Archive for Metabolism

Get Help in the Kitchen!

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , , , on January 4, 2012 by razorsedgeperformance

Everyone in the fitness industry laments the start of January due to the flood of people in all of the gyms and health clubs around North America. Is it because we think this is bad? Absolutely not! That’s amazing…for 2 weeks of the year, everyone is acting the way they should ALL YEAR ROUND. The reason us professionals get frustrated is that by the end of January, most people have fallen back into the old habits, and have lost site of whatever health and fitness related resolution they undertook on January 1st.
I think I can help everyone out a little bit by shedding light on the most important intervention for achieving your goals, whether they are related to hypertrophy, fat-loss, or performance enhancement. LEARNING HOW TO COOK. I’m not talking about becoming the next Jamie Oliver, just someone who can follow a damn good recipe.
I always chuckle when people ask me if i’m a good cook. I make almost all of my food, save for some supplements taken around workouts, so that should say something. Yet I have no imagination in the kitchen. I have made some great dishes, and some bad ones. The key to my success? Find a good recipe, and follow it!

Let’s go over a few resources that I like to use that can make a world of a difference between winning and losing in this game we play with our bodies and health.

Precision Nutrition

Do yourself a favour and go all-out with the whole system. You get a fantastic cookbook, a manual that describes a lot about WHY to eat certain foods and WHEN to eat them, as well as food preparation tips and other random nuggets of information. The cookbook, Gourmet Nutrition has recipes for shakes, snacks, side dishes, entrees, breakfasts, soups, salad dressings and sauces, and of course desserts. All of the nutritional facts about the meal are given, as well as designations of when the meal is best consumed. The added bonus is access to the online members content on the site, which has forums and articles that are at least 5 years old, so the amount of content archived on the precision nutrition site is massive.

Gourmet Nutrition 2.0

This is the 2nd cookbook in the gourmet nutrition series. It is along the same format as the first version that is in the Precision Nutrition system, but adds a whole bunch of new recipes. If you plan on doing the Precision Nutrition system, wait on this, until you’ve tried all of the recipes in the first book. If you just want a healthy cookbook, then this is one way to go. It really goes above and beyond the infamous ‘chicken breasts and broccoli’ that many get trapped in when trying to eat well.

Best of Clean Eating

I haven’t tried many of these recipes yet, but I flipped through the whole book and it looks absolutely fantastic. Not only does everything look gourmet, but the entire cookbook has tips and facts about different foods and nutrtients, as well as recipes that will only make you healthier.

Best of Clean Eating 2

Just go back and read what I just wrote above regarding the first version. This is just another resource with new recipes that follow the same ideals as the first.

That’s 4 resources for nutritional help with your resolutions (or constant struggle for improvement if you didn’t just start this week…). Do yourself a favour and get in the habit of cooking your own healthy meals, and realize healthy and gourmet can fit in the same sentence together. Most unwanted deviations from healthy eating occur because you are unprepared and didn’t pack a lunch, or don’t feel like cooking. So take some time to get your act together in the kitchen, so your body is appropriately fueld for your workouts!

It’s About Getting Better



Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , , on December 5, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

A couple of things to share with everyone today. We are now entering Christmas party season so it’s important to be doubly focused on your workouts since you are definitely going to go overboard in terms of alcohol and junk food consumption. This is more or less unavoidable. It’s the holiday season, don’t kid yourself. So the only defense is high-intensity workouts. They don’t have to be 2-3 hours long, just get the hard work done quickly, then the after-party won’t have as many negative effects on you…

Secondly, I have been seeing some amazing improvements in my vertical jump lately and I have written an article on the FITS website to outline some of the reasoning.  Check it out here.

Thirdly, we are proud to announce that we are the health and fitness voice at a fantastic new website,

Check out the first major article here.

CaveMag is a fantastic online magazine that provides health and fitness, lifestyle, sports, style, entertainment, and many other categories of great insight from a group of great writers. Make sure you check it out regularly to read all the latest.

That’s all for now, we’ll be back soon with some fresh content!

It’s About Getting Better!



Miracles are meant for the movies…

Posted in Health with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

I can never truly decide what people believe. I always assume that they don’t believe the commercials, the tabloids, and some of the daytime talk shows. Unfortunately, I think many still do. There is no acai berry secret weight loss diet. There is no grapefruit makes-my-belly-go-away diet. Body transformation is about making the difficult decisions on a daily basis, not miracles. Here are the major keys to changing the way you look, feel, and perform. You can’t follow one and not the others, they all interact together.

Don't even think about it

Nutrition – You can’t get lean without it, but you can stay lean with low levels of exercise if nutrition is spot on. Ask a professional for some input about the ways that you can manipulate your diet to enhance fat-burning, muscle building, and recovery. Once you get the ‘rules’, it’s about keeping disciplined. There will be at least one tough decision per day about a snack, or meal that you want to buy instead of eating at home, or eating something you packed. Those tough decisions are the ones that lead to great results. If you are willing to invest in your health and body, go here and buy their system. It is probably the best combination of educational materials about nutrition, rules to follow, cooking instructions, and of course delicious recipes. Don’t worry about calories, worry about eating quality foods with as few ingredients as possible! The portions will take care of themselves. One thing you want to avoid, is cutting out all fats. I know a lot of people do fat free in everything and get blinded by calories and grams of fat. There are essential fatty acids that your body needs on a regular basis. Also, making sure you have plenty of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids can actually promote fat loss, so keep them in your plan! [If you don’t ingest healthy fats in your diet, your body will assume you’re not getting any and hold on to the fat you have!]

Exercise – Everyone always wants that perfect fat-burning workout. There are many ways to skin a cat. I’m not saying that you can’t program for fat loss, but for most people, they don’t need to get too specific. It’s always about moving more and sitting less. Also, you could probably use a boost in intensity. Intervals over steady-state cardio might give you a big performance boost if you aren’t used to that type intensity from your conditioning work. Adding in a brisk walk every other day, especially in a fasted state (like before breakfast!) can do wonders for increasing fat loss during a transformation. For your weight training, there are a few different strategies that work. You can do circuits and complexes that essentially combine intervals with resistance training, or you can focus on hypertrophy and strength and just make sure you are doing some conditioning work later. Sometimes it takes introducing loads your body has never felt before to see change, whether its getting big or leaning out.

Recovery  – The biggest key to making exercise and physical activity a regular part of your life, is being able to recover optimally from each training session. Being sore and tired just discourages you from being active again. Invest in the little things like foam rollers, massage sticks, lacrosse balls, and stretching bands. Do this work regularly. It helps keep you injury free and reduces stress on the body’s tissues. You want to feel as good after you train as you did before, so that tomorrow you are excited and motivated to be active again. Contrast baths/showers are also effective, as are saunas and focused work from a soft-tissue specialist/manual therapist. Since most people should have a good list of dynamic warmup exercises to get them ready to train each day and maximize range of motion in their joints, having a workout where you cycle through all of these a couple times for 30 minutes is a great way to enhance recovery, practice certain athletic positions and improve blood flow throughout your body. If you want a good self-help guide to soft-tissue work, check out this amazing project.

Supplements – This is the one we’ve been waiting for. What is Kim Kardashian taking these days? Brad Pitt? Chaz Bono? Well, I’m not entirely sure, and at least one of them probably requires a prescription. This section is the most optional of them all. You can use certain supplements to help boost progress, but its the first category you can do without if you are on a budget or merely simplifying your approach. As always multivitamins should be a staple for anyone active. Cover your bases. Next is a decent protein powder. You should carry around 3-4 scoops in a ziploc bag or a piece of tupperware, so that you are ready in case you get hungry at a time when a snack isn’t packed. It’s also good when you are travelling, as you really only need water and a bottle to make it work. Fish oil pills or liquids provide those essential fatty acids I talked about earlier, which are very important for staying healthy and burning body fat. I highly recommend these ones. Green tea and green tea extract are helpful supplements, just remember the active ingredient, ECGC works synergistically with caffeine, so a good cup of brewed green tea is the best choice. Other than that, go check out this article to find out more about peri-workout nutrition.

The Good Stuff

Stress/Sleep – Finally, the more stress you carry, the harder it is to transform your body, therefore, meditate, drink tea, read, get a massage, and most importantly sleep. Sleep is where most of the body’s adaptation to exercise occurs, so it’s imperative that you get plenty of it. Don’t forget to smile. You get to choose whether a particular event will bum you out or if you’ll shrug it off and get back to work. Don’t take everything too seriously, it may be wearing your body down!

I know this one was a little long, i just wanted to remind all of you that when you are looking to accomplish something with your health and performance, it is important to remember that it is a JOURNEY, not a quick program or supplement. Live hypertrophy, live fat-loss, live high performance. You can’t have it both ways. Plan for it all!

It’s About Getting Better!

HIIT it for Fat Loss!

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , on December 10, 2010 by razorsedgeperformance

Whenever I get a new client who’s looking to lose fat (and who isn’t), the same question often comes up: so how much cardio should I be doing?? Something about the word cardio just turns me right off. It sounds so boring and catabolic. The common practice of hitting the eliptical or treadmill for 40 minutes or more can help to burn calories, but will also have a negative effect on lean body mass. In order to provide the body with energy, you will eventually turn to body fat stores, but muscle will also need to be broken down for amino acids. This is very counterproductive towards Body Fat percentage. The result is that you create a smaller version of the same person! Sure you lost 10lbs, but you’re still 30% BF. Our goal in creating a lean efficient body is to increase muscle mass while decreasing body fat. Let us take a look at track and field to give us a good example of what we’re talking about. The athletes which have the lowest amounts of body fat and the highest amounts of muscle are the sprinters. The athletes running 100m, 200m, and 400m are the epitome of lean machines. It’s no secret how they’ve become this way, weight training and interval training! What about the long distance runners, who run for hours at a time? Do they have the body you’re looking for?

Which would you rather be?

For certain athletes, interval training is not so much a preferrential choice they make, but a standard training protocol for their sport. Any athlete who uses repeated bouts of high intensity exercise can benefit from interval training and should probably already be doing them. That being said, there is a place for interval training in everyone’s workout. You don’t have to be Usain Bolt to try and use the advantages of HIIT.

What is HIIT exactly?

HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training, is a training method where an individual does a short period of anaerobic work followed by a  period of rest and then repeats this for anywhere up to 10 or 12 minutes. This can be done with a number of different pieces of equipment or tools; sprinting, spinning, skipping, rowing, swimming and even ballistic type resistance training can all be used for interval training. The important part is to make sure your “sprint” interval is near maximal effort. This is why intervals are difficult to do on your own, most individuals have difficulty pushing themselves that hard with no one watching. IF you can man up and get it done, you’ll be that much better for it, trust me.

Why do HIIT?

My first introduction with the science behind HIIT came from a strength training symposium at the University of Western Ontario. During this symposium I saw a great presentation on a study they were doing using 30 second sprints followed by 4 minutes of rest. They compared their results with a protocol of 40min of steady state cardio. The results were incredible, not only were the interval subjects working out for far less (only 4-6 sprints of 30s each), but they were achieving the same results in conditioning. In fact, some of their subjects reported improvements in a 5km run, a 10km bike and a 40km bike. This goes to show that repeated bouts of anaerobic exercise can increase aerobic performance, but the opposite is not true. Sitting on an elliptical for 40 min WILL NOT improve your sprinting. HIIT utilizes something called EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption). Essentially, when you’re depleting your body of oxygen using intervals and not allowing it to fully replenish, your body works at absorbing oxygen for hours after your workout. This oxygen is used for a number of bodily functions which increase metabolism. Studies have shown that the increased metabolic rate can exist upwards of 13hrs! It’ll stick with you longer than that greasy hamburger you had at lunch! This also means that when your cardio machine spits out the number of calories burned, it is only telling half the story. The 40 minutes of steady-state cardio will elicit a much larger number of calories burned, but once you get off the machine, your body stops. With HIIT, you are on the machine for a much shorter time frame, so it appears that you don’t burn that many calories. However, since your metabolism is jacked up for the rest of the day, you end up burning way more calories in the end.  

How do I do HIIT?

Doing HIIT can be very simple. For most of my clients I suggest a starting protocol of a 1:3 or 1:4 work to rest ratio and have them starting around 6-8 min total. For example, doing a 20sec sprint followed by 40sec rest, repeated 6 times. If you’ve been able to increase your time and are still looking for more, then start ramping up the speed of the sprint. For advanced practitioners, take a shot at the tabata protocol! Tabata is a protocol which uses 20sec sprint with a 10s rest for a total of 4min. Sure 4 mins doesn’t seem like much now, but if you go hard enough you’ll understand.

With the holidays approaching, many people are going to be looking for a way to counteract unwanted weight gain. Try throwing in 2-3 HIIT sessions per week to really improve your conditioning and your body comp!!

Even during the christmas break,

It’s About Getting Better!

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