My DREAM to Help You

Over 4 years ago I dreamed about creating an online platform where it doesn’t matter if someone cannot afford to train with me, doesn’t take my classes, or even have a gym membership. They don’t even have to own a computer or credit card to receive this, all they need is a little motivation and youtube is free.

 

Growing up I knew I wanted to be a trainer because I wanted to help others live healthier, stronger, and potentially longer lives. Sadly I’ve seen the obesity stats increase year after year along with diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and more. We have more people in the world dying of overnutrition than starvation. As the years have passed I kept questioning how I could do more not only for my current clients yet the world. In 2014, I realized I could only help a select few as a trainer, yet I knew I could do more. What good is it if I’m only helping one life at a time when I could be saving hundreds? After years of trials, struggles, and tears I’m excited to release,

The goal of PaleExercise is "To be a fitness and nutrition beacon in a confusing world of misconceptions. Combining research with humor to empower, support, and motivate individuals to live healthier lives through whimsical videos."

 

As someone who truly believes that it is OTHERS > over self I’m so excited to release this project and start living my dream of doing more to help others. It would mean a lot of it could check it out a video, and potentially subscribe. -Thank you, Philip

 

 

 

Diversity

Diversity is a word that I often don’t hear much when it comes to workouts, yet more a word that seems to be used with race or foods that one consumes. Both of those topics are true depictions of diversity, yet I want to talk about diversity with your workouts and how to achieve it.

 

For starters let’s break down the word diversity.

Assortment, variety, mixture, range, difference....

 

When it comes to workouts there are certain pieces of equipment that might put a smile on your face and others that might evoke a sigh. We all have our likes and dislikes and this is what makes us uniquely, human.

 

Where diversity comes in during your workouts is finding ways to create change. As we talked about above we all have certain pieces of equipment we enjoy. If you frequently only use one type of equipment or machines there is no assortment/variety. If you go to group classes yet only go to one style of class there is no assortment/variety.

 

Diversity isn’t only reserved to clients yet even comes into effect for us trainers. Recently I had to teach a diverse workout that I had never tried yet I had to do as I subbed for another trainer. At first I was a little nervous and confused as it was new to me thus often our bodies fight change. Since teaching that class I can’t get enough of that type of workout, yet it never would have been if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone and mix things up a bit.

 

Pursuing diversity is much easier to talk about than actually doing. Talk the talk and walk the walk. Our brains and bodies are designed to fight against change which is exactly what diversity is, variety, change. Not all of us love all those different colorful veggies on the veggie tray yet there are many reasons to add a little diversity to your workouts. One major reason for burnouts/plateaus with working out is boredom. If the body gets bored with your workouts the benefits won’t be as high, the calories might be a little lower, you might quit sooner when it gets tough, and the satisfaction might not be there. Youth sports injuries are at crazy highs and research shows that "increased emphasis on sports specialization has led to an increase in overuse injuries, overtraining, and burnout.”  You probably are not a youth athlete that focuses on one sport year around yet this fact is relatable to you in that you might be going down a similar path by doing the same workout, using the same weights, same sets, same reps, going to the same class. Same, same, same = boredom = no diversity.

 

Ways to achieve diversity in your workouts can be as easy as asking your trainer to change it up or put some spice in the mix. Taking a differing class or trying an online workout video. You could educate yourself on a new piece of equipment or better yet, one that you hate. More extreme might be trying a different trainer, not because you want to leave your current one yet you want a different style. All trainers have different styles and different focuses.

 

All in all step out of your bubble, try something new, do something different and you might surprisingly enjoy the change. You never will know if you never try.

 

Exercise Not Your Favorite Activity?

Recently I was talking to a client who is in his 50s and has only been working out for a few months. I’ve only talked with him a few times yet those few times he has mentioned that he doesn’t enjoy exercise yet understand the benefits.

 

In life there are many things we have to do and others that should do, even though we might dislike said activity. Things such as oil changes, doctor's appointments, funerals, grocery shopping,  doing the dishes, laundry or scooping the cat poop or picking up the dog (if you have a cat) just to name a few. These are a few things that you most likely don’t wake up and say yay about yet you have to or should do them.

 

After working retail for 5 years I absolutely hate shopping due to the pure materialism of wants over needs and the waste of buying clothes when they’re not needed. Shopping would never fall into a favorite activity of mine yet I realize it is something I need to do especially when this hole in my crotch keeps getting bigger.

 

We all have different likes and dislikes. One of the big dislikes for many is exercise and healthy eating. For fitness I encourage you to find workouts that you can do, surround yourself with people who encourage you, find a workout buddy, go to group classes where there is an instructor to tell you what to do, or hire a trainer who can help you.

For nutrition there are countless helpful blog nutrition guides, pinterest, and youtube is full of simple quick healthy eating. Dieticians and chefs are more expensive options yet they can help.

 

At the end of the day we all have different choices. We have the choice to eat healthy foods, exercise, sleep 8-9 hours a day, eat veggies and more. Yet what it comes down to is are you willing to do some things that you might not necessarily like?

 

Why Americans are Fat, Overweight, and Sick

It doesn’t take much observation to realize why Americans are overweight. Just go to your nearest grocery store, and don’t go in. Yep you read correctly. Just drive around. Watch and observe the people driving around and around sharking for the closest spot. One doesn’t have to even step foot in the store to see the laziness. Look around you for the shopping carts strewn all over (depends on the store). Two simple things that add a little bit of activity to life yet something many would rather not do. One of my friends once said to me “Philip you’re the only friend who doesn't complain about how far I park.” I feel honored and disappointed at the same time.

Now that you've done that, actually park (far out) and step into the store. Aisle after aisle of bright colorful foods. The cereal aisle mainly full of cereal, mostly sugared. Many of the boxes have signs saying their benefits like 100% wheat 50% less sugar, more protein. All of which makes me smile my sarcastic smile of disgust. The rule of thumb is if a product needs to toot its horn it's probably isn't healthy. Apples, carrots, broccoli, salmon, avocados, bananas, nuts, sesame seeds, lemons, kiwi oh the list could go on. Products that pretty much all have better health benefits yet don't have ads plastered saying how great they are. 

Sleep

Many Americans lose their battles with weight when it comes to the bedroom. No not sex, yet sleep. If there is anything many Americans are so passionate about putting people down and criticizing others it usually is for sleep. People who go to bed before 9 are often called an old woman or old man. They are put down as if going to bed early is a bad thing. It is ironic that this nation that struggles with such weight problems sleeps so little. Sleep and weight loss go together. Those who sleep more tend to keep their weight in check more than those who do not. Those who sleep less tend to eat more. Consistency is key when it comes to sleep.

I don't know much about other cultures, yet I do know one thing the US devalue sleep. It is a behavior that is viewed as unimportant. University students act like putting an all nigher is in complement compared to the truth, procrastination. Popular TV programs come on after nine along with some sports series start even later. 

Recently I've been seeing more and more people using sleep meds to find sleep. Yes I believe certain people struggle with insomnia yet more and more people are coming down with sleep disorders. I don't believe more people are coming down with these sleep disorders yet more people turning to sleeping meds to curb their unwillingness to put away devices and turn off the tv. 

Exercise and workouts

I'm quite critical when it comes to workouts. I'm quite quick to cheer people for showing up at the gym yet the compliments stop there especially when they do little. Many people go to the gym yet most do nothing at the gym. There is a big difference in getting a workout in and catching up on your news and sports. The main difference is getting your heart rate up which isn't comfortable for the many around you. A client on the bike once told me it takes over 20 minutes for her to bike a mile. That baffled me until I saw the level of resistance she was on, level one. When I pointed this out she said she didn't want to "feel anything." if your body doesn't feel something you won't get benefits out of it. Principle of overload. If one doesn't overload the body benefits will not occur. You have to feel it. There are days that one should go nice and easy like recovery days such as a hard race or a hard workout from the day prior.  Yet not everyday. There really is not a point in showing up if you never push.

Food+Nutrition

When it comes to making a meal typical Americans take something prepackaged from the freezer or out of a box. Many go to a place called fast food, which really isn't fast and is void of much nutritional properties.

All in it isn't complicated.why Americans are in the shape they're in. Lack of nutrition and exercise can be blamed yet it also comes down to sleep and laziness. . 

What Americans Can Learn from Canadians

I never had much interest or knowledge about Canada growing up. All I knew was that Canada would be the butt of joke for many Americans. After spending a month living, working, exploring, studying, and observing I believe more Americans need to pay attention to our healthier, less obese, North American neighbors.

Fast Food

When it came to food/restaurants they’re all over in Canada just like the States. With that being said I was in the second most populated city in Canada thus my views are not country wide. Yet when it came to fast food the options were slim. Yes there were Mcdonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s PFK (Kentucky fried chicken) yet much fewer of them. Yes they have a Subway every 5-10 kilometers along with Tim Hortons yet fast unhealthy options were much fewer. When I mentioned the few amount of Mcdonald's the lady I was living with replied, “We have a Mcdonalds in every city.” That response left my mouth hanging considering my city of 71,000 has 6 Mcdonald's for 25 miles.

Vegan/Vegetarian

A constant annoyance for me is the amount of Americans I see turning towards this life change because it is in style or hip, yet few know how to do it properly. In Canada I met many vegan and vegetarians that didn’t necessarily choose that path because of hip reasons, yet more for health or allergies. Also restaurants had an impressive amount of vegan/vegetarian options.

Pools

I was told over and over Montreal has 3 nice months of the year so Canadians get out. Yet it is ironic that for a country that is so cold they would have as many pools as they did. These pools are all over and more of them switching from chlorine to saltwater. I find this impressive as chlorine is damaging to the body. Another thing I found impressive was the turnout and how many pools were located walking distance in neighborhoods.

Parcs

Literally every neighborhood had a local park. Most contained a soccer field and playground while others included the built in cardio/bodyweight circuit. Even though Quebec only has 3 nice months of the year people are out using these parks. In the US it actually takes effort to get to parcs. They're often not right in a neighborhood or inaccessible by foot or bike. Also they usually are not widely in use. Speaking of bikes….

Bikes

I've never ridden in a more bike friendly place even more friendly than Chicago. Some parts there was an entire car lane just for bikes. This encourages bike usage and safety which I saw a decent amount of riders.

Cereal

I judge a county by their cereal aisle. It is a good starting point to compare ingredients and overall Canadian cereals have much lower sugar, artificial ingredients and artificial colors. Also cereal is often the start to many people’s days which mean they can either start out healthy or not. One eye opener was how few sugared cereals there were. I consider a sugared cereal having more than 15g of sugar, cereals like Frosted flakes, Fruit loops, Lucky charms, aand Cinnamon toast crunch to name a few. The sugar contents were much lower than their American counterparts.

Ingredients

After my findings in the cereal aisle I wasn’t surprised with products throughout stores that tended to have healthier ingredients than the same products back in the states. Peanut butter with less sugar to fruit snacks without artificial colors to ketchup without corn syrup.

 

Overall I see health as a bigger priority and more of a lifestyle in Canada. I see Americans as being stuck in the rut of wanting to make changes yet only for the short period. Canadians seem to carpe diem their days as they realize the weather and seasons are only temporary so they make the most of it. All in all this is a one sided post, I didn’t mention negatives like Canada's excessive drinking among others. Even so every country has flaws, yet I see Canada as having a lot of healthy benefits.

 

Canada As I see It

On July 3rd I crossed the border into the large and beautiful country of Canada. It was a trip over a year in the making that had absolutely nothing to do with fitness, which is what I wanted. After spending the month of May teaching over 60 group exercise classes along with my personal training schedule I was burned. I accepted a position in a balloon shop to study more about my balloon hobby.

 

After a few weeks of balloon education my interest started to wane as I found myself wanting more out of fitness and health. I started going out more to study the culture, food, habits, exercise, and waistlines. This post is what I saw through my eyes and how I believe the world can learn a lot about nutrition and exercise from the big country up north.

 

For starters my view of Canada is extremely limited considering I lived on the island of Montreal in the province of Quebec. Canada is broken into ten provinces which are quite different from one to another. Kinda like West Virginia to Oregon.

 

Bikes

I took my bike with me to save on gas which was a great idea once I found out how expensive liters are. I quickly learned how friendly Montreal was for bikers. Us bikers received our own special lane away from traffic! How special! By far the most bike friendly city I’ve lived in even more friendly than Chicago.

 

Exercise

Having a free membership to a gym was a nice perk to spend more time in the culture. I quickly found out the group exercise class were packed and it was fun to watch other personal trainers train. Overall exercise wasn’t much different as guys try to make their chest bigger and women do the cardio except…..a decent number of women joined us massive guys like me lifting. No I wasn’t seeing things and most of these women knew what they were doing. I won’t say that much about the guys though.

 

Getting out

I was politely reminded over and over that Montreal is a four season climate before temps drop. I was told that Montrealers get out during those months and boy was I impressed. From pools, parcs, bike trails and more people were all over. People going out instead of saying in.

 

Parks or I should say Parcs

All over, everywhere. Probably every 400-800meters there was some sort of a parc. I don’t care how small, it is a patch of green space designed for people to enjoy. Practically every neighborhood has a parc. Instead of neighborhoods being all filled up with houses usually one plot had a parc. Bigger parcs had soccer fields which to my annoyances were filled up night when I wanted to play. Sundays seemed like it was family picnic days in these parcs. Look at all the green spaces, almost all parks.

 

Nutrition

Cereal aisles filled with more unsweetened compared to highly sugared. Oh and the cereal aisle didn’t go all the way down the aisle. I’m used to an entire cereal aisle filled up just cereal. Ketchup and syrup without high fructose corn syrup. Artificial colors were not present in the same foods that have them in the states. Yeah I had friends sending me pictures of food labels.

 

Obesity

I saw so few heavy/obese people that I started to seek them out. The first overweight guy I saw turned around and was wearing a stars and stripes t-shirt….. Probably not a Canadian. The internet turned into my next search where the Canadian government gave me low overweight and obesity ratings. Which low to the states yet let me remind you that Canada is smaller than the size of California. It should be expected that one sees more overweight/obese Americans considering that there are over 300million Americans and the States has much higher population density.  

 

All in all Canada opened my eyes to a country that is often out of the light. It is a developed nation that many know little about yet is a country I believe the world can learn a lot from. As more developed nations struggle with expanding waistlines Canada is doing something right. I believe Canada encourages healthier living in small simple ways that is worth paying attention to. Open your mind to new ideas and you might learn something new.

 

When to workout

One question that often gets tossed my way is what time is the best time to workout? I never answer the way clients want, and instead turn the question around to them. There is no best time. The best time, is the the time that works for you and your schedule. What might work for someone else could easily not work for you.

 

When it comes to choosing time to workout I suggest a time when you can focus on just working out, and not feel rushed. With that being said, you know yourself the best, and if you focus better under a time crunch go for it.

 

Time to workout

When it comes to the time, I suggest the earlier the better. I often see the same people in the morning compared to those who workout in the evening. It is much easier to create excuses why you cannot workout later in the day as more items fall onto your to do list or friends want to go places. Also we don’t know what the next second holds and life can easily change.  

 

When not to workout

1-2 hours before bed. Doing a workout this close to your bedtime can wreck your sleep as I’ve made this mistake on multiple occasions. Working out close to your bed time raises your heart rate and body temperature which can take hours to return to lower levels.

 

Lunch workout

Some prefer to workout during their lunch break. I see these people as dedicated as they can easily do other things yet they choose to push. If you can get a workout in during this time frame go for it. Pre planning can help you be more efficient which is something you should do to begin with.

 

Now to talk about you

When do you currently workout?

Are you consistent?

If you’re not consistent how can find a way to change that?

What times of the day are you most efficient?

What could be some obstacles that could get you away from working out?

When is your sleepy time?

 

All in all you know yourself the best. If you’re not consistent on your workouts it could easily be due to the time that you’re working out.

What to look for in a Water Bottle

You might think this is the most basic/common sense post ever, yet I wouldn’t talk about it, if I didn’t see importance in it. I’m one who doesn’t believe in small talk or pointless conversations.  

 

If you’re someone who says “I drink bottled” because you believe bottled is better for you I want to remind you that it is estimated that 25% or more of bottled water is from tap. Let me remind you of the millions of pounds of plastic that is clogging up our landfills for something that is all over. Let me remind you that it takes water just to make the water bottle, and lastly “it's important to note that the federal government does not require bottled water to be safer than tap. In fact, just the opposite is true in many cases. Tap water in most big cities must be disinfected, filtered to remove pathogens, and tested for cryptosporidium and giardia viruses. Bottled water does not have to be.”

 

Choosing a water bottle is a big decision because it is something that will hopefully spend hours a day with you. 50-60% of our body weight is composed of water. Our body relies on water compared to food. Yes, we need food to survive yet water is much more important. The human body can survive 20+ days or longer without food yet the typical person can only last three days without water. Water weight is also the quickest to lose or gain.

 

When it comes to choosing a good bottle, price starts it off. Just remember if something helps you become healthier it is worth it. With that being said some bottles are not cheap.

 

Plastic

Many companies have supposedly switched from the endocrine disruptor BPA plastics, yet let me remind you that plastic is still derived from oil. Plastic holds in the former tastes or previous beverages and reminds you when you forget a wash. They tend to be cheaper and bounce better than glass.

 

Glass

Is easier to clean, looks sophisticated, doesn’t remember past experiences, costs more, and makes you regret mistakes especially those on hard surfaces.

 

Stainless steel/Aluminum

Is durable, keeps beverages colder or hotter longer, makes many fluids taste like aluminum or steel, and lastly reminds of your past drops and scrapes.

 

At the end of the day the choice comes down to you. If a certain type of bottle helps you drink more then it is benefiting you!

CrossFit:What is it?

CrossFit has been a fitness topic that gets talked quite frequently. At your current gym or club you might have even met people who said they were former crossfitters. Yet what really is CrossFit? Where did it come from? What do they do, and what are the dangers associated with it? Keep reading and we’ll answer those.  

The Founding

CrossFit on paper was founded by Greg Glassman in 2000, yet many consider CrossFit being around a while before that.

The Exercises

CrossFit is a mixture of a few different disciplines. Gymnastics, weightlifting and sprinting or high-intensity work in various forms. Most workout are short duration yet are high in intensity.

WOD Workout of the day called a “wad.”

The games

Every summer since 2007 the CrossFit games take place. Athletes compete in each region with the hopes of qualifying for finals. The games have become so popular that it can be seen on national television.  

The culture

The culture of CrossFit is a mixture of competition and community. Oftentimes I hear people say something along the lines of “CrossFit is a cut.” The community of CrossFit is something I can’t comprehend because I’ve never seen the support at such a high level in a gym setting. Those who see it like a cult is because they’re not in the sport and cannot comprehend how total strangers can become best friends. Support is what it comes down to. Support and hard work.  Everyone all does different weight, yet at the end of the day it is all a challenge.

The diet

Serious Crossfitters are known to abide by the Paleo Diet. This diet encourages high amounts of meat, nuts, veggies, and fruit yet discourages sugar, alcohol, junk food, grains, dairy, and beans.

The issues

Issues with Crossfit arise with the entire business model. The way typical franchises work is that upon becoming a franchisee you have to follow certain policies and procedures. Yet CrossFit doesn’t go by this because they don’t really have certain policies and procedures. All it takes to open a CrossFit gym is a two day certification seminar and then one can open a CrossFit gym. As a certified trainer who’s put in the money and time I quickly see the flaws in this business plan. There are many people who can pass a two day seminar and that doesn’t mean they’re qualified to open a gym and put people through whatever workouts they deem fit. I understand the CEO and owner of CrossFit wants affiliates to choose what they want to do yet at the same time with the type of lifts this can be dangerous and has been.

The Dangers

For years I’ve heard about the dangers of CrossFit. Before I dive into those let me remind you that there is a danger any gym you walk into. Poor form and heavy loads are the quickest ways to issues. Yes at times it seems that CrossFit is more risky than other types yet that can be due to the types of lifts they do. Please keep in mind that CrossFit does have some of the fittest people in the world. You don’t get super fit from simple easy workouts. Also some CrossFit gyms can more more inclined to injuries than others due to the training of coaches. Since CrossFit is lax in their business model some gyms can have many coaches on staff where others might have one coach for 20+ members. Some coaches might push heavier weight when others care more about form.

With all this being said look up Crossfit’s unofficial mascot. You’ll see a clown that’s named Unkle Rhabdo who is a Crossfitter who’s pushed it a little too far and now is hooked up to a dialysis machine. According to WebMD “Rhabdomyolysis is a serious syndrome due to a direct or indirect muscle injury. It results from the death of muscle fibers and release of their contents into the bloodstream.”Rhab can happen to any athlete yet it tends to happen more to Crossfitters. Some may quickly like to point the finger and say “this is the issue with CrossFit.” Yet it might more come down to the culture of Crossfit. The culture encourages hard work and commitment, not putting a toe in the water, but totally jumping in. Also those coming down with Rhab could be unconditioned like this Crossfitter who came down with it, or poorly coached.

All in all CrossFit has shown the fitness industry that there is a group of people who like to push it to their max.

Good reads

Don’t mess with CrossFit  

Crossfitters You’re Weak

Crossfit’s Dirty little Secret

Crossfit Doesn’t have a Dirty Secret

The Origins

Why Pukie the Clown Isn’t Funny

The Diet

Rhabdomyolysis

Forget About Calories

Recently a spin instructor told me how a couple mentioned to her that they burn the most calories during her class compared to the other instructors. I laughed and said "good stay away from my classes." I want my clients to focus on more important things than just calories counts which are often inaccurate. Here’s why.

The entire focus on calories is overrated. The reason why I believe our society puts way too much emphasis on calories is because over 2/3s of Americans are overweight

   

Many diet programs constantly talk about calories as the issues. For starters diet is what you consume, not what you restrict. Also calories are the energy your body needs to function/work properly. Calories are fuel to the body like gas to a car. The problem with America’s weight problem lies in eating big of portions, eating too often, lack of sleep, too much sugar, eating too much prepackaged foods(crap), and not enough movement. Simple.

There are times to count calories, yet for most I strongly discourage the practice. It can turn to extreme OCD, or it is CDO? Counting calories can be beneficial for high end athletes or bodybuilders, yet for most it can can make eating tedious.  

When it comes to getting a good workout calories have little importance other than fueling the workout. You can get a great workout in, and not burn many calories. If you constantly focus on numbers you can be missing the entire purpose. We all need cardio for heart health. Yes cardio will help you get smaller by burning fat, yet it also helps you burn muscle, which is bad. It is muscle that helps keep your metabolism burning calories. The more muscle mass you lose the less calories you burn. Focusing on strength training will help you get more muscle growth which in turn helps you burn more calories in the long run. Also the more muscle mass you have the more calories you burn.


I often have people run up to me at the gym (literally, some walk) saying “Philip I burned ____ this many calories. I smile and in my mind I’m really laughing. If you’re a calorie counter I have to say most machines are extremely inaccurate.

With all this being said The American Council on Exercise did a great study on the accuracy on the wearable activity trackers which is worth a read.

 

If you’re a calorie counter you might be skipping on some healthy yet high calorie foods. If you say nuts are too high in calories you’re missing a good source of healthy fats. Avocados? Again super healthy fats that are filling and taste great. With all this being said there are times to watch the calories such as how much calories are coming from sugar content or liquid calories in a beverage.

All in all the the couple earlier who said they burn the most calories well that’s fine. I would rather have them stay away from my classes if all that is all they care about. I care more for my clients and sometimes I do things that isn’t the most popular. As a spin instructor who teaches a class on "steriods" I understand sprints get the heart rate high and burn the most calories yet I would rather focus on arms.  Some call me an arm killer and I have no problem with that. For clients, if you have questions why instructors do what they do... ask them! All instructors should have a reason and you might learn something new from them.

At the end of the day just remember not all calories are created equal. There are healthy calories and unhealthy ones. Choose wisely.