Since last year, I’ve been much more conscious about controlling the amount of refined sugar in my diet. There have been a lot of articles (like this one from CTV linking soda pop to 180 thousand deaths per year) and documentaries like Hungry for Change (Watch this one for sure!) that are unified in their message; we need to cut back! Last year, I wrote a blog post about ways to cut back refined sugar intake, but I sometimes find myself missing sweet treats for desserts. I recently found a delicious and healthy sweet treat that fills this need: chia seed pudding.
Chia seeds are really high in fibre and are considered one of the three “super seeds” along with flax and hemp hearts. They also have the wonderful quality of turning into a gelatinous paste when soaked in liquid, making them a supremely healthy base for a pudding. Because these recipes are so healthy, they can also make for good breakfasts (I particularly like the cinnamon raisin nut and berry based recipes for this purpose.) I have tailored a nice base recipe for the chia seed pudding, and have 7 different “flavour” modifications for different types of puddings, which I’ll share here. (more…)
Over the past few years, fascia fitness has become an important topic of discussion in sports and physical development. Previously, fitness was seen as being a combination of muscular strength, cardiovascular conditioning, and neuromuscular coordination. But now, more modern research suggests that our body’s fascial network, a structure of connective tissue that surrounds muscles, blood vessels, and nerves, binding some structures together, while permitting others to slide smoothly over each other, play an important role on movement efficiency, injury prevention and overall body performance. For a more detailed explanation of the fascial network and their role in the body, read AnatomyTrain.com’s article on Fascial Fitness. Below is a video showing what the fascial network is with some explanation on how it affects our bodies. (more…)
As I looked back on 2012 and thought about all the great experiences I had, I realized that one of the best things I came away with was a new-found love of running. I had started running purely for practical reasons originally. I was being considered for a stunt doubling role for a local film, but they asked if I could lean up lose a few pounds in order to better match the skinny actress. I had only a few weeks to do it, so I started eating uber-healthy and took up a rigourous training regimen with a variety of forms of exercise, including running. I never really enjoyed running, but I recognized it was the best form of cardio with which to lose weight fast. (more…)
On this fine Christmas Eve morning, I woke up with a plan. I was going to do my first solo 10km run, using the 10km race mission in Zombies, Run! This would be my Christmas gift to myself. I’ve been working up to doing the 10k race mission over the past few weeks, increasing the lengths of my weekly long run, but I still knew I would be “feeling it” when I did the 10km.
I decided to do the pre-run yoga sequence in the Yoga for Runners App to warm up for my run then off I went. I was happy the roads were completely clear and it wasn’t raining nor was it very cold. It was a perfect day for a run. After I made it to the 8km mark, I was definitely feeling it in my muscles and joints, but I pushed on. I even increased my speed a little at that point, wanting to see how close I could get to doing the 10km in 1 hour. My final was 1 hour and 4 minutes. Not bad, I thought to myself. As I finished my cool-down walk, I knew I needed a good stretch so I finished off with the post-run yoga sequence from Yoga for Runners, which was perfect for stretching me out after the long run. I then made a protein and fruit power shake and brewed myself a nice cup of Rooibos tea. This was my Christmas gift to myself. (more…)
The colder winter months are upon us and with them comes an increase in the spread of illness. While a regular regimen of exercise is an important component of maintaining a healthy immune system, people are often unsure of when it is okay to exercise or train after having been ill. Below are a few questions to ask before undertaking exercise while sick: (more…)
As a martial arts school owner, I have to keep my first aid kit well stocked. The two most commonly used supplies are band-aids and medical tape. Lots of students get minor joint injuries to fingers and toes, not necessarily on the mats, but they do want to keep training and in order to do so, they need to tape them up to keep from re-injuring them. As a result, we go through a LOT of tape. (more…)
Injuries happen, even to the most skilled martial arts students. For a variety of reasons though sometimes people cover up or downplay their injuries when they happen. Sometimes it’s a macho thing and the person doesn’t want to let on that they made a mistake that led to their own injury. Other times it’s because they don’t want the person who caused the injury to feel bad. And then there are people who just don’t want to stop for an injury because they don’t want to miss out on training. Whatever the reasons behind for wanting to do so, it’s important to ignore the desire to hide an injury or downplay its seriousness. Here are the reasons why: (more…)
One of the rudest moments someone participating in any sport can experience is when they discover that groin protectors aren’t perfect. While I’ve never seen anyone strut around the mats like their groin was invulnerable with a cup on, there is definitely a misconception that it keeps strikes to the groin entirely pain free. It doesn’t. Taking a shot to the groin isn’t just about standing there and taking it, and once you learn how to use your body to effectively minimize the energy delivered with a groin strike, while at the same time allowing your partner to train proper targeting, you’ll be a lot more comfortable taking groin strikes in your training.
In my last post, I offered 5 tips for cutting back on refined sugar, which factored into my weight loss goal discussed in The Benefits of Moving Outside Our Comfort Zones. Today I’ll offer advice for doing the same with starchy carbs. For the record, carbs are not the enemy. There are plenty of healthy carbs that you can and should be incorporating into a healthy, balanced diet. Fruits and vegetable are all carbohydrates that can be eaten in abundance. What causes us to overeat sometimes is starchy carbs, especially ones containing refined flours.
Eating the Right Balance
According to Barry Sears, creator of the Zone diet, it’s not about eliminating all of a single thing, whether it’s carbs, protein or fats. It’s about getting the right balance of all 3 in your body, opting for the healthiest versions of each. The trouble is that in North America we tend to eat too many unhealthy carbs by way of refined sugars and starchy options. (more…)
In my last blog post, I touched on some of the benefits of moving outside comfort zones with regard to a goal I had to slim up in a short period of time for a movie role. One of the ways I managed to lose 5 lbs in one week was cutting back on refined sugar. I pretty much eliminated it from my diet except for one “cheat” meal.
The Bitter Truth about Sugar
Refined sugar, not just white sugar, but also sucrose, fructose, corn syrups, etc, is probably the single biggest factor contributing to obesity in North America and other western countries with similar diets. According to Dr. Lustig from “The Skinny on Obesity,” the amount of sugars (particularly fructose, but not limited to) in processed foods and drinks has increased steadily over the years as a way of keeping food prices cheaper. And with the steady increase of sugar over the decades came the increase in obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other health problems. Fructose is particularly bad because it metabolizes in a way that puts more fat on the body that eating straight fat, according to Lustig, though others in the scientific community are saying this focus on fructose is alarmist and somewhat inaccurate. This post isn’t intended to cover this argument in detail, but if you want the full public lecture explaining it and the studies supporting it, check out the video below. Either way, one easy way to make significant changes in your health is to cut back on all refined sugar (especially ones in drinkable form). (more…)