Winter Running: Hibernation is Not an Option

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Lindsay Scott By Lindsay Scott, Physiotherapist

Our top five strategies to keep your winter running on track and injury free

In the last few months, we’ve persevered through holiday ice storms and power outages, shoveled snow endlessly, and become more familiar with the term “polar vortex” than we ever wanted. All of this, and it’s only the first week of February. Winter months certainly don’t make it easy to keep your running and fitness routine on track, but we’re not ready to give up just yet! Here are our top five strategies to keep your winter running plan fun, safe and on track through this home stretch of winter:

1.       Get Motivated

It isn’t easy to drag yourself out the door during cold winter months, but being active outside in the winter can be a lot of fun. Find some way to motivate yourself to get those first few minutes of activity under your belt, and you’ll likely find yourself happily working up a sweat in no time. A few tricks to consider:

  • Buddy up – It is a lot tougher to hit the snooze button for the third time if someone is waiting for you. Running with a friend or group has the added bonus of being safer, especially when running in the dark or in icy conditions, and of having someone push you to work harder.
  • Set those fitness goals – Look ahead to your spring and summer fitness goals and think of your winter activities as a head start. Consider signing up for a local race and remember that all that time that you log in the cold will pay huge dividends when the warm weather finally rolls around and you’re lining up at that start line.
  • Slow down and enjoy – Enjoy the peaceful feeling of running during a light snowfall, embrace those rosy winter cheeks and fresh winter air, and get excited about the fact that you are doing your body a lot of good.

2.       Dress for Success

People are often uncertain about how to gear up for a winter run. It has certainly been a tough go this year given how cold it has been. One tried and true approach to cold weather running gear is the three layer system:

  1. Base layer – a thin layer that will sit next to your skin. This one should be moisture wicking to make sure that you stay dry.
  2. Mid layer – this layer is all about warmth. It should still be light enough that you are a bit cool as you start out, as you will generate heat once you get going.
  3.  Outer layer – this one should protect you from the wind, snow, slush and rain. Having some sort of venting system is also key to allow moisture to escape. This layer should keep you warm without being too bulky, and should allow you to peel off layers as you start to heat up.

A few other things to think about:

  • Gloves and headbands can go a long way to keeping you comfortable on a run, and are easy to peel off if you get too warm.
  • Safety first! While the days are thankfully getting longer now, fewer daylight hours are a reality of cold weather running. Make sure that you have gear with reflectivity so that you remain visible while logging miles in the dark.

3.       Don’t Forget to Fuel and Hydrate

It’s easy to overlook your hydration and fuel needs, but even when it’s cold outside, you still lose water through sweating. Take those water bottles with you the same way as you would on a hot summer day, and remember to slow down in order to drink if it’s at all icy.

4.       Adjust your style

Ice, slush, snow and wind are certainly added challenges that make your usual routine a little trickier through the winter months. A few small adjustments to your style and routine can go a long way to keeping you safe and healthy.

  • If conditions are slippery, shorten your stride slightly and pay attention to your footing to avoid a slip. Your foot plant should always be underneath your centre of gravity to provide solid footing.
  • Consider traction devices that slip over your running shoes to give you better footing.
  • Don’t worry about how fast you’re going. You’re out there to stay healthy, enjoy the outdoors, and perhaps build a base for your upcoming race season. Slow down, pay attention and make the run fun!

5.       Mix it up and have fun!

Embrace the weather! Take this opportunity to try a new winter sport or revisit those dusty cross country skis in your basement. Be flexible and adjust your workouts as necessary in order to make them safe and enjoyable. Take care of your body and don’t push through if something doesn’t feel right. Congratulate yourself on a job well done, and above all else, enjoy! Before long, we’ll all be complaining that it’s too hot!

 

Detoxification? Do I need that?

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Aisling head shot_webby Dr. Aisling Lanigan, ND

I think of detoxing the body like a good spring-cleaning. You open up the closet, stir things up a bit to get to those clothes at the back that are wasting space and dump them into a box for goodwill. You replace that light bulb, clean out the dust and dirt that has accumulated over the winter and vow to “never let things get like this again.”

Inevitably for most, life gets in the way to mess things up. One forgotten lunch here leads to fast food there, a green tea a day slowly becomes multiple double lattes, a glass of wine on a Saturday turns into many patio beers and so on. But what would happen if we never had the big spring-cleaning? All of that junk in our homes would build up until they became uninhabitable due to clutter and dirt causing illness and disease. Our bodies work the same way and to function optimally they need detoxification.

But how do I know if I’m due for a detox?

Some common symptoms of an increased toxic burden and need for detox are:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Skin Problems
  • Digestive concerns
  • Food cravings
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Chronic congestion
  • Anxiety or irritability
  • Bad breath
  • Body pain

 

There are so many different detoxes out there! How do I know which is right for me?

It is important to meet with a Health Care Professional, such as a Naturopathic Doctor, to discuss your health history and symptoms before starting any detox program. A detox is hard work for the body and it is essential to efficiently excrete the toxins you have mobilized in the body. If done improperly, a detox can be harmful so it is not recommended to start any detox program without consulting an ND or other certified health professional. That being said, the basic principles that all detoxes should follow are referred to as the 4 R’s:

  1. Remove: This is done through diet and lifestyle modification to eliminate chemicals and foods, which could be causing inflammation. Specific botanicals and supplements are used to encourage elimination of these wastes.
  2. Replace: After toxins have been removed, support the body with digestive enzymes.
  3. Reinocculate: With a good quality probiotic to replenish the body with optimal bacterial for digestion.
  4. Repair: Your ND will prescribe specific supplements, which will heal the digestive tract and promote other benefits of the detox.

 

What sort of results can I expect after a detox?

Common benefits of a detox are:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased energy levels
  • Improved digestion
  • Reduced nasal congestion
  • Clearer skin
  • Increased mental clarity
  • Improved emotional stability
  • Less food cravings
  • Resolution of migraines and headaches
  • Better quality sleep
  • Permanent positive changes to health

 

Smiles_web

OK, I’m interested. How and when can I start?

The Naturopathic Yoga Detox is a 4-week, medically supervised, food based
detox program, which includes:

  • Initial Naturopathic visit with myself, Dr. Aisling Lanigan, ND
  • Hypoallergenic diet with full menu plan and option to include initial 3-day juice cleanse
  • Four 60min long yoga classes designed to stimulate detoxification led by Rachelle (following group meetings)
  • Four 30min group detox meetings
  • Individualized supplement recommendations
  • Post-detox ND follow-up visit
  • Group Meeting and Yoga Schedule:
    • King (445 King St. W): Thursdays 7:45pm to 9:15pm, on February 13, 20, 27, and March 6
    • Rox (2 Roxborough St. E): Mondays 6:00pm to 7:30pm, on February 10, 17, 24, and March 3
    • North (1184 Mt Pleasant Rd):
      • Mondays 7:30 to 9:00pm, on February 7, 10, 17, and 24
      • Fridays (daytime program) 1:15pm to 2:45pm, on February 7, 10, 17, and 24

The Naturopathic Yoga Detox Program investment is $350 (the program value is over $700), billed as Naturopathic Medicine and covered under applicable health plans.

We keep groups to an intimate number of 4 to 12 participants, depending on the location.This way, our meetings can be as interactive as possible, ad Rachelle can be very hands-on during yoga classes. Please register early, as our program will fill up!

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Stretching; How, When And Why.

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by Dr. Jaclyn Kissel, CSCS, DC, FRCCSS (C)
Sport Specialist Chiropractor

Stretching has been a subject of controversy for the last few years, especially regarding the appropriate time frame to stretch and the type of stretch to use. The research has since proven that stretching does improve running performance when done correctly.

Types of Stretches:

  1. Ballistic Stretching: This type of stretching is NOT considered useful and comes with an increased risk of injury. It involves ‘bouncing’ into the stretch, using momentum of the body or limb to force a joint beyond its normal range of motion. This type increases the risk of muscle strains.
  2. Dynamic Stretching: This type of stretching is considered to be the safest and most effective method of stretching PRE-ACTIVITY because it primes the muscles for the exercise that is about to occur. It involves controlled movements through a joints range of motion, with a gradual increase in range of motion, speed of movement or both. 8-12 repetitions are useful. These stretches should be sport-specific. For example: walking low lunge to stretch the hip flexors.
  3. Static Stretching: Usually what we tend to think of first when we think of the word “stretching”. It involves using an apparatus (your own body or external device) to help take and hold a joint at its end range of motion. These stretches are held in one position for 20-30s. This method of stretching is great for POST-ACTIVITY when the tissues are warm. The reason for this is due to the fact that research has shown that static stretching can temporarily decrease the force that can be generated by that muscle (inhibits the muscle), which can lead to a increased risk of injury.
  4. Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) Stretching: It combines passive stretching with isometric contractions of the muscle group being stretched. It has been shown to be one of the fastest and most effective methods of increasing static flexibility. First a muscle group is passively stretched followed by contracting the muscle for 5 seconds while a partner resists this contraction. After the 5 seconds the limb is then passively stretched for 10-15 seconds. POST-ACTIVITY
  5. Active Isolated Stretches: This form is great PRE & POST-ACTIVITY. The goal is to increase mobility of the muscle and joint. Using a rope to assist the movement of the stretch, hold for 3seconds and repeat 10 times trying to gain a bit more mobility each time. This should be done in a Pain free range of motion.

 

Proposed Benefits of Stretching (when implemented appropriately):

  1. Increased mobility
  2. Injury prevention
  3. Pain relief
  4. Improved performance

 

Pre-ACTIVITY Stretching:
It is important that muscles are properly warmed up prior to their stretching. Stretching cold muscles can in fact lead to muscle injury if it done too aggressively. After a warm up, dynamic stretches should be done. Below are some examples specific to soccer:

  1. Walking lunges
  2. Lateral leg swings
  3. Bum kicks while running
  4. High knees
  5. Toy soldier
  6. Hacky sack
  7. Hip rotations (in and out)

 

Post-ACTIVITY Stretching:
This is when static, active isolated, and PNF stretching is most useful. Some examples of static stretches most beneficial for most soccer players include:

  1. Lunge stretch for hip flexors
  2. Calf stretches (straight and bent knee positions)
  3. Hamstring stretch (seated, lying on back with a band or standing using a bench)
  4. Quadriceps stretch (lying on stomach, standing, or seated)
  5. TFL Stretch (lean to the side with one leg over the other)
  6. Glute Stretch

 

References:
Shrier I. Does stretching improve performance: a systematic and critical review of the literature. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. 2004; 14(5): 267-273.
Anderson JC. Stretching before and after exercise: effect on muscle soreness and injury. Journal of Athletic training. 2005; 40 (3):2218-220
Weerapong PN, Hume PA, and Kolt GS. Stretching: mechanisms and benefits for sport performance and injury prevention. Physical Therapy Reviews. 2004; 9: 189-206.
Fradkin AJ, Gabbe BJ, and Cameron PA. Does warming up prevent injury in sport? The evidence from randomized controlled trials? Journal of Science and Medicine in Spory. 2006; 9: 214-220

Sarah Maughan, RHN

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Interview with a clinician – Get to know Sarah Maughan, Registered Holistic Nutritionist

Tell me about your education.

My official nutrition schooling is with the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, in Toronto. I completed 1 year certification full-time, following my university degree in Psychology. I decided to move towards a degree in nutrition after I experienced some health concerns of my own. My education included class hours, practice sessions, and real-life, hands-on experience.

I decided to complete an additional certification, and became board-certified in practical holistic nutrition. This was more hands-on hours, and included hours working with people with diabetes, and working with new mothers and their children aged 0-6 months. I had a mentor throughout the whole process, who helped review my case studies and manage my research questions. This additional certification took 2 years to complete. It was really valuable in terms of increasing my professional knowledge, my confidence, and my skill set.

Can you explain the difference between a nutritionist, a holistic nutritionist, and a dietician?

Technically, we do the same thing: we consult people based on their diets. But we have different approaches, and we come from different schools of thought. Although my nutrition schooling was 1 year, I had an undergrad degree before I started – though this actually isn’t mandatory for my schooling. With dietetics, 4 of their years of school are also to complete an undergraduate degree, and 1 year is focused on apprenticeship.

The dietetics program is government regulated, which means that they have to follow the Canada Food Guide, which is a document that shows how many servings of each category of food (grains, dairy, proteins, vegetables and fruits) is recommended for average Canadians. They don’t necessarily teach the quality of the food; for example they would recommend how many servings of grain. We also focus on servings of foods when necessary but from a different perspective. They wouldn’t necessarily explain the importance of absence of preservatives, chemicals, or how to decide which type of beef (corn-fed vs. grass-fed) is healthiest. The average Canadian actually cannot handle the amount of grain on the Canada Food Guide – and some can’t have certain grains made from wheat. The importance is more so on calories from a Dietetic standpoint rather than food quality, individualization (like allergies/sensitivies). They tend to work closely with medical physicians and can work in hospitals providing tube feedings.

We teach how to incorporate real and whole foods into the diet, how to read labels so that you know to avoid artificial ingredients in your foods, and we empower the consumer to make informed decisions. We are considered “cutting edge” in terms of our food philosphies, however it actually is about teaching everyone how to eat the way we were meant to before mega companies came into grocery stores – unprocessed and real food. We are able to design a whole foods based eating plan taking allergies and food sensitivities into account while pairing it to a personal goal, if necessary. We tend to work more closely with naturopathic physicians.

Is there a push right now to regulate the term ‘nutritionist’?

We as a profession have eschewed government regulation in favour of having more independence with our food recommendations. For example, we would be pushed to recommend margarine, which has 10 different manipulated ingredients, compared to butter, which has only cream and potentially salt added. We are covered more and more by insurance and extended health care plans, particularly under the ‘alternative’ section. Our goal is to be as recognized as dieticians, and subsequently as funded. This is why there are currently numerous studies occurring to prove our enormous benefit to the healthfulness of society, and reduce the burden of illness on the health care system.

How would you describe your own personal approach to nutrition?

In a word – relaxed. I never judge anyone coming into my office for their current food choices. It took me years to apply the information that I acquired into my own eating habits. I always look at where that person is, where can we make some changes, and how can I inspire them to adopt those changes. Each individual has their own goal and reason for coming to see me. Are they so close to a heart attack that we need to go at this aggressively? Or is someone simply looking to eat in a more balanced way? This would help determine the timing needed and how closely we have to work together.

I approach each situation with a lot of humour – no one wants to feel chastised for their choices. The emphasis is on what you CAN eat, as opposed to what you shouldn’t.

So your psychology degree has come in handy?!

Yes! LOL! I never used to think that the two were related, but reading a person’s body language during a nutrition session really helps me to see how open they are, or how much support and inspiration someone might need. It helps me to tap in to their reasons for visiting me, and how to best determine what type of approach will work best with them. Some people are very self-motivated, and need very little support. Others need daily support in the form of emails or quick telephone calls to check-in and provide guidance.

My first question in a follow-up is always ‘How are you feeling?’ If someone has lost pounds but they feel bloated, and uncomfortable, or have a heavy fatigue, we need to fix their food choices based on that because no weight loss is worth it if you feel bad. Once they are well, then we can focus on the secondary goals of weight loss or whatever their goal might be. Feeling well is the only way someone can have a good relationship with food and achieve personal goals.

What would you say are the most common reasons that someone comes to see you at Totum?

Here at Totum, the most common reasons are to improve general fitness, and for weight-loss. People are interested in learning how they can improve their strength and endurance by making better food choices.

What would you say are the main reasons you would LIKE people to come in to see you, but most people don’t realize that you could help them with it?

I would like more people to come in who are having physical health problems. For example, if you are getting chronically injured, or you feel like you are in chronic pain, or if you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, nutrition can really help in these instances. I’ve seen it numerous times, that clients come in and their doctors were dumb-founded to see the improvements in their blood work subsequent to making positive changes to their diets. Food can be medicine!

Is it really possible to fit healthy eating into a busy professional’s lifestyle? I mean, really?

Yes! It can be done! It simply involves good planning. You want structure, and planning, and routine as much as possible. Often the most structured you can be is with your morning routine. So before an unexpected business meeting comes up and you miss your lunch, be sure that you’ve left the house with a healthy breakfast under your belt, and that you’ve got healthy food items in your bag or car or desk, that don’t require refrigeration. The better planned you are, the less you need to think about your food choices, and the more you can focus on your job at hand. The busy folks are the ones who will benefit the most from planning and routine with food because the rest of their life is often spontaneous and unpredictable.

If there was one thing that you would like people to change, what would it be?

I would love people to know how to properly read a label, to be able to identify what is actually good for them, and what is a marketing gimmick. This is a big part of what I do, to empower people to learn to make their own healthy decisions. I will actually do this as a separate session with someone, without them having to come in for an assessment because it’s one of the most valuable tools you can have so you don’t need to rely on experts product pushing all the time – empower yourself in the grocery store!

What is one good habit that we should all incorporate daily?

Eat a vegetable before you leave the house in the morning! Add them to your eggs in the morning, to your smoothie, as a snack on the way to work, in your breakfast sandwich. Pre-chop them, and freeze them so that they are ready to go at short notice. The better you eat at breakfast, the better you’ll feel all day! Very cliché for a nutritionist to say but it won’t hurt to give it a try!

To book an appointment with Sarah Maughan please email us at kingstudio@totum.ca or call our front desk 416-979-2449.

Nutrition for Long-Distance Runners

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by Aisling Lanigan, ND

The Sporting Life 10K and Goodlife marathon mark the opening for race season in Toronto. Proper nutrition leading up to and on race day will make all the difference in how the runner feels and in their results. As a 10km-marathoner and triathlete myself, this is an area of special interest to me and I have experienced first hand the difference proper nutrition can have on performance.  Please keep in mind that all advice is based on running and training for a 10km race and should not be applied to other sports or distances. However, if you have an athletic event you are training for and would like information about nutrition please feel free to contact.

Carbohydrates

A question that comes up far too often: Are carbohydrates bad for you? The answer is definitively NO! As an adult runner, carbs should make up 60% of your daily diet.  Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel used during a 10km run.

This does not mean you should eat a loaf of white bread though! Complex carbohydrates maintain more stable blood sugar so you don’t get the energy crash after eating but still supply your body with fuel and nutrients.

Here are some of the best choices for carbohydrates:

  • Whole grains (such as oats, brown rice, quinoa)
  • Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables (such as apples, sweet potatoes, cooked spinach)
  • Legumes (such as kidney beans, chick peas)

 

Q: When is the best time to eat carbs before a race?

Some research suggests tapering down carbohydrate intake on days 3-7 before the race and then increasing carbohydrates 1-2 days before competition. Whether you decide to taper or not, it is a good idea to increase from your normal carbohydrate intake 24-48 hours before your race.

Q: Do I need to take carbohydrate gels/ sports drinks during a 10km race?

Myth buster! You do not need gels or sports drinks during a 10km race, as your muscles have carb stores for almost 2 hours of activity.  Also, popular sports drinks are often high in refined sugar and should be substituted for a higher quality electrolyte drink.

Proteins

Q: I thought carbs were the fuel for a 10km, why do we need protein?

Protein is required for all muscles to function and to be repaired. Exercise breaks muscle tissue down and repairing it with the help of protein is how performance is improved.

Q: How much protein do I need?

A 10km athlete should have about 1.2 grams per 1 kilogram of body weight (ex. For 65kg = 75-80 g/ protein per day). In general it is a good idea to have a 25-30g serving of protein with every meal. 1 serving of lean meat with 25-30g protein is about 4oz (100g) or the size of your iPhone or Blackberry.

Q: What protein sources can I pair with each meal?

  • Breakfast: 2 eggs OR smoothie with protein powder (whey, rice, soy etc.)
  • Lunch/Dinner: Skinless, boneless chicken breast/fish, extra lean ground beef OR tofu.

 

Q: Is dairy a good source of protein?

If you have no digestive concerns or allergies then dairy could be a good source of protein. But it is important which dairy you choose.

  • Good dairy choices: cottage cheese, low fat or Greek yogurt.
  • Bad dairy choice: cheese, as it is high in bad fats and salt.

 

Fats

Q: I thought fats were bad for you?

Actually quite the contrary, some fats can actually improve athletic performance.

  • Good fats = (Poly)Unsaturated: avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, almond butter.
  • Bad fats = Saturated/ Trans: butter/margarine, fried foods, cheese, meats high in saturated fat (beef {non lean}, pork)

Although fats can improve performance, they should still compose less than 30% of daily food intake.

Hydration

Each individual has different hydration needs based on gender, body type, body composition and fitness level. However, the easiest way to tell if you are well hydrated is as simple as checking out your urine:

  • Light straw colour = hydrated
  • Dark yellow colour = dehydrated

If you are on a B complex vitamin this is a little more difficult as your urine is likely a neon yellow colour. If this applies to you, get a urine analysis from your ND or health care provider and ask for the specific gravity of your urine. This will tell you how concentrated urine is and therefore how hydrated you are.

Q: OK, urine is light straw colour; do I need to increase water before the race?

Yes, 1-2 days before the 10km increase water intake 20-30%. Water is required to fill glycogen (fuel) stores for your muscles. Drink 500mL of water 20-45minutes before the 10km race starts to keep you hydrated throughout the race.

Q: How much water should I bring/ drink during the 10km?

Trick question! You do not need to bring water or drink water at the fluid stations during a 10km race. The water belts can be uncomfortable and heavy and drinking will only slow you down. Your body has adequate fluid for a 10km race.

Q: When should I start drinking water after the race?

Water consumption should begin immediately after the race and continue until rehydrated.

Recovery Meal

Chances are your 10km race is not going to be the last time you ever lace up, so a recovery meal is very important to refuel the body so you can get back to training.

Q: How soon after the race should I have my recovery meal?

Have your recovery meal ASAP after the race, ideally on-site. Some examples of recovery meals are:

  • Protein fruit smoothie
  • Protein powder in water plus a piece of fruit
  • A small meal with 20g of protein and a balance of carbs and fat

 

Fun Facts

  • A 2% decrease in water weight results in decreased performance so drink up!
  • Two guys walk into a bar, the first says “I’ll have a glass of good old H20”. The second says “That sounds great! I’ll have an H20 too!” The second guy died.

 

Quick reminders about nutrition for 10km race day

  • Eat what you’ve been eating. Do not try new foods the day of the 10km.
  • Increase carbohydrate and water intake 24-48 hours before 10km.
  • Breakfast: 2-3hrs before the 10km.
  • 500mL water 20-45min before 10km.
  • Have a recovery meal immediately following race.

Good luck to all 10K runners!

Yours in health,

Dr. Aisling Lanigan N.D.

Combatting Tennis Elbow

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by Eric Hammer

Many everyday functional activities require the use of our wrists and hands. Activities such as pulling weeds when gardening, gripping a hammer, or a backhand stroke in tennis require the use of our wrist extensor muscles.

When these activities are repeated on a consistent basis, the musculotendinous unit can become inflamed and cause unpleasant symptoms. This is referred to as lateral epicondylitis or “tennis elbow.”

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
1) Pain in the elbow area after wrist and hand activities
2) Pain when the muscle is stretched or when against resistance
3) Decreased muscle strength and grip strength
4) Tenderness along palpation of elbow

The Rehabilitation Process
Lateral epicondylitis is a very common repetitive strain injury. It is critical to progress with a rehabilitation process as soon as you begin experiencing symptoms. This rehabilitation process can include: increasing flexibility and mobilize scar tissue, restore normal joint tracking, strengthening the forearm extensor muscles and endurance, and restore functional abilities.

ERIC HAMMER
MPT, Kin (Hons)
Registered Physiotherapist
Personal Trainer

Eric graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Kinesiology Degree and a Master Degree in Physical Therapy. Before entering the School of Rehabilitation Sciences he worked as a personal trainer, helping people reach their personal fitness goals.

As a physiotherapist, Eric brings his knowledge and experience working with people of all ages and abilities, including sports injuries of top-level athletes. His multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions includes: manual therapy, specific
exercise prescription, soft tissue release, and education.

Eric has taken a variety of post-graduate courses including advanced manual therapy, treatment of low-back disc pathology with the McKenzie Method, and acupuncture treatments. He is continuing his postgraduate training toward an Advanced Orthopaedic Manual and Manipulative Physiotherapy Diploma from the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.

Rob Graham: Totum Client Since 2005

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Totum client Rob Graham is no stranger to physical activity: as a kid, he enjoyed football and rugby, karate and judo. By the 1990s he was a serious runner, even completing a marathon and a couple of half-marathons. But even though he enjoys running, he was conscious of the need to keep his body weight low to do it safely.

After the birth of his first child with his wife Julie, Rob became aware of the fact that he had allowed himself to gain some weight and get out of shape. The birth of his son near his 50th birthday made him realize his hope to be healthy and active for as long as he can. “When friends have gotten sick or died,” he says, “It has been a serious reminder of how precious our lives are. I try to better myself physically through Totum.”

Rob began coming to Totum in 2005, and has been training with Tom Toth for several years now. “Tom makes sure I am exercising my muscles correctly, he knows a great deal about nutrition and exercise physiology.” Rob’s weekly routine includes five workouts, typically twice with weights and three for cardio. Before coming to Totum, Rob had never touched a weight. He estimates that he has lost as much as 40 pounds in the past several years, and added between 20 and 25 pounds of muscle.

“There has certainly been an uptick in strength and endurance and my posture is better,” Rob says. “My reaction time seems quicker.” This has allowed Rob to pursue other interests outside of Totum: he’s a serious scuba diver, and a lover of the outdoors, trekking as far as Nepal, Vietnam, Peru, Indonesia, Thailand and New Zealand. “Every year I go by seaplane somewhere remote and get dropped off in as isolated a location as I can find.” Rob also skis with his family in the winter.

Rob offers some advice for those looking to follow his example: “Don’t smoke. Start eating right and get into sports you can continue when you are older. Enjoy life to the fullest, and if something isn’t working, focus your energy on making it better. Life’s hurdles build our character and resolve. Don’t let setbacks deter you. Don’t over eat, spend less than you earn, and surround yourself with the greatest friends possessing the very best in character. Be kind, for in this life you and I could be next.”

The Five Universal Principles of Strength Training

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by Sandra Marcantonio

Strength training effectively means training smarter. Here are five things to keep in mind with your strength training regiment. Clients and athletes who adhere to them are very successful and, more importantly, enjoy their strength program.

1.Specificity
Choose movements and select a number of reps and sets that are specific to what you are trying to achieve.
For example: A client who has a specific muscle imbalance has to do exercises that address the underlying issue. If, say, they are an avid cyclist who has over-developed quadriceps muscles at the expense of hamstring length and strength, add stiff legged deadlifts into the strength program (start double leg than move to single leg as a progression).
This same principle applies to the client who is sitting most of the day. Choose specific exercises that reverse the flexed posture encourage by prolonged sitting.

2.Hard and Easy Days/Weeks
It is the recovery process which allows the body to rebuild itself to a stronger state. Hard days should be followed by easy days to allow for suitable regeneration of tissues. Frequently, the easy day will consist of cross-training or easy tempo cardiovascular work to assist the distribution of lactic acid. Training hard every day leads to over-training and overuse injuries. Typically, a recovery time of 48 hrs is required between strength training sessions. Alternating muscle groups each day is a common way to provide suitable rest for weight training.
In order to ensure a positive training effect, it is recommended to follow a 3:1 approach; 3 weeks of progressive building (ie. increasing loads) followed by 1 week of active recovery.

3.Training and Overtraining
One can compare training and recovery to the act of digging with a shovel. In the spring, you grab the shovel and begin to work the garden. Your hands are not ready for this stimulus. If you do too much, your hands will blister and become infected, and you will be shut down for several days to heal. If you do the right amount, your hands will get a bit tired. They will develop calluses overnight through the recovery process to allow you to do more the next day. Adaptation is all about the right ratio of training and recovery. More is not always better.
How do you know if you’re overtraining? A common tool to measure the signs of overtraining is the morning heart rate. If the morning heart rate is more than five beats above normal, cut the planned work volume in half, and if it is ten beats above normal, take the day off!

4.Background and Peaking
This principle is more appropriate to athletes in preparation to peak at competition. If you would like more info on this, please email me and I will send this info to you.

5.Reversibility
Whether you are a world class athlete or a casual exerciser, it only takes three to four weeks of inactivity for the body to lose its conditioning. Sport scientists call this reversibility. It takes a long time to achieve a high level of fitness but this can be quickly lost with a short period of inactivity. The ideal number of strength sessions per muscle group is three times per week to achieve growth. Twice a week is acceptable for a slower rate, and once per week will maintain strength for a period of 6 to 8 weeks before detraining occurs.

Keep in mind that strength training, when performed properly, has very positive effects on the body. It helps improve posture, overall health and well-being, including bone mass, muscle, tendon and ligament strength. This strength, in turn, strengthens the joints in our body. Ultimately, we evade injury and improve joint function. Follow the principles above and success in the weight room will be yours!

Happy training, everyone!

Sandra

Physical Literacy at Totum Life Science

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Active For Life interviewed Totum co-founder Stacy Irvine about instilling the knowledge of fitness, or physical literacy, in children, and why it’s so important to the long-term health of both children and adults.

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Top Health Trends for 2013

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Stacy Irvine recently visited CityLine to look at the top health and fitness trends of the year ahead, including growing obesity, qualifications for fitness professionals, multi-purpose fitness equipment, and meditation.

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