| What would you say is the biggest misconception people have in terms of exercise or getting fit?I think one common misconception with weight loss and getting fit is people seem to think that any weight loss is “good weight loss”. Typically you see this with the Atkins diet. Well congratulations, you just have successfully dehydrated yourself by completing your body’s carbohydrate levels. Losing 10lbs of water has nothing to do with how your body will look long term.
In order for your body to look it’s best you must either reduce your body fat, gain some lean mass or a combination of both. This is done by consuming less calories than you burn by a balanced, low calorie diet and a complete exercise program.
Are there particular fitness myths that seem to be more prevalent among women?
Women commonly think that if they lift weights they will “bulk” up. This is not the case: In general, women do not posses high enough testosterone levels to achieve extremely pronounced muscle hypertrophy (increase in muscle size). In actual fact, strength training can produce some amazing results.
Weight bearing exercise has been proven to increase bone density, improve the immune system, lower blood pressure and heart rate and provide a huge boost in confidence as strength, balance and muscle tone improve.
There seems to be an overarching idea that health equals thinness, or even thinness trumping health – and it seems as though this is reaching young and younger parts of our population. Do you encounter this within your profession?
All the time. People think that being thin is healthy; however, this is not always the case. I sometimes see many people skipping meals or over exercising in order to achieve a certain weight. We have to remember that “scale” weight is not an accurate indication of health. In fact, I tell many clients to get rid of the scale all together. I try to focus more on my clients energy levels, clothing size and remind them how important it is to eat nutrient dense foods, stay away from sweets and exercise regularly but know your bodies limits.
What are some ways that we, as a population could move away from this thinking?
By educating and explaining the differences between healthy leanness and undesirable thinness.
It can be difficult, or even scary, to make the decision to begin a lifestyle change – say start running or make a change in diet – people might not know where to start. What might you recommend to someone interested in starting down a new path?
You need to make sure that you start with a plan and make sure you give yourself all the necessary tools to follow through with that plan. Hiring a personal trainer is a great start and couple that with a nutritionist or Naturopathic doctor is even better. It’s important to progress in a new routine gradually in order to prevent yourself from falling off the bandwagon.
I sometimes get new clients coming in see me and telling me that they are prepared to commit to working out 7 days a week and cut out carbohydrates completely. This is just not realistic, especially if they are starting from scratch. Know your limitations and make sure that any changes you make can be lifelong.
If someone is looking to work with someone, what should they be looking for in a fitness and health professional?
I would recommend that people start by going to their local fitness facility or gym of their preference and watch some of the certified trainers work with their clients there. Get to know what sort of style you prefer in a trainer and what type of personality you would mesh best with. You want to make sure that your trainer is attentive and that they listen to you. You also want to make sure that they have the proper education and qualifications along with experience in the field. Most gym’s will post bios of their trainers on the wall or online.
What are the pitfalls or traps you would caution individuals to avoid when starting out?
Don’t aim to high too soon. You want to progressively ease your way into an exercise program without running the risk of burnout, boredom or exhaustion. Find something that you enjoy doing and that you see yourself continuing in the long term.
What is the process you go through with a new client?
I will sit down with them for half an hour to review intake forms. These forms have such information as current activity levels, goals, current injuries and/or limitations, expectations.
The next session I will take my clients through what’s called a “functional movement Screen” this assesses any movement imbalances someone may have and makes sure that the person is fit to start training. This tool is also used as a tracking device in order to see improvements down the road. It measures strength, flexibility and balance.
Then, depending on the goal of my client we may do body composition testing, fitness testing or any other specific measure of a fitness baseline.
There can be a fine line between “pushing through” and “not listening to your body.” This may be particularly tough for individuals just starting out. How difficult can it be to balance between these two areas?
You need to make sure you are always listening to your body and making sure that you stay healthy.
Common “red Lights” when working out include the following:
– Failing to complete your workout consistently
– Your joints, bones or limbs hurt (a little bit of soreness is ok but you need to recognize pain from soreness)
– If exercise is causing you to become consistently fatigued and less energized
I also wanted to talk with you about your fundraising endeavors. You’ve helped raised a significant amount of money for cancer research – over 100,000 dollars with the BC Cancer Foundation. How did you get involved in these initiatives?
It started out with a co-worker of mine talking about this great ride that he had did from Vancouver to Seattle to raise money for cancer research. At the time I hadn’t done much bike riding but figured it sounded like a new challenge and something I would enjoy. I’m now on my 3rd year of the ride on the Terminal City Titans team and through the help of family, friends and clients I have successfully raised a lot of money for the BC cancer foundation.
What other projects would you be interested in getting involved with?
Nothing in particular at the moment. Long term I would love to start up a boot camp once or twice a week where all the registration money goes towards the a local Vancouver charity.
Going forward, where do you see your projects/businesses going in the future? What do you want to see come out of your ventures?
I have always toyed with the possibility of starting my own personal training gym, however,that is a very long term goal. For now I am going to continue to work on building my private business and continuing to educate and inspire my clients.
And as final question, I have to ask: Yoga? Yay or nay?
Definitely “Yay”. So long as the yoga is coupled with some sort of longer sustained cardiovascular routine where you are elevating your heart rate above 65% of your maximum and a weight bearing exercise routine for example: Strength training in the gym. It is important to have a balance of strength, stamina and flexibility in order to have a complete exercise program.