Fitness Junkie

FITNESS FIX: Using SoloStrength
July 1, 2009, 7:48 pm
Filed under: Fitness Fix

Leg Day
December 13, 2008, 10:58 pm
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Leg workout today at BCIT and for a kick in the ass, I decided to incorporate a heavy set to failure workout incorporating the following workouts:  Leg extensions, hack squats, lying leg curls, stiff leg/Romanian deadlifts and finished off with standing calf raises.  The concept to the heavy set failure is to perform as many reps in one set until failure.  With my goal to increase muscle mass and decrease fat percentage, I’m going to alternate this leg workout with a HIT lower body blast every 7 days. 

More information on the heavy set to failure can be found here

5 Successful Muscle Gaining Workouts for Women by Marika Johansson
Dorian Yates Trains Legs on Marika Johanson by Kris Gethin

To put the icing on the cake, I finished off my workout with Bikram’s Hot Yoga.  I’m totally feeling it as I type this.  And in my effort to upload a video demonstrating the stiff legged / Romanian deadlift, I found it a horrible task as I realize I don’t have the software to rotate the video upright.

Vote: Female Celebrity Abs

I hate training my abs.  I find no excitement in doing crunches, leg raises, oblique bends or planks at all!!  But if I want that 6 pack, I gotta work them out.  It takes a lot to get me to the gym alone never mind working out to get Maggie Diubaldo abs!!

In search of motivation I found a contest (it’s the competitor in me….) asking me if I want to make $1000.  Hell ya !  $1000 during the Christmas holidays … of course!!  Robert Kennedy, editor of Oxygen magazine, has an abs challenge contest for anyone willing to do it…   First prize $1000.  Second prize $500.  Third prize $250.  He wants before and after shots of abs …I need your help with some motivation and a daily hit….

With the voter rater turnout in this year’s 2008 Canadian election being the lowest ever in history… (did you vote???)… it’s time to cast your vote here on your favorite celebrity abs.  Don’t disappoint me, vote… who’s our favorite?

Beyonce Abs

Beyonce Knowles, singer/entertainer

Janet Jackson, entertainer

Janet Jackson, entertainer

Mel B Post baby!!

Mel B Post baby!!

Warm Up to Rev Up
July 16, 2008, 10:02 pm
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Did you include a warm up in your last workout session? 


Our bodies – like a car – runs more efficiently when warmed up.  Yet many tend to forget why we do it in the first place and many even decide to skip it all together and go straight to the workout.  That’s like starting your car in below freezing temperatures and then taking off.  Not to say it hasn’t been done.  If you can remember how your vehicle performed during those first few minutes then you have an understanding of how your body performs when it’s not properly warmed up.


Why warm up?


  •      Reduces risk of injury.  Safety first.  When you warm up, blood vessels dilate as it delivers more oxygen to your muscle cells reducing your chance of injury to muscles and joints.   In a study with teenage handball players, those who were provided a specific warm up had significantly fewer injuries than those who didn’t.   
  •     Initiates mental focus.  Your breathing rate increases when you exercise at a light to moderate pace before your workout.  By focusing on your breath, form, speed and reps what your doing is getting your mind away from your day’s events or wakes you up to start your morning right.  It helps you focus on the now… not on what’s happened or what needs to get done later.
  •     Supplies energy.  An effective warm up prevents early onset fatigue.  What’s an effective warm up?  5 to 10 minutes of activity.  Your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) is how hard you feel your body is working on a scale of 0 (no exertion) to 20 (maximal exertion).  By maintaining your RPE at a moderate intensity (RPE between 12 to 14), your heart rate increases and your body temperature rises revving you up for the strenuous activity ahead.

Do Cherries Cause Bellies?
July 7, 2008, 10:03 pm
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In a recent study published in New Scientist magazine, it was found that the type of simple sugar we put in our mouth can ultimately impact where the fat in our bodies will develop.  Thirty-three overweight and obese adults were put on a normal diet for 10 weeks followed by another 10 weeks in which half of the group received their calories from fructose and the other half from glucose.  Both groups gained the same weight, however, those who ate the fructose accumulated more fat around their middle than the glucose group did. 

Fructose, is a form of carbohydrate commonly found in fruits and fruit juices.  However, the body has limited storage space for fructose so when you eat too much of it, it turns to excess fat.  Also, if the majority of carbohydrate calories come from fructose – because fructose is directed to the liver for processing – it does not supply enough muscular energy when working out. 

Glucose, on the other hand, is used by the body to feed muscle cells and replenish glycogen stores.  And, because the body has a higher storage capacity for glucose, you can consume more glucose without worrying about the excess weight gain.

AsI write this…. I’m pigging out on one of my favorite fruits:  cherries.  Certified by the American Heart Association, cherries are not considered just a fructose containing fruit.  It is labeled a “superfruit” because of its antioxidant and heart protective properties.  Research also suggests that cherries can reduce inflammation and arthritic pain as well as reduce the risk of diabetes and memory loss.

But, of course, after reading the results of the study… I’m staring at my belly.  With 5 weeks left before the photo shoot and another 3 weeks of the cherry season left, I’m trying to devise a strategy to have my cherries and eat it too.  So the question then is how do I eat the cherries and burn the calories before my body can convert them into fat?  🙂

My strategy?  I will eat fruits and drink fruit juices before 1pm.  This way, I allow my body to burn the simple sugars during the day instead of eating it later so that it gets stored as body fat during the night.  Ultimately, the total intake of fructose containing foods depend largely on current body weight, activity level and timelines for losing weight/gaining muscle.  With morning cardio sessions and strength training sessions in the evening, I know that the calories from the cherries I eat before 1pm will burn away.

By identifying your goals (i.e. reasons for eating fruits) and being aware of what your body needs, you too, will be able to make the choices right for you.

5 Reasons to do the Grind
June 15, 2008, 9:15 pm
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A vision conceived by hikers Don McPherson & Phil Severy, they hacked out the Pacific rain forest in the early 70s and built a 1.8 mile uphill trail illegally as a training course for mountaineers.   Now known as Mother Nature’s Stairmaster, the Grouse Grind is an extremely steep climb of 853 meters (that’s 2,800 feet).  But that doesn’t stop many avid hikers and fitness enthusiasts.  According to the Federation of Mountain Clubs of British Columbia, the Grouse Grind has at least 100,000 people using the trail each year.  And here are 5 reasons why…

1.  Getting there is easy.  Easily accessible, the Grind is located just 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver.  Up to 5,000 hikers on a busy summer day do the Grind early in the morning or right after work! Others catch the Sea Bus from Canada Place to Lonsdale Quay and take the #236 bus to the bottom of the Grind for a weekend day retreat.

2.  The cost is minimal.  The climb up and down is free.  But for a breathtaking view and relaxing descent, I suggest you take the $5 gondola ride down.  It’s worth it.

3.  Your heart will thank you for it.  In a study of hikers in the Alps, it was found that going uphill cleared fats from the blood faster, while going downhill reduced blood sugar.  Hiking either way lowered bad cholesterol.  More importantly, leaving behind the hustle and bustle of your daily routine to hike the grind, you have essentially created a calming effect.  The constant motions of climbing uphill, taking the first step and then the next provides you the opportunity to open your mind and think about the events of your day and your life.  You might even find your mind opening up to ideas or answers to problems you never thought of before.   

4.   The end rewards.  At the end of your journey (the average completion time is 1.5hours), you will be rewarded each time with spectacular scenery, welcoming staff offering snacks, drinks and even alcohol and at times, there are tourists cheering you on as you complete your final steps to the top.  In the summertime, make some time to experience the lumberjack shows, Birds In Motion demonstrations, guided Eco-Walks, Ranger Interpretive Sessions at the grizzly bear habitat, and now the brand new Air Grouse mountain zipline adventure – Vancouver’s only zipline circuit. 


5.  The journey is unforgettable.  I’m not gonna lie.  The trek up is gruelling.  The first part of the trail may not seem so bad, but the trail gets steeper and steeper the higher you go.  Rocks, dirt and wood are placed to form steps and half the time it’s difficult to enjoy the scenery because you have to concentrate on where to place your feet.  But I’m not complaining.

Most of us live and work indoors, with our face in front of a computer and seated for the majority of our work days.  Being able to get outdoors and just enjoy being outside is one of best reasons to do the Grind.  The smell of fresh air, the sound of birds chirping, the beautiful tall trees and the majestic Grouse Mountain to connect with all contribute to a sense of contentment and fulfillment.  The pain of the trek will go away, but the memory of the entire experience will be unforgettable.

SoloStrength FUSE
May 15, 2008, 1:20 pm
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Yesterday, you had a great workout at the gym.  Today, you reached over your trunk to take out the grocery and you pulled a muscle.  What happened?  You probably paid little attention to functional training…. I’m with you.  I suck at functional training.  Pull ups, push ups and squats are the very basic movements of everyday life and yet I can probably do up to (maximum) 20 push ups, 45 squats and 0 (yes, zero!!) pull ups in a minute.  Shameful, I know.  But ask me to do a chest press, hack squat or lat pull down and I’m there ready to go!! 

Functional training is purposeful training – training in congruence with how the body functions.  The key to functional exercise is that you train all the muscles to work together rather than isolating them.  And that’s where SoloStrength comes in.  I’ve been utilizing the SoloStrength FUSE and let me tell you, it’s not just a bar.  Just looking at it makes you want to try out various exercises and by adjusting the level, you can complete a full body workout in under 25 minutes!! 


President of SoloStrength Lifestyle Products Corp., Michael Bulva claims that without a doubt, this is the only bodyweight functional training system that has it all in one.  “In less space than most treadmills and ellipticals require, everyone at home or the gym can use this station.  No matter what your fitness level – whether you’re terribly uncoordinated, have injuries, weight problems that can be restricting, or require elite level conditioning and training – this system will adapt to your needs”.

Thoughtfully designed and prototyped locally, SoloStrength takes away the complicated machinery, weights and accessories and developed an “exertaining” way to trim fat and build muscle simply by utilizing the basics of functional training:  building a body capable of doing real life activities in real life positions.  Daniel Webster, a North Vancouver personal trainer and owner of Titanium Fitness has been using SoloStrength with 70 year old clients with physical limitations as well as clients in their 20s preparing for athletic events.  “To compare the SoloStrength FUSE to a standard chin-up bar is like comparing a Ferrari to a little red wagon.  Sure, the Ferrari and wagon are both red with four wheels, but that doesn’t mean they’re the same.  Yes, you can do chin ups on the SoloStrength FUSE or a standard chin-up bar, but the fact that you can do endless variations of hundreds of exercises on the FUSE makes it obvious it’s not just a chin-up bar.


It’s the art of simplified fitness.  No gadgets, no gimmicks.  All you need is one bar, one body and one mind.  And SoloStrength FUSE does just that.  From dynamic balance training to core strengthening for functional stabilization to high end explosive training, the SoloStrength FUSE is the all in one solution.  SoloStrength FUSE is currently available for purchase at any Fitness Town location or online through the company website @