Monthly Archives: April 2012

10 “No B.S.” Fitness Tips

  1. If the goal of your workout is to burn fat and to become leaner, you MUST do your strength training first and your cardio training second.

-You will deplete your body’s stored sugar (glycogen) levels when doing weight training and then your body will be forced to use body fat for fuel when doing cardiovascular training. 

2.  Design training programs over 6-12 weeks with specific goals for each of the weeks.

-Having something short-term to focus on will increase your motivation greatly from one week to the next.

 3.  Whenever possible, choose free weights over machines.

-When you do strength training with free weights, a much greater amount of muscles must be used to provide balance and stability.  You will get more work done in less time.  The “carry over” to real life will also be significant as compared to training on a machine where all of the balancing is done for you.


 4.  Lifting weights more slowly will help to build more muscle.

-If you move slowly through each repetition of each set of each exercise, you will increase the total time that your muscle is “contracted” while it is working.  This time is very important and will have a large impact on whether you get stronger or not.

5.  Training “efficiency” is more important than training “volume.”

-Muscles respond best to intense, but brief, work followed by adequate rest and recovery.  The most common mistake by frequent exercisers is doing too much and pushing the body beyond its ability to recover.

6.  Learn how to read food labels to get the most out of your workouts.

-Training without eating in a “supportive” manner, will yield only minimal gains.  Besides understanding what is meant by “Grams” of fat, protein and carbohydrates, buy (and eat) foods that are low in sugar.  4g of sugar is equal to 1 teaspoon, therefore a yogourt with 16 grams of sugar contains 4 teaspoons of sugar which will make it very difficult to burn fat and become lean.

 7.  Always allow at least 1 full day of recovery per week.

-To keep things fresh and interesting, even if you don’t feel like completely resting 1 day per week, doing so will aid immensely in both your mental and physical well-being and will help you to keep improving in the long run.

 8.  Learn the joys and benefits of Cross- Training.

-To continue challenging your body in a positive way, trying activities that are new to you can have a tremendous impact on your overall strength and endurance.  You will find that when you go back to your regular routine, you may be stronger and fitter as a result.

9.  Always have a back up plan.

In Case Of Emergency!  Always think of at least 2 or 3 activities or workouts, which yield the same results so that you never have to miss a session.  For example; if you do not have the time to get to the gym, learn a “back to basics” using little or no equipment to do at home.

 10.   Don’t believe the hype!


   -If it appears to be too good to be true, it probably is.  Real sustainable fitness results last a lifetime.  Don’t rush things or fall prey to hype and hyperbole.  Use your head, plan and follow through.

4 Steps to Get Your Summer Goals

Bryan Smith- All Canadian Fitness Certified Personal Trainer

Everyone has fitness goals for summer. As soon as the warm weather comes along – people start to take a closer look at themselves in the mirror and wonder how they will look without the “winter clothes bundle.”

   Well, it’s not as hard as you think to get to where you want to be. It takes some planning and dedication, but it’s definitely do-able. Here, I’m going to explain the steps that I use with my clients to help them realize their summer dream body potential.

Set a Date – It sounds ridiculous, but it works. Recently a client of mine, that I have had for almost 2 years, decided to plan a trip to Florida with her family. Now, in the year and a half I had trained her, she had lost a few pounds, gained a few, and lost a couple more. I think in total in a year and a half she had lost about 15 pounds. She worked very hard while she was here, but there was no concrete goal. But 12 weeks out from her trip we got very serious.

I wrote out every workout that she would do and showed her how to eat to maximize her losses. It was nothing I hadn’t said before, but she actually “listened” because there was now a reason. In those 12 weeks, she lost close to 20 pounds, and she actually lost 5 more on her trip!

(Madeline lost 20lbs before her trip to Florida… and wore a bikini!)

Even if you don’t have a trip planned for the beginning of the summer, make one.

Take yourself shopping on July 1st. Not just buying a shirt or two. Save up your pennies and plan a spree, with smaller sizes. Or think about a friend’s wedding you may be attending. Goal setting is the key. In my experience, it’s the determining factor in whether or not people will succeed.

Plan – Now, this has to do with nutrition (which foods you eat and the timing at  which you eat them) and also planning the times at which you can exercise. People who don’t plan, don’t succeed. I hear the same thing all the time. “It’s so easy during the day at work; it’s when I get home that the nutrition falls apart…” Of course it is. That’s because you have scheduled breaks at work. You have a ‘lunch hour’ in which you are scheduled to eat. When you get home, you get comfortable, get comfy on the couch to watch your recorded reality shows, and the nutrition goes down the drain. Why should your nutrition at home be any different than at work? If you are too tired to cook, take one night out of the week and cook for three evenings. Take a day on the weekend and cook enough supportive food so that you can freeze it and eat it when you are in a hurry.

I’ve trained a doctor to have a body like a fitness model when he was working 70 hours a week and studying for his sub-specialty. There is always time…. If you are selfish enough.

(Dr. Ivan Cacic got THIS body while working  up to 70 hours per week at the hospital!  … with a plan)

Believe – I heard a quote years ago that stuck with me. It was, “psychology beats physiology every time.” And I have seen it year after year. If a client doesn’t ‘believe’ the system that they are using is going to work, it doesn’t. . The modality doesn’t matter. It could be Zumba, it could be a Bowflex, it could be a Shake Weight. You’ve undervalued it from the beginning, and sabotaged yourself. If you watch the infomercials of these people that have succeeded with these different ideas, no matter how different they are, they all have the same thing in common… They BELIEVED. They bought the product, believed in it, and succeeded. Now, sometimes, that’s a hard pill to swallow. I, myself, am a big skeptic when it comes to being sold something. Now, this is where OUR job as trainers comes in. It’s our job to help you believe that what you are doing, and all of your hard work you are putting in, is worth it and will pay off.

Execute – This is the biggest step of all. You’ve written down attainable goals and goal dates, you’ve cooked your food and planned your exercise routine, and you believe that it’s going to work. It’s time to put this plan into action. Sure, July 1st seems like a long way away, but if you just go day by day and think, “In the grand scheme of things, from now to July is just a blip on the radar”. Tough it out and work hard.

It WILL pay off. Trust me. I’m a trainer. J

Are College Football Player’s Bodies Being Abused?

I came across an interesting article today that addressed the question of whether College Football players are abusing their bodies.  It caught my eye because I was a college football player at Purdue University before playing pro in the CFL in the early 90′s.  At Purdue, we had the best, cutting edge training, equipment, nutrition and coaching.  We played big time programs and teams at Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State and Washington.  Our success was measured by wins and losses… and by how many players and coaches got to the professional ranks following their collegiate careers.  During my 4 year career at Purdue, I had the privilege of playing with, and against, some of the greatest players in the history of the game.

Read the article below “Are College Football Players Bodies Being Abused?”

Although we had the best, most up to date training techniques at Purdue, it was a time when the training programs for football players were dominated by weight lifting programs based around the Big Four lifts (Bench Press, Squats, Deadlifts and Power Cleans).  Functional fitness training was a concept that I had never heard of at the time.  We lifted like “weight lifters” with little thought of whether we would actually NEED to use the specific lifting movements on the field.  At 20 years of age, I could deadlift 565 lbs, squat 350 lbs for 35 repetitions and I could power clean 300 lbs.  Impressive stuff, considering I wasn’t a weight lifter, but, a football player.  Like any 20 year old, I never thought about the long term effect on my body of all the heavy lifting and the pounding that I was putting myself through day in and day out.

The article that I read today speaks about the need for players to be able to seek a second opinion when they are injured besides the physician that is working FOR the University and the team.  It also speaks to the fact that most 18- 19+ year old players are already nursing long term, chronic injuries from heavy lifting.  It credits performance trainers that work with players and focus more on “functional” type workouts instead of lifting heavy all of the time.  In this case, functional workouts would include things like single leg body weight squats, stability ball core exercises and compound lifts using things like medicine balls, kettlebells or TRX suspension trainers.

At All Canadian Fitness, we design ALL of our programs first and foremost with the idea of making them as “functional” as possible.  This means LOTS of carryover to real life (or to your sport). 

I wish that I had known about this when I was a kid.  Today, I deal with pain almost daily from all the years of heavy trauma to my body.  Recently, I heard from a former teammate of mine from Purdue that had an epidural to help him cope with back pain from years of repeated, HEAVY lifting!

Keep in mind… your training should be making you BETTER.  It should make you feel good, not bad.  It should have carryover to your daily life and to your activities.  Finally, it shouldn’t be done for immediate gain… if it is going to make you suffer later on.

Don’t misunderstand… you SHOULD be working hard… and lifting heavy.  Just not all the time.  Plan out a progression that will move you to a specific goal.  The progression should include more intense, harder periods of work as well as easier, recovery type phases.  It should also take into account what you do in a day and what your activities are.  THIS is what is meant by “functional” fitness.

If you are wondering what College Football players might have to do with YOUR fitness plan, remember we are all made of the same stuff.  Muscle, blood, bone, ligaments and tendons.  If you are 20 and abuse them, you’ll pay the price at some point.  If you’re 45 and exercising for general fitness (or for recreational sport), the same abuse will result in the same price.

Ernie Schramayr–  Owner All Canadian Fitness

Mennanomics 101

           -Rich Menna–  Certified Personal Trainer/ All Canadian Fitness
In the past year as a personal trainer I have voraciously studied and researched ways to help my clients, family members and friends better themselves through health and fitness which is my passion and the reason I do what I do. At times I got frustrated because one research would say to do it this way and another fitness guru would say do it that way and so on and so on. On top of what I already knew from my past training as a boxer and the slew of other information I was reading I would drive myself crazy trying to figure out what was best. I would sometimes even lose sleep at night. That’s just my ambition and drive for perfection. However, I soon realized there is no perfect way to do anything.
In life, as in fitness it’s a struggle and essentially it is through trial and error that we find what works or what makes us happy. So what I did was I stopped analyzing what other trainers did or what certain researchers said and just took my own knowledge and common sense and made it work through trial and error to see what works for most people.
My theory is every BODY is different so what works for one person may not work for someone else.
I look at the gym as a laboratory and I do my own research and come up with my own findings and conclusions. And I guess it is working because people are seeing results and improving steadily with what I am doing with them so I must be doing something right. I call my training Mennanomics, similar to economics, with supply and demand and so forth, that’s all I really know about the subject. Anyway the goal for most people is to just get fitter and lose some weight, get leaner etc. Now SUPPLY=calories and DEMAND=exercise to use calories. For weight loss you want to burn more calories then you take in, it is quite simple, just put in the hard work until demand exceeds supply.
Obviously for other fitness goals the equation might be a little different but this what the majority of average everyday people want. Put in work, hustle and move, just do it, by any means necessary and get the results… case closed. Some trainers may beg to differ or have different opinions but in the end it’s what gets people the results in the safest and most efficient manner that counts most.