It’s All About The “End Game”

Most long time members think they know me well enough to know what I do for a living and what I do in my personal time. Well guess what? Nothing they assume can be further from the truth, and that’s because I’ve always valued my privacy. I’ve never been one to broadcast what I do or what I’ve done, still to this day. Despite that though, there are some things that I will share from time to time simply because I need to, to make a point.

One of the things that I occupied my personal time with over 12 years or so of my adult life was coaching. I loved to coach, especially hockey. I coached soccer, baseball and hockey. Whether it was in a Trainers position, Assistant Coach or Head Coach, I was on the coaching staff of all hockey age groups from Tyke to Midget. The reason I ‘m sharing this with you is that I truly believe that life is very similar in my view to any sport. If you think about it, and this is what I told all of my players, is that you need to be playing your best at the end of the season, not at the beginning. So, “make your mistakes now”, I’d tell them. “Go out and just play to the best of your ability and don’t be afraid that you’ll make mistakes”. “Mistakes will happen”. “We’ll correct those mistakes in practice, and by the end of the season, we will be the best we can be.”

It’s the same in life. As we grow up and become adults, we experiment, adjust, change, wander, head in one direction only to turn and try another direction, and we all make mistakes along the way.

The same can be said for our physical fitness. In most cases, we put our personal well being on the back burner for many, if not most of our adult years while we find new jobs, get married, have and raise children, etc., only to find ourselves at the end of it all, in a physical mess.

Well the good news is, you may not be able to take up soccer, or baseball, or hockey later in your adult life, but you sure as heck can take on exercise. It’s never too late for that. So if you’ve been putting off getting and keeping yourself into good physical condition, no matter what age you are, get started, because there’s no time like the present to start working on “the best you can be”.


The Sitting Disease

This article is kind of a continuation of the article I wrote several weeks ago about trying not to take the easy way all of the time and being more mindful of your activity level or lack thereof.

The other day, I was commissioned by my siblings to take my mom to a doctor’s appointment in St. Catharines. So that morning I not only took her to the appointment in St. Catharines, but on our return to Port Colborne, we stopped to do her blood work downtown. As I was standing in the waiting room waiting for her to have her blood drawn, I realized that from 8am when I left my house to 10:30am, if I didn’t have the mindset that I have about sitting and doing nothing, I would have spent two hours and fifteen minutes of the two hours and thirty minutes that morning sitting down, right after a seven hour sleep, and it was only 10:30am!

These thoughts, strange as it may seem, are the kind of thoughts that go through my head constantly. The only time I sat down that morning was in the car driving. Otherwise, I was standing. I was standing in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, standing in the doctor’s examination room and standing in the waiting room at the Life Labs Clinic.

Typically, most people who are not mindful of their activity level would be seated most of the morning of a day like that.

If I attend a long conference or meeting, I typically don’t sit down until the event actually starts, but rather I stand behind my chair until I have to sit down. If I find myself on a bus and someone is looking for a seat and there isn’t one, I would be the first to offer mine. I would much rather stand than sit where most people would rather sit than stand. It’s all in your mindset. Just because there are chairs in a room or on a bus, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sit. There were plenty of empty chairs for me to sit down in that morning, but I chose to stand.

Research has shown that lack of activity……”the sitting disease” they refer to it now, is just as detrimental to your health as smoking! Yes, it’s true! So don’t sit, don’t smoke either, and certainly don’t sit and smoke!

Something to think about.


Diet vs. Exercise. Is Success Really More Diet then Exercise?

Have you ever heard the phrase “weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise”, or even 90% diet to 10% exercise?

There is no doubt that diet and nutrition play a very big and very important role in our health and especially with weight loss, but I do think that the above phrase is a little misleading.

If your mindset is that the majority of your success comes from diet, you would most likely choose to just focus on diet and maybe not even incorporate exercise at all. After all, it’s only a small part of the equation.

Let me explain why I think this is the wrong way to look at this equation and why if anything, if you had to choose one aspect to focus on, I would put more weight on exercise.

If we have 2 identical people starting at the same time. They are the same weight, same height, same age, everything is identical except one will focus on getting their diet right with no exercise and the other will focus on a keeping a really good exercise schedule but will continue to eat as they normally have been.

Let’s pick a period of 3 months to check back in with them.

Who do you think feels better? Diet or exerciser?

Who do you think is stronger? Diet or exerciser?

Who do you think has gained more independence? Diet or exerciser?

Who has gained more confidence? Diet or exerciser?

Who has gained more muscle? Diet or exerciser?

Who has increased their metabolism more? Diet or exerciser?

Who has increased their performance more? Diet or exerciser?

And lastly, who has lost more weight? Diet or exerciser?

Every answer to every question I asked above, the answer is the exerciser, except for maybe the last one, who has lost more weight. That one could be toss up or lean more towards the dieter as the answer but there is one important fact you need to remember about the dieter. Since they are not exercising, specifically strength training, up to 27% of their weight loss can be from muscle loss. Not good! So again, in the long run I think the exerciser wins this answer too!

I am not pointing this out to say that diet is not important, it is very important, but only to point out that no matter what your goal is, exercise must be a part of your plan, especially the strength training aspect.

Combining the exercise and nutrition components is the secret sauce to success though. Doing both together will bring you to success much quicker. There is no doubt about that. But the bottom line here is that there are too many benefits that exercise creates that dieting alone cannot, and if you had to choose one to focus on, I would always recommend exercise.

We Can All Only Agree On One Thing and One Thing Only

So I was sitting in my living room flipping through the channels on my TV once again, trying to convince myself that I should just get rid of the TV altogether. I think its coming. But lo and behold, I came across a community channel that hosts lecturers and researchers and the like, as educational programming to persuade the viewers to donate to the channel, similar to the PBS channel.

It just so happened that the speaker was a famous cardiologist turned researcher and advocate of health. He apparently went from doing heart surgery to teaching people how to avoid heart surgery. Nothing like putting yourself out of business!

That’s what prompted me to watch. Not only did I watch, but I bought his book, The Longevity Paradox.

Although I haven’t finished reading his book in its entirety, I’m writing this article based on what I learned from his presentation on the “boob tube”.

His entire talk was about nutrition. What we should eat and why and what we shouldn’t eat and why. I’ll be honest, there were several of his findings that not only did I not agree with, but findings that can be easily contradicted by other research. That’s the thing about research, its findings and discoveries largely contradict each other, so I try to take it all in with an open mind and evaluate it for myself using good old fashion common sense.

Anyway, despite some of the contradictions that I’ve learned about in the past, most of what he presented was extremely enlightening and worthy of consideration. So as not to get too much into the meat and potatoes of his presentation, I’ll just get into why I chose to tell you about it here.

As mentioned in the title of this article, I watched and waited for something that we could all agree on and is today accepted by all, not some, but all health professionals and researchers as the one thing that we should all do regularly to promote good health and longevity. I sat there for almost an hour, and nothing. What to eat, what not to eat and why for almost an hour. The program was almost over, the last set of commercials was over and he had but a few more minutes before the end of the program, and then, there it came: the one thing that was undisputed in my mind and in every other researcher’s mind in regards to health and longevity.

He went on to say, “there is one more thing that I haven’t touched on today that if you don’t want to change what you eat or are finding it difficult to change your eating habits, there is one thing that we can all do to promote better health and a longer life, and a lot of you won’t like what I’m about to suggest, but it’s…………..wait for it…………..wait for it……. It’s EXERCISE!

Enough said. See you at the gym.

Happy New Year!


4 Keys To Achieving Optimal Wellness in 2020

If you are looking to become the best version of yourself this year, try implementing as many of these key principles into your daily and weekly routines as you can. Start with one of them, schedule it as part of your regular routine, get consistent with it and then add another. Don’t overwhelm yourself adding all of them at once and understand that adding even just one of these ideas into your regular routine will have a positive impact on your health and well being.

There are no magic potions here, but these are all simple ideas that most of us know we should be doing, it’s just a matter of doing them and doing them consistently.

Here we go:

  • Move More, Sit Less

It’s no secret that replacing sitting time with more movement time will have positive results to our health. Again, we just have to do it. Try to set a goal of sitting for less then 3 hours a day, and when you are sitting at work to get up at least once every hour to walk around and move to break up the sitting time.

You can also track your steps and try to hit a daily goal of 10,000 steps to ensure you are moving enough.

  • Get Regular Exercise

Try for 3-5 cardio sessions a week which can be any activity that maintains an elevated heart rate for at least 20 minutes. Walking, biking, the gym, skating. Pick something you enjoy.

Strength train 2-3 times per week. Keeping your muscles strong is one of the most important things you can do for long term health, independence and confidence. Make sure you are getting all major muscle groups.

Stretch daily if you can. Keeping good range of motion helps you move better and stay injury free.

  • Rest

The body adapts and recovers while you rest, not while you work so make sure you are getting enough rest. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, schedule regular rest days and even take a vacation once in a while to get away from the day to day stresses and focus on relaxing and resting.

  • Eat Well

Eat mostly minimally processed food, preferably real, whole foods. Eat lots of vegetables, get enough protein and limit your sugar intake. Make sure you control your portion sizes and eat regularly to maintain good energy levels throughout the day. (Eat Smart, Eat Often, Eat Small!)

That’s it. Start implementing these principles into your regular routine and reap the rewards in 2020!