Health, Nutrition & Safety

A 10km Xmas Gift for Me

A 10km Run Xmas Gift for MeOn 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…)

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Should You Exercise/Train When Sick? 4 Factors to Consider

Should You Train Exercise While Sick? 4 Factors to ConsiderThe 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…)

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How to Save Money on Medical Tape

How to Save Money on Medical TapeAs 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…)

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Why It’s Important to Be Upfront About Injury in the Martial Arts

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…)

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How to Take a Shot to the Groin

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.


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Staunching Starches: 4 Tips for Cutting Back on Starchy Carbs

Tips for reducing refined flour and starchy carbsIn 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…)

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Unsweeten Your Tooth: 5 Tips for Cutting Back on Refined Sugar

Tips for Reducing Refined Sugar in Your DietIn 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…)

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The Benefits of Moving Outside Your Comfort Zones

The Benefits of Moving Outside Comfort ZonesRecently, I had a big opportunity come my way in the film industry for my fencing skills. There was one caveat that led to me pushing my boundaries; they wanted me to lean up a bit for the role I would potentially be playing within a couple of weeks. First off, I’ve always maintained a healthy weight for my size and I’m fit/strong and all that, but I realized that there was room for me to trim off a little extra padding around my mid-section.

I decided to strictly manage my diet and exercise to lean up as much as is realistic within the short period of time I had, using a weight loss plan I found online. Even if I didn’t get the part or whatever, I figured it would be a great challenge for me. And it was. I managed to lose 5 lbs in one week, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but this translated to losing 2 inches off my waist, 1 inch around my hips, and 1 inch around my chest. This was great progress for me in such a short period of time. (more…)

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Running Safety Tips for Everyone

Running Safety Tips for EveryoneI’m on a bit of  a roll talking about running these last couple of blog posts, having written about the benefits of running for martial artists and about running workouts for martial artists. Today, I’d like to discuss tips for staying safe while running. While women are more frequently the target of serious assaults while running, as was recently the case for Sarah B Hart of Russell County, USA who was attacked during her morning jog, running safety is relevant for everyone, so I’d like to share a few tips here to help keep people safe on the roads and trails. (more…)

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Dealing with Martial Arts Partners with Dangerous Training Habits

When you train in a martial art with a lot of partner-based training, you end up working with all kinds of people, big or small, male or female, experienced or inexperienced. With all the different pairings, you find that everyone has different habits, some good, some neutral, and some bad, which can be dangerous for one or both people in the pairing. In our dojo, we tend to attract people with good training attitudes and ethics, so students don’t generally do things while they train that are intentionally dangerous. That being said, sometimes adjustments need to be made for safety. A student might hit or throw a training partner a little harder than the person receiving is comfortable with. Or maybe a less experienced student might cling to person throwing them in a way that is dangerous.  (more…)

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