Finding Your Fit(ness) – What’s Your Perfect Match #coverstory By Lorne Marr
In today’s world, the fitness landscape has become increasingly wide and confusing with so many options available, it can be difficult to find the form of exercise that is best suited to you. Let’s face it, to inspire you to make room in your life for fitness, the form of fitness needs to speak to you; it needs to be something you can fall in love with and something you will actually want to do.
We spoke with some of the city’s top fitness professionals to try and help you find your fit(ness).
PERSONAL TRAINING / NUTRITION
Nutrition is key on the fitness journey, but it is often overlooked. Simply “giving it your all” in the gym is not going to lead to the results you want. Your body requires specific pieces in the nutrition puzzle in order to be fit. To learn more about this, we talked to Dan Jackson and Rebecca Franklin, Personal Trainers and owners of Junction Fitness Hub.
Rebecca elaborates on the first step towards monitoring your nutrition, “For the general population, figuring out what you typically eat and drink in a day and determining the level of intensity from exercise is step number one. I have a few calculations that I like to use for determining someone’s level of intensity from exercise but the simplest way to determine what you are eating is tracking food intake through something like the MyFitnessPal app.”
Jackson adds, “When you are looking at sources of food, focus on higher quality foods as that will lead to higher nutrient density per calorie and more return on your investment. Next, focus on Macros (protein, fat and carbohydrates). Use macros to formulate nutrition to still enjoy some of the foods you usually eat but
be accountable for what you are eating. Adjusting anything is easy, just change the ratio of macros and you can continue to eat what you eat. Focus on high quality food, stay consistent to your macros and you will be in great shape no matter your age!”
The mind-body connection is something that you hear about often in fitness, but nowhere is it more prevalent than in yoga. We asked Monica Voss, the Co-Owner and Director of Esther Myers Yoga Studio about this and about why you should give yoga a try.
“While practicing yoga, we take time to become aware of the body on the ground, our breathing and the centre of our organism, the spine. By breathing, grounding and releasing tension especially along the spine, we become more stable, integrated, energized, aware and happier. The enjoyment factor in moving and breathing with ease is the main fitness benefit. In yoga, we learn to appreciate and enhance how the mind supports the body’s capacity to move and stretch and how the body’s movement engages and relaxes the mind.”
THE WORK-LIFE BALANCE
For a lot of people, the drive to adopt a healthier lifestyle isn’t lacking, but finding ways to fit healthy choices into an already busy schedule can seem daunting. For advice on striking the elusive but essential “healthy work-life balance,” we turned to the mind behind the successful fitness blog www.fitafter45.ca, Lorne Marr. Married with three children, Lorne is the owner of one of Canada’s most successful life and health insurance agencies, LSMInsurance.ca.
“Finding a balance between work and fitness isn’t as hard as many people make it seem. The key lies in making fitness a priority. Everything stems from your ability to stay fit and healthy. It has a direct impact on your income level and your ability to spend quality time with your friends and family. Make your workout an appointment like any other appointment in your life.”
Lorne adds, “when you’re in the gym, or on the track, or however you choose to work out, keep your focus for that entire time. Tune out external distractions like text messages or phone calls. This will enhance your focus and improve the quality of your workouts and your results.”
Lorne enters the gym with a clear plan of action regarding what he wants to accomplish in that hour. “I treat my workouts with the same intensity and energy that I would give to an important business meeting.”
Another tip Lorne offers is to use the “Power of Habit” to your advantage. “Understand the role habit plays in developing a healthy lifestyle. Be aware of the cues and rewards that are influencing your behavior and use them to your advantage.”
Pilates often gets confused as an offshoot of yoga. While there are certain similarities, in that Pilates is a body weight centric workout, the two are actually very different. We spoke with Julia Wyncoll, Owner and Director of Inhabit Pilates and Movement, who explains Pilates very concisely. “Pilates is a mind-body exercise, it’s thinking your way through movement; everything comes from your center, but it’s not ‘core work’ because your whole body is involved.”
Wyncoll goes on to describe Pilates as, “one of the best modalities for learning about your own body and it is not one size fits all. It’s a way to learn about who you are, and how your body works. It’s not very sexy to say, but you need to get organized. The more you know about your body, the better you know how to move your body, the better you are going to do, and the better you are going to feel.”
Martial arts is a form of fitness that holds a lot of mystique and pull for some people, and according to Grand Master Jung Ko, it’s pretty easy to see why.
“It’s the incentive of the belt system. Students are making constant improvement, you go one by one, and it’s there to help guide you. Taekwondo has a testing system, and just like in school when you know you have a test coming up, what do you do? — you prepare for it. That gives a little more motivation, and a little more incentive to give that extra effort. That’s one of the reasons so many people continue with martial arts. It provides you with a way to systematically stay on track.”
Spinning has gone from a buzzword form of fitness to a mainstay in most major gyms and it’s definitely an option worth considering when looking for a way to get fit. Spinning is a type of group exercise centred around stationary bikes, but if you ask Dana Rocket, Founder and Owner of Rocket Cycle, it is so much more than that.
“Spinning truly has nothing to do with the ride in my opinion. As the owner of Rocket Cycle I believe that you can put your legs on a bike anywhere in the world and they will know to go around and around, but at Rocket Cycle there is a magic that happens when we ride. A safe place to be yourself, let yourself go and live in the moment. The exercise is simply secondary. Spinning is an amazing sport that absolutely anyone can do. Anyone!”
Finding your fit(ness) can mean putting yourself out there and trying any number of the workouts detailed here, or even some additional ones. The essence of this strategy was eloquently summed up by our Pilates expert Julia Wyncoll: “Try different things until you find something that is really good for you and then make it a part of your life.” It might seem obvious, but that advice is the real key to finding your fit(ness).
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Lorne Marr is a Toronto-based fitness enthusiast and lifelong advocate of healthy living. He launched www.FitAfter45.ca with the goal of discovering the best methods of training and nutrition for athletes and weekend warriors over 45.