KR contributes a bi-weekly fitness column to the Edmonton Journal.

Posh, foodie calories are still calories

With fork in hand I write this column while eradicating the remains of an Easter carrot cake that, by all accounts, was consumed unaccompanied. Typical hosting etiquette was shed like a Caribbean tan as I served myself first and often over the long weekend. Carrot cake is my crack cocaine. Left to my own devices, I would have eaten the whole thing in one sitting. Some claim I did. Frankly, I don’t recall — it’s all a bit of a …

Big Gains for Seniors

If you’re older than 50, its time to seriously start thinking about exercise. Why toil through a lifetime of hard work to find you can’t move at 60? Retirement should be about enjoying the fruits of your labour, not sitting it out. Never exercised before? No worries. Research strongly suggests fitness neophytes have everything to gain and nothing to lose by lifting weights and performing cardio. In fact, those following the right formula can recover decades of lost health. Your …

Does your fitness centre empower you?

A number of years ago, we headed into the Canadian wilderness, young kids in tow, for some time off the grid. With life’s comforts heaped into a wobbly canoe, we left the portage store hoping nothing vital was missed in all the chaos. After a wonderful week of sun, we packed up the canoe for a three-hour paddle in the rain — my wife at the bow, me at the stern and the kids playing under a makeshift tent in …

Want to lose weight and gain muscle? Stick to the basics.

A number of years ago while living in Ontario, we helped sponsor a young man from Sierra Leone. He was fascinated by many everyday things we take for granted. I’m not talking the typical Canadian traditions such as hockey, coffee and doughnuts. It was the mundane stuff that sparked his interest. (He stared intently at a hamburger for 10 minutes before asking what to do with it.) Of course, he was intrigued by snow and wanted to know how we …

Building a healthy chest.

Even if you bask in the glow of a sunny disposition, the stresses of daily life are pulling you down. Cellphones, computer screens, poor flexibility and weak back muscles are dragging you into a default slouch. We’ve talked before about the importance of strengthening mid-back and shoulder muscles to counter the strain brought about by gravity, muscle atrophy and computers. To promote functional health and stability, it’s just as important to understand the impact a weak or overdeveloped chest can …

Not Getting Results? Which profile matches your exercise pattern?

After 30 years in the fitness industry, you start to notice some pretty distinct patterns in people’s health and wellness behaviours — from a religious fervour for all things sedentary to daily toil under an oppressive squat rack. More relevant than these two extremes, perhaps, is the cohort of frustrated resolutionists who wrestle with daily weight-loss struggles — treadmill vs. couch, salad vs. cheeseburger. As you trip over your gym bag, take solace in the fact that many share a …

Workout smarter, not harder, if you’re in the 50-plus club

The crazy workout stuff I used to do as a 20-year-old has definitely morphed over the years — run 10 km to the gym, lift weights for an hour, bike home. However, with age comes great wisdom (probably … hopefully … maybe). If you’re in the 50-plus club (or you’re peering in from the 40 side of the fence), training smart becomes a bigger part of your workout strategy. Competing demands, limited energy and longer recovery times all need to …

Making New Years Resolutions That Stick

Almost 50 per cent of us commit to some form of New Year’s resolution. The other 50 per cent are realistic. With a success rate of less than 10 per cent, it seems that late-night, libation-steeped goal-setting may not be the best approach to self-improvement planning. Still, where there’s opportunity, there’s hope. Close to one-third of midnight revellers focus on diet and weight loss while the rest zero in on finance, love and lifestyle. With close to 100 per cent …

Tried and True Fitness Resolutions

Here’s a New Year’s resolution question I never get asked. “Is pairing a balanced diet with vigorous physical activity the best way to achieve one’s health and fitness goals?” More likely, I’m being asked about a diet that attempts to replicate primal eating patterns (weeds and mammoth) or the single best exercise to carve new-found abs in under two weeks (as demonstrated by a shirtless 20-year-old on Instagram). Tried and true, evidence-based exercise may be the best way to gain …

Building Strong Arms for Summer Starts Today

This holiday season, when bidding a fond farewell to guests, note whether your arm keeps waving after your hand has called it quits. Tight arms have long been a sign of strength and virility. Just Google “Michelle Obama arms” or “Hulk Hogan 24-inch pythons.” Firm arms are “in” for both men and women and available to anyone who takes the time to sculpt them. If you want shapely guns to compliment your sleeveless attire this summer, start building your biceps …