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

Building better posture using these back and shoulder exercises

Walking and sitting upright may become a distant memory as our hunched, technology-driven existence influences evolution. Unfortunately, this is a trend that can’t be remedied by the occasional plank. Without question, postural strength relies on a solid foundation. But there’s much more to structural integrity than rippling abs. Way too much attention has been paid to a tight stomach, no doubt stemming from Hollywood’s infatuation with low body fat and rolling, abdominal topographies. Equally important to a sturdy core is …

No Pain, No Gain?

Nothing has both inspired and terrified budding fitness enthusiasts than the age-old adage “no pain, no gain.” Question is, does it work? Well, depending on your perspective, this can be a good/bad news story. The details of the story revolve around individual goals and the motivations that inspire them. There is a significant difference between exercising for health and exercising for performance or aesthetic purposes. Those in the health camp can rest easy. To achieve results, pain doesn’t necessarily factor …

First and final line of defence against fast food should be ourselves

Recently, CEOs of the major fast food restaurants were challenged to eat from their respective kids’ menu for a week. The point being whether these industry leaders were willing to eat from a menu that served questionable food to children. Interesting proposition, but I believe there is a much more important discussion that needs to take place a little closer to home. It’s all too easy to pin the ills of society on big, bad capitalists. Surely someone is to …

Weight loss prep for winter migration

With trees clinging to fall plumage, some people are already turning their sights to sunny destinations. Not a bad timeline if shedding pounds is part of the preparation. A 30 pound drop in fat is significant but entirely doable if your sights are set on a February departure. The prospect of looming beachwear may be the best body shaping motivation going. If you’re an aspiring part-time snowbird looking to trim down for your winter migration, consider these beach friendly tips. …

Setting up your affordable home gym

Not everyone has the time or desire to join a fitness centre. Luckily, outfitting a home gym has become easier with more affordable equipment and the advent of functional training. If you’re thinking about making better use of a bedroom, basement or condo social area, consider outfitting your space with some of the pieces below. Keep in mind, you get what you pay for. Avoid going too cheap — unless you’re looking for something to hang clothes, in which case, …

Secrets to aging well include taking control, eating healthy and exercise

More than once my wife has been mistaken for my older son’s girlfriend. A few times for her sister’s daughter. Not sure who they think I am. Exercise, proper nutrition and good stress management are the controllable factors to aging well. Of course, you can’t reset your chronological clock. But you can affect your physiological age, to the good or bad, by 20 years. That means the average 50-year-old can choose to feel like 70 or 30, depending on how …

More Common Fitness Myths

Many people ask why the protocols we use with clients to get results aren’t common knowledge. The facts are out there if you know where to look. Unfortunately, evidence-based best practices are too often overshadowed by misinformation, quick fixes and myths. Exercisers tend to mimic the skinny person, who copies the muscle guy, who saw something on Twitter or YouTube. Usually their recommendation is framed by, “Well, it works for me.” You get the picture. Below we hope to shed …

Ten steps to nicely shaped muscles

Who doesn’t want rounded, nicely shaped muscles? Beyond esthetics, it conveys vitality and builds strength in women and men alike. While there may not be a pill that magically inflates muscle, there is a formula that will strengthen and shape your pecs and glutes at any age. Yes, at any age! With lots of fitness noise out there, it’s easy to become distracted and lose your way. If you stray from the formula, your results will diminish or stall — …

Sensible tops scare tactics when making good food choices

We’ve been fielding many questions lately about the What the Health documentary currently running on Netflix. If you haven’t seen the movie, its based on the premise that big industry (U.S. meat and dairy) has buddied up with government and non-profits, much like the tobacco industry did years ago. The documentary suggests agencies trusted with keeping us healthy have compromised their mandate in exchange for lucrative funding. There are no shortage of documentaries out there questioning the value of meat-based …

Fitness Questions and Answers

Often the best learning comes from questions or comments that have been posed by others. That said, it’s time for another edition of Overheard in the Weight Room. Q: I’m pretty active in the summer months. Can I wait and start exercising in the fall? A: Define active. People tend to overestimate their activity levels regardless of season, unless you are the person who admits, “I sit all day.” Just because you’re outside and moving around doesn’t mean you are …