Tracking Progress with Weight Loss

As a trainer, it drives me CRAZY how much people put value on how much they weigh. The numbers on the scale tell only a small part of the story when it comes to someone’s fitness level. We always consider body composition to be the most important number when it comes to body change and fitness increases. This number is presented as a “percentage” of total body weight. Simply losing pounds does not always convey success if the pounds lost are lean tissue. Nobody wants to be lighter and fatter at the same time. Having said this, it seems like EVERYONE wants to be lighter!

At  All Canadian Fitness, we have had a couple of memorable clients that achieved great results. One of them was my Spect Fit Cadet, Diane Ledonne. At the 5 week mark or her training, she had lost just under 3″ from her waist (in 5 weeks!). She had also lost about 7% of her bodyfat. Her blood pressure came down from 140/90 to 126/86. Very impressive results all around. BUT, from weeks 3 to 5, her weight stayed exactly the same!!! During that time, all of her body composition measurements went down, her strength went up, her blood pressure went from hypertensive to normal…AND her energy was waaaaaay up. If we had been evaluating her progress solely by the scale (like they do on that awful Biggest Loser show), then she would have felt like a failure.

Check out these awesome pictures of Allie from…

The other client experienced frustration at the numbers on the scale that appeared to her to be stuck. Every single day, however, she was getting compliments from people about “how great she looks”. She also lost 4 dress sizes in 4 months. Again… impressive results that simply would not have been recognized if the scale were the only measure of progress.

Here are some measures that really, really matter when you are trying to get into great shape:

Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR)-  Measure your waist at the navel and your hips at the point where your buttocks protrude the furthest.  Divide the waist number by the hip number.  Besides watching the individual numbers go down as you get lean, try to achieve a WHR of less than .9.  .8 would be even better.

Resting Heart Rate and Resting Blood Pressure-  Both of these numbers are crucial to good health.  Resting heart rate of 72 beats per minute is about average for adults.  Getting into the 60’s or 50’s would be ideal and shows that your heart is getting stronger and more efficient.  Resting blood pressure of 120/80 is ideal.  140/90 is considered borderline hypertensive.

Skinfold Measures-  Get someone to help you with this one!  Pinch a fold of skin on the back of your arm (tricep) and measure the width of the fold in millimetres with a tape measure or ruler (if you do not have a body fat caliper).  Do the same diagonally at the hip bone.  You can also measure a vertical fold beside your belly button.  As you get leaner, the measures (which are measuring fat near the surface) will get smaller.

The “skinny jeans” Test-  Take a piece of clothing that just barely fits.  As you progress in your exercise and nutrition program, put them on weekly and make note of how easy it is to close them, how comfortable they feel, if they start to get baggy etc…  This is MUCH more significant then how much you weigh.

Strength and Endurance-  Measure your upper body muscle strength and endurance with a max set of pushups.  If you can do more than 30, then choose a harder pushup version (from the toes, feet on a chair, clap pushups etc…).  Keep track of how many more you can do over time.  Perform an abdominal plank for max time.  If you can do more than 3 minutes, then choose a more challenging version (one arm, one leg etc…).  Pick a distance to run (or walk or run/ walk).  Record how long it takes you to go the distance and re-test yourself over time.

The Bottom line– We are human beings with LOTS and LOTS of things to consider about ourselves other than simply a number on a scale. Do yourself a favour and throw yours away (or give it to someone you really dislike!).

Sitting is Bad For Your Health Part 2

Last week, I wrote about the negative effects of sitting.  To say that some of the stats cited were shocking would be an understatement.  I mean, I figured that sitting too much wasn’t exactly the healthiest thing in the world, but…  a decrease in Fat Burning Enzymes?  …  lack of electrical impulse to the legs IMMEDIATELY?  … and a 40% greater death rate than non- sitters?


This week I want to approach excessive sitting from the perspective of a fitness professional.  For 20 years, I have been working with clients from all walks of life.  Super fit athletes and totally sedentary post- accident victims.  While they may have very little in common, the one thing that almost ALL of our clients have in common are the effects of “over sitting”.  In the modern world, we do most of our work and most of our play sitting without ever changing positions.

In the past, even the activities that required sitting, like watching TV and typing required breaks in the sitting to continue.  Simply put, you had to get up and walk to the television to change channels and you had to get up and actually file a paper away across the room when you got to the end of a written report.  These little, seemingly insignificant breaks, gave you a chance to straighten your legs, your back and to rotate your torso and actually stretch your body.  The phrase that I love is that it allowed you to “undo the sitting position”.

When someone sits too long, too often, we tend to see a few really common deficiencies in their bodies.

1-  Shortened tight hip flexors.

2-  Short, tight hamstrings.

3-  Tight lumbar muscles (low back).

4-  Rounded shoulders and upper back with weakened scapular (shoulder blades) muscles and tight pectoral (chest) muscles.

The result is that people who sit longer have sore lower  backs, headaches, neck and shoulder pain and they breathe more shallow and have trouble running injury free due to stride changes as a result of all of the tightness and weakness in their legs.


Top 3 Exercises to Undo the Sitting Position

1-  Medicine Ball Chopper 3 x 15 each way

2-  Scapular Retraction with Rubber Tubing or  “Shoulder Blade Squeeze” 3 x 15

3-  Kneeling Kickback 3 x15 with each leg

Add 3 sets each of these into the warmup of your regular exercise routine three times per week and you be amazed at how good you will feel and how much better you will move within a couple of weeks.

Ernie Schramayr–  All Canadian Fitness

Sitting is Bad for Your Health

You may have seen the news stories recently proclaiming that “Sitting is KILLING You!” or “Sitting is DANGEROUS”.  I think that I’ve seen the articles about sitting and poor health in the papers, on TV, in blogs and I’ve heard it on the radio.  It seems to be everywhere.  The thought occurred to me that, I better find out more about this if I’m going to be able to lead my clients to live healthier, fitter, more productive lives.

Like many active people, I assumed that by exercising frequently every week (5+ hours), I was erasing the effects of an increasingly sedentary modern lifestyle.  Everything is automated these days.  You can change channels, open your garage door and answer the phone without ever getting out of your chair.  Sort of like the people in the movie Wall-E!

If you saw Wall-E… you know the outcome of a life spent in a high tech recliner isn’t good.

I examined the findings of a study conducted by the Sax Institute, who are doing the largest ongoing study of healthy aging in the Western Hemisphere (the Institute is in Australia).  The study was conducted specifically to determine the relationship between sitting and morbidity rates.  They want to find out if people who stand more vs. those who sit more are less likely to die from certain diseases.

After reading over the results, I have to say that the findings are quite shocking!  People who sat 11+ hours per day (at work and then at leisure) are 40% more likely to die in the next 3 years vs. people who sit less than 4 hours per day.  The part that was most shocking to me was that it didn’t matter if the “sitter” was healthy or sick or if they exercised regularly.  Sit longer…. die sooner.  In other words, you can’t “exercise away” a sedentary lifestyle.

I also read the results of a study from the Medical Billing and Coding group who gathered evidence from many sources.  One of their findings was that people who sit more than 6 hours per day are 10% more likely to die within 15 years vs. people who sit less than 3 hours per day.

The evidence cited in the Medical Billing and Coding report is that when you sit, the electrical activity to your legs is cut off immediately and the enzymes that your body produces to break down fat drop by 90%.  Within 2 hours, good cholesterol in your body drops by 20% and within 24 hours, your risk for diabetes increases.  People with sitting jobs are twice as likely to die from Cardiovascular disease according to the report.

Wow.  Heavy stuff.

What we can take from these reports and studies is that the human body is a “movement machine”.  It is designed to work best and last the longest when it is in motion…. upright!  One of the positives from the Sax study was that the one group with the lowest death rates was the group that exercised the most AND sat the least.

What we can do right now.

1-  If you can do an errand by walking 15 minutes or less… do not drive.  Walk.

2-  If you have a desk job, get up every 15 minutes for a few minutes to stretch.  Anytime that you are taking a phone call, as opposed to doing work on your computer screen, stand while you talk.

3-  Turn the TV off and go outside when the weather is nice.  Walk around the block, talk to your neighbours, go for a bike ride.  If you have young kids playing sports, resist the urge to sit for the whole game.  Stand while you watch.

4-  At the gym, switch from the exercise bike to multi-station circuit training or to the treadmill that keeps you on your feet.

5-  Set up your work station to include a “standing desk”.  Surprisingly, this might just save your life!


Ernie Schramayr-  Owner All Canadian Fitness

3 Tips for Staying in Summer Shape

Summer is here!  You worked hard throughout the dark, cold winter months and into the spring and your proud of your body as you head out in your shorts, tank tops and in your bathing suit.  It would be a shame to just let all your hard work go to waste by doing nothing all summer, eh?

The distractions are many from June to September, but, it IS possible to maintain your fitness level (or even improve it) throughout the hot, hazy days of summer.

Here are 3 Tips to maintaining or improving your fitness level during the summer.

1-  Plan your week before it happens.  Spend a few minutes on the weekend looking at your week ahead.  Decide what your focus for your training week is going to be (endurance, strength or performance training).  Look at your PERSONAL schedule to see just how much time you’ll have on any given day and come up with the workout of the day for each and every day based on where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing.

Take advantage of the weather and learn how to exercise outdoors.  It will have a great cross training effect and the change in environment will make you feel great.

2-  Create a dinner “menu” for the week ahead.  Make a list of the meals that you’ll be eating each night.  Plan to make meals that you enjoy that are high in lean protein and contain a mix of complex carbohydrates and vegetables.  For example…. Monday evening, Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs and mixed salad.  From this list, write your grocery shopping list for the week.  DO NOT LEAVE YOUR NUTRITION TO CHANCE.  There will be plenty of times in the summer where you will have no control over what is being served.  Control what you can when you can.

Also… get in the habit of making “too much” of the good stuff at dinner time.  Freeze it or use Tupperware for an easy, fast lunch the next day.


3-  Have a fall back or Plan B for both exercise and nutrition for the times that life gets in the way.  There is no excuse for doing nothing.

Plan B exercise might be Pushups, Squats and Crunches for 15 reps of each repeated with no rest for 12 minutes.  Plan B nutrition could be a can of Spicy Thai Tuna on a Flax Seed Tortilla with Spinach Leaves.  Easy, effective and way better than “nothing”.

Take these 3 tips to heart over the next couple of months and you WILL be in amazing shape come fall.

Should My Muscles Always be Sore After a Workout?

One thing that I tell all clients, old or new, is that their body will change, adapt and get “better” when they give it a new stimulus that it isn’t used to.  For example, if you’ve only ever done Zumba and then you try lifting weights… that is a new stimulus.  If you ALWAYS lift weights for 8- 12 repetitions per set and then go through a workout where you hit momentary muscular failure (MMF) at 4- 6 repetitions, that is also a new stimulus.  To be able to deal with the new stress, your body will adapt by building new muscle tissue to make the demand less severe.

Along with this adaptation comes some pain in the form of muscle soreness.  Any beginner that has started an exercise program has felt the deep muscle ache in their thighs, their chest and in their abdomen when they’ve pushed things further than they normally would.  Most beginners are also surprised at how quickly the soreness that they felt when they started disappears.  Does this mean that the program they are on is now less effective because they aren’t “feeling” it any more?  The answer to that is…  it depends!

Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, your muscle soreness after a training session will be anywhere from non- existent (during a maintenance phase where you are simply trying to keep active) to extreme soreness (when you are preparing to conquer something that you have never done before).

At one time, fitness buffs talked about “No Pain, No Gain”.  As a message, this turned off casual exercisers who could have benefited greatly from more strenuous regimes.  As a reaction, the “no pain, no gain” mantra was pushed aside for the more friendly “gain without pain”.  The message being that you don’t HAVE to hurt after a workout to receive benefit.  I believe that ideally, things would land somewhere in the middle.  You don’t have to ALWAYS hurt after a workout, but, if you are going to train for your first marathon, or you are trying to shed 40 pounds of excess fat, then there will most definitely be times when your body is sore after a workout.

The trick is to determine what kind of pain you are experiencing.  If you’ve run stairs for the first time and the next day both of your calves feel sore, that’s okay.  If one of your Achilles tendons is aching and it is hard to put pressure on that side of your body, then that is not okay.

Pain (or soreness) is your body’s way of telling you that you better take note because you’ve overdone it a bit.  It can alert you to injury, overuse or just that you’ve worked out and your body is adapting.

Whenever we change the routine of a long-term fitness client, they’ll feel sore for a few days.  That’s normal.  The greatest amount of muscle soreness will occur between 48 and 72 hours and then, it should start to dissipate.

Here are a few things to be aware of that aren’t normal and that you should not ignore. 

1-  Pain in a single limb when you’ve worked both legs or arms equally.

2-  Extreme soreness that lasts more than 3 to 4 days.

3-  Joint pain.  It’s okay for your muscles to be sore, not your joints.

4-  Radiating pain that shoots to another part of your body.  ex:  Pain traveling from your shoulder to your elbow.

5-  Numbness or tingling.  This is usually a sign of nerve damage.

6-  Soreness that never seems to lessen no matter how long you repeat a specific  workout routine.

7-  Pain that is worse at night and that may wake you from your sleep.

If you experience any of the above, you should consult with your physician.

Getting stronger, fitter and leaner is a process of adaptation.  Muscle soreness after exercise is normal.  It is usually tolerable and won’t have any long- term negative effects.

If you would like to get rid of muscle soreness, here are some tips that could help.

1-  Take a hot bath to increase blood flow and stretch gently in a hot shower or bath.

2-  Use a foam roller for self- massage.

3-  Do some light exercise, like walking or swimming, to increase blood flow and core body temperature.

4-  Be extra vigilant with your nutrition to ensure that your muscles get the protein and carbohydrates that they need.  When you are sore, it is NOT the time to cut back on your veggies!

5-  Be patient!  Time is the only thing guaranteed to get rid of all muscle soreness.

Ernie Schramayr–  Owner All Canadian Fitness

Should I Replace Two Meals Per Day With a Shake?

It seems like hardly a week goes by that I am not approached by someone that “thought of me” and wants to share this incredible new discovery they have made.  Since I own a fitness business, their discovery typically involves some type of meal replacement shake…. and an “opportunity” to make money, while doing good for others.


Without naming names, I’m sure that you’re familiar with the company that has been making a massive marketing push in North America in the past year, issuing people a challenge to get themselves fit, lean and healthy in 90 days.  The premise is that they have created a superior product to other meal replacements or shakes (they have not) and that if you are trying to lose weight, you would be better off drinking their product twice per day instead of eating real food.  Over the 90 days, you’ll lose weight, feel great…. and hopefully inspire your friends and relatives to join you by starting their own journey.

So… is it a good idea to stop eating and start drinking?

As a professional in the Health and Fitness industry with over 20 years experience, I would have to say absolutely not.  In guiding people to develop better nutrition habits that are supportive of metabolism, I always teach that “real” food is best.  The idea that a shake is “better” than a chicken breast, broccoli and a sweet potato is ridiculous.  The role of any supplement (like a shake) is to SUPPLEMENT your eating habits.  A meal replacement shake can be a useful tool for those times when you just can’t get to a meal, but it shouldn’t be used ongoing as the meal in and of itself. You can’t fix bad eating habits with supplements, no matter what any marketer will tell you.


Weight loss as a result of drinking instead of eating is a result of cutting calories and reducing carbohydrates.  There is no magic formula.  The shakes do not “burn fat”, nor do they “build muscle” as the marketing materials will tell you.  If you replaced your meals twice per day with 300 calories of chocolate milk you would also lose weight.

Cutting calories (and carbs) for short term weight loss does work.  BUT, it always leads to weight being re-gained (as metabolism slows to protect your body) and causes what many refer to as the yo-yo dieting phenomenon.  The weight that you lose by drastically cutting calories will include some lean muscle tissue (the source of an efficient metabolism).  When this happens, you will hit a plateau where you can’t seem to lose any more weight and then start to actually re-gain what you have lost.  The problem is that, while you lost lean mass, you regain what you’ve lost as fat.  You’ll find yourself back where you started… but with MORE body fat and a slower metabolism.

The bottom line is that if you base your health and fitness success purely on pounds lost, you will be disappointed at some point.  And you’ll be susceptible to any claim or product that tells you that they have the magic to get you there.

Speed your metabolism by learning to EAT a mix of protein and complex carbohydrates frequently throughout the day, build your muscles (the source of your metabolism) and exercise aerobically for a stronger heart and lungs.  When you can’t get to a real meal, use a shake.

That’s it.  THAT’S the magic.


If it seems to be too good to be true, it is.


Ernie Schramayr–  Owner All Canadian Fitness

Trainers Break a Sweat for Charity!

On April 14, 2012, the personal trainers at All Canadian Fitness (ACF) willingly
handed over their stopwatches and broke a sweat for charity.
The annual All Canadian Fitness Train-the-Trainer charity event gives clients a chance to be the trainer, and for trainers to be the client. They paid $30 for 10
minutes, chose a battery of exercises, counted the reps, and made their trainers feel the burn.

The event also included a silent auction and an opportunity to try a free
kettlebell, bootcamp or boxing class.
“The Train-the-trainer event is a way for us to give back to our clients and to the
community,” said Ernie Schramayr, owner of All Canadian Fitness. “Both are very important to us, so we wanted to create a fun way to raise money and a unique experience for our clients. This event has been a big hit, our clients love it.”

This year’s event raised $800 in two hours for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hamilton and Burlington, and once again, the grueling two hours was full of antics and surprises.

Ernie didn’t miss a rep when two of his clients had him dress up in a princess outfit, wear Mickey Mouse ears with a veil, and made him drool over the sight and smell of delicious foods including warm pasta and meatballs, apple pie and ice cold beer.

His exercise smorgasbord included jump squats, leg cranks, burpees, lunges with 80-pound weights, and he finished up with side shuffles around the building, in both directions.

One member of Paula Reid’s assault team was cute but mighty four-year-old
Kennedy who demanded burpees and 100 summersaults (Paula started those at
number 95). Other team members consisted of Paula’s loyal kettlebell followers,
who reminded her of just how tough Turkish get-ups are and added some prisoner pushups, explosive pushups, heavy side lunges and also finished up with an exhausting side shuffle around the building.

ACF veteran, Rich Menna, didn’t have to wear a costume or take instruction from a young child, but that doesn’t mean he got off easy. His long-time clients took full advantage of their time with him, making him do a crazy combination burpee/pushup/row/clean with an overhead press, plus some sprints and lots of skipping.

As a pro boxer, he showed no fear.

“Today was a lot of fun,” said ACF client, Leslie D’Ortenzio. “I had a blast making
Ernie do a lot of the tough exercises he has us do in bootcamp, and seeing how
demanding it can be, even for a pro like him. This was the first time I’ve participated in an event like this, and I’m definitely looking forward to next year.”

Due to an untimely (and we think strategically planned) illness, Bryan Smith, had to sit this one out. His clients are looking forward to his full recovery, when they’ll reschedule a training date just for him.
Over the past 20 years, ACF trainers have certainly seen their share of hard work
and sweat from their dedicated clients.
“Once again, our clients have demonstrated their loyalty by supporting and
generously donating to a great cause,” said Ernie. “It’s just another example of the unique culture of our studio.”

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