Posts Tagged ‘core’

Daryl Malden (Left 2013 Right 2014)

Daryl Malden (Left 2013 / Right 2014)

“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” ~ Bob Marley

My name is Daryl Malden and I am currently a Digital Marketer.  My other interests include cooking, health, fitness and most importantly family.  Growing up in Trinidad, I had an amazing childhood.  I enjoyed many outdoor activities and healthy eating was simply a way of life. That being said, I was always considered to be a chubby guy (not fat).  As I got older and headed into my teen years I became more self-conscious about how I looked; I never actually thought about how I felt physically or mentally. I always looked at “other guys” and wanted to be just like them. So I watched what I ate, exercised and did my best to look like them – the perceived healthier, happier guys. This would go back and forth for many years; my weight up, sometimes down. Finally mid 40’s I decided I wanted to be me.  Whatever that was; so I started a journey of self-discovery. I wrote down what I wanted to change in my life to become closer to my authentic self and here is what worked for me:

#1 (This is the most IMPORTANT)

I changed my mindset (focus) from where I was in life to where I wanted to be in life.

#2

I started reading books that interested me about wellness, self empowerment, meditation, religion etc.

#3

I made a promise  (to myself) that I was going to find that place within where I was most at peace in a happier, healthier, drug/alcohol free body.

The turning point in my life came when I hit 245lbs; I was taking all kinds of meds for health related issues that stemmed from being overweight and not exercising. As I started to read and research more about the food that I ate I began to realize that the processed food and even the stuff that I thought was actually healthy, really wasn’t all that good for me. Initially I stopped eating meat. I also stopped smoking and having the occasional drink.  I also started to exercise. Then I decided to try a juice cleanse. This is where the magic happened.

For me juicing organic vegetables and fruits of all kinds work best for me. I have never felt so energized about life as I do right now. I am now at 5’9’ 170 lbs and loving it. This has become my new lifestyle. At 54 I am proud to say that I am off my meds and heading upward in all aspects of my life. I wake up every morning at 4:30am, make a cup of green tea,  wash up and head to my quiet space where I meditate and give gratitude for all that I have and what’s coming. When I am finished I head into the kitchen to start breakfast for my family. Breakfast consists of protein and fruit or 32oz of green juice and it’s freaking amazing. Then I head to the gym or stay at home and work out for about 45 minutes. After my work out I have another green juice and then I head to my home office for a 3-4 hour work day. I keep hydrated with lots of green tea and fill up on hearty salads as often as I can.  I throw in some almonds and dried fruit (with no sugar added) at different times of the day.  In the evening I head to my quiet space to meditate and give thanks for the day. It’s the most amazing feeling any human being can imagine.

In order to stay focused I’ve surrounded myself with positive people and positive thoughts. Every breath that I take; everything that I see, touch, smell or taste I am thankful. For my strong arms, legs, heart, lungs, kidney and brain, I am thankful.  For my ability to walk, talk, breathe and experience life on a daily basis I am thankful. For the family, friends and mentors that have stood by me throughout this process, I am eternally grateful.

Sometimes as you try to find your way you lose friends and family members and that’s ok. You have to change for you and no one else. If you are in a relationship let your partner know what your intentions are and where you’re headed; if they love you they’ll be supportive, they may even join you and the journey becomes more fulfilling.

Find your motivation and above all else, stay true to self.

Daryl

Namaste

 

Norba Nationals, Mammoth Lakes, CA - Jul 2001

Norba Nationals, Mammoth Lakes, CA – Jul 2001

I am an exuberant animal, dancing my way through life exploring every nook and cranny that is presented to me on this journey. My year round interest is ice hockey. I don’t play that much any more, so when I say ice hockey, I’m referring to the players that I develop, both on and off the ice. During the summer in my free time I’m in the mountain hiking with my dog and during the winter I’m snowshoeing with him. On the slopes during the summer I’m mountain biking, and during the winter I’m skiing. My current projects are developing an elite strength and conditioning program for Washington Ice Skating Association (Seattle Juniors Hockey Association and Seattle Skating Club). Also providing functional fitness and correction exercise services at an integrative medical clinic (Masa Integrative Clinic) in Seattle, Washington.

From as early as I can remember, my life has revolved around physical activity. Skiing, mountain biking, and hiking have all been the staples of physical activity throughout my life. When I was 9 I discovered ice hockey in the movie “The Cutting Edge”. From that day, I have been obsessed with the sport. I’ve always been passionate about fitness. The most recent catalyst for change came when I was living in Los Angeles in 2012. I had moved from Kirkland, Washington back to Los Angeles, California to be reunited with my closest friends since I moved to Washington to attend Bastyr University. When I moved back, I was my heaviest at 195 pounds. I had never been that heavy. As time went on, I continued gaining weight and hit 210 pounds in late 2012. I realized something needed to change! A better way to say that is transform! I wrote down all the tools that I used with clients to improve their lives and applied them to myself! I can now say “Wow this stuff really works”. I haven’t looked back since. I’m now 178-180 pounds. I want to add a caveat that weight is not an important number to look at overall, but for me it had meaning. And that is the key, find what inspires you to transform your life.

Without fitness I would not be where I am physically, mentally, or spiritually. Fitness has given my life purpose, and a community that has a universal language. I don’t care what type of physical activity someone participates in it’s fitness. The fitness world as a whole has given me the opportunity to touch lives, that I would not have been able to touch without my knowledge of fitness.

Maintaining a high level of fitness allows me to continue to inspire others, while continuing to participate in the physical activities that keep me inspired.

Maintaining a high level of fitness allows me to continue to inspire others, while continuing to participate in the physical activities that keep me inspired.

My driving force is leading by example. Being able to demonstrate what I’m expecting from my athletes and clients is very important. Also being able to participate in all of the sports and activities that I’m passionate about. In the long run, I take care of myself in the hopes of having a long healthy life. I’m the only child of two amazing parents that have not had the easiest of lives and I have the most amazing stories to tell because of that. My parents have been the most encouraging and supportive part of my life. In whatever I chose to pursue, they were always there to ensure I had a plan in place, to ensure that I was making progress. They offered this support for my desire to race BMX as a kid to the 20 plus years of ice hockey, and attending Bastyr University. Outside of my family, I’ve always had the most amazing mentors and coaches. For example I’ve had the same skating coach since I was 9 years old! My psychology mentor I’ve had since I was 14. Of course that relationship started with me being a patient. But hey, he’s a mentor now. More recently a former professor of mine from Bastyr has become a great inspiration and mentor. The honesty was not always easy to hear, but without the unrelenting support and encouragement of these people, I would not have been able to confidently pursue my passion for athletic performance, fitness, and wellness.

The most difficult thing to face thus far has been the numerous head injuries I’ve sustained over the years. I believe I am up to 12 concussions and 1 brain contusion. The concussions are not the obstacle. The contusion however changed the course of my life. Don’t get me wrong, the course of my life has lead me to this moment, which I’m honored to have. As an 18 year old being told that I could never play hockey, race downhill mountain bikes, go skiing/snowboarding, or four-wheeling ever again, broke my heart. That realization sent me into a place that I never wish on any of my athletes or clients.  Following my contusion diagnosis; there was a 5-year span of my life that was incredibly scary for my parents. But with the support of so many, I over came that barrier to become the coach I am today. Speaking of this time, I am inspired to do a presentation on the importance of sensitive communication when dealing with athletes who are recovering from an injury.

It's very important for me as a Coach to lead by example ~ Coach Daniel

It’s very important for me as a Coach to lead by example ~ Coach Daniel

I don’t have a set routine but I always have fun and try to stay injury free. My favorite tools though include TRX suspension, Rip Kettle bells, Barbells, Dumbbells, and of course bodyweight. Every workout does include the following:

Dynamic warm-up

Power Component

Strength Component

Agility Component

Aerobic Component

Flexibility & Mobility Components

When it comes to supplements, I stick to the items that have been shown to maintain brain health because of the severity of the brain injuries I’ve sustained, most of these products come from Metagenics. I take a high potency DHA, Co-Q10, and Multiple Vitamin Mineral. Sometimes I’ll add protein powder to my yogurt or make a smoothie. To manage my pain, I take a product called Inflavanoid Intensive Care, which is a combination of anti-inflammatory herbs.

The following are examples of how I usually eat; as with my workouts, my meals vary as well. I do my best to ensure that I’m getting a healthy dose of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats. For my own personal health; I am gluten free and take supplements specific to my health needs.

Breakfast – Greek Yogurt with peanut butter, dark chocolate chunks, and blue berries Snack – Coffee with soy milk
Lunch – Sandwich (gluten free bread) with lots of spinach, onions, and an animal based protein.

Snack – protein bar or drink
. Dinner – Vegetables and an animal protein.

I want to maintain my current fitness level and remain injury free. It’s that simple. I’m always preparing to participate in an event. Currently I’m contemplating getting back into racing down hill mountain bikes.

Am I an exuberant animal ~ Daniel Heller

Am I an exuberant animal ~ Daniel Heller

Are you lacking motivation?

If that phrase comes up, sit with it. What does it mean to you, the reader? If it’s not sitting right, try another phrase, “I’m not motivated to go to the gym.” That’s totally fine, what are you motivated to do? What does that motivation feel like? Use that motivation to create a goal. If you’re uncertain how to accomplish that goal, remember there is someone out there who has had the goal and accomplished it; who is also willing to guide you. You’re not alone! Fitness is an open-heart community full of people willing and wanting to support each other.

Personal Note: I would like to talk about the importance of community. What Socially Fit has created by bringing people together to share their fitness journey in a social way is incredibly powerful to those who need community support to accomplish their goals. Thank you for this opportunity to share my journey, inspirations, and future with your audience. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey of athletic performance with you. I hope that my journey inspires others to take charge of their own lives and to seek out the community that can offer the support they need to continue with their journey to fitness, health & wellness!

Daniel Heller, BSc, CSCS, FMSC
Email: daniel@ironwood-fitness.com
Website: http://www.IronwoodFitness.com
Twitter: @CoachDCSCS

Meet Elite Trainer – Will Hough

Ever wonder how the pros keep themselves in shape? Here you’ll find out what one particular individual is doing to stay at the top of his game. I’m often amazed by the sheer dedication and passion of the personal trainers, coaches and mentors that I see in gyms, out in the field and in the media. I wonder what their secrets are, what motivates them to get up every day and work hard to help other people achieve their fitness goals, shape and mold athletes, or coach a team to victory. My mission with this blog is to take a closer look at the world of personal trainers, coaches and mentors. What makes them sweat? What makes them smile? And what can we learn from their personal stories?

Believe it or not I met Will Hough through Twitter! He has quickly become a friend, a trusted peer, someone I can bounce ideas off of, and above all, someone I truly respect and admire. I am honored to feature Will Hough as the first trainer interviewed for “How the Trainers Train Themselves.”

Will Hough
Owner: WillFit in New York City
Certifications: USA Triathlon, IHP, Certified Coach, Strength Training for the Triathlete,
Swim Faster Using Less Energy, Triathlon Training Program Design, ACSM, CPR & AED

Professional Trainer Instruction in: Running, Weight Training, Flexibility, Endurance, Strength & Conditioning, Triathlon & Biathlon Coaching and Nutrition

How the Trainers Train Themselves: How did you become interested in fitness?
Will Hough: When I first got into training I was new at working out after coming from a background with the Marines. I had trained with the Navy Seals and Special Ops teams in areas like super chemical warfare, snipers, unconventional warfare training, heavy artillery and as a heavy equipment operator. I was a Marine from 1979 to 1985.

HTT: That’s some pretty intense training! How did you get into the business?
WH: Yeah, I knew about being conditioned but I didn’t really know about the art of training. I met a women in Seattle, Nita Gunthrie, back in 1982. One day at the gym I was trying to bench press 185 lbs and the bar fell on top of me because I didn’t have the correct form, and this woman comes over to me, she’s about 4’ 11”– and pulled the bar off me and said, “let me show you how to workout the right way.” That’s how it all started, that day in the gym. She took me under her wing and became my mentor. She guided me through training and reconditioning and helped me gain 30 lbs of muscle mass over two years. I went from 235 to 185 and started competing in triathlons and biathlons and became an adventure racer, a power lifter.
HTT: So that was a pivotal moment in your life, the beginning of a new career path, when this tiny strong woman came to your aid?
WH: Yeah! At that point in Seattle I was out of the Marines and just an ordinary guy trying to see what life was like on the outside. Within a year (1983) I became certified and started training.
HTT: What were your personal fitness goals back then?
WH: I wanted to learn to develop my body. Instead of being lean and small, I wanted to learn how to become more muscular, I was always intrigued about being strong and lifting a lot of weight.
HTT: And where did this new body and career as a trainer take you?
WH: I was working for myself as a trainer in Seattle for a bit, and I became a competitive bodybuilder in 1982, until 1989. I eventually made my way back to New York and started my own training business in 1993—WILLFIT/HOUGH LLC.

My business is based on training, conditioning athletes, the everyday person looking for a change from basic training. I’m more into taking a person beyond their limits.
HTT: What’s your favorite/least favorite type of client?
WH: Favorite type of client! One that’s truly motivated, passionate, driven, limitless and eager to rise above and beyond.
Least favorite client!?! One that’s wasting my time!
HTT: I hear that! What makes your training style unique? What is your specialty?

WH: My training style is very different, I try to see, learn, what makes you, YOU! Develop your weakness, make you stronger from within and then there’s no limit on where we can go from there!
HTT: If you had to sum up your style in a few words?
WH: Intense, driven, mind and body together as one!
HTT: What are your hobbies?
WH: My hobbies are vast, I have an African Art collection, Asian Art, sports memorabilia, a coin collection, car collection, Ducatis! I’m into almost anything that fuels my passion! My cars and bikes! Any chance I have to ride and drive it’s on!

HTT: Favorite food?
WH: Anything except red meat, sushi…
HTT: Favorite sport?
WH: Formula 1, then football.
HTT: What’s one of your “guilty” pleasures?
WH: Baking cakes!
HTT: Your favorite book?
WH: I haven’t had a chance to read any! I’m more into audio books now. But “The Feathermen” is a must!
HTT: Favorite movie?
WH: Gladiator! Anything action or Sci Fi.
HTT: What do you do to keep yourself in shape?
WH: I challenge myself each workout–cycling, high reps, moderate weight total body 3x week with cardio 30, 45, one hour sessions.
HTT: What do you do for fun? Leisure?
WH: Spend time with my son, my family and friends and my hobbies.

HTT: Where do you see the future of fitness heading?
WH: Future of Fitness! That’s a good question! I think the market is over saturated with unproven trainers, fly by night certifications and many haven’t paid their dues. While trainers like you and I have laid down the ground work for them!
HTT: Thank you, Will! I so appreciate your honesty, integrity and humor. It’s great getting to know more about you, like, who would have pictured you baking cakes? Formula One, yeah, that I can picture, but cakes? Sweet and Strong, an inspiration!

Follow/Contact Will:  https://twitter.com/#!/willtrainer008

Written by Laura McDonald 2012 and reblogged today as per Will Hough

“I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows” not anymore.

Be the best that you can be then be better ~ Morne Gabriels

I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows, not anymore. ~ Morne Gabriels

I am the proud father of four boys. Their age ranges from five through to thirteen.  I currently work from home as a software developer and have been doing that for thirteen years. I enjoy reading when I have the time, but my absolute focus at the moment is on singing, song writing and performing. I have also developed a passion for working out and running, running, running.

The only fitness activity I remember being involved in as a child was playing with friends and riding our bicycles everywhere.  However, exercise and fitness were not emphasized that much as I recall. I indulged in comfort eating; mainly because my parents were going through a messy divorce.  I remember eating 6 or 7 chocolate bars at a time, loads of bread, cheese, etc, etc.  In my mind, I’ve always been overweight.

Hitting puberty somehow helped and I grew into a more proportionate version of myself.  I remember my friend’s sister (who I had a little crush on) telling me that I looked so different (which was a boost) and then her immediately saying and laughing, “you used to be so fat” (which just somehow destroyed my confidence).

I remember as a twelve or thirteen year old, starting to run and running long distances.  I’d say eventually I was running 5kms, two or three times a week.   I had two bricks in my room, which I used as dumbbells.  So mainly did curls until I couldn’t hold the bricks any longer.  I did lots of calf raises, which I did until I couldn’t walk. Yet, that all fell by the wayside when there was any stressful situation in my life, I would return to comfort eating.

I had a certain amount of passion of fitness but never realized my fitness potential, growing up.   Through high school I never took part in any sporting events because I was never fast enough,  strong enough or confident enough.   My main form of exercise in high school was walking to school and back, which was about 10k each way.   I actually loved walking, thinking about it.  It was a great stress reliever during my teens.   However again whenever stressful situations or events occurred in my life, I needed to eat food that made me feel good.So this was my pattern for life until about the age of 32.  Exercise, stressful event, comfort eat, depression, exercise, stressful event, comfort eat and repeat.  The word “Yo-Yo” springs to mind.

The main catalyst for change was the day I stepped onto the scale and it displayed a nice, round number of 120kgs (about 265 pounds).  That, for some reason, did not make me depressed but determined to change.   I initially went about it in the wrong way; starving myself which again led to Yo-yoing but eventually learning that there is a balance to it all.  Exercise, eating right and rest.  When I finally got it right I noticed that the more physically fit I became the more confidence, joy and peace came to my life. I started thinking more positively about my kids and giving them a positive example.  Music; I started writing more songs and performing; it’s a really big passion of mine right now.  Being positive in my thinking and actions makes a world of difference. I am more adventurous now and willing to trying new things, meet new people.  I’m no longer in the background.  A line from a Foo Fighters song always gets me, “I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows” not anymore.

Apart from the obvious health benefits, it is truly a lifestyle for me now.  “Sweat everyday” is a poster I’ve seen on the Socially Fit Facebook page and it’s something I am living by. But the feeling of lightness, strength, confidence and peace is so intoxicating.  I want to feel that every day.  My support system is amazing. Though my immediate family resides overseas, my “in-laws” as well as my kids are always encouraging me.  Family and friends have all given me very positive remarks and comments, which spurs me on to keep going. My hope is that I am an inspiration to people.  If I can do it anyone can!! Furreal!!

The hardest thing for me to date has been maintaining the proper diet. Being consistent. I’ve learned to deal with stress in a more positive way and that has had a positive effect on my relationship with food; not being a slave to it. I’ve said goodbye to comfort eating.  I’m really proud to say that 5 years ago I was 120kgs (265 pounds) and today I am currently 86.5kgs (191 pounds).  No more Yo-yoing.  At my heaviest I wore 44inch waist trousers,  I now comfortably fit into 34inch waist trousers. I can honestly say that on average I run 80 to 100km per week! These are my accomplishments and I am humbled by them.

My workout routine is simple. I run an average of 7kms a day.  On alternative days I work individual body parts with weights i.e. biceps, shoulders, chest and triceps using 16.5kg dumbbell. I’m not taking any supplements at the moment.  My meal plan for the last four months has been eating one hearty meal in the evening including anything I wanted but would gravitate around green vegetables, chicken, fish or beef, rice or potatoes.  Also having the occasional junk foods like pizza, fries, fried chicken, etc.  But for the most part stayed away from white bread and hard cheeses. 4 to 5 cups of green tea, 1 to 2 cups of coffee and about 7 pints of water a day. In the last few weeks however  I’ve had 3 to 4 small meals a day; Morning oats, with cranberries and cashews.  Lunch: Tuna or chicken with green leafy salads.  Evenings: Chicken or beef, vegetables, rice. Snacking on fruit and nuts during the day. This appears to be working for me right now.

I plan to enter a few races to keep me focused and pushing forward.  I’ll start with 5k runs and work my way up. I’d like to increase my lean muscle and most importantly get that flat stomach.   I’d like to add swimming to my exercise regime, meaning getting swimming lessons.  Then possibly giving triathlons a go. Baby steps. If you would like to get started I find reading positive messages on pages like Socially Fit’s Facebook page or motivational groups really does help keep me in a positive frame of mind and thus positive about my reaching my goals. Make daily affirmations:

Hard work pays

Sweat everyday

I can do it – I will do it

It’s not how good you are – it’s about how good you want to be

Be your own hero

Find your focus, find that determination deep within yourself that’s been lying dormant all this time.

Pain is temporary.

Get it done.  Get it done.  GET IT DONE!!

I remember when I started my recent journey to a successful me it was the middle of winter, here in the UK.  I was up at 5 o’clock in the morning, enduring the cold and sometimes snow to go running.  And I started with 5km most days. In the back of my mind I was thinking though, 5km will become your maintenance run.  And it did.  Then it became 7km a day.  Don’t be afraid to speak to yourself, positively.  I wake up in the morning saying “Today’s going to be a good day” even when I feel the opposite.   I remember things that I am grateful for and it changes my mindset.  Be positive to and about others as well ‘cause it will come back to you. I tell/ask my kids the following before they leave for school, “Be the best you can be and then?”  And they answer “BE BETTER”.  That can be used in any part of your life but in this case fitness.

When I first start running, I could only run for 10 minutes before I started feeling my ankles and knees.  120kgs will do that.   But I didn’t stop.  I would run for a minute and then walk for 30 seconds.  Repeating that.  Slowly I became better, stronger, faster.   IF I CAN DO IT – YOU CAN. It all starts up here (points to head). Start thinking right and positive. Visualize your goals; the body you want, the health you want.  Think about it, see it and feel it; then BE IT.

The only limits in life are the ones that you imagine!

https://www.facebook.com/morne.gabriels
https://www.facebook.com/groups/38546773592 – my music related page.
https://twitter.com/DukeSeven7

The Way of Kaizen

Kaizen

The Japanese culture is based on respect, honor, and innovation. They focus on being better and getting better all of the time. You may have seen the Japanese word “Kaizen” frequently used in the business world.

According to Wikipedia, Kaizen is:

“Japanese for ‘improvement’, or ‘change for the better’ refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, and business management.”

Notice the word ‘improvement’ … it describes my journey to become Strong By Choice.

The Beginning

Growing up in Ohio, I certainly wasn’t the biggest or strongest kid. My body type is an ectomorph. Small wrists. Broad shoulders. Lanky legs. I remember how I used to look at those who played sports at our high school particularly one named “Larry” who was built like WWE Ryback at the young age of 16!

I knew that I wanted to look the same so I begged the football coach to train me to look like Larry. He chuckled and brushed me off. His dismissal hurt and only fueled my fire more. So I did what any skinny boy in America would do, I asked my parents for a weight set! After enough pleading with my parents, they finally decided to give in and shell out money for me to buy a Sears weight-lifting set complete with grey plastic sand weights and black steel bar. I would now show the coach and Larry what’s up!

Wrong.

After a few months, the weights became home to spider webs and boredom. Larry went on to muscle bound glory I’m sure while I stayed trapped in my thin frame.

Fast forward to my time in the military in the 1990’s through 2000’s. If one is not able to get in shape in the military, then there is no hope for them! Totally by God’s grace, I passed boot camp and military school to be assigned at a horrible place of blue waters, good weather, and clean air: Hawaii.

Since I would go on deployments, we have nothing better to do than to get in shape. So we would work out in scouring hot weather using the facility’s rusted equipment while downing the latest supplements in hopes of creating the Atlas physique. In fact, I think I could have been a shareholder for GNC’s supplement store because of all the money I was spending on potions, powders and promises (e.g. Bill Phillips & Body For Life, EAS supplements, Cybergenics).

During my time with the military, I was able to make some gains by ballooning to 170 lbs of muscle  and fat by eating Burger King and McDonald’s to put on size. My dress uniform pants for the military would scream every time I plunged my girth into them. Eventually I got out of the military and went into the Reserves. My access to the gym now meant I had to buy my membership and so I did. My wife and I joined the local gym in the neighborhood where some of the customers would walk barefooted while lifting heavy weights (no joke). That’s not all. The facility didn’t have a sanitation bottle to spray the benches. After a few weeks, we decided to cancel our membership and my training fizzled to nothing. We moved to Ohio and later moved to Kentucky. After years of inactivity, there was a spark that started an inferno of activity. The spark was a co-worker of mine named Jeremy Corder.

The Spark

In 2011, Jeremy had various health problems including Fibromyalgia. I recall one time when Jeremy showed me how many bottles of mediation he had to take for his ailments. I remember clearly that he pulled out so many bottles of meds that he shook his head in disbelief.

Over the months following, I was able to work from home for the company that we worked for. Since I was in Kentucky, I could instant message those at work to keep in touch. One day I was chatting with Jeremy and he shared with me how he had changed his life. He stated that he was off his meds, found natural solutions and was getting in shape! He shared with me that he was even starting to get buff. I could hardly believe what I was reading. To be frank, I was jealous because he took control of his life while I was stuck in my own mediocrity.

So one day, I was looking in the mirror and I knew that I had to change. Then a spark of inspiration touched me. I could see…wait a minute…I could see small definitions in my abs. I had eaten traditional foods and organic foods for a while and there must have been some fat burning on some level. I was determined to find the workout program that would work for me. The spark had been lit. I knew I had to change.

The Inferno

With new determination, I went to the local library. There had to be some program I could do that was time friendly since my #1 excuse was the #1 excuse of everyone else – Lack of time.

Enter Sean Foy – the author of the book “The 10-Minute Total Body Breakthrough.”

In the book, Sean proposes an exercise program that can be done in 10 minutes yet offer the same benefits of a traditional 1-2 hour program.

Skeptical yet? Good.

Why?

Because I don’t want you to believe what I say yet to encourage you to check out the book yourself.

I can say that with this program, I had successfully worked out consistently. Every time I try to weasel out of doing the workouts, I reminded myself, “It’s only 10 minutes. Anyone can do ten minutes.”

I do the workout and boom. . .done.

Through eating real food and working out for 10 minutes (M,W,F), I began to slowly see changes in my body. Yes, the spark had ignited into a flame.

You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have -  @strongbychoice

Find what works for you and stick to it ~ @strongbychoice

The Future

From that point I had moved from body-weight exercises to being able to afford a gym membership and getting in the best shape of my life in 2011-2012. I started the Twitter handle @StrongByChoice because being strong is always a choice.

In early 2013, I dead-lifted 205 lbs and 210 lbs at 165 lbs which you can view here: bit.ly/19wh055 it’s my personal best to date.

My twitter account remains active and my core supporters are a group of committed individuals called #TheStrongNation. For the time being I’ve cancelled my gym membership in order to save money and focus on new ventures. My training is at a stand still however I realize that fitness is a journey and the choice to be strong is indeed a daily choice. Eventually, I’ll get back on track. My training is all about Kaizen.

Besides, 10 minutes is a good place to start again, right?

Christian, husband, daddy and the assassin of average. Creator of ™  @StrongByChoice

15 health benefits of eating apples

Many of us forget that sometimes, the simplest answers are the best. Better health could be as easy as reaching for the fruit bowl for some apples next time you need a snack.

apples1

What makes apples so great?

In 2004, USDA scientists investigated over 100 foods to measure their antioxidant concentration per serving size. Two apples—Red Delicious and Granny Smith—ranked 12th and 13th respectively. Antioxidants are disease-fighting compounds. Scientists believe these compounds help prevent and repair oxidation damage that happens during normal cell activity. Apples are also full of a fibre called pectin—a medium-sized apple contains about 4 grams of fibre. Pectin is classed as a soluble, fermentable and viscous fibre, a combination that gives it a huge list of health benefits.

1. Get whiter, healthier teeth

An apple won’t replace your toothbrush, but biting and chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, reducing tooth decay by lowering the levels of bacteria.

2. Avoid Alzheimer’s

A new study performed on mice shows that drinking apple juice could keep Alzheimer’s away and fight the effects of aging on the brain. Mice in the study that were fed an apple-enhanced diet showed higher levels of the neurotransmitter acetyl choline and did better in maze tests than those on a regular diet.

3. Protect against Parkinson’s

Research has shown that people who eat fruits and other high-fiber foods gain a certain amount of protection against Parkinson’s, a disease characterized by a breakdown of the brain’s dopamine-producing nerve cells. Scientists have linked this to the free radical-fighting power of the antioxidants contained therein.

4. Curb all sorts of cancers

Scientists from the American Association for Cancer Research, among others, agree that the consumption of flavonol-rich apples could help reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23 per cent. Researchers at Cornell University have identified several compounds—triterpenoids—in apple peel that have potent anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast. Their earlier research found that extracts from whole apples can reduce the number and size of mammary tumors in rats. Meanwhile, the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. has recommended a high fiber intake to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

5. Decrease your risk of diabetes

Women who eat at least one apple a day are 28 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don’t eat apples. Apples are loaded with soluble fibre, the key to blunting blood sugar swings.

6. Reduce cholesterol

The soluble fibre found in apples binds with fats in the intestine, which translates into lower cholesterol levels and a healthier you.

7. Get a healthier heart

An extensive body of research has linked high soluble fibre intake with a slower buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in your arteries. The phenolic compound found in apple skins also prevents the cholesterol that gets into your system from solidifying on your artery walls. When plaque builds inside your arteries, it reduces blood flow to your heart, leading to coronary artery disease.

8. Prevent gallstones

Gallstones form when there’s too much cholesterol in your bile for it to remain as a liquid, so it solidifies. They are particularly prevalent in the obese. To prevent gallstones, doctors recommend a diet high in fibre to help you control your weight and cholesterol levels.

9. Beat diarrhea and constipation

Whether you can’t go to the bathroom or you just can’t stop, fibre found in apples can help. Fibre can either pull water out of your colon to keep things moving along when you’re backed up, or absorb excess water from your stool to slow your bowels down.

10. Neutralize irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and bloating. To control these symptoms doctors recommend staying away from dairy and fatty foods while including a high intake of fibre in your diet.

11. Avert hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are a swollen vein in the anal canal and while not life threatening, these veins can be very painful. They are caused by too much pressure in the pelvic and rectal areas. Part and parcel with controlling constipation, fibre can prevent you from straining too much when going to the bathroom and thereby help alleviate hemorrhoids.

12. Control your weight

Many health problems are associated with being overweight, among them heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. To manage your weight and improve your overall health, doctors recommend a diet rich in fibre. Foods high in fibre will fill you up without costing you too many calories.

13. Detoxify your liver

We’re constantly consuming toxins, whether it is from drinks or food, and your liver is responsible for clearing these toxins out of your body. Many doctors are skeptical of fad detox diets, saying they have the potential to do more harm than good. Luckily, one of the best—and easiest—things you can eat to help detoxify your liver is fruits—like apples.

14. Boost your immune system

Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Recent studies have found that quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune system, especially when you’re stressed out.

15. Prevent cataracts

Though past studies have been divided on the issue, recent long-term studies suggest that people who have a diet rich in fruits that contain antioxidants—like apples—are 10 to 15 per cent less likely to develop cataracts.

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http://www.besthealthmag.ca

 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 graytbodyfitness@gmail.com