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Join the I'm Under Construction Revolution

Join the I'm Under Construction Revolution

The response to our "I'm Under Construction" shirt has been phenomenal.

We have received so many inspiring stories and would love for everyone else to know them too.  

So we at i Heart Fitness Co. have decided to start this forum so that everyone can share and motivate each other. 

The rules are simple... share... support... motivate!! 

Join the revolution and get this shirt!

The Clean Eating Lifestyle – Just Got Cleaner

The Clean Eating Lifestyle – Just Got Cleaner

You’re the type of person who lives the clean eating lifestyle. You know that becoming leaner, stronger and healthier or losing some of that extra weight, requires 80% diet and 20% exercise.

You want more energy, you focus on anti-aging nutrients and you desire more performance out of your workouts. You also know the importance of eating clean, eating green and getting lean.

Imagine if you could make a smoothie, a salad or a low calorie sauce with ingredients that are fresher (that’s right – fresher) than anything you could find at a Farmer’s Market or grocery store.

cultivator1

Actually, I want you to imagine a world where you have your very own mini Farmer’s Market - right in your kitchen.  Many of you, have heard of the 100mile diet, but what if you could upgrade that to the zero-mile diet?

Imaging having a mini garden in your kitchen where you have access to fresh on-demand wheatgrass, sprouts, various greens, cilantro, mint, parsley, even strawberries - or a variety of your other favourite micro greens, herbs and spices?

No more gardening gloves or muddy gumboots to clean, or big gardening tools to wash and put away. No more planting seeds row-by-row on your (already) sore knees.

Do me a favour…stop imagining - because now it’s a reality.

When I was at Coast Wholesale Appliances shopping for a new fridge, I came across the must have appliance of the future.

So what am I talking about?

I am talking about the Urban Cultivator – it is a self contained, easy to use, easy to maintain, gardening system. It’s operates via a “set” and “forget” technology. It even waters itself.  Furthermore, it fits into the same size area as a dishwasher - and it is installed, using the same set up as a dishwasher. That means: in most cases there is no customizing or kitchen renovation needed for installation, and it looks like a modern mini fridge.

Cultivator2

What if you already have a dishwasher occupying your dishwasher area?

Problem solved – The Kitchen Cultivator also comes on wheels and acts like a mini kitchen island that has a gorgeous wooden chopping block on top. Can you say – more, instant countertop space?

 Go from eating clean – to eating cleaner. 

I have a bit of a germ phobia, and this means I wash my produce with lots of running water to make sure they are clean from whatever hands have touched them from farm to grocery store.

For example: Every time I shop for cilantro, mint or parsley and the like - I dig at the bottom of the pile, because you never know who has mauled their dirty little fingers over all the goods, whilst looking for the best one in the pile.

Knowing this about myself, I was impressed that I would be able to tear of a section of herbs and put them directly into my mouth – something you would never do with store bought greens.

The other way that the Urban Cultivator can take our eating clean - to eating cleaner - is the zero loss of plant-cell vitality. We all know that the moment you cut a plant from it’s roots, it is on the fast track to death. Plants start to wilt; they lose their nutrient value and crisp texture. I mean, I have purchased greens and put them in the crisper portion of my fridge, and then less than a day later they are limp and lifeless – not even professional grade Viagra can revive them.

Here’s some additional food for thought - when it takes you 60-90 seconds from the time you harvest your plants to the time it reaches your stomach – you have the world’s freshest, fastest and healthiest smoothies, salads or stir-fry’s.

Is making your own greens – worth the green?

If you know me, you know I like to cover all angles. Money and time just happen to be a couple of angles I would like to explore.

First off, there is no other appliance in your home that technically makes you money. They may save you time and convenience – but they probable don’t turn a profit. When you save money – you earn money. Don’t try and get overly clever by saying that your fridge makes you money because your food would go bad if you didn’t have one. Every livable house I have ever been in has a fridge. Not every home has a mini-garden in the kitchen.

A fridge can’t keep earth harvested produce, fresh and full of 100% vitality – like a garden can.

I personally, have thrown out so much un-used produce, due to them going bad or losing their freshness. Many times, I have only eaten 75 cents worth of a $4 bushel of greens. With the Kitchen Cultivator, this cost (due to waste) would not happen, because the plant remains attached to its root system, and you only harvest, what you need when you need it.

The other “pay for itself” consideration comes in the form of producing your own plant life. You become the farmer, and you also cut out the middleman - aka retail store. Let’s just say this is a money issue and nothing to do with better health or fresher food. Truth: There is no price tag on health and peace of mind knowing exactly where your food is coming from - and how it is farmed.

Cultivator3

The unit I looked at was $2350, which includes a thick modern designed chopping block. It’s a bit pricey, but I wouldn’t have to give-up and then renovate my well-needed storage space. Which is something I would need to consider, if I chose to construct my own indoor garden from various parts and material from Home Depot or Rona.

I am also not even sure that my house-insurance would cover damaged if things went wrong with my DIY (do it yourself) garden. Also, do you really think your self made garden would look as gorgeous as this?

Another bonus is the Kitchen Cultivator comes with a standard 3-year warranty, at no extra cost.

With the amount of fresh greens and green supplements I buy for me and my family. I could recover my costs in about 15 months or less. I have an outdoor garden and the money I would save propagating my own plants would save me big coin.

I think it's only fair to give you a low-ball scenario as well. Keep in mind, the below scenario, is a single person calculation, and you would need to speed up the return on investment (ROI) with every member of your family or partnership.

If one person was able to produce $15 dollars of food every week ($60 a month or $720 a year) it would pay for itself in less than 3.5 years. When you factor in a 5 year cycle, you would have pocketed $1250 or let’s tune that down to $800 - $1000 - because we have to minus operating costs and supplies.

I say 5-year plan because most success and financial gurus get us to create plans in 5-year increments. 

Another point to consider: If you are buying $40 to $65 bottles of dried processed (not fresh) “greens” supplements - every month. You are robbing yourself of live, fresh nutrients – plus $480 to $780 a year is spent on buying an inferior, lifeless product. This is why many people are shifting their mindset about where their food and supplements come from. It is no surprise why there is a new trend of people who are on board with growing their own micro-greens. 

So, when you factor in life-time-value of a product - plus the value-to-your-health. I would wager that growing your own greens – is worth the green.

Check out their website www.urbancultivator.net or call their help line @ 1-877-352-0490

Eat clean and grow your own greens…and more.

3 Ways to Improve Running Endurance

3 Ways to Improve Running Endurance

You are training for the half or full marathon - and you want to do your best. However, you keep running into endurance issues. It doesn’t matter if you’re running in the, Sun Run, BMO or Scotiabank Half Marathon – or any other of the dozens of running events out there.

Endurance and loss of strength - are cause by a multitude of reasons. Here’s my "endurance insurance" guide for improved results.

Have you ever felt or had these thoughts while running?

  •  My body feels like its hit the wall.
  •  I've lost all my stamina.
  •  My legs have lost their strength.
  •  I just don’t have the lungs today.
  •  Why is my heart punching my ribs?
  •  Why am I so out of breath?
  •  Why are my legs burning so much?
  •  How do I improve endurance in my overall endurance?

You are only as good as your weakest link. If you want to improve your endurance, strength and ability to run for miles and miles and miles – then you need to start improving these three interlocking components.

  1. Your Training
  2. Your Diet
  3. Your Mind

It does not matter if you are a beginner or an advanced runner. We are all in the game of running - stronger, longer and faster.

Nobody’s goal is to run - weaker, shorter or slower.

If you use the methods that I am about to teach you, then you will increase your chances of decreasing your time at the finish line.

You will always have good and bad training days – the key is to train, eat and think (a certain way) so you can perform your best come run-day - Because that’s when it matters most.

 Tip #1 – Adversity Training

Adversity training is when you train under conditions that are “intermittently” more difficult than steady-state training or race day conditions. Here are my top three methods.

Interval Training: This is when you run at a normal pace for a few minutes and then you double or triple your running pace for a few minutes, or until you are breathing very hard.

For example: If I was running for 3-miles, I would break my running speed into these intervals. Normal pace for ½ mile – then double or triple speed for ½ mile – repeat this 3 times.

Another method is to go to the track & field track and run as fast as you can for 400m (one time around) and then walk briskly for 400m. If you are running the half, do this 7 to 12 times. 1-run + 1 walk = 1 time. Double this formula if you are running a full.

Running Up Hills: Hill training is hard – but worth it. It’s a secret weapon of world-class runners.

Running one mile up hill is better for cardio and leg endurance than running two miles on flat land. The added resistance caused by running against gravity makes your body use more muscle fibres in your legs and glutes/butt.

This automatically taxes your heart and lungs – making them stronger and providing them with the adversity that makes them use oxygen more efficiently.

For example: Once a week or every 10 days, find a hill (even if you need to drive there) – Run up hill for 30-60 minutes. If your hill is short, then run up – walk or jog down. Time yourself (only on the up hill portion) be sure to get at least 30 minutes under your belt. Running up stairs in the same fashion will also help strengthen your overall endurance.

Lifting Weights: Go to the gym or train at home. Circuit training, is a secret weapon of Lance Armstrong, excluding EPO, doping and testosterone.

Here is a sample workout routine that will have your entire body on fire, and your heart and lungs will feel like they are outside of your chest. Train at your own pain-tolerance level. Use short rest intervals - as your method of controlling intensity.

  • Beginners do this for 30min
  • Intermediates do this for 45min
  • Advanced do this for 60+ min

Sample circuit: 2-3 times a week.

  1.     Dumbbell squats 10-15 reps – no rest
  2.     Push-ups to failure – no rest
  3.     Burpees to failure – rest as needed
  4.     Dumbbell Deadlifts to overhead press 10-15 reps – no rest
  5.     Walking Lunges till legs burn – no rest
  6.     Bicycle Crunches to failure – no rest
  7.     Step-Ups till failure – rest as needed
  8.     Planks to failure – no rest – back to #1
  9.     Repeat until you have reached your goal time. Count how may rounds you did, and try to beat this number in future workouts.

The reason this circuit training works so well for improving cardiovascular and muscle endurance. Is due to the fact that you are training a lower body muscle group and then switching to an upper body muscle group. Your heart is forced to pump blood to the lower extremities and then it needs to pump blood to your upper extremities - going back and forth, removing lactic acid and bringing in fresh oxygenated blood to the entire body.

Running just can't match this type of demand - but you get all the cross benefits of this method of training. In short, running becomes such an easy exercise for your body that you are able to handle a faster longer pace, due to cardio and muscular adaption.

 Tip #2 – Diet for energy

Food intake will affect your energy levels, as calories are fuel for your body. The key to endurance is to have enough glycogen stored inside your muscles and bloodstream, so your body isn't overworking to replenish your spent energy.

 “Plus, if you are not hydrated (adequate water intake) before, during or after running then your performance will suck - and it will suck big time.”

Sports drinks (in moderation) will help restore electrolytes, potassium levels and hydration needs.  Coconut water is my choice because it’s 100% natural.

coconut water

I will not get into the science of energy and athletic performance, as that is outside the scope of this article. In fact, you should be your own scientist, so you can test what eating protocol works best for you.

For the sake of making this article short and effective, I am going to simply address how to eat for race day. Test yourself (on training days) to see if you are a carb loader or fat loader.

Carbohydrate loading on its own, is old school, because there are people who perform better by eating more fats and protein, than they do loading up on mostly carbs.

The test is simple; I want you consume a 500 to 800 calorie meal - depending on your size. The smaller you are the less you eat and visa versa. Eat this meal 1 to 3hrs before you train. You should know your food to time of exercise tolerance. If not, start testing if you can run better, eating 1 hour before or 2 or more hours before.

Read your food labels, measure your amounts and do your math.  

Fats loading formula:

Approx. 100 to 160 calories of protein = 25grams to 40grams

Approx. 100 to 160 calories of carbohydrates = 25grams to 40grams

Approx. 300 to 480 calories of fats = 33 grams to 53grams

Carb loading formula:

Approx. 100 to 160 calories of protein = 25grams to 40grams

Approx. 100 to 160 calories of fats = 11grams to 18grams

Approx. 300 to 480 calories of carbohydrates = 75grams to 120grams

Try both these formulas and see which one works best for you. Try these formulas about 2 weeks before your race day making sure you run the same distance for each test and have the same amount of rest days in between runs for a more accurate test.

A quick test, to see if carbs are not your best energy choice, is to ask yourself this question. After eating pasta or rice, do you feel good - and then 30min after your meal, you could pass out on the couch?

*If you answered, YES… Then fats are your better energy source, because your blood sugar levels rise and fall too quick, thus causing energy highs and lows in a short duration. Eat more fat content foods to stabilize your energy output.  

My favourite carbs are:

  • Rice
  • Pasta/noodles
  • Breads
  • Bananas
  • Cherries
  • Potatoes
  • Green & Colorful Veggies

My favourite dominant fats are:

  • Nuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp hearts
  • Olive Oil
  • Flax
  • Avocado

My favourite proteins are:

  • Beef
  • Fish
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Chicken

Tip #3 – Mental Strategies

Where the mind goes the body will follow.

Running is a mental game as much as it’s a physical game. You know as well as I do - the moment you get headstrong you get body-strong.

The moment you start letting negative thoughts enter the picture, is the moment performance goes down the tubes. You need to find your inner strength via these popular methods:

  • Getting pumped-up by embracing the pain – using struggle to fuel you instead of detouring you
  • Listening to upbeat music
  • Talking/praying to God (Believers)
  • Talk or pray to Darwin (Atheists)
  • Run Angry
  • Run Happy
  • Never run sad
  • Use a mental image or an inspirational thought(s) to override your current condition
  • Watch an inspirational movie the day before your race -one that depicts human triumph.

All the above is your ENDURANCE INSURANCE

 

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