Watch your (lower) back!

During the winter months, snow shoveling is the leading cause of lower back pain.  Not warming up, improper form, lifting too much snow and too much twisting can bring on the lower back pain.  In order to avoid lower back pain or injury, it is important to do a small warm up.  Some dynamic stretches that mimic shoveling snow like squats, bending down to touch your toes, arm rotations and some side twists, will get your body warmed up.

When shoveling snow it is important to maintain proper form.  The following  principles need to be remembered:

  • keep your back straight, not arched
  • bend at the knees and hips, not your waist
  • keep your abdominal muscles activated
  • keep it light, don’t pack on too much snow onto the shovel

When you’re finished shoveling, it is important to do some static stretching.  These are stretches that you hold for a few seconds.  Some stretches include, hamstring stretch, quad stretch and lying on your back and hugging your knees.

Incorrect Form – Straight Back and Knees            Correct Form – Bent at the Hips and Knees


Some well known factors that contribute to low back pain include:

  • Poor conditioning
  • Being over weight
  • Smoking
  • Improper lifting form
  • Prolonged sitting

Rehabilitation for the injury can include following the acronym R.I.C.E.  which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.  This will be discussed in more detail in a future blog post.


Optimal Warm-Up



An optimal warm-up to increase the weight that you lift during your working set(s) would be as follows:

Let’s use the barbell bench press as an example with a goal working set weight of 225 lbs.

5 minute warm-up on the cardio equipment of your choice.

Dynamic warm-up exercises to warm-up the shoulders, chest and triceps.

1st set-5 reps-45 lbs.

2nd set-3 reps-95 lbs.

3rd set-1 rep-135 lbs.

4th set-1 rep-185 lbs.

Working set (4-6 or 6-8) reps with 225lbs.

I guarantee that the weight that you normally use on your working set will be increased by 5-10% with this method.

Please let me know how this warm-up works for you.

HIIT-20 Minute Program


HIIT-20 Minute Program

HIIT is one of the most effective ways of completing cardiovascular exercise if your goal is weight loss and improved aerobic conditioning.

An example of an excellent HIIT cardio session that you could try if you have 20 minutes is listed below.  All that you need is a Stationery Bicycle.

  1. Complete a 5 minute warm-up at level 1 on a Stationery Bicycle
  2. At the 4:45 mark of your warm-up, increase your RPM to as high a level as you can  for 15 seconds
  3. Change the level on the bike from 1 to a level that you would not normally be able to complete.  (e.g. Level 15)
  4. Pedal as hard as you can at level 15 for 10- 15 seconds.
  5. Drop the level back down to level 1 and complete a cool-down period for 2 to 2 and a half minutes.
  6. With 15 seconds remaining in your cool-down, increase your RPM to as high a level as you can for 15 seconds.
  7. Repeat Step 4.
  8. Repeat Step 5.
  9. Complete the cycle, 2 more times for a total of 60 seconds of intense cycling at level 15.
  10. Cool-down for 5 minutes at Level 1.
  11. Enjoy the Quad Pump and calorie burn!

Tabata Simplified

Spinning silhouettes

Tabata Simplified

Tabata is one of the most efficient ways of completing HIIT (high intensity interval training).

The entire cardio session can be completed in between 8-14 minutes depending on the length of your warm-up and cooldown.

We will discuss an 8 minute variation that I like to use when time is limited.  The best cardio equipment that I find for Tabata is a Stationery Bike.

First you start with a 2 minute warm-up, ramping up the intensity as the time progresses.  For the following 4 minutes, you complete a 20 second all out sprint at your highest possible intensity.  This is followed by a 10 second cool-down.  The 20 second high intensity followed by 10 second cool-down is repeated for the remaining 3 minutes and 30 seconds.  The final 2 minutes are a cool-down.

Keep It Simple Shake

Keep It Simple Shake

Below is a recipe for a Protein Shake that I have everyday that is tasty and nutritious.  The shake contains Whey Protein for muscle gain, Rolled Oats for fibre; Flaxseed which are high in Omega 3’s, for heart health, healthy joints and mood.  Lastly, Cinnamon for insulin sensitivity.

You can mix the ingredients in a shaker cup or in a blender.  Enjoy!

1 Cup of Skim Milk

1 Cup of Water

1 scoop of Whey Protein Isolate

Half a cup of Rolled Oats

1 tablespoon of Flaxseed

1 teaspoon of Cinnamon.

Total-380 calories-

39.5g Protein

38g Carbohydrate

7g Fat

7g Fibre

Health of Business Travellers

Health of Business Travelers

Health of Business Travelers

Below are the top health concerns for business travelers:

  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Overindulgence of fast food
  • Too much consumption of alcohol
  • Decreased amount of sleep

As a business traveler, you are constantly on the go.  Business meetings are frequent, adequate sleep is few and far between and your diet suffers.

All these factors, along with an increased amount of stress, play havoc on your overall health.  It is easier said than done, but trying to maintain a routine that is similar to the one when you are not on the road, is essential in maintaining your health.

People who exercise on a consistent basis have more energy, are more productive at work and are able to maintain a healthy body weight.  Studies have shown that people work out a lot harder when they have a personal trainer. As a business traveler, it is important to use the small amount of time that you have more efficiently.  Scheduling a personal training session while on the road will keep your fitness on track.  Along with that, a healthy diet is crucial.  When out on business lunches or dinners, try to stay away from too much brown food (deep fried, fats and carbs).  Try to add as much colour to your meals as possible.  It is easy to overindulge in alcohol as well.  Try to keep your consumption of alcohol to more than two glasses a day.  As hard as it is, it is important to try to get as much sleep as possible. Lack of sleep sems to be related to an increase in

hunger and appetite, which makes it easier to overeat and gain unwanted pounds.  Try to fit some zzz’s between meetings or say no to an evening of socializing.