Alyssa Smith 2

Advice From Canada’s Strongest Woman “Be Your Own Motivation”

Guest Blog by Alyssa Smith

I know when you first start an exercise routine it can be hard for so many different reasons. What am I suppose do to? Should I go back?  It’s so intimidating! How do I know how many reps or sets I should do? What equipment should I use? You get the point. There are things you simply won’t know when you first start out and you know what, that’s completely okay. Everyone has been there once before.

I have never met anyone before who said they knew exactly what to do when they first started. No one does. Especially with all the different fads, false articles and phony magazines out there. It’s too easy to be confused and not know what to do or where to start. Don’t be discouraged. There are many different ways to become educated and self-efficient in your own way. The important thing is that you’re trying to better yourself. This in itself is your first step, so pat yourself on the back.

Here are 6 tips that kept me going when I had no clue what I was doing:

1. Don’t ever worry about what’s going on around you. This shouldn’t concern you whatsoever. You are your focus, not them.
2. Keep track of what you’re doing whether it’s your eating habits, your workouts, whatever it may be, WRITE IT DOWN. This is the best way to track your progress.
3. Make small, realistic goals. Don’t go too hard just yet. Ease into it.
4. Get a personal trainer. It doesn’t have to be for long but knowing the basics will bring you a long way and save you a lot of time and frustration. But make sure they’re a good fit for you. Not every trainer is reputable or reliable for that matter. (I suggest trying a free consultation first to see if they’re a good fit for you).
5. Don’t Compare yourself to others. Your goal is not to become them, but to become the best you.
6. Don’t give up!

My biggest success when I first started out was simply not giving up. There will be times you feel defeated, you feel like you’ve failed or you hit a bump in the road and just want to give it up. Don’t! Don’t let your thoughts hold you back. Everyone fails, it’s what makes us stronger. All of us have bad days, does this mean we are supposed to curl up in a ball and give up? Absolutely not, you pick yourself up and find a solution to your problem. You improve yourself and get back on track.

This is why I titled this blog “Be Your Own Motivation”. Don’t compare yourself to others, your goal is not to become them, your goal is to become the best you. You can have inspirations, motivators and heroes but in the end you should be your own inspiration. Your progress, hard work, dedication, time spent and goals met are the biggest influence to keep you focused on your goals and the road ahead. I really do understand the struggle, I was there. When I started my journey I had no idea what the heck I was doing. I was like a lost dog in a park.

You see, growing up I had no motivation. I was depressed, overweight, into drugs & alcohol, and was just plain miserable. My mother forced me into the gym when I was about 15 years of age. Surprisingly I took a liking to it. I didn’t have any specific goals at the time but to lose weight like almost everyone else when they first start. I had no idea what I was doing so I got a personal trainer and it gave me a much better understanding on exactly what I needed to do to lose weight and keep it off.

Shortly after, I went on my own for a bit but hit a plateau and felt like I was back where I started. I didn’t know if I wanted to continue, I felt like a failure. I decided to seek some help and got another personal trainer, long term this time. I started creating new goals, like gaining strength, feeling better, looking better and I kept track of everything I was doing. My trainer at the time introduced me to her boyfriend who was a powerlifter. I thought there was no way I could ever do that, I’m a girl! But I never turn down a challenge so I gave it a try and fell in love with the sport!

I decided I’d like to try a competition just to see if I’d like it. I was absolutely horrified the first time, the crowds of people watching you, the pressure, I was very uncomfortable and out of my comfort zone. But sometimes you have to step outside of that zone to accomplish what you’ve been working towards. I must say it paid off, I didn’t do well but it drove me to want do it again and be better.

Since then I studied for 2 years to become a personal trainer, received multiple certifications, and began working as a personal trainer full-time! Helping to change a person’s life and be a part of their journey like someone once was for me is the best feeling in the world. I also continued with powerlifting and recently be Canada’s strongest woman! I hold the #1 total in Canada with a 440lbs back squat, 203lbs bench press and 496lbs deadlift. The biggest powerlifting total to ever be done in Canada! I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I’m confident, I feel awesome and I have surpassed every goal I had. If you asked me when I first started, I never would have thought I’d be accomplishing the things I have. When things got rough and difficult, I didn’t give up. I believed in myself like everyone should. Everyone has the ability to better themselves and reach for the starts.

The point is I was once in your position and I took action and failed but I picked myself back up multiple times and kept going. No matter what the circumstances are, do not make excuses for why “you can’t” or why “you’re not good enough” because fact of the matter is you’re lying to yourself. You’re better than that and you can accomplish anything that you’re willing to put the effort and work into. YOU ARE what is going to make you reach your goals and strive for success.

Keep your head in the game, if I can do it so can you.

- Alyssa Smith


Alyssa Smith

Strives for total wellness to achieve her goals. Healthy diet, proper rest, correct exercise, right mindset, positive environment, amazing team and chiropractic are all key players in helping her get to where she is today. She is one amazingly strong woman both physically and mentally. She continues to help change lives by inspiring amazing transformations with her personal training clients and smashing through not only Canadian but World records in powerlifting. Amidst all her success she somehow manages to stay down to earth and can still make people laugh until it hurts. Check out Alyssa’s website to learn more about her story, see some of her client’s amazing transformations, check out unbelievable lifting videos or get in touch with her personally.

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Redefining Your Health

Last week for the first time I had the privilege of working with Chiropractor Dr. John MacPhee to detect patterns of subluxation in my nervous system. I had never been to a chiropractor before and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Admittedly there was a lot I didn’t know about chiropractic. I gained a wealth of exciting knowledge but i’ll have to save that for another post.

During my first consultation, prior to getting started with the “Insight Subluxation Station” technology, Dr. Macphee asked me a question that I was surprisingly unprepared for. With all of my years working in the fitness and health industry I had never been asked this question and quite honestly at the time I didn’t have any thought out answers to give. The question was “what does perfect or optimal health look like to you and how is it expressed?” My first thoughts were along the lines of being a healthy weight, not getting sick, sleeping well etc. but I quickly noticed that these aren’t my thoughts at all but a conditioned, default response to a question I had never thought out before. Dr. MacPhee was prepared with a follow up homework assignment. My task was to think of what optimal health means to me and write down 10 ways it could be expressed. In other words if I could wave a magic wand right now and have perfect health, what would that be.

I thought about it for a few days. The obvious responses came up like “feeling great” and again “not getting sick” but that didn’t seem right. How is feeling great expressed? Is it simply the state we’re in when we aren’t feeling bad? Have sickness and health become synonymous in our culture? The definition of health by the Oxford Dictionary is the state of being free from illness or injury. It’s almost as if health doesn’t exist. Sickness exists and health by definition is the absence of it. Our well-being is defined by sickness, nothing more.

The human body and spirit deserve way more credit. We are capable of being more than just free from symptoms of illness. To quote TheWellnessGroup “We believe that every human being is designed to be extraordinary”. If there were no obstacles in your way, what 10 expressions of perfect health would be on your list? Dr. MacPhee mentioned being able to play on a play structure with your grandchildren or great grand children or living to 130! Here is what I came up with:

10 Expressions of Optimal Health:

1.   Be able to out wit any 20 year old when I’m in my 90′s

2.   Be able to move through full range of motion and maintain relative strength until my last day

3.   Fall asleep easily, sleep deeply and wake up with abundant energy every night

4.   Be physically able to embark on adventures for the rest of my life. Watch out for the grandma climbing base camp everest and scuba diving in the Maldives.

5.   Have bulletproof self-esteem

6.   Be able to handle stress effectively and bounce back quickly

7.   Be able to feel and express full range of emotion in a productive way. Self-awareness.

8.   Experience superhero memory, critical thinking and clarity

9.   Have clearly defined purpose, values and goals

10.  Have healthy relationship with food. Eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full, full-fill my bodies requirements for nutrients.

Initially, choosing 10 expressions of health was difficult. Narrowing them down and identifying things that weren’t related to symptom relief was a surprising challenge. At the end of the exercise I had twice as many things to include that encompassed physical, intellectual, emotional, social, environmental and spiritual health.

What if we viewed health as the optimal expression of our existence? Would we be more inclined to take action to achieve it beyond the presence of sickness? Would we think differently about the choices we make? About the lives we want to live?

What does optimal health mean to you and how is it expressed? Within reason, (i.e. you can’t grow wings or tell the future) brainstorm what your 10 expressions of optimal health are. Don’t let perceived obstacles or limitations cloud your list. This exercise can be a powerful tool in gaining perspective, clarity and motivation.

Dream big, think outside the box and enjoy the process.

Please feel free to post your list in the comments below to share your inspiration and ideas!

Thanks for reading!  – Jules

Nomnom Paleo Cookbook Review

About two weeks ago JEdible Arrangementsesse surprised me with a birthday gift of assorted fruits arranged to look like a bouquet of flowers. It was really quite amazing and the perfect gift for a whole food fanatic. To top it off little rounded pieces of apple had been dipped in dark chocolate. We couldn’t wait to devour it but we thought it was wise to gobble up the treats throughout the week and share the splendour with our roommates instead. Sharing is caring, and to be honest I couldn’t eat all that fruit by myself. Anyways, long story short a certain someone could not resist the temptation of the chocolaty goodness and within a day all of the little chocolatey apple bites were but a thing of memory.

I guess that certain someone was feeling a bit guilty about eating all the chocolate. To my surprise the next evening I discovered “nomnom paleo” cookbook hiding underneath my pillow before bed. Apology accepted. In fact I was so happy I even gave the book a hug, like it had feelings.

You see, I’v never actually owned my own cookbook before and I had my eye on this baby for awhile. The bright colours with the bold print hooked me in like a moth to bright light. I’m surprised I didn’t buy it myself actually. These past couple of years I have been more and more interested in cooking. Normally I get most of my recipes online (see resources) but having a cookbook with readily available ideas is surprisingly useful and rewarding to have on hand in the kitchen. Michelle Tam and Henry Fong’s nomnom paleo cookbook is not only hilarious but an excellent introduction and resource to paleo cooking. So much so that I decided to write a review on it.

Robb Wolf (author of The Paleo Solution) –  “I don’t care if you’re a discriminating foodie or a picky tot: If you’re a human who eats food, you need this book.”

 

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1. INTRODUCTIONIMG_3390

Michelle Tam first started sharing her zest for delicious paleo cooking on nomnompaleo.com in the fall of 2010. Since then she has received awards for her blog and inspired many with her unique, playful and heartwarming approach to healthy cooking. Michelle along with her husband Henry finally decided to release a cookbook filled with recipes free of grain, soy and added sugar. When talking about inspiration, the visuals alone are enough to inspire you to eat healthier but I personally think it is Michelle’s unique passion and humour that really shine through in this book.

“There’s a contagious joyousness about the way Michelle presents food that makes you want to cook along with her. I want to cook Paleo because she makes it look so fun!” -Michael Ruhlman

2. LAYOUT 

The book is broken down into very practical chapters that are tailored towards a paleo diet. For example preparation is very important when eating paleo because if you want a bit of extra flava flave on your omelette, grabbing the sriracha sauce from the store will add a lot of unnecessary sugar and sulphites. Instead if you want sriracha you will have to make it yourself. Fortunately this iIMG_3419s very do-able and tastes super delicious (i’v tried it!). Chapter One: Building Blocks has a bunch of excellent paleo prep meal tips and ideas like home-made sriracha, paleo mayonnaise and easy guacamole to name a few. If you feel like your options are or will be limited on the paleo diet a simple solution is to be prepared! Dedicate a day of the week (Sunday works for most folks) for food preparation so your week can be filled with delicious, no stress feasts! If you don’t have any ideas, grab a cookbook or start to browse online recipes (check resources). Other chapters include Eggs, Plants, Soups and Salads, Meat, Seafood, Nibbles and *gasp* even some Desert!

3. TONE

Michelle does an amazing job at keeping the tone of the whole cook book simple, hilarious and very personable. She is realistic and extremely relatable when addressing the paleo lifestyle. She discusses her challenges and successes with the family eating paleo, her own health journey and a realistic insight into what it is like to live this way. A simple introduction to paleo foods at the beginning of the book by using a “Green Light, Red Light, Yellow Light” list of ingredients keeps the focus less on rules and more on the delicious food. Throughout the entire book there are funny little comics that offer cooking tips, answer questions about Michelle’s life and add comedic expression to the beautiful food photography and practical layout. There is enough information about the diet to get you started and help you feel confident in your choices but not so much that it takes away from the main focus of the book which is clearly that eating paleo is delicious!

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“THIS IS MY DAD. LAMB IS HIS FAVOURITE FOOD.” “MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB. UNTIL I ATE IT”

“Use a Julienne peeler or a spiral cutter. (Of Course, if you’re a certified kitchen ninja, feel free to hand-cut your zoodles)”.

4. FOOD

The themeIMG_3420 is oriental flavour meets trendy Californian attitude. Too many recipes can become overwhelming but this book has the perfect amount. Enough to keep you curious and satisfied but not too many that you never actually get around to cooking anything! You don’t have to be a master chef to enjoy any of the foods either, simple steps for delicious meals that pretty much everyone can do. All the recipes all paleo friendly and provide some innovative cooking ideas to make the transition a bit easier. Like cauliflower rice and an assortment of paleo “chips”. Some of the recipes do require extra equipment though. Like the spiral cutter mentioned above. It cuts things into noodle shapes, yay! For example you can make zucchini noodles… or carrot noodles too. If you are going to be spending more time in the kitchen (which you will) it’s probably a good idea to stock up on kitchen tools anyways.

5. SUMMARY

IMG_3422This book is a must have for any whole food or paleo enthusiast. Perfect for any beginner who doesn’t know where to start or is a bit confused about what to eat. Even if you are a seasoned vet in the kitchen, some of the ideas and tips in this book could refresh your creativity and liven up your palette. If you are caught in a rut of eating chicken and vegetables every night for dinner then do yourself a huge favour and check out this book or visit Michelle’s website first for a taste of what you will find in the book. The website is how she got started and offers lots of recipes for you to try. Check it out! http://nomnompaleo.com/

Anyone who says there isn’t enough to eat on paleo needs this book and they need it now. Did I mention I was a fan?

6 . TESTED RECIPES

Caramalized Onions: Success
great to cook them in bulk and add to meals through the week

Paleo Mayonnaise: Disaster, then Success
First attempt I ignored the instructions and blended it all at once. Don’t do that. Second attempt was a success and I made Louisiana Remoulade with the mayonnaise!

Paleo Sriracha: Okay
The taste is phenomenal but I couldn’t find red jalapeño peppers anywhere so I settled with green. Just not the same without that fiery red…

Holy’Moly (Easy Guacamole): Success
So simple, so delicious

Apple Chips: Okay 
I found these too sweet and they took a long time to cook. Not worth it in my opinion. They resembled apple crumble flavour though so they get an okay stamp.

Kale Chips: Success
A new staple in my diet.  Many people seem to have trouble with these. Either too soggy or too burnt. Follow this recipe. When you master them, you will never turn back. Also, a note from my aunt: Don’t refrigerate.

Chopped Liver + Bacon: Success 
Some people can’t stand liver. I have to confess, when my mom used to cook liver in the oven as dog treats and the house filled with an unmentionable odour, I was sure i’d deny liver foreverrrrr! This recipe blew my mind though. Unbelievably flavourful, great as a dip and a fantastic source of Vitamin A.

Chinese Egg Foo Young: Okay 
I wasn’t sold on these. Although I used tuna as a meat filling instead of the recommended ham. She said use any meat you like!! The recipe makes a large batch and they don’t keep well. You should eat them right away.

Zoodles: Success 
I first tried these in NZ thanks to my host mom’s ingenuity. These are for the pasta lover. I mean c’mon… ZOODLES! How fun is that?

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig: Success 
The slow cooker can make almost anything taste good but this was so unbelievably flavourful Jesse and I both had extra servings.

Thanks for reading.

- Jules

10 Ways to Make Exercising More Fun

Last Sunday I went to the gym seeking an open treadmill because even though it’s now officially spring I wasn’t feeling up to toughing the -13 weather outside and I just wanted to walk.  Usually I find treadmills extremely boring but if I have a new podcast to listen to then I can usually zone out and sort of enjoy the fact that I’m walking in one spot for 30 minutes to go nowhere.

Every single treadmill in the place was taken but one. The gym was busy that day, maybe there was some post Saturday night guilt going around.  Quickly I claimed my territory on the treadmill, put my headphones on and started walking. The treadmill I was using was on the second floor of the gym. Directly in front of it was a giant t.v. and a view of the lower level which had most of the cardio equipment on it. If I had to guess from memory there was probably 40 to 50 pieces of cardio equipment on the floor, laid out warehouse style and every single one was being used. As I was trying to concentrate on listening to Coffee Break – French  I couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling that the gym (specifically the sea of cardio equipment) reminded me of a science experiment involving mice who learned to run on a wheel for their food or to avoid punishment.

I’m not knocking treadmills or people who work out in a gym. Gym’s can provide a sense of community, motivation and a platform for building strength and It’s also true that some people genuinely claim to love doing stationary cardio but let’s face it – no one is jumping onto a cardio machine simultaneously thinking “Wow, this is SO much fun! I wish I could do this more often”. Usually the dialogue sounds more like “Gee, I haven’t done much exercise today. Maybe I should log some miles on the treadmill? I hope my ipod is fully charged”.

The image of mice got me thinking. Have we forgotten to move for the sake of moving? Do we exercise like conditioned mice in a gym because we enjoy it or because it has become the social norm? Certainly we moved as children because it was fun. We didn’t play tag because we were trying to be healthy. We just did it because we wanted to, because it was play and it brought joy.

Becoming an adult too often causes play to mysteriously disappear from our lives. We are taught that play is for children and it’s important to get down to business and start being an adult. Choosing exercise you don’t enjoy and expecting to be successful with it through sheer willpower is going to end in disappointment and discouragement.  If you don’t like walking on a treadmill, don’t do it. If you don’t enjoy biking, don’t bike. Not only will the quality of your life improve because you sincerely enjoy what you’re doing but finding exercise that you enjoy (structured or not) will help you stick with it long term. It’s human nature to avoid things we don’t enjoy. Now, there is a time and place for hard work but If dread is what’s stopping you from getting off of the couch or computer chair remember that movement should be fun!  Here are 9 ways to make exercise fun again:

1. Dance

If you love to dance or always wanted to try a dance class, now is the time! You won’t even realize how much exercise you are getting because you’ll be having so much fun. It’s also a great way to try something new and meet new people. Or just go dancing! Every Sunday Babylon nightclub hosts Mod Night, dance your worries away. Heck, just blast your favourite song and let loose in the comforts of your own home. Who knows, you may discover your inner dance queen.

2. Sports

Join a sports team that you really enjoy or if you’ve never been into sports try something new that you think would be a good fit for you. Winter sports are abundant in Canada, there is no excuse to be cooped up inside all winter. If it doesn’t work out you can try something else. Being on a team helps keep you accountable and if you’re really out of shape and you love your sport then you’ll be motivated to get more fit.

3. Get Outside

Get outside. Pack a lunch, grab a friend and get going. Ottawa is fortunate enough to be right next door to the Gatineau Park which is a great place to go for a hike. On a sunny day head to the ByWard Market and spend the day walking around checking out the sights. Go biking on one of the many bike paths Ottawa has to offer. Every Sunday the City of Ottawa closes down major roads to be used as oversized bike paths. Check out Sunday Bikedays to find out where to ride. In the winter go skating on the World’s Largest Skating Rink. You can take up cross country skiing, downhill skiing or snowboarding. Invest in a pair of snowshoes and trek unbeaten paths. If winter usually brings you down, don’t stay cooped up inside. Dress warm and get out there!

4. Try Something New

Are you adventurous? Try rock climbing at Vertical Reality. Learn what the Crossfit craze is all about. Check out Algonquin’s Impact Zone to experience different disciplines of martial arts. Maybe powerlifting is your thing?
If you already have enough excitement in your life try Yoga if you haven’t already. There are hundreds of group fitness classes just waiting for you to try them.
There are so many different communities out there. If you look for them you are bound to find one that’s perfect for you.

5. Walk Your Dog

This should go without saying but if you have a dog, walk it.  Your dog needs exercise, you do too. You will both be happier because of it.

6. Be More Playful

Do you have children, younger brothers and sisters, younger cousins? Take them to the park or play structure and go exploring together. See if you can still swing on the bars, create mini challenges like how fast can you climb, what about cartwheels? Not only will you make the kids day (because adults are boring) but you will surprise yourself with how much fun you can have. This may not be a good idea if the structure is packed with kids who recently learned how to walk.
Go on a new nature walk and view your environment as a giant play ground. See if you can climb any rocks or trees, discover the size of rocks you can or can’t lift. Try new paths or “wannabe” paths. Go exploring.
Darryl Edwards, an exercise therapist specializing in the art of play, introduces great ideas on how to interact more with your environment to facilitate movement as play.
Check out Episode: 10 on The Primal Blueprint Podcast on itunes to hear what he has to say.

7. Change Gyms

If it’s the gym you don’t like (too busy, too stuffy, bad atmosphere, grumpy staff, poor location, etc.) then try out another gym! Not all gym’s are created equal. Give some local fitness facilities a call and tell them you would like to try their facility. They will be more than happy to introduce you and set you up with a free workout. You may find that your whole attitude changes. Environment influences performance.

8. Try Personal Training

Talk to different personal trainers and see who you mesh well with. Tell them that you want your workouts to be fun… REALLY fun! Finding a personal trainer who can get you to work hard without knowing it will get you results you didn’t think we’re possible.

9. Social Influence

Exercising with a friend or friends provides you with a social outlet and keeps you more motivated to exercise. Surround yourself with like minded people who are active or want to become more active. Tried and true, this is one of the best ways to stick with exercise. Its also a lot of fun.

10. Clean?

Ok, so this might not be “fun” or play, but if you have some household chores that need to be done blast your favourite music and vacuum that house. By the end you’ll notice you’ve actually done a fair bit of moving around. Heck, sometimes I get a small sweat going when I catch the cleaning bug (Is that just me or does anyone else get this?). You will feel better afterwards because now there’s one less thing you have to do and you have a clean house. Yay.

“Movement is Medicine” -- anon. 

Thanks for reading, I hope you found it helpful. Thank you to everyone who has been sharing and following the blog, it really means a lot to me. You guys are great! If you haven’t done so already, it would really help me if you spread the word about fitnesswithjules.

- Jules

What About Fruit?

If you are currently digging the morning fruit smoothie routine that’s been established because you read somewhere that they are delicious AND good for you then prepare to cringe.

In 1 large fruit smoothie with 1 banana, 1 apple, 1 cup of berries, 1 cup of skim milk and 1 fat-free berry yogurt you are consuming roughly 83.8 grams of sugar.
To put that in perspective that’s almost the equivalent of a LARGE Dairy Queen chocolate sundae.

Recently I have been receiving a lot of questions about fruit. If sugar is bad for me and there is sugar in fruit then is fruit bad for me too? If sugar causes fat gain then won’t eating fruit cause me to gain fat as well? How much fruit should I have a day? Should I never eat fruit again? TELL ME WHAT’S UP WITH THE FRUIT!?

Let me try to explain why fruit consumption still seems to be a mystery for some folks. According to Canada’s Food Guide the recommended consumption of fruits and vegetables ranges from 7-10 servings a day. There are no recommendations as to how you should split your servings of fruit and servings of vegetables. So in theory according to Canada’s food guide If you were to drink the smoothie with 83.8 grams of sugar you would be getting a seemingly modest 4 servings of fruit, totally healthy right? … right? Not exactly.

All sugar is linked to fat storage because it is directly responsible for the secretion of insulin, which is the hormone that is responsible for fat storage. Insulin’s job is to transfer energy from the food you eat into your body’s cells to be used as energy. Glucose is the bodies preferred source of energy from sugar and it is mainly stored in the liver and muscles. Your body only has so much storage for glucose before it reaches capacity and begins to store any excess as body fat through a conversion process that happens in the liver.

So essentially all forms of sugar including carbohydrates eventually get converted into glucose to be used as fuel.  Any excess will be stored as body fat.

If you think you eat a lot of fruit, pay attention. Fructose, the simple sugar that is found naturally in fruit and tastes very sweet is metabolized first by the liver to be converted into glucose. When too much fructose is consumed, the liver cannot convert it fast enough and so most of it will be stored as body fat instead.

To sum things up all excess sugar that the body cannot use is stored as body fat. Sugar from fruit can only be metabolized by the liver and the liver can only do so much at a time. There for the majority of fructose is more likely to be stored as body fat.

 So what’s up with fruit? You can enjoy it in moderation without risk of fat gain because your liver can metabolize small amounts. A general rule of thumb for maintaining weight is 1 serving of fruit per day. Do not shun fruit from your life forever. It is important to try and understand how and why certain foods affect your body the way they do. You might want to think of fruit as an occasional treat and start including more colourful veggies into your diet. If you really love the convenience of smoothies but want to avoid the potential sugar bomb then here is a link on how to make green smoothies which won’t be as sweet but will be kinder to your waistline and encourage you to eat more healthy green veggies! Yay!

How to Make a Green Smoothie

Hopefully after reading you feel a bitter more confident about fruit. If you found the information of value I would really appreciate it if you could share the link with friends or family. Thanks for reading!

- Jules

Resources:
Canada’s Food Guide        Glycogen
Calorie Count                    Fructose
Insulin/Glucagon               Fructose and Fat Storage

Cut Sugar From Your Diet – 5 Resources to Explain Why

You may have heard it before or you may just be starting your personal journey now (congratulations!) but any health, fitness or weight loss journey should begin with the food choices that you make to fuel and replenish your body. It has been said by experts again and again that results come from   80% nutrition and 20% exercise. This is mostly true with the addition of other important aspects of health such as sleep, environmental, social, emotional and psychological health. If your nutrition isn’t great then it becomes more difficult to make better choices towards each aspect of life.

You cannot experience optimal health and body composition if you don’t make informed decisions about what you eat. With so much conflicting information out there about what is right and what is wrong it can be extremely daunting and discouraging when you want to make better health choices but don’t know who to trust. Eat low fat foods and dairy, avoid saturated fats, eat fewer calories, try the Atkins, Zone, Dukan, Juicing, Vegan, Paleo and Raw Food diet or even *Gasp* Canada’s Food Guide. How can you feel confident about taking control of your health when everyone seems to have a different opinion on what is right and what is wrong?

You deserve to look and feel your best at every age. Optimal and dare I say extraordinary health is in your grasp and my intention for this blog is to empower you with the right information and resources so you can really start taking control of your health. In next week’s post I will introduce you to a few life changing resources that challenge the status quo on health and have been making incredible strides in providing new foundations on how to be and feel awesome. There is an entire community of people who live and preach the same concepts that have helped literally millions of people truly change their lives. In the meantime however I want to provide you with some insight into what you can do TODAY to kick start your journey by highlighting THE most important piece of information you can use towards fat loss and better health:

Carbs_Are_Killing_You     *Gasp*

This is pretty standard common knowledge in the fitness, health and science world but yet diet companies still label their foods low-fat or non-fat for profits and subsequently fill their product with processed SUGARS that keep you sick, addicted and frustrated with your lack of results. Not only does sugar play a role in fat storage it can also mess up your hormones, mood, satiety and a bunch of other nasty stuff.

 CUT REFINED SUGAR COMPLETELY FROM YOUR DIET

Instead of regurgitating information that has already been beautifully communicated, take the time to look at these resources about the effects of sugar on the human body:

1. Mark Sisson’s Definitive Guide to Sugar

Full article here > Definitive Guide to Sugar

 

“Sugar stimulates a physiological stressor-reaction cascade that provokes adrenaline and cortisol release and thickens the blood.

-Sugar effectively disables your immune system by impairing white blood cells’ functioning.
-Sugar decreases your body’s production of leptin, a hormone critical for appetite regulation.
-Sugar induces significant oxidative stress in the body.
-Sugar appears to fuel cancer cells. (Check out Free the Animal for much more on the cancer connection.)
-Sugar promotes fat storage and weight gain.
-Sugar disrupts the effective transfer of amino acids to muscle tissue.
-Sugar intake over time spurs insulin resistance, subsequent Type II diabetes and the entire host of related -health issues like nerve damage and cardiovascular disease.
-Yes, sugar is one insanely powerful drug. Addictive, to boot.” (Mark Sisson, 2010)

2. How Sugar Affects the Brain

3. CARBS (sugars) ARE KILLING YOU

Ok, Carbs are definitely not KILLING you, but simple sugars might be! A good representation of the process your body goes through when you consume sugar (simple carbohydrates)

Carbs a

4. Jean-Luc Boisoneault, owner of Free Form Fitness Ottawa, uses an excellent visual to demonstrate how your body utilizes sugar and subsequently stores fat. SKIP to 2:30 in the video.

5. Dr. Mark Hyman answering the question “is saturated fat really that bad for me?” with some truth about fat and sugar in your diet.

 

Please share this blog with family and friends it you found it helpful. Sharing is caring :)  Feel free to leave comments or e-mail me with questions or feedback.

Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s post and thanks for reading!

- Jules

Super Resource

Touchdown, Canada!

I landed safe and sound last Thursday at the Ottawa International Airport with friends and family who braved the cold to welcome me home at midnight. It felt good to be back, especially after the long flight. I think I had been awake for close to 30 hours. Leaving the airport and feeling the first sharp breath of -20 air in my summer lungs was a shock and a bittersweet reminder of what’s in store for the next month.

Lack of movement, sleep and “real food” on the journey home, coupled with some homecoming stress left me feeling a bit off of my game in terms of nutrition and health. A “healthy” labelled chicken salad from Vancouver airport left me with a sodium bomb that had me drinking copious amounts of water for hours afterwards and even left a tingling sensation on my tongue. A nice reminder of why I eat whole foods. Good thing I bought some raw, unsalted nuts for the plane beforehand. The lack of sleep will take some quality Zzz’s this week and getting back into a healthy exercise routine (no more sprinting outside!) is a welcome challenge!

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It has been just under a week that I’v been home and it feels great! I was surprised by my hubby over the weekend with a wonderful whole food meal at Town on Elgin st. (I had the Notorious P.I.G) followed by a night at the fairy tale Fairmont Cheateau Laurier. What an excellent way to be welcomed home to your city. The weather was mild (for Canadian winter) and light flakes of snow were falling over the Ottawa Canal where couples and friends were enjoying their hot chocolates and beaver tails while skating through downtown Ottawa. Man, this city has charm! Long story short I have been happily busy relocating and making plans for my new life in Canada.

My initial intention was to write this weeks article on sugar and carbohydrates and what the heck they do for your health and waistline but that article will have to wait for next week. In the meantime, while my life is being smoothed out, I want to share this amazing fitness & health resource with you that cuts the BS, isn’t sponsored by companies trying to steal your money and preaches “Real food for real results”. The owners name is Abel James. You may have heard of him because at the moment he is blowing up the itunes podcast charts and consistently coming out in thetop five health podcasts. On his website you can watch videos where he interviews leading wellness experts and discusses what ACTUALLY works and what is a waste of your time and health. This guy is the real deal for fat lass resources. He’s been there before and found the solution for lasting fat loss and better health. I have learned so much from him and the gurus he interviews. It also helps that he is pretty easy on the eyes so you should probably check him out just for that. You can download podcasts to listen to on the way to work, watch videos on his website, or download some free recipe books. I promise the information you findis legitimate and not smoke and mirrors.

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http://www.fatburningman.com

Leave a comment below on what you thought of fatburningman.com and share the resources with people you care about! Stay tuned for next weeks sugar and carb article and share fitnesswithjules if you like the information.

Thanks for reading!!

- Jules