so dark its almost spooky). There is a lot of evidence out there that a pitch-black room helps people get into, and stay in, a deep sleep.

GOOD PILLOW: Dont be a cheap ass. Spend the money on the right pillow for you. Peace Pillows (https://www.peacepillows.co.nz/) are a great one if youre not sure what you need. These pillows arent cheap, but they have a couple of options to choose from

EAT MORE FISH? According to a new study, eating fish leads to a good nights sleep. Read more here: http://time.com/5077404/fish-omega-3-sleep/

TEMPERATURE SWEET SPOT: Experiment with your rooms temperature. Most people dont sleep well if its too hot or too cold. Try turning the heat off, or turning the heat up, or opening a window, and take notes each morning to see how you slept. Did you wake up cold? Too hot that you stripped your PJs off? Adjust accordingly the following night and reassess.

HYDRATION SWEET SPOT: Are you waking up having to pee in the middle of the night? Consider drinking less water before bed. Conversely, are you waking up thirsty? Consider chugging a glass of H2O before you hit the sac. Like temperature, pay attention to what youre drinking, take notes for a week about how its affecting you in the middle of the night, and then adjust accordingly.

Here are three more tips from a real life Sleep Expert, Dr. Steven Grundyas opposed to the pretend sleep experts you see in mattress ads, who are nothing but mattress salesman trying to suund more important than they are.

Grundy Tip #1 Shut and Roll

 Apparently rolling your eye balls around when your eyes are shut is an effective way to help you fall asleep. Specifically, it causes your brain to release melatonin, the natural sleep hormone, and the quicker you release it, the faster you fall asleep. 

He suggests thinking about your daywhat you did, who you sawas you roll your eyes around.

Grundy Tip #2 Breathe Through Your Nose, Not Your Mouth

Most people breathe through their mouths, but new research says this has a stress effect on your brain, hindering your chances of falling asleep fast. Meanwhile, breathing through our nose sends relaxation signals to your brain.

Grundy Tip #3 Tell Yourself Im Staying Awake

Its the whole reverse psychology thing. Tell yourself, Im not going to picture a polar bear,and what pops into your brain? A big, white polar bear, of course. Apparently for some people repeating this to themselves helps their brain go the other direction and fall fast asleep. A little hokey? Perhaps, but might be worth giving it a shot.

One final tip: Take melatonin! Its a great natural sleep aid. Just dont take it every night and become reliant on it.

Sweet Dreams!

0 comments on “Was your mom wrong about needing milk for strong bones?”

Was your mom wrong about needing milk for strong bones?

Remember when you were a kid and you were told you needed to drink milk everyday to make your bones strong?

Well, it might have been a lie!

New research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association ((https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/12/26/calcium-and-vitamin-d-supplements-may-not-protect-against-bone-fractures-in-elderly/?utm_term=.aadbeacded67) suggests there’s little to no evidence that both calcium and Vitamin D supplements make your bones stronger. The research looked at older adults over the age of 50—a group whose particularly susceptible to weakening bones. Typically, 40 percent of women in this age group end up having at least one major osteoporotic fracture at some point, and those who break a hip die within one year of that injury.

In short, the research is emphatic that there’s no significant relationship between calcium supplements and the prevention of bone fractures in the hip, the spine, and other bones. This was true regardless of gender and past history of bone fractures, as well as how much calcium people were consuming in both their diet and through supplementation.

As for Vitamin D, which allegedly helps the body absorb calcium, it was also found to be less useful than commonly advertised. And as for those who took both Vitamin D and calcium together, again, their bones were no less susceptible to fractures.

Though calcium and Vitamin D supplementation might not be the miracle guarder against osteoporosis and weak bones we thought they were, this doesn’t mean they’re not useful for other health reasons. In fact, these two supplements are two we recommend you do take—especially Vitamin D.

Calcium Isn’t Just About the Bones

Calcium is used in many antacids and is used to control high levels of magnesium, phosphorous and potassium in the blood. There’s some decent evidence that calcium even helps control and prevent high blood pressure.

Further, being deficient in calcium can have dire consequences that go beyond bone strength—ranging from numbness, tingling fingers, muscle cramps, lethargy and poor appetite to mental confusion, dermatitis and delayed development in infants.

Postmenopausal women are most likely to be at risk of calcium deficiency, as well as people who are lactose intolerant and those who don’t eat any dairy products.

So even if it won’t make your bones impenetrable to fractures, it might still be worth taking a calcium supplement.

Vitamin D

Commonly known as the sunshine vitamin, it goes without saying Vitamin D goes beyond just bone health. It’s also an easy vitamin to become deficient in, especially if you live in a wintery city where the sun likes to hide months at a time. Even new mothers are advised to feed Vitamin D drops to their infants.

If not calcium, do you know something else that is known to increase bone density and strength? Strength training! So if you’re not already on a strength program, contact us to get started. Your 80-year-old hip bones will thank you.

1 comment on “Sleep and technology’s affect on it…”

Sleep and technology’s affect on it…

Hands up if you are guilty of using your phone in bed! Yep, me too. Unfortunately, that sneaky social media check at bedtime might be doing more harm than you thought. You might have heard by now that technology can cause problems with sleep habits. Let me explain how it can actually affect your sleep! […]

via How Technology Impacts Your Sleep — Discovering Your Happiness

0 comments on “5 Reasons you should hire a health and fitness coach in 2018”

5 Reasons you should hire a health and fitness coach in 2018

A new year has begun. Youre still overweight. Your blood pressure is up from 2017, and every time you see your doctor, youre told your A1C levels are getting closer to indicating Type 2 diabetes. Not only that, but going up the stairs leaves you out of breath, and you dread carrying your groceries from the car to your house every time you shop.

Its time.

You could join the community centre gym and start walking, and hopefully soon running, on the treadmill, or riding the stationary bike or ellipticalboring yourself out of your own skull in the process.

You could try that new spin class youve heard people rave about, but it seems so repetitive.

You could try to pick up swimming again. You remember liking it when you were a kid. But the thought of fighting over the lane with five other swimmers isnt exactly enticing.

Or you could sign up for bootcamp, but the thought of working out outside at 6 a.m. in the cold early January morning makes you shiver just thinking about it.

Or yoga. Yoga gets you somewhat fit, right? Or does it?

The options for fitness are vast, to say the least

Before you make a decision, lets reverse engineer this for a moment to figure out whats going to actually get you what you REALLY want and need.

What you undoubtedly want is to be and feel healthier, right? To improve your growing health concerns, right? To make climbing stairs and grocery shopping easier, right? And if you look better in the process, that would be more than welcome, right? Oh and you probably have some chronic injuries that you wouldnt mind healing, and you certainly dont want to get more injured, right?

Is a three-day-a-week treadmill routine going to get you all of the above? Or swimming, or yoga, or a freeze-your-ass-off 6-week bootcamp? I’m going to take a leap here and say NO. None of those things are going to get you where you want to be, which is to live a happier, healthier life.

So what will?

Hiring a professional coach!

Heres why a coach is the way to go:

Personalized attention:

Contrary to what you may have been told, fitness isnt a one-size-fits-all approach. With us, youll work in a one-on-one environment with a coach (and will eventually be able to also attend group classes). Your coach will be able to address your individual needs, your strengths, weaknesses, injuries and goals, and then hold your hand and steer you in the right direction physically, mentally and emotionally.


Ever start a workout routine but then fall off after a few days, weeks or months because theres nothing to hold you accountable? Appointments with your coach will go a long way in ensuring you stay committed to achieving what you really want.

Youll actually get fit!

Imagine that? Actually seeing improvements! Half the reason people do fall off the wagon is because they dont notice any strength, skill, stamina, endurance, or body composition benefits from working out. Working with a professional coach, who will monitor your progress, is whats going to vault your fitness, health and body composition changes to levels you didnt know were possible.

Heal Your Chronic Pain:

You know that shoulder injury you sustained when you were 16 that was never diagnosed and never totally healed? Or the chronic pain you feel in your knees or back every time you stand or sit for too long? Yeah, your coach will give you tools to help eliminate those chronic aches and pains you gave up on trying to heal years ago.


You know you need to change the way you eat, but again theres nobody to hold you accountable, and youre confused what you should be eating because you hear so much contradictory information. Like fitness, nutrition isnt a one-size-fits-all approach. Your coach will work with you through trial and error to figure out what your body needs to run as effectively as possible. And in the process, youre going to find youll love the way your body looks and feels a whole lot more!

The result: Youll finish 2018 a lot healthier, fitter and happier than you started the year.

0 comments on “Mastering the Journey: Learning to love the plateau”

Mastering the Journey: Learning to love the plateau

General Physical Preparedness (GPP) fitness can be frustrating: The more you improve at something, the more you want to improve at something else, and when you do make a gain at one skill, you still suck at 10 other movements. Factor in the inevitable weeks, months and even years where you feel like you’re plateauing and sometimes it feels like the easy thing to do is to give up and find another hobby.

Although it’s a cliche, one of our goals for all our clients is to help you realise fitness is a lifelong endeavour that must be approached with diligence and patience. We want you all to embrace the long-term journey in all its ups and downs (most particularly the downs).

One book that has proven incredibly helpful for many to learn to love the process is a book by George Leonard called “Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment.”

You can read the full book here for free, but here’s a Cole’s Notes of some important takeaways that can truly help you be more successful not just at the gym, but in all areas of your life.

Leonard explains that whenever a person seeks to learn a new skill—be it a new sport, a new hobby, such as cooking or pottery, or even begin a new profession—it’s best to follow the mastery path.

He explained the mastery path looks like this: “Learning any new skill involves relatively brief spurts of progress, each of which is followed by a slight decline to a plateau somewhat higher in most cases than that which preceded it….To take the master’s journey, you have to practice diligently, striving to hone your skills, to attain new levels of competence. But while doing so—and this is the inexorable fact of the journey—you also have to be willing to spend most of your time on a plateau, to keep practicing even when you seem to be getting nowhere.”

In contrast, most people don’t embrace the master’s journey, Leonard explained. Instead, most people express traits of either a dabbler, a hacker or an obsessive.

Do you recognize yourself in any of the below characters?

The Dabbler:

Leonard explained: “The Dabbler approaches each new sport, career opportunity, or relationship with enormous enthusiasm. He or she loves the rituals involved in getting started, the spiffy equipment, the lingo, the shine of newness. When he makes his first spurt of progress in a new sport, for example, the Dabbler is overjoyed. He demonstrates his form to family, friends, and people he meets on the street. He can’t wait for the next lesson. The falloff from his first peak comes as a shock. The plateau that follows is unacceptable if not incomprehensible. His enthusiasm quickly wanes. He starts missing lessons. His mind fills up with rationalisations.

This really isn’t the right sport for him. It’s too competitive, noncompetitive, aggressive, non-aggressive, boring, dangerous, whatever. He tells everyone that it just doesn’t fulfill his unique needs. Starting another sport gives the Dabbler a chance to replay the scenario of starting up. Maybe he’ll make it to the second plateau this time, maybe not. Then it’s on to something else.”

I’m always suspicious I might have a dabbler on my hands when a new overly enthusiastic client shows up with brand new metcons or weightlifting shoes before he even knows how to squat….

The Hacker:

Leonard explained: “After sort of getting the hang of a thing, he or she is willing to stay on the plateau indefinitely. He doesn’t mind skipping stages essential to the development of mastery if he can just go out and hack around with fellow hackers. He’s the physician or teacher who doesn’t bother going to professional meetings, the tennis player who develops a solid forehand and figures he can make do with a ragged backhand. At work, he does only enough to get by, leaves on time or early, takes every break, talks instead of doing his job, and wonders why he doesn’t get promoted. The Hacker looks at marriage or living together not as an opportunity for learning and development, but as a comfortable refuge from the uncertainties of the outside world.”

I have seen many hackers in my day as a coach; they’re frustrating because I often feel I care more about their development than they do…

The Obsessive:

Leonard explained: “The Obsessive is a bottom-line type of person, not one to settle for second best. He or she knows results are what count, and it doesn’t matter how you get them, just so you get them fast. In fact, he or she wants to get the stroke just right during the very first lesson.

He stays after class talking to the instructor. He asks what books and tapes he can buy to help him make progress faster. (He leans toward the listener when he talks. His energy is up front when he walks.) The Obsessive starts out by making robust progress. His first spurt is just what he expected. But when he inevitably regresses and finds himself on a plateau, he simply won’t accept it. He redoubles his effort. He pushes himself mercilessly. He refuses to accept his boss’s and colleagues’ counsel of moderation. He works all night at the office, he’s tempted to take shortcuts for the sake of quick results.”

Another common personality trait I have come across—while the Obsessive’s efforts are inspiring—he is the guy who often gets injured for letting his ego get the best of him.

So how do you move away from being a hacker, an obsessive or a dabbler and onto the mastery path?

You practice diligently, and you practice for the sake of the journey, as opposed to the outcome.

And instead of being frustrated when you’re on a plateau, you learn to appreciate and enjoy the struggle.

And the thing is, when you do this—when you learn to appreciate all aspects of the journey—you will get a lot further than you ever could have imagined.

Read the whole book here.

0 comments on “5 Reasons You’re Still Chasing that Elusive Muscle-up”

5 Reasons You’re Still Chasing that Elusive Muscle-up

If I had a dollar for every client who has asked one of the coaches to help them get a muscle-up…and yes I include myself in this, a lesson I am having a hard time learning. I have had a bar muscle-up previously and I knew what I did to get there, I had to put in the base work before I was ever gonna get over that bar. I built the requisite strength and use you can lose it just as well as you can earn it.

When they ask for help, their tone of voice almost sounds as though they’re expecting me to give them one simple tip, and then boom, they’ll be able to string 10 muscle-ups together.

Instead, training to get a muscle-up is like two people trying to build trust in their relationship after one person cheats on the other: A tedious and delicate process, often frustrating and painful, that requires patience and commitment.

Nobody knows this better than expert gymnastics coach, and former Regionals and CrossFit Games competitor Louise Eberts, who works with many top-level athletes on their gymnastics.

Eberts can help just about anyone get a muscle-up, but the athlete must be willing to truly commit to the cause, she explained. She believes the five biggest mistakes muscle-up seekers make are:

5. They Skip the Strength Work

“So many people want to skip the strength work because it sucks. A lot of people get aggravated when I ask them to work on their strict strength first. I am usually met with eye rolling or a groan,” Eberts said.

She added: “Yes, strict strength is paramount. Strict chin-ups, strict pull-ups on bars and rings, ring dips, lat exercises, dumbbell exercises. Yes, bicep curls help. There is a reason Sam Briggs is called ‘Bicep Briggs,’ and her muscle-ups are good!”

4. They Skip the Dirty Work

“Not learning progressions specifically geared toward muscle-ups is a very common mistake. A lot of athletes just keep trying to do the entire movement, throwing themselves toward the rings in hopes of success, and they keep failing, rep after rep after rep,” Eberts said

It’s important to do progressions and kipping and transition drills, and pieces of the movement, to help create correct muscle memory, strength, coordination and power throughout the movement, Eberts said.

3. They Avoid Structure

“A lot of people come to me after months, or even years, of just winging it, with no structure, zero program, or a coach that says, ‘Just do it,’ and that’s it,” Eberts said.

She added: “Looking up progressions is awesome, and doing strength work is essential, but if you do not know how to put it into an organized program, it can just end up being frustrating.”

By organized program, Eberts means following a progressive program—with pulling and pushing strength work, kipping practice, drills and accessory work etc—where each week, and each month, builds on the one before.

If you’re in this boat, talk to Tim or Daz about doing the next intake of Gymnastics Club, it starts the week beginning the 13th of March so just over a week away. If Gymnastics Club timing doesn’t work for you then one of the coaches can work with you to help put an individual program together as long as you are prepared to commit to the work required.

2. They Skip Coaching

Even athletes who can do 10 muscle-ups in a row still get coaching on their muscle-up. It’s a technical skill, and there’s always room for improvement.

“Finding a good coach to create a solid program that is clear, concise and not overly time-consuming or complicated can make the process of achieving your first muscle-up way quicker,” Eberts said.

When she coaches her athletes, she uses a very hands-on approach.

“Spotting is huge and it gets you doing the entire moment for multiple reps,” she said. “I have coached gymnastics for seven years at every level, and all the athletes I have worked with, from age 2 to 40, get spotted for movements…over and over again.”

Spotting, like progressions, help with muscle memory, Eberts explained.

“And you gain strength throughout the movement because the amount of effort the spotter puts in can be lessened over time.”

1. They Aren’t Patient and don’t Persevere

“Many talk the talk, or they say they want a muscle-up, but actually getting one takes a lot of time and effort,” she said. “I can’t tell you how many people messaged me during the Open (last year) in a panic because they wanted to get a muscle-up in four days. Four days!!! I always find that mind boggling.”

Instead, Eberts reiterates the importance of a long-term commitment, even after a muscle-up is achieved.

“I am always so excited for people to get the elusive muscle-up, but when they do (get one), I usually ask them, ‘Are you ready to keep this going?’” she explained, adding that just because you did a muscle-up once, doesn’t mean it’s time to abandon progression and strength work.

“Now you have to do one in a workout that might have 20 thrusters right before it…So keep getting stronger, keep getting better at the movement through rou-tine, practice and progressions.”

The process never ends.