Bodyweight Home Workout

Bodyweight Home Workout

Bodyweight Home Workout for Women Over 40

This is the most unique workout you will ever do (self-prescribed😂). You are also going to have so much fun with this workout… guaranteed.

Now, I can’t tell you why.

I just need you to trust me.

So, push play and find out for yourself why this workout is so damn unique and so much fun!

I look forward to reading your comments 🙌🏼!

 

TOOLS NEEDED

I tell ya in the first 45 seconds

THE WORKOUT

1. Push up with shoulder tap (or wall push-ups)
2. High knees shuffle (jump or no jump)
3 x 30sec

3. L leg bridge
4. L leg single leg deadlift with jump (optional)
3 x 30sec

5. R leg bridge
6. R leg single leg deadlift with jump (optional)
3 x 30sec

7. Plank with taps (or v sit if planks are hard on the shoulders)
8. Jump up & over (or step)
3 x 30sec

9. Squat hold & touch heels
10. Skaters (with or without jump)
3 x 30sec

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The Most Useless Exercise Ever

The Most Useless Exercise Ever

The Most Useless Exercise Ever

Einstein is quoted as having said that the definition of insanity “is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

This quote leads me to beg the question then, why do people still continue to do abdominal crunches and expect a 6-pak and a functional midsection in return?

If crunches were the answer to a toned tummy all of us would have them.

But alas we don’t, do we? Canada is currently sitting at a 54% overweight and obesity rate (Stats Can 2014) – with a lot of that fat around our bellies.

Something is clearly not working with all these crunches that we have been doing.

woman-with-belly-fat

Crunches – why they don’t work

First off, let’s review why abdominal crunches don’t work and are the most useless exercise ever.

Number one: you can’t spot train.

This simply means that you cannot take a certain section of your body, like your abs, and perform repetitions isolating that muscle group in hopes of decreasing the size of that body part.

You can try all you want.

Heck you can even stare at your belly while you are doing your crunches and yell at it – but it still won’t work.

Why?

Well, basic physiology tells us that fat is utilized as a fuel source, and when we need that fuel we start burning it from various locations throughout the body. Not from one certain location.

You cannot burn fat from one particular area.

Instead, you gotta keep working at training your whole body and slowly the fat in the area you want reduced will start to go away (that is, of course, if you are eating properly too).

Number two: flexing forward is kind of a dumb move.

One of the functions of the abdominals is to flex the spine forward. That flexing activity (which is essentially what we do when we perform a crunch or a curl-up) is not functional at all though.

Think about it. How often do you actually roll the spine while on your back, on a day-to-day basis?

I can think of one time and one time only – to get out of bed in the morning.

And, while the thought of perfecting that movement is great, it’s not really what I think a lot of us have in mind when we go to the gym.

The abdominals are actually used (during our waking hours) as stabilizers to the spine.

Now, please I understand that I am being very general here.

What the heck do our abs do?

The abs are also used throughout the day for twisting, bending, assistance on breathing as well as flexing.

But, if you were to break it down percentage wise what the abdominal muscles did during most of their waking hours the clear winner would be stabilizing and assisting our spine and our posture.

Taking that into consideration you can now see why an abdominal crunch will not help us out in daily living and provide even less help in sport.

More preferable exercises are ones that lengthen the body and then use the abdominals to hold that position, such as:

Planks

Push-ups

Boat pose

Mountain climbers

We also need exercises that ask the abdominals to assist in stabilizing the spine such as:

Squats

Deadlifts

Lunges

Pull-ups

Power cleans

And finally, we need exercises in our routine that also engage the rotational and twisting ability of our midsection. These include:

Reverse woodchops

Anti-rotational movements with tubing or the Rip Trainer

Russian twists with the medicine ball – careful with form though!

Med ball throw downs

Side plank tempo drills

wall-climber-2

If want to perform a crunch

If you want to perform the odd crunches in your routine then I recommend the following.

The following ab exercises were tested and rated by the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

They sponsored a study to see which ab exercise fired up the rectus abdominus (the long, flat muscle muscle extending the front of the body), and the obliques (our waist muscles) the best.

For strengthening the rectus abdominus, the 13 exercises were ranked most to least effective:

1. Bicycle maneuver
2. Captain’s chair
3. Crunches on exercise ball
4. Vertical leg crunch
5. Torso Track
6. Long arm crunch
7. Reverse crunch
8. Crunch with heel push
9. Ab Roller
10. Hover
11. Traditional crunch
12. Exercise tubing pull
13. Ab Rocker

For strengthening the obliques, the 13 exercises were ranked most to least effective:

1. Captain’s chair
2. Bicycle maneuver
3. Reverse crunch
4. Hover
5. Vertical leg crunch
6. Crunch on exercise ball
7. Torso Track
8. Crunch with heel push
9. Long arm crunch
10. Ab Roller
11. Traditional crunch
12. Exercise tubing pull
13. Ab Rocker

Why You Shouldn’t Do Abdominal Crunches:

  • Because you curl your upper body forward they reinforce the slumped sitting posture
  • They compress the (lower) lumbar segments
  • Crunches can actually weaken the pelvic floor
  • Because of the forward flexion movement they restrict the excursion of the diaphragm and hamper breathing
  • Can cause shearing strains across the high lumbar segments
  • Crunches, especially legs supported full sit-ups, over use the hip flexor muscles
  • Ab crunches tend to also over use the rectus abdominis muscle at the expense of the obliques and TA (your deep abdominal muscle)

Final thoughts

And last, but not least, if getting rid of that fat is what you really want, then you need to take a long hard look at what you are eating.

Great abs are actually cooked in the kitchen first and then trained hard in the gym second.

 

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5 Natural Remedies for Treating Menopause

5 Natural Remedies for Treating Menopause

5 Natural Remedies for Treating Menopause

Five natural remedies for treating menopausal symptoms.

Menopause. It comes with it’s perks.

No more period! No more buying tampons! No more buying pads! No more menstrual cramps!

But, to get there we have to put up with:

Irregular periods

Hot flashes and night sweats

Sleep problems

Mood changes

Weight gain

Thinning hair and dry skin

Vaginal dryness

Low libido

Now, this doesn’t mean all of us will get the above symptoms, and for those of that do it also doesn’t mean we have take this lying down.

There are natural ways we can manage our menopause symptoms.

(NOTE: If your symptoms are severe, though, you may need HRT. Talk to your doctor or menopause specialist.)

5 Natural Remedies for Menopause

1/ Exercise.

Go figure I would list this as the first natural remedy to menopause. But, it’s also what all the experts recommend as well.

First, exercise releases endorphins, thereby improving our moods.

Second, exercise has a positive effect on cognitive functioning. Helping us through that brain fog that plague so many women in menopause.

Third, exercise lowers blood pressure, improves lipoprotein profile, C-reactive protein and other heart disease biomakers.

Fourth, exercise helps to enhance insulin sensitivity that gets impaired as we age.

And finally, exercise can help prevent weight gain.

This is particularly important for menopausal women as our weight tends to stick to unusual places (hello meno-pod), and our scales refuse to budge.

Which is super frustrating! Isn’t it??

However, one of the reasons that this is so common in menopause is because of our fluctuating estrogen levels.

You see estrogen tends to cause our body to hold onto fat. And then on top of this fat actually produces more estrogen, which then creates even more fat.

Therefore, the vicious cycle continues.

Start adding fitness slowly into your routine.

Add a HIIT, or higher intensity, cardio workout once a week into your routine.

Strength train 2-4 times a week.

If you’re a beginner, get a workout program designed with you (and weight loss) in mind.

2/ Eat well.

What we put in our bodies has a huge impact on our menopause symptoms.

Foods to keep an eye that could trigger your menopause symptoms:

Fatty cuts of meat: for heart health and your waistline

Sugar: for fatigue and weight gain (eliminate completely!)

Refined carbs: mood swings, fatigue and weight gain (eliminate completely!)

Caffeine: hot flashes, increased cortisol levels and sleep problems

Alcohol: hot flashes, fatigue, mood swings, weight gain (eliminate completely! Haha, just joking. Scared ya though, didn’t I?)

Spicy foods: hot flashes

Hot foods: hot flashes

What to eat instead?

Clean sources of protein (such as free-range beef, bison, chicken, turkey, fish, beans and legumes)

Soy: the isoflavones in soy foods are thought to balance the hormones levels. There is research about soy both working and not working (very confusing Mr and Mrs Researchers), as well there are questions about the safety of soy too (in some studies the participants have seen an increase in breast cancer). Experts recommend avoiding supplements, and instead, choose from food sources such as tofu, soy milk, roasted soy nuts or tempeh.

Vegetables: aim for at least a pound a day and make half of that raw. Also please choose green whenever you can – green is the new black.

Fruit: get sugar out of your life and add fruit instead. For weight loss, I would recommend 2 pieces of fruit a day (no more), and earlier in the day when the body processes carbs better.

Complex carbs: oats, brown rice, veggies and fruit, beans, legumes, quinoa, grains and ancient grains

Healthy fats: avocados & avocado oil, coconut oil, organic butter & ghee, extra virgin olive oil, eggs with the yolk, nuts and seeds, and omega-3s

Flax seed: the lignans found in flax seeds are thought to balance our hormones, however according to the Mayo Clinic flax does not provide any benefit from hot flashes. It’s worth a try though. Now, it needs to be pointed out that the study that the Mayo Clinic is referring to used breast cancer patients and all were postmenopausal.

My question: would a woman without cancer, and in peri or menopause see benefits?

I say try it. You have nothing to lose and if flax doesn’t help your menopause symptoms at least you will be giving yourself a good boost of fibre and healthy fats.

3/ Decrease your stress.

Stress can be the culprit behind additional imbalances in hormones and neurotransmitters that affect mood, as well as mental function, thyroid function, digestive function, and especially blood sugar imbalances.

Stress has also been linked to symptoms such as hot flashes and low libido.

In addition, stress can make the body hold onto fat, and create more fat. Since the brain thinks the body is under attack.

Learn to decrease your stress with meditation, yoga or by performing a few deep belly breathes next time you are feeling anxious.

Lie on your back with a book resting on your belly. Inhale deeply and feel the book rise under your belly. Exhale fully and feel the book lower toward the spine.

Repeat for 2-10 minutes daily to improve your vagus nerve function – which can calm an overactive central nervous system.

4/ Acupuncture.

Many women find relief from menopause symptoms with acupuncture.

Even the experts say that acupuncture (as well as hypnosis, meditation and yoga) can help and have good safety records.

This means that acupuncture has worked in women to help relieve the symptoms of menopause and have done so with no risk to our health.

So even if it doesn’t work for you, you won’t put yourself at risk for trying.

On a different note, I personally have used acupuncture in the past for low back pain, and with complete success.

5/ Herbs, supplements and essential oils.

The following natural products are what some women take to help with their symptoms.

However, none have clearly been shown to be 100% helpful. There is also little information on the long-term safety of natural products, and some can have harmful side effects or interact with drugs.

With all that said, I know of a lot of woman who use natural products and with great success.

My suggestion is to discuss using any of these treatments with a menopause specialist, or a naturopath who specializes in women’s health.

Black cohosh – one of the best studied traditional herbs for menopause. Black cohosh seems to work by supporting and maintaining our hormone levels.

Vitamin E – a daily dose of 400 IU could help alleviate hot flashes.

B vitamins – these water-soluble vitamins may help deal with the stress of menopausal symptoms.

Evening primrose or black currant oil – these are sources of essential fatty acids that can help moderate menopausal symptoms.

Dong quai – a herb that could help support and maintain the natural balance of our hormones.

Bottom line

Begin the process of managing your menopause symptoms with tips 1 through 4 first.

None of these have side effects, and each has been researched and shown to help support our bodies – at any time in our lives.

If your symptoms still persist see a menopause specialist, or a naturopath who specializes in women’s health to discuss the use of herbs and supplements, or even HRT.

 

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Women, Heart Disease and Menopause

Women, Heart Disease and Menopause

Women, Heart Disease and Early Menopause

Today I’m talking about our heart health and how we can protect our beating hearts.

I will be discussing:

What our heart does for us

What can go wrong with our heart

What are the risk factors for a heart attack and stroke

Do our risk factors change after menopause

Are the signs of a heart attack the same for women

How you can prevent heart disease

What our heart’s do for us

Men’s and women’s hearts are physiologically the same.

For instance, we each have four chambers, with four valves that regulate the flow of blood in our heart.

It’s the heart’s job to pump blood through the body, providing our body with oxygen and nutrients, while carrying waste away.

It is also responsible for falling in love, and sometimes, falling out of.

The average heart will beat around 100,000 times in a one day (unless you do one of my YouTube workouts, then tack on another 500 beats), and pump about 7,570 litres of blood daily.

What can go wrong with our heart

When our heart is working efficiently we don’t really give it much thought.

We take it for granted, kinda. Like how a Kardashian takes for granted that we care about all of their selfies. Until something starts to go wrong.

And there are number of things that can wrong with our heart.

The first is coronary heart disease, which is really an umbrella term for most of the ailments that occur to our heart and blood vessels.

These can be:

  • Arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries)
  • Arrhythmias (irregular rhythm of the heart – liken this to mixing a rap song with Yanni)
  • Congenial defects (a condition existing since birth)
  • Angina (when the heart does not get enough blood to it, unlike Trump where the brain does not get enough blood to it)
  • Heart attacks

What are a women’s risk factors for heart disease

The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation states that while women are living longer today, that doesn’t mean we don’t face the threat of heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease (this is heart disease and stroke), is a leading cause of death for Canadian women and most women have at least one risk factor.

These risk factors include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Mental stress and depression (women’s hearts are more affected by this then men’s)
  • Smoking
  • Inactivity
  • Being overweight
  • High cholesterol (particularly our low density lipids, or LDL levels)
  • Family history,

Menopause is also a risk factor.

Menopause – a risk factor for heart disease

Our hormone estrogen helps the arteries be more flexible and helps to strengthen the interior walls. This is a positive, however as we enter menopause and our levels of estrogen drop we lose that protective edge.

In addition to the drop of estrogen our bodies go through other changes too (no kidding!).

This includes a raise in our blood pressure, our LDL levels may also increase, and our HDL levels (good cholesterol) may decline.

Triglycerides (groups of fatty cells contained within the blood vessels), also go up during and after menopause.

Each of these raises our risk for a cardiac event a little higher.

Are the signs of a heart attack the same for women?

I remember when I first started in the industry we were taught that the signs of a heart attack in a pre-menopausal woman was different from that from a man.

The Canadian Heart and Stroke now suggest that this may not be the case.

Both women and men may experience:

  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Pain in the arm, throat, upper back or jaw
  • Chest pain

Women may describe their pain differently and we may also shrug our symptoms off as anxiety or indigestion.

We also get misdiagnosed a lot.

The Atlantic in 2015 reported that thousands of American women with heart disease are misdiagnosed every year, and with fatal consequenses.

In the UK it was reported in a recent study that 1 in 3 heart attack cases over there are misdiagnosed, with men significantly less likely than women to be initially wrongly diagnosed.

How to prevent heart disease during menopause

So, how can you help prevent a jammer from happening to you?

The best way to protect your heart is with:

  • Aerobic exercise 30-45 minutes, 3-5 times a week
  • Reducing your stress
  • Not smoking
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Reducing your weight to a healthy level
  • Seeing your doctor for a cardiovascular risk stratification to see which factors are significant for you

 

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Hormone Replacement and Cancer

Hormone Replacement and Cancer

Does hormone replacement therapy (HRT) cause cancer?

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a common treatment used to relieve the symptoms of menopause, especially those with severe hot flashes.

It works by replacing the hormones that are dropping as we enter menopause.

HRT augments the body’s natural hormone levels, either in the form of estrogen-alone therapy (ET), for women who have had a hysterectomy (or surgical menopause), or as estrogen with progesterone therapy (EPT), for women who experience menopause naturally at midlife.

Two of the most common HRT meds prescribed are Premarin and Provera.

Both are synthetic hormones and been known to have a carcinogenic (cancer causing) effect on the body.

Dr. Rishi Verma (a Vancouver-based medical doctor who is the owner and medical director of Balance Medical Center and Westcoast Women’s Clinic) explains on his blog that:

Premarin

  • Contains 20+ estrogens
  • All estrogens are derived from pregnant horse urine
  • The majority of the estrogens are estrone (E1) compounds, which are unknown to the human body and unfavourable to our body chemistry
  • The pill is taken orally, which is a dangerous way to take estrogen, as it has been linked to blood clots

Provera

  • Synthetic progestogen which bears little resemblance to progesterone
  • Has a similar effect to progesterone in the uterus, but a directly opposite effect on all other body tissues
  • Is a known carcinogen
  • Is strong enough to cause osteoporosis in young women

Bioidentical Hormones

Bio-identical hormones are hormone preparations which are identical molecules to those produced by the body. These are made from plant chemical, in particular yams and soy.

Many women assume that bio-identical are “natural” hormones are better or safer — but the term “natural” is open to interpretation are not not tested or regulated by Health Canada.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the marketing of these products is misleading to women and that they carry the same risks as other hormonal therapies.

Latest Research on Hormone Replacement Therapy

In 2001 there was a landmark study called The Million Women Study where the researchers there found a link between increased breast cancer risk and hormone replacement therapy.

However, in 2012 a group of experts reviewed the plan and concluded that it wasn’t done properly.

Why did the experts conclude it wasn’t done properly?

Apparently the experts deemed the analysis unreliable because of the way the information was analyzed.

Fast-forward to last August, to the release of a new study aimed to better quantify the size of the risk with the different HRT types.

In this study they used data from a questionnaire on around 40,000 women in the UK.

The study that took place between the years of 2003 and 2015 and assessments were made at recruitment, after 2.5 years and then again at six years.

What did the new study find?

Researchers found women taking combined HRT – both estrogen and progestogen – had just over twice the risk of developing breast cancer compared with women who have never taken HRT.

Women who took the pill for 15 years or more had three times the risk – though this was only seven women in total, meaning the link may have been subject to chance.

The good news.

Thankfully the risk returned to baseline around a year or two after a woman had stopped taking HRT.

Hormone Replacement Therapy and  Cancer

  • HRT can triple a women’s chances of developing breast cancer
  • While the link was first announced in 2001, it was widely disputed
  • Conclusion: this latest study shows a link to breast cancer and HRT

The authors of the new study caution women to put this in perspective though (of course they do, it’s not their boobs and body that are at risk).

They state:

These findings will be of concern to women taking combination HRT. But there are a few extra points to put this into perspective.

The baseline risk of developing breast cancer with combined HRT is still quite small. This research found no link with the estrogen-only pill.

But we still can’t conclude with complete certainty that it’s only the combined pill that carries a breast cancer risk – particularly when the analyses combining all types of HRT found an increased risk. For now, it has to be considered that any type of HRT could carry a small increased risk of breast cancer.

HRT can also increase the risk of developing other types of cancer. Estrogen-only HRT can increase the risk of womb cancer and is normally only used in women who’ve had a hysterectomy – women who were excluded from this study.

This means we cannot conclude that all women taking combined HRT should switch to estrogen-only – they could be increasing their risk of another type of cancer.

Other potential risks of HRT include ovarian cancer and blood clots. Whether or not the benefits outweigh the risks therefore has to be considered on an individual basis.

The authors call for women to be provided with more information to make informed decisions about the potential risks and benefits of HRT overall, and by the specific type: combined or estrogen-only.

Read more: PubMed Health – Combined HRT breast cancer risk ‘may have been underestimated’

What should you do?

Dr Verma recommends:

Navigating through the world of hormone decline and deciding whether to take HRT is a complex one. If you are considering HRT, please go through the following checklist to ensure your safety:

Only trust the judgement of a doctor who is well versed in the pros and cons of both synthetic and bio-identical hormones

If you choose to take hormones, you should test your levels with a 24 hour urine sample at least once per year, or as indicated by your physician

Do not use oral estrogens – they are strongly linked to blood clots

Do not take anything labelled as a progestogen – this is a synthetic version of progesterone, which bears very little similarity

Use the lowest dose possible to achieve your desirable effect

Ensure you are engaging in appropriate screening for breast and bone health, which your doctor can arrange

Dr. Rishi Verma – read more on his blog.

Are there natural ways to rebalance your hormones

Exercise. I recommend 4-5 days a week. Exercise releases endorphins, our feel-good hormones in the brain.

Soy products, have been shown to help improve hot flashes. Examples are: tofu, edamame, miso, soy milk, soy nuts and tempeh

A healthy diet, high in fruits and veggies. Diet can help impact your mood swings.

Herbal remedies that act like our own hormones. If you do decide to take HRT, ask if you can take an estrogen-only, low-dose formula and try to take it for the shortest time possible. You also may want to ask about vaginal or transdermal HRT.

Decrease your stress with yoga, meditation or deep breathing.

Bottom line

If you do decide to take HRT, ask if you can take an estrogen-only, low-dose formula and try to take it for the shortest time possible. You also may want to ask about vaginal or transdermal HRT.

It’s important to work closely with your physician or other specialist in menopausal health to decide what’s right for you and then monitor on a regular basis.

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