Top Five Personalities You’ll Meet in a Gym

23 Feb



 (Just a bit of lighthearted fun from the desk of a Personal Trainer)

The “Chatty Cathy”

This is the person you avoid saying “hello” to becuase they’ll keep you talking. Whether they are gossipers fishing for information or talking to you between sets. These people go out of their way to talk to you. Even if you’re wearing headphones and say, “I can’t hear you” this person MUST get your attention for whatever reason. This person may even interrupt a conversation you’re having to insert their opinion. They have big mouths and may often say things just to get your attention. A polite “hello” is one thing. Not everyone needs or wants to hear your life story when they’re exercising.

The “Know it All”

This is the person who interrupts your work out and tells you what you’re doing wrong. “Here’s what I do.” They’ll say. I love these people who try to do my job for me! Offering unsolicited advice to people you don’t know is a great way to potentially hurt someone. Unless you’ve been asked or have been in the fitness profession, you have no business telling other people how to work out. Above all, you have no experience working with people. It’s the “know it alls” that often do exercises incorrectly. Don’t take advice from people you don’t know.

The “Macho Man”

I think we’ve all seen this guy working out. He lifts ridiculous amounts of weight. He does every exercise wrong. Yet, he thinks he’s impressing people. Certainly unwilling to be corrected by people who actually know what they’re doing. This guy thinks he is the “be all and end all” in the gym. No one can outlift him and no one ever will! At least until he throws his back out.

The “Negotiator”

When his membership is due, he’s looking for “a great deal” and thinks he deserves it. Newsflash! Everyone wants a deal on their membership. No one is more or less deserving of a break. Keep in mind facilities depend on membership sales. If they gave a “deal” to everyone they met, they’d be out of business. This person will argue over nickels and dimes.

The “Complainer”

I’m talking about whiners and complainers who complain for the sake of being negative. They are out to drag people down becuase they are miserable. When it is wrong, this person is always quick to point it out. When it’s going right, they are never ever going to say, “Thank you.” They’ll never acknowledge when you’re doing the job well.

Super-Agers: The New Superheroes of Brain Health?

23 Feb


The New Superheroes of Brain Health?

Who knew being over 80 could be so great? The SuperAging study at Northwestern University in Chicago is exploring how to retain memory as we get older. The attempt to find new drugs in the fight against Alzheimers disease has come up short. One study attempts to look at the brain’s of those over 80 who can retain memory function. What qualities do these individuals posses?

Some of the answers lay deep in the brain. This study was conducted on 1,000 people. A memory test was completed in order to asses these individuals. A very select few pass this test. To read further information on this article I’ll attach the link at the end of my post. A surprising finding was that genetics may not play a part of developing neurologcial disease. A gentleman referenced in this article had a father who died of Alzheimers at 50 years old. He’s 87 years old and credits staying physically, mentally and socially active. He tends to emphasizes social networking as helping to “keep your wits about you.” Which I tend to agree with. Social connection is highly important and I believe very connected to brain function as we age.

Perhaps we must look deeper in to the brain. There we may find the answers we’re looking for. Our brain’s tend to shrink as we age.

Brain scans showed that a superager’s cortex — an outer brain layer critical for memory and other key functions — is much thicker than normal for their age. It looks more like the cortex of healthy 50- and 60-year-olds. But Rogalski’s team found another possible explanation: A superager’s cortex doesn’t shrink as fast. Over 18 months, average 80-somethings experienced more than twice the rate of loss.

Another clue: Deeper in the brain, that attention region is larger in superagers, too. And inside, autopsies showed that brain region was packed with unusual large, spindly neurons — a special and little understood type called von Economo neurons thought to play a role in social processing and awareness.”

Here’s the difference with “SuperAgers”: The cortex that lay outside the brain is responsible for memory and is noticed to be thicker. As well, their cortex has a less of a tendency to shrink. Autopsies conducted demonstrated that their brains were packed with large, spindly neurons responsible for “social processing and awareness.” What does this mean? Social interaction could be a large factor in maintaing these neurons as we age. Could it be that those with active social tendencies have a better chance of avoiding neurological impairment? Especially if this study demonstrates genetics may not play a role in this disease.

Something to keep in mind!


Here’s the link I referenced in my article:

The Bench Press: Overused and Outdated?

23 Feb

The Bench Press:

Overused and Outdated?

I’m going to start off saying a bench press is by far one the most poorly executed exercises. As a measure of strength, it’s absolute nonsense! High School boys measure their Max Bench Press on a chart at school. The higher the max, the more macho the man! It’s not a useful exercise unless you know how to apply it properly. Let’s take the conventional bench press and look deeper as to why it may be overused and outdated.

A True Measure of Strength?

The bench press has long been regarded as a measure of strength. Unless you’re laying under a car and trying to push it off of you, it makes no sense to me. Applying strength on a fixed machine is much different than applying strength off machines. Why? You can probably get away with lifting heavier because it requires no activation of your abdominal wall.

I’ve taken big muscular men and put them on a Swiss Ball or Bosu Ball. Is it ever interesting to literally watch them squirm. The kicker is, they aren’t even lifting weight. Simply holding their body weight is difficult. What’s the difference? A ball is not a fixed bench. They have nothing to brace against. You can get away with having poor core strength on a bench. An unstable object reveals the true nature of abdominal weakness.

Mechanics of a Bench Press

Basic Bench Press on Swiss Ball

This is a demonstration using a light bar in order to show the appropriate technique for a bench press on the ball. I see too many do this exercise poorly and want to make sure you don't hurt yourself! I often use this technique with my clients to practice proper execution of the exercise. This is a great exercise for shoulder rehab after a rotator cuff operation.*Please ask before trying any new exercise in the gym*

Posted by All Fit All Ages Gym on Thursday, February 22, 2018

As a trainer working with people who have bad shoulders, the bench press is the LAST exercise I’d prescribe. I’m referring to a bench press on a fixed bench, not a swiss ball. I tend to teach my clients to get really good doing a bench press on the ball. Why? The mechanics of how your body moves during an exercise is important to know. If you don’t know why you’re doing an exercise, why do it?

We all know where our shoulder blades are located. Each shoulder blade is connected to the shoulder joint. It acts as a support for the shoulder when it moves. When you move your arm in any direction, the shoulder blade follows suit to allow proper range of motion. When you’re on your back, on a fixed bench, what happens to the shoulder? Your shoulder blades are not allowed to move therefore leaving the shoulder unsupported. This a good way to really hurt yourself. Especially if you bounce the bar off your chest. Anyone call for a dislocated shoulder?

Doing it Right

A swiss ball poses more of a challenge. Your body is having to combat the balance issue in order to keep from falling over. In simple terms, that means it’s a hell of a lot harder. It engages more of the body and mind. Often what happens is that people wiggle on a ball. This is a very normal response for the body when it’s an unbalanced position. It’s literally trying to right itself. Do you have to worry about that on a fixed bench? Not so much. That bench isn’t moving anywhere so you can get away with lifting more.

Any of you out there who think I’m full of it, I dare you to try a swiss ball. If you’ve never ever done it before then please ask a professional. For the sake of your safety (and your pride) watch my demonstration first. I’ve been using a Swiss Ball for 19 years. Take my word for it, this exercise is harder than it looks. Especially if you’ve NEVER incorporated a ball in to your work out. If you’re going to do an exercise, do it right! Don’t sacrifice your shoulders for the sake of lifting too much.

Here’s to your health!


Eating What I Want: No shame, No Regrets!

22 Feb

Eating What I Want:

No Shame, No Regrets!

Because your weight isn’t all that matters.

Chubby Awkward Phase!

I went through that awkward chubby phase as a kid. I think we all did. Did I eat too much? Not really. Was I inactive? Hardly. Did I have a hang up with food? Never. I don’t actually remember food being an enemy of mine. My mom never made comments about my eating habits or my body shape.

In fact, she was always very active and taught me how to cook. Food was fun!

Playing Hockey with my Brother

I played every sport I could. I was pretty athletic as a little girl. Certainly not the dainty or delicate type. I always played with the boys becuase I could afford to be more rough. I don’t recall anyone calling me names or mentioning my weight. Looking back, I don’t think I ever had time to sit still long enough to listen. It never ever crossed my mind to be embarassed about who I was.

The Only Girl in the Gym- Eighteen Years Ago


I work with a lot of young women who suffer severe self esteem issues. It takes one negative comment to set these women on a negative course. Each one can pinpoint the exact comment. It’s fascinating how one innocent comment said in passing can change the course of a life. I’ve always wondered how that works. I’ve learned to develop a thick skin and really ignore nay-sayers. Doesn’t mean a negative comment doesn’t hurt. It simply hurts for less time.

I’d rather be happy and imperfect than miserable because I’m not perfect.

I decided my life wouldn’t be wrapped around being self conscious. I didn’t want to spend my life in the shadows because I have body fat. I took on a “Who cares!” Kind of attitude. I’m not in it to be perfect and I don’t have to justify my body to anyone. I learned a harsh lesson long ago. Those who are hurling the insults often are hurting inside. I feel sorry for those people and want to help them. That’s why I don’t take insults personally. It’s often never really about me.

I may come across as non-chalant. Is it really that easy to be so carefrere about your body? No. I’ve had many moments of self doubt. I’ve looked in the mirror and felt unpretty. I looked down at my stomach and wish it was flatter. I spent most most of my life feeling like the “ugly duckling” becuase guys were never interested in me. Yes, it bothered me. No, it didn’t bother me enough to make me want to change.

Trying to be perfect means chasing an impossible dream.

I’d rather be happy as an imperfect person than be miserable because I’m not perfect.

I’m not really hung up on food. I don’t count calories or worry excessively about carbohydrates and sugar. I’m “a little bit of everything” type of gal. I find much more freedom in allowing little bits of what I want. I’m still active and exercise 4-5 days per week. Will I worry about that one piece of birthday cake? Nah. I trust myself to keep it reasonable. Life is far too short to deny yourself something for the sake of a pound.

Take care of yourself. Don’t be afraid to live.

What’s the Matter? How Exercise Affects Brain Function

22 Feb

What’s the Matter?

How Exercise Affects Brain Function.

Exercise is something to keep in mind.

What is white matter? How on earth does it connect to the brain? Well, according to an article written b

         In essence white matter is what connects the nerve fibres in the brain. In a way, its how nerves speak to each other. I’ve researched a few articles here which I’ll attach as a link at the end of the article. I’m passionate about sharing information about exercise and it’s effects on neurological disease. What I learn can be shared with you.

Squat to stand w/knee to hand

Here's John and I 🙂 He manages symptoms of memory loss. We have worked together since 2016. Here's an exercise I designed to help challenge John in order to remember a new pattern of movement. Thanks for watching!

Posted by All Fit All Ages Gym on Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The above video is me working with a client who has memory loss. The goal with this exercise is to challenge the brain responsible for learning new patterns. John struggles with this exercise at first. He doesn’t understand how to connect the directions I’m giving with his actions. You’ll see me use touch to demonstrate what part of the body I need him to use. When I hold my hand up, I need him to touch my hand with his knee.

I learned there is a distinction between Dementia and MCI (mild cognitive impairment). What I learned is that Dementia has a far more disruptive and destructive effect on the brain. MCL is noted to not interefere with functionality and the ability to take care of yourself. I wonder if this is what my client could be classified as. It was important for me to learn the difference in order to help those I work with. John is highly functional. He can demonstrate an exercise, yet struggles to explain what he’s doing.

One study was based on those with MCI. A University  in Texas wanted to measure the connection between the integrity of white matter, cognitive ability and cardiorespiratory fitness. In simple terms, what is the connection between one’s cardiovascular strength and memory. Those suffering from MCL are also noted to have a higher risk of this disease if there’s a history of cardiovascular disease in the family. Hence the link between cardiovascular ability and white matter in the brain.

Cardiovascular Strength linked to stronger white matter.

For their investigation, Prof. Ding and her colleagues recruited 81 participants aged 65, on average. Of these, 55 were people with amnestic MCI and 26 were healthy individuals without MCI (the controls).

The team assessed the participants’ cardiorespiratory fitness by measuring their maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) during an aerobic exercise test.”

Those who have MCI vs. healthy individuals were assessed on their cardiovascular output. A scan was conducted on all participants in order “to assess the integrity of the nerve fibers that make up the white matter in the brain.” With this particular scan, researches get a sense of white matter fibres that may have deteriorated in certain parts of the brain.

The results showed that the MCI patients and the healthy controls had no differences in global white matter fiber integrity and VO2max. However, closer examination showed that lower aerobic fitness was linked to weaker white matter in some parts of the brain.

 It is suggested that those with a lower V02 Max suffered from weaker white matter in parts of the brain. This can lead to memory impairment. If we’re keeping it really simple, there’s a distinct link between cardiovascular health and white matter. The stronger your heart, the stronger the mind. At least this is what the study suggests.

Why does it matter?

There’s far more to the story but the lesson is this. Studies have concluded the benefit of cardio exercise in the prevention of Alzheimers, Dementia and MCL. It increases the strength of the white matter fibres in your brain. The connections between these nerves act as signals to your brain.

I’ll sum it up like this:

Exercise Strengthens The Connection Between Body and Mind

Strong cardiovascular strength= strong white matter.

Strong white matter = strong nerve connections.

 Strong nerve connections =  strong signal to your brain.

Strong signal to your brain = strong memory function


Study Referenced in my blog:

Alcohol and Dementia: A Preventable Risk.

21 Feb

Alcohol and Dementia:

A Preventable Risk.

A study conducted by various Universities in Europe and Canada concluded that alchohol is a top risk factor for developing dementia. “Of the 57,000 cases of early-onset dementia (before the age of 65), the majority (57%) were related to chronic heavy drinking.” Intervention is necessary for those consuming excess amounts.

“The findings indicate that heavy drinking and alcohol use disorders are the most important risk factors for dementia, and especially important for those types of dementia which start before age 65, and which lead to premature deaths,” says study co-author and Director of the CAMH Institute for Mental Health Policy Research Dr. Jürgen Rehm

What is the message here? Alcohol has a distinct affect on the body and mind. There’s a clear link between alcohol abuse and congition. Alcohol shortens your life by almost twenty years. Those suffering from chronic alcohol abuse are at a higer risk of dying from dementia. Noted in this study is the difference in men and women as well. “While the overall majority of dementia patients were women, almost two-thirds of all early-onset dementia patients (64.9%) were men.”

By far the most preventable risk factor. Intervention sooner rather than later appears to be beneficial. The study concludes that in combination of other risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes, alchohol significantly contributes to the onset of dementia.


For Further information on the study:

Secrets for Women in Exercise: The Group Mentality

16 Feb

The Group Mentality:

Secrets of Success for Women in Exercise.

Having a little too much fun before class!

Having a little too much fun before class starts!This group works so hard. Way to go ladies 🙂

Posted by All Fit All Ages Gym on Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Getting Stronger Together.

After fifteen years in our group exercise class, comraderie rings true! These women were having some fun before exercise class. They were jumping around to the music and laughing. It epitomizes my entire article in one short video. Why are group classes so successful for women?

I definitely notice a difference between female and male participation in a group setting. Women seem to participate in higher numbers. That’s not to say males don’t participate in group classes. These women in the above video have been members for fifteen years and participate four days a week. What keeps them motivated?

There’s still a misconception that group classes for women are “girly”. I don’t like using that term. I use it as a way to describe the sterotypes that go along women in exercise. I’ve heard the term “Jazzercise” or “Booty Bootcamp”. These terms come from those men who have that “80”s video, women wearing leg warmers and a unitard” type of mentality. “One more! Two more!” I think we’ve all seen the videos. I’d like to think the group class has evolved from that. The truth from what I’ve seen is that women like a challenge. Why would we design our classes any other way?

Here’s a clip of what we do:

Step and Half Ball Circuit

Here's what we've been up to all week 🙂

Posted by All Fit All Ages Gym on Thursday, January 25, 2018

Notice we have no women in unitards jumping around like jack-rabbits. No choreographed steps to remember. No annoying instructor belting out, “ONE MORE! TWO MORE!” These are not particularly easy combinations to complete. Most of these women are over fifty. So when I hear these outdated terms used to refer to group classes, I have to laugh. I participate in these classes and I can tell you from experience, they are not easy. That’s the way we like it.

Women are definitely more social. They like the encouragement from their peers and feel a sense of obligation to come. “I feel guilty when I don’t show up!” I hear quite often.

Women are REALLY hard workers.

Being a part of a group means you are a part of something. Damn it, we want to contribute to that group. We really do come together and work hard with each other. We push each other to be our best. That’s why I think group classes can be successful.

Our group classes have fun for fifteen years. We have the same group that started fifteen years ago. It’s really a wonderful environment for those just starting out as well. The veterans help the rookies. The rookies get stronger and the veterans keep getting better. It’s really about helping each other. We all keep getting stronger together.







High Tech Fitness: Does it really sell?

15 Feb

High Tech Fitness:

Does it really sell?

Call me old school but a pen and paper works better for me.

                  I am not well versed on Fitness techoolgy. I find it very confusing and often distracting amongst those who use it. I am the type who listens to her music on LP’s and 45″s. I need something tangible to hold in my hands. I have no time to sit and fiddle with my phone and all the added features. I am a talk and text kind of gal. No frills thanks!

                  If you ask me what I think about all this fitness technology out there, my honest answer is I don’t know. Call me old school but a pen and paper works better for me. Something I can easily write on, erase, correct and modify without the click of a button. Plus it’s a hell of a lot cheaper.

                 This article features a club based in Toronto that has been in business for 68 years. If you have a look at their approach to business it is very much focused on creating close knit relationships amongst it’s members. They don’t have wifi or even fancy machines that connect to your cellphone (I’m assuming some machines do that lol). My point is that in the age of advanced technology, have we lost the simplicity of what exercise is really about?

             I can see why High Tech would suit an elite athlete. He/she must track their progress. Detailed records need to be kept in order to achieve thir peak performance. What about the average person? Do we really need all this fancy technology just to get moving.

It’s kind of interesting that with all this fancy exercise tech,
the rate of obesity keeps going up especially amongst children.

This begs the question, does it really work? If so, who does it work for? I fear with the advance in technology in the fitness industry, we are losing connection. Why does it matter? Exercise is about connecting with yourself first. I beleive that occurs when you re-connect to what really matters and disconnect with things that don’t. Depending on technology to tell you how healthy you are or aren’t may detract from that.

I’m not against technology. If it appeals to you then I think it’s a great tool. I’m certainly not impressed or driven to make it a part of my exercise routine. I focus more on how I feel from the inside out. As far as I’m concerned, the best fitness tracker is the one I carry with me. My brain. Or my pen and paper… No one ever said technology was accurate. Keep that in mind.

Take time to read and decide for yourself.

Here’s to your health!

High Tech or Low Tech? What really matters to customers?

Parkinsons Disease and Exercise: Punching it out

14 Feb

Parkinsons Disease and Exercise:

Punching it Out

“The big thing about parkinsons is that you need to exercise”. 


Managing Parkinsons Through Kickboxing.

         I across this article in a local newspaper. This gentleman has Parkinsons Disease. I thought I’d share the story with you because it’s always what I try to encourage.

“The big thing about parkinsons is that you need to exercise”. 

             I thought this was a great story and inspirational for those who are combating this disease. I work with clients such as this gentleman. It is important to find resources to help manage the symptoms. I believe when you stay active, it definitely makes a positive difference. Take the time to read the article. It’s a positive spin on an otherwise destructive disease.


Thanks for reading!