Thursday, June 18, 2009

North Vancouver Personal Trainer Shares 6 Father’s Day Fitness Tips

Though Father’s Day should be a time for celebrating what our father’s have sacrificed to allow us to lead the lives of our dreams, it may however be a rude awakening.

Look, no one wants to be Debbie Downer, but someone has to say something already.

Our father’s are now in the worst shape of their lives, many suffering from a very dangerous condition called Metabolic Syndrome X.

One of the main indicators of someone who has metabolic disorder is abdominal obesity, as clearly demonstrated in the picture above. The dangerous part is that many of our father’s look just like this!

Please read below for an excellent description of Metabolic Syndrome from

What is metabolic syndrome?

An association between certain metabolic disorders and cardiovascular disease has been known since the 1940s. In the 1980s this association became more clearly defined and the term metabolic syndrome (also known as syndrome X or the dysmetabolic syndrome) was coined to designate a cluster of metabolic risk factors that come together in a single individual. In more current times, the term metabolic syndrome is found throughout medical literature and in the lay press as well. There are slight differences in the criteria of diagnosis - depending on which authority is quoted. Regardless, the concept of a clustering of risks factors leading to cardiovascular disease is well accepted.

The main features of metabolic syndrome include insulin resistance, hypertension (high blood pressure), cholesterol abnormalities, and an increased risk for clotting. Patients are most often overweight or obese.

Insulin resistance refers to the diminished ability of cells to respond to the action of insulin in promoting the transport of the sugar glucose, from blood into muscles and other tissues. Because of the central role that insulin resistance plays in the metabolic syndrome, a separate article is devoted to insulin resistance.

How is metabolic syndrome defined?

The definition of metabolic syndrome depends on which group of experts is doing the defining. Based on the guidelines from the 2001 National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel (ATP III), any three of the following traits in the same individual meet the criteria for the metabolic syndrome:

1. Abdominal obesity: a waist circumference over 102 cm (40 in) in men and over 88 cm (35 inches) in women.

2. Serum triglycerides 150 mg/dl or above.

3. HDL cholesterol 40mg/dl or lower in men and 50mg/dl or lower in women.

4. Blood pressure of 130/85 or more.

5. Fasting blood glucose of 110 mg/dl or above. (Some groups say 100mg/dl)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has slightly different criteria for the metabolic syndrome:

1. High insulin levels, an elevated fasting blood glucose or an elevated post meal glucose alone with at least 2 of the following criteria:

2. Abdominal obesity as defined by a waist to hip ratio of greater than 0.9, a body mass index of at least 30 kg/m2 or a waist measurement over 37 inches.

3. Cholesterol panel showing a triglyceride level of at least 150 mg/dl or an HDL cholesterol lower than 35 mg/dl.

4. Blood pressure of 140/90 or above (or on treatment for high blood pressure).

And though Metabolic Syndrome affects more women than men, there is certainly no shortage of men 40 years and older who have that “deadly beer gut” that literally makes them a ticking time bomb for a slew of serious medical conditions.

But there is good news amongst this frightening reality: The most common cause of metabolic disorder is of course a vicious combination of a lack of exercise and poor diet.

See below for the top 6 fitness tips to help save our father’s lives:

1.) Lay off the Brewskis

It’s no wonder why our dads have more of a keg for a gut than a six-pack. See below for one of the best way of explaining how detrimental alcohol can be on your body composition:

How Alcohol Makes You Fat

-Alcohol first passes through the esophagus as it travels to your stomach.

-From there, 20% of the alcohol is absorbed immediately by your bloodstream.

-The remaining alcohol travels to your intestines and is absorbed from there.

-The alcohol in your bloodstream then travels directly to your liver. It is here that the body breaks the alcohol down, something that is absolutely essential since
alcohol is toxic to the body.

-Alcohol brakes down into acetate and acetaldehyde which IMMEDIATELY signals to your body to stop burning fat. Even worse, another waste product of alcohol, acetyl CoA, actually starts to make more body fat.

If you booze, you WON’T lose fat!

What Does this Mean?

-Your body can only effectively process 0.5 to 1 ounce of alcohol per hour

-How much damage? A 12-ounce beer contains about 0.6 ounces of alcohol. If
you consumed 5 of these, your body would be inhibited from fat burning for up to
6 hours. This is aside from the fact that your body will actually be storing fat
during these 6 hours! The more you drink, the longer your body is inhibited from
burning fat in addition to a greater fat build up from excess acetyl CoA. As you
can see, one day of binge drinking can set you back days if not a full week when
it comes to fat loss!

-What’s the worst-case scenario? Mixing alcohol with sugary beverages
promotes even further fat gain due to the resulting insulin surge that triggers fat
storage (e.g. regular beer or cocktails mixed with regular soda and/or fruit juice)

The Bottom Line

If you want to be lean, you must minimize ALCOHOL consumption!

If you must drink:

a.) Choose wine or hard liquor and “light” beer
b.) Limit alcohol consumption to 1-2 days per week with a 1-2 drink per day max


Campbell and Volek, “TNT Diet: Targeted Nutrition Tactics”

2.) Quit training JUST your upper body and work your lower body

Most dads just want to do the typical meathead workout that emphasizes the upper body only. If you are going for the Johnny Bravo look where you are built up top with chicken legs for wheels, then keep doing what you’re doing. Note: I used to do this, I only trained my upper body; HUGE mistake!

However, it is important to note that strong, muscular legs are the key to torching the fat on your stomach. After all, the majority of your body’s muscle mass, and thus metabolism, is contained within your lower body. Not working your legs is like going to a gun fight without a gun, and here’s why:

a.) Training your whole body (legs included) not only helps you burn more calories each workout, it also maximally depletes your body’s glycogen stores (the sugar in your muscles) to allow for more total body fat burning

b.) The more lean muscle mass you have in your lower body the more calories your body will be burning 24-7-365 outside of your workouts

c.) Whenever you work your legs you generate the largest increases in natural anabolic hormone levels which translates into more total body muscle and less unwanted body fat

So if you want better abs, you better start using those legs! This can be easily accomplished with 3 total body workouts per week that train your upper body, lower body, and core within the same workout.

3.) Do something besides bench presses and curls

I can totally understand why guys don’t want to train their legs (as I didn't train them years ago). Unless you are wearing really short shorts or swim with a speedo, no one is going to see them! So there is simply not as much motivation to put the time and effort into your lower body as there is for your upper body which is always on full display at the beach or poolside.

Nothing beats a little chest and bi’s workout as most guys would think!

However, if you are trying to develop a really nice upper body, you need to start venturing outside the realm of bench presses and curls. Don’t forget, you have muscles on the backside of your body too!, i.e. upper, mid and lower back.

In fact, your lats (the wings that extend from your arm pit to the bottom of your rib cage) are the biggest muscles in your upper body and when developed they really help promote that V-shaped torso that both makes your waist look smaller and your wife happy ;)

Bruce Lee- The Lat Master Himself

Start doing at least the same amount of pulling as pushing (if not more) unless you want to end up like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Quasimodo did way too many bench presses and curls… not the look you want.

Lastly, only do isolation movements like bicep curls if you have extra time after your main workout. Compound movements like rows and pull-ups work your biceps just as hard and since they allow for the use of heavier loads, they also provide a better growth stimulus to maximize results in minimal time.

4.) Accept the fact that you probably need some professional fitness advice

Do you want to get results? Michael Koss has. He lost 105 lbs of fat. He’s a busy executive and father of 4 in his 50’s and he spent 20+ years doing everything wrong from both a training and nutrition perspective until he learned what worked. Michael said his best advice for people that are in the same position today as he was before he transformed himself is:

“What you don’t know will hurt you, but what you think you know will KILL you!”

Seek out a fitness expert like busy dad Michael did and get life-changing results!

Dads- don't be stubborn and macho. It doesn’t make you any less of a man to hire a personal trainer or join a boot camp because your wife and her girlfriends do it. In reality, your wife (and women in general) are wise because they effectively outsource their fitness needs to an expert as opposed to trying to re-invent the wheel on your own with little to no results.

If you want to lose your gut, follow the lead of the ladies ;)

5.) Make the time for a 5-minute warm-up

You simply can’t afford to NOT warm-up. It’s like pushing the pedal to the medal in the dead of winter in your frozen car- things just don’t work right and you’re not going anywhere.

A cold body, like a cold car, doesn’t run on all cylinders

It only takes about 3-5 minutes to lengthen your muscles and lubricate your joints to best prevent injury and ready your body for a more effective workout, so don’t skip the warm-up!

Below is a great 5-minute body weight warm-up you can use:

Alternate between 50 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for each exercise in the following warm-up circuit:

1- Stationary Running
2- Jumping Jacks
3- Lunge, Reach and Twist (left leg)
4- Lunge, Reach and Twist (right leg)
5- Push-up Walkouts

6.) The “no pain-no gain” attitude will leave you a bitter, crippled, and grumpy old man

The “no pain, no gain” methodology is quite possible the most abused practice in fitness. Pain is a good thing as long as it’s the right type of pain as outlined below:

When exercise BURNS YOUR MUSCLES that’s a good pain- this means you are pushing past your comfort zone to inspire change, working with intensity to torch calories and build muscle, and burning sugar so your body can burn fat for hours and hours after your workout.

When exercise HURTS YOUR JOINTS that’s a bad pain- it means you are quickly wearing down the structural integrity of your joints and will soon be unable to do anything without pain or stiffness. This is most often caused by a combination of using too heavy of loads, poor exercise form and technique, strength imbalances, and lack of mobility and/or flexibility- more reason to heed Tip #4 and seek professional help!

I have worked with dads/husbands who have beaten their bodies down and its said when a dad can’t play with his kids or participate in recreational activities with his buddies because of the mess his body is in. Do yourself and your family a favor and stop being stubborn when it comes to exercise. Exercise doesn’t have to hurt to get results and nobody wants another grumpy AND injured old man ;)

Happy Father’s Day! Although my dad passed away when I was 2.5 years old and is in Heaven now, he left a great legacy for me and he was a man who loved his family and lived a life of honour. Thanks for that Dad, I love you and I'll see you soon!

Resurrect your body back to life!


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