Fitness and Nutrition Myths Part 2

Since there are still some New Year resolution  around the gym, although we hear less and less about them now, I decided to write about some more of the common fitness and nutrition myths that affect them the most.


Crunches are Awesome!



Nope, well not for what you think. Crunches are OK. There are many other core exercises out there are just as effective and safer. For general purposes crunches are an OK core exercise especially if you do them properly,

The problem is people thinking that doing crunches will decrease their waist line. Nope! You can’t spot reduce. If you are carrying extra fat then you need to burn that off. In theory you could do crunches to burn calories but you would need to do a lot of them. There are 3500 calories in one pound of fat.

Men’s Health Magazine suggests that you need to do 22,000 crunches to burn that one pound of fat.

There are may other safer, time efficient and effective ways to burn off fat than lying on the floor and doing thousands of crunches.

Spend your time wisely in the gym. Do Crunches to strengthen your core but hit up some more cardio and keep your diet in check for that calorie reduction.


No Pain No Gain!

Quite the opposite, you can get quality workouts without feeling like a bag of smashed As*%#^es the next day. That mantra comes from the guys that crave that burn, the pain. They like to puke in the gym and think it is great when they can’t walk or shampoo their hair the next day because they are so sore and can’t move.

Those guys are a special breed and yes that works for them. If it worked for everyone there wouldn’t be a obesity epidemic in North America.

in reality a good exercise program should feel like you have more energy and that you are refreshed after your workout.

Instinctively we are taught to avoid pain. If we start to associate pain with exercise we will start to find any excuse there is to avoid it.

That’s not how we want to view exercise. You should enjoy your exercise time. That will want you to do it more and you will achieve greater results.


You need to Sweat a lot!

Sweating is your body’s way of cooling off.

You could be lying in the sun in Mexico and heave sweat pouring off you. Does that mean your burning calories? No! It just means that your hot and your body is trying to cool itself.


You burn the majority of your calories when you are not exercising anyway. You burn a lot of calories just in normal things around the house and your body’s own internal processes keeping you alive.

Sweating is determined on how good your body is at thermoregulation. There is a good Wikipedia article here

If you sweat a lot when you exercise that is fine. If not don’t feel like you need to step up your intensity to the point of sweating buckets, especially if you’re not ready.

You are more than capable of burning extra calories from exercise every day without sweating up a storm.


Machines are safer than free weights!

Many think machines are safer because if you mess up you won’t have a bunch of weights dropping on your head. This is true but you can hurt yourself in other ways.

Machines are designed for the average person. If you are really tall, short or wide then you may have difficulty adjusting the machine to fit your body.

If you can’t adjust the machine to fit your body properly then your range of motion or form may be altered because or improper body alignment. There can even be an increase in torque stress placed on joints if you are not set up properly.

If you are using a machine and not adjusted to it properly, the machine will continue to run in its movement path. If the machines path is different than your body’s preferred path and you are trying to force the machine into a different path, you will lose.



exercise machine


Don’t be afraid of machines, they’re great. Use a variety of techniques in your exercise program and get proper instruction on how to use the machines or free weights and perform the exercises before starting



If you lift weights you are going to get jacked!

I read an interesting quote on social media the other day and it went something like this

“Lifting weights won’t turn you into a bodybuilder just like driving a car won’t get you into NASCAR”

The Quote is completely true, hit the nail on the head with that one.



I have many friends that want to be bodybuilders and continually want to put on muscle but can’t. Just lifting weights is not going to transform your body overnight.

All of the competative professional bodybuilders and many ameature bodybuilders are on very strict diet plans, insane workout programs, a ton of supplements and other performances substances, both men and women.

That being said, women don’t have enough testosterone to build that kind of muscle. If they are crazy muscular than they are probably adding a little extra into their diet.

To play devil’s advocate, if i may, building that quantity of muscle does not happen overnight, even with “supplements” If anyone that was lifting weights and said “I think I’m getting too big/too muscular” then it is easy to take some time off the gym or cut back a bit. It is not that hard to get out of shape.


Hopefully that dispels some of the other myths that are out there.

If you need further details on any of the myths or want clarification on an other myths in the fitness or nutrition world hit up my comment section belowor drop me an email



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Nutritionist vs Dietitian

Now that a lot of people are a few weeks into their fitness resolutions I have started getting a lot of questions about diet and what to eat to lose weight.

There was a couple guys in the gym asking if i know and nutritionists that I would recommend. This led to an in depth conversation about nutritionists and dietitians and the difference between the two.

There are some differences. Many trainers have a preference for one over the other. Some people even go to bash the other profession.



Trainers shouldn’t bash those other professions too much themselves. I wrote another article on personal trainer certifications here:

Choosing a Personal Trainer

For the most part I don’t beleave that either is nutritionist or a dietitian is better or worse or would ever give anyone bad advice on purpose. The opinion of a nutritionist and a dietitian may be the same or it may be different it really all comes down to education and beliefs. Some will get in heated arguments with you on who’s advice you should follow.

Personally I am not a dietitian. The minor I took in university was nutrition so I have a very strong background in the Science of nutrition. I could call myself a nutritionist because there are no regulations on what education you need to be called a nutritionist and that is where the difference lies.

In Canada the terms ‘Dietitian’ and ‘Registered Dietitian’ are protected professional titles. Each province has an independent professional college which is responsible for protecting the public and regulating the profession. The collages investigate malpractice or reports of negligence, make sure all the dietitians are following their scope of practice. Basically they have a governing body that keeps them accountable.

To practice as a registered dietitian within a province, a dietitian must register with the college and obtain a license. The activities of the college are governed by legislation passed by the provincial government. It is the presence of this regulatory body which distinguishes registered dietitians from nutritionists in Canada, the regulations for which vary by province.

The colleges also set the minimum entry requirements for admission into practice as a registered dietitian. Requirements include a four year undergraduate degree from an accredited university (which includes courses in science, foods, nutrition, management, communication and psychology/sociology, among others), a 10-12 month supervised practice period, and successfully passing a board exam in nutrition and dietetics.

Many dietitians work in clinical settings like hospitals and retirement residences.

For more information about dietitians in Canada check out their website at

In most provinces the term nutritionist is not protected. meaning that anyone can call them self a nutritionist even it they are self taught in their field of nutrition. If they are self taught and not accountable to anyone they can say, prescribe and recommend anything they want to their clients without consequence.

Again I don’t think that anyone is out to give anyone bad advice on purpose.

Dr. Oz recently got into trouble for recommending products that were not scientifically based. He was pulled in front of a senate committee hearing to answer questions.

Dr. Oz is not a Dietitian Yes he is a Doctor, a cardiologist. He went to school for a long time and is really smart but didn’t spend 4 years studying nutrition. I’m sure he learnd a bit about nutrition but even he got his hand slapped for this one.

Check the video out  here


He doesn’t look super happy being there. He is not trying to do any harm to people, quite the opposite.


As a cardiologist he keeps up on what’s new in that field to keep his medical licence. Just like my account keeps up with new tax laws so he can keep his chartered accountant designation. Nutritionists keep up with the new research in nutrition. Nutritionists may or may not keep up with what is new.

The title “nutritionist” is protected by provincial law in Quebec ,and Nova Scotia. The term “Registered Nutritionist” is protected in Alberta . The term “Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist” is protected by law in New Brunswick.

Nutritionists want to give people good advice, they may not agree with dietitians or maybe they do they just don’t want to go to school for 4 years.

Some Nutritionists are “Certified Nutritionists” which is a good start because they have some certifying body. They passed some test and hopefully need to keep up with what is relevant in the industry and get some ny professional development credits from attending conferences and or workshops every year.



You can check out some of the nutrition courses and other information here

or here

It may seems like I picked on nutritionists a bit here. I know a lot of nutritionists and dietitians and enjoy working with them both. I even know some nutritionists that have their 4 year degrees in nutrition along with their masters yet choose to not register as a dietitian.

When choosing take several things into account. Do some research and ask some questions.

If it is a nutritionist or dietitian ask for credencial, look for or at their certification. Ask them how they keep up with what is new in the nutrition industry.

Ask for references or testimonials from other clients.

Ask what there beliefs are and see if the line up with yours, are pro supplements, cleanses, no wheat, no dairy, and elimination diets.  Good ones will say that nutrition is very individualized with many factors coming into play.

What is there success rate

Do they have insurance?

If you have a medical condition check to see if they have worked with other clients with that same condition and what the success rate is. And is working with someone with that condition within their scope of practice.

Nutrition as well as personal training are two professions that are very young and continue to grow. We are learning new things every day in these fields. Be sure whoever you choose that they are keeping current and informed.


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Slow and Steady Wins the Race

New Year resolutions can be frustrating. your excited and ready to go. Your a race horse ready to be let out of the gates. But as soon as you are released and you start your resolutions things begin to slow down. You are not seeing results as fast as you would like. This can be discouraging and make you think why you are bothering to keep up with your resolutions.

Slow and steady wins the race. Even if you get a 1% improvement, your are going to improve. And if you build off of that one percent you will continue to improve.

There are lots of ways to say it but put it into practice is different. But making those small changes will make huge improvements in the long run.

Any win, no matter how small it is still a win. All of those small wins add up to big wins over time.

It is just like the story of the rich dad that offered to give his son $100, 000 today or a penny and each day he would double the money he gave him the previous day for 30 days, but it starts with the penny.

The impatient son wanted the money now, so he took the $100,000 up front. If he would have waited and took the penny he would have had over 5.3 million by the end of the 30 days.


penny a day


People want those instant results, when waiting a little longer and improving a little bit every day will have longer lasting results.

Dave Brailsford is a great example of showing us the power of the one percent improvement. He was hired on as the new General Manager and Performance Director for Great Britain’s professional cycling team. His challenge was to make the british team win the tour de france for the first time in history.

He explained it as “the 1 percent margin for improvement in everything you do.” He believed that if you improved every area related to cycling by just 1 percent, then those small gains would add up to remarkable improvement.

They started by improving the usual things you would think of when working with a cycling team. They tweaked their training program and nutrition like you would expect. Then they worked on the ergonomics of the riders bike seat, and the weight of the tires they were using.

That  in itself is not that unusual. Just like a hockey player would find the best pair of skates and the best stick with the best tape that works for that player for maximum performance.

Brailsford and his team didn’t stop there. They searched for other areas to improve upon. Area’s that other cycling teams were not looking at. Things like finding the best pillow that offered the best most restful sleep and taking those pillows on the road to hotels with them. He tested for the best most effective type of massage gel. And he even taught the team the best way to wash their hands to best avoid getting sick.  He searched and improved on everything, even if it was just by 1 percent.


This is no easy feet. I have trained professional athletes. they are already at the top, improving anything by a small percent is difficult. Brailsford was able to do it and the result was that they won the Tour De France in three years of him taking over.

Let’s take that mentality and put it onto your New Year’s resolution. For our purposes we will make our resolution weight loss.

Sprinting right out of the gate and trying to make all kinds of changes at the very beginning of the year will most likely end in disaster.

Many of us don’t like change so trying to make a lot or large changes in the way we normally do things, in our normal habits and routines  is usually not an attainable or sustainable thing.

It takes 66 days to build a habit. Depending on whom you talk to.

In my experience and from some of the past work I have done it takes about 6 months of regular exercise 2-3 times a week to build and establish the habit of exercise. That is 48 to 72 exercise sessions over the course of the 6 months. Which is right in and around that 66 day mark.

And when I say exercise, I don’t mean 2 hours in the gym. The exercise could be anything from a 15 minute walk around the block to a short gym session.

1% of your day is 15 minutes.

Start to improve yourself today by taking 1% of your day and going for a walk.

Nutrition is the other factor in losing weight for those New Year resolutions.

Going cold turkey  (no pun intended after all that holiday turkey)  on all your favorite foods and eating “Rabbit food” often leads to disaster in the long run.

Improving your diet by 1 % isn’t hard either. Think about changing some of your eating habits by 1%. You can improve a lot by the power of one percent.


Change the cream you put in your coffee to milk, change sugar to sweetener in coffee and other places you would normally use sugar. Use vinegar based dressing on salad instead of cream based dressing. Use tomato sauce instead of alfredo  based sauces. There are many other small change you can make that we will explore in my next blog post.

It might not seem like a lot but all those 1%’s add up. And once you compound all those 1%’s you can end up with some significant gains. Or in the case of weight loss, some significant losses.



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How to be successful with New Year Resolutions

Many New Year Resolutions revolve around  losing weight, eating healthy, exercising and joining a gym. For many of the regular gym goers, this is a time of fear when so many more people will be taking up their precious squat racks and treadmills.

For the regular gym goers they know the rush that the New Year brings and that it won’t last very long.

There are many jokes on the internet and around the gym that happen this time of year.








The regular gym goers joke about it all the time. My goal is to prove all those regulars wrong. I want o help all of those New Year’s resolutioners stick with their new habits and keep the gym busy all year long.

I mean obesity is a huge epidemic in our country and with a little exercise so many diseases can be prevented and the quality of life that someone has can be vastly improved with a little exercise.

I give props to those that genuinely want to make that all important change and they take the first step in getting healthy. The problem arises after the excitement starts to wear off. To help prevent that resolutioner drop out you need to make a plan and start to develop the exercise habit.

First write down your health and fitness goals, run it by someone to make sure they are realistic.  Do some research, check out fitness clubs first to see if they have what you are looking for, including an environment that is comfortable for you to be in and is not  intimidating to you. Try the club out a few times, especially around the normal time you would work out to make sure it is a fit with what you are looking for. Don’t just join the closest club to your place. It may be convenient but if it is not an environment you can see your self thriving in keep shopping.

Once you have some realistic goals in mind you need to start building the exercise habit. Everything else will fall into place, can be added and or modified after the habit is established. No habit = dropout = goals not reached.


Small changes over a long time will make the biggest changes of all.

For exercise start slow and build up over time. If you take on the mentality of go big or go home you are more likely to fail.

Look at it this way. You go big in the gym the first few days and end up really sore, so sore you skip a few exercise sessions. Soon you realize that exercise is painful and you associate exercise with pain or soreness. From infancy are taught to avoid pain so it is ingrained into our subconscious. If we start to associate pain to exercise we are going to start to avoid it.

Trying to work out like Mr. Olympia or like an Ironman the first day you get into the gym isn’t going to do you any good. Any of those athletes didn’t start out training like they train now so why should you?

Rome wasn’t built in a day…

You didn’t gain that extra weight in a day so don’t think you can take it off that quickly. I don’t want to discourage anyone from exercising but going into the venture with realistic expectations will help build the habit. If you think that you are going to lose 30 pounds in a week and you don’t , then you get discouraged and give up. And that is not what I want to happen.

Just because you are not dropping a ton of weight quickly doesn’t mean that you are not getting healthy. You are improving your heart and lung function, decreasing your cholesterol and blood pressure and helping to stabilize your blood sugars. Besides all that you are toning your muscles and increasing your bone density. Exercise does so much more then you can see on the surface. The extra weight will come off, you just need to stick with the program.

When it comes to your nutrition you need to get that in check as well. Don’t be fooled by fad diets.

Fad diets either are very restrictive and make you drop a bunch of weight really fast (usually water weight) and when you go back to your normal eating habits you gain the weight back (and sometimes more). Or the diet is too restrictive and you can’t sustain it long enough because you are too hungry and revert back to your old eating habits.

The key again, like in your exercise program, is habit and small changes. Dropping a bunch of weight quickly is not helpful if you are going to gain it all back because you revert back to old habits.

Some small changes to your current diet that will help you lose weight are:

Eat the same stuff but start reducing the portion sizes,

Drink more water                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Replace other liquids in your diet with water

Put milk in your coffee instead of cream, use a sweetener instead of sugar

Use vinaigrette based dressing on your salad instead of cream based ones

Replace alfalfredouce with pasta sauce

Replace white bread and pasta with whole wheat

Add in an extra vegetable

Have healthy snacks ready and available so you are less tempted to eat unhealthy snacks

Use low fat products

Cut back on processed foods

Cut back on fast foods

Don’t drink your calories

Take your lunch to work instead of eating out

I don’t expect anyone to immediately use every one of these tips, and by no means is it an exhaustive list. Using one or two of the above habits and establishing that habit and then adding in more healthy behaviours is the  easiest and most sustainable way to modify your diet

Weight loss isn’t rocket science, there are no fads, gimmicks or tricks that can help. If those things worked everyone would be thin and there would not be an obesity problem in Western Society.

First start with building the habit, along with small changes will build up to big changes and long lasting results.

Best of luck in your New Year Resolutions! Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions.


Happy New Year!

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