Posts Tagged ‘cardio training’

 I’m living the GoodLife!

Aspire to be a better version of yourself always ~ Amanda Gray

Aspire to be a better version of yourself always ~ Amanda Gray

I’m currently a certified personal trainer and fitness manager at GoodLife Fitness!

I just recently made the transition into corporate and commercial training. When I began my journey as a manager I worked at Variety Village, a Charity and fitness community centre for all abilities. I had the opportunity to work with all kinds of great people looking to better their lives both physically and mentally through fitness and wellbeing. Fitness is my passion. I’m also currently hooked on Zumba and running. Outside of the fitness realm, I’m learning to speak Spanish.

I remember being 4 years old when my parents decided it was a good idea to enroll me in T-Ball for summer; needless to say I hated it! I told my mother I would never play again. 3 years later I thought I would give T-ball another chance. My older brother played baseball and hockey. I idolized him and figured I would follow in his footsteps.  So at age seven I began playing ice hockey and baseball. I ended up playing these two sports competitively. As I grew into my teenage years I began to focus mainly on fast pitch. I represented my city and province for many years. As an athlete it was easy to get into fitness to help me focus on being a better athlete and it helped me to perform at a high standard.

Even though I was an athlete, I was never a runner.

I played sports that didn’t require long distance running. Baseball and Hockey are both anaerobic dominant sports. As a child I was also asthmatic and over exerting my cardiovascular system was a not a good idea. I had to be careful. After I graduated from college, knowing I had grown out of my asthma, I decided I was going to challenge myself and take up running. My body always felt better when I was moving it. My college life, although an exciting time of parties and socializing, I had neglected my physicality and my body. So I began to run. Oh man, I was horrible. My stamina was pretty much non-existent. I started off with intervals of running and walking.  I wanted to give up but then I started seeing changes. I could run longer intervals. It was working. 3 years later I have completed my first half marathon! When I began running I never thought I would be able to complete a 5k let alone a half marathon. Aside from the obvious physical changes in my body, being active is an outlet for me. It’s the time in my life where I can just take a moment to really think things through clearly and fairly. We all have that self-doubt but fitness has allowed me to empower myself and be the best friend to myself that I can be. I keep my negative thinking limited, when I get into that negativity zone I remind myself how far I have come and how strong I really am.

My parents have been amazing source of inspiration and support. My mom recently had a rough time health wise and family wise. She lost her mother and went through a bout of depression, in addition to menopause. She let herself go and in the past 6 months decided it was time for change. She said that seeing me as a personal trainer and what I do to keep myself healthy inspired her to lose 64lbs in 6 months! She came to me for my knowledge and advice but she did all the work to get there and I am so proud! It’s nice to have a partner in fitness! We go to the gym and shop for organic food together!

Getting injured is part of being a competitive baseball player, yet you’re never really prepared when it happens. At 21 I tore my rotator cuff and labrum in my shoulder, throwing a ball from second to first base. My surgeon couldn’t understand how I could still throw a ball with all the scar tissue in my shoulder from years of overuse and not listening to my body. He suggested surgery but that was NOT an option for me. So I opted out and I began rehab instead. The rehabilitation was brutal, excruciating and exhausting but it was worth every sweat and tear. Over time I had strengthened my shoulder and got back into baseball with no shoulder pain, issues or surgery! It’s been about seven years since then but I’m still doing the things I love the most.

To date I have lost a total of 15 lbs on my 5’2 frame. Before I started running I was 132 lbs, I now weigh 117 lbs. My body fat percentage was 28%, it is now 19%! I feel great! I ran my first half marathon, without stopping to walk. I’m the happiest with myself I have ever been all my life. For me this was a huge accomplishment. Ever since I can remember I was always unhappy about something, somewhere on my body and I thought that I would never be good enough for me. That has all changed. I currently do interval cardio training 4 times a week and one endurance cardio training a week. I complete a resistance training program 4 times a week, including all muscle groups.  The supplements I take are CLA, Raspberry Ketone for fat burning, multi-vitamin, vitamin B12 sub-lingual, for a healthy body and Chromium Picolinate for blood sugar regulation as diabetes runs in my family. My brother was diagnosed Type 1 diabetic on his 28th birthday and my 28th birthday is just around the corner!

What a day of eating looks like for me:

Breakfast – One cup of wholy tea, one boiled egg and one piece of whole grain toast. One piece of fruit. I really enjoy watermelon and take advantage of it in the summer.

Lunch – Mixed greens salad. Tuna.

Dinner – Skinless boneless chicken, half a baked sweet potato, steamed broccoli and asparagus, one cup of wholy tea.

I drink lots of water daily. I also enjoy the odd cookie. I live life by the 80/20 rule. I’m currently on a 1200 cal/day diet. 80% of those calories are healthy whole foods. 20% of those calories are my treat. Right now I’m in my cutting phase. I’m looking to lose 5 lbs and 2% body fat. I am also training for a full marathon.

If you’re looking to start your own fitness journey start today- not tomorrow, or next Monday. TODAY. You are worth it, and why not feel good about yourself and comfortable in your own skin? Feeling good about yourself reflects in every aspect of your life. Fitness does so much more than just make you sweat. It gives you the strength and the confidence you need to be the best version of yourself.

I can be reached on twitter @GraytBody and by email

How To Get the Most Out Of Your Cardio Training


The importance of cardiovascular exercise is undisputed and the benefits that are associated with regular cardiovascular exercise are well documented BUT do you know how much cardiovascular exercise to do, how intense your cardiovascular exercise should be and what it should feel like?

Quite often we are told by fitness professionals that we need to do between 10 and 60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise anywhere from 3 to 5 days a week in order to see adaptations from the training. As true as this is, if you do not have the proper intensities, your adaptations will be limited!

What is Cardiovascular Exercise?

Cardiovascular exercise is activity that elevates your Heart Rate (HR) and keeps it elevated for a specific amount of time.

How do I measure my intensity?

The most accurate and one of the easiest methods to monitor your intensity when doing cardiovascular exercise is HR. HR is easily measured by most pieces of cardiovascular equipment by placing your hands on the designated handles however, this is not always easy to do nor is it recommended when you are running on a treadmill. Because of this it is my professional opinion that a HR monitor is the single best investment you can make on your body along side your footwear. A HR monitor will allow you to exercise and maintain an intensity throughout your cardiovascular and resistance training workout that will stimulate larger gains!

What intensity should I work at?

It would be easy for me to tell you that you need to run at a speed of 5.0mph and an incline of 1% for 35 minutes but that would not be appropriate for everyone. In order to assign intensities for people relative to their ability, we use percentages of maximal HR. Based on your ability you should be working at intensities from 40-100% of your age predicted maximal heart rate. The higher the intensity you are working at, the shorter the duration of the training session.

How do I know what intensity to start at?

Begin working at 40% of your age predicted maximal HR and try to complete up to 60 minutes of continuous cardiovascular exercise. If you are able to complete 60 minutes at 40% of your age predicted maximal HR then you can increase your intensity by 10% of your age predicted maximal HR.

How do I calculate my intensity?

In order to calculate the target heart rate range for your training all you need is a calculator and your age.

220 – your age = your age predicted maximum heart rate (APMHR)

APMHR x the percentage you wish to work at = the Target Heart Rate for your training

For example, if you wanted to work at 50% of your APMHR and you are 50 years of age, your calculation would look like this.

220 – 50 = 170bpm

170bpm x .50 = 85bpm

Frequently Asked Questions

If I can train at a higher intensity, should I? YES!

If I want to lose non-lean mass, does it matter what intensity I train at? YES! The higher the intensity you can train at, the more calories you will burn!

I don’t need to lose weight, should I still do cardio? YES! The heart is a muscle that needs to be trained like the rest of the muscles in the body!

If I do cardio, will I lose muscle mass? NO! If you are conscious of your diet and the amount of protein you are consuming, your lean tissue will not be sacrificed by doing cardio.

Quick Cardio Tips

  • Stay tall with your chest up, shoulders back
  • Keep your core engaged
  • Focus on controlling your breathing
  • Do not lean on the machine when doing your cardio, use the machine for balance if/when needed

General Recommendations

  • EVERYONE should do cardiovascular exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes a day, 3 – 6 days a week. If you can do more, you should!
  • As you begin to improve, increase the intensity by 10% at a time
  • Do not neglect your heart; it is the single most important muscle in the body!

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at

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