Summer

Summer. The time of everlasting daylight, mosquitos and for most, routine turned upside down. Maybe you have (grand)kids who are out of school and need care; maybe you have (grand)kids who now don’t need to be driven to extra-curriculars; maybe you don’t have kids in your life at all. I’d still wager a guess that your day-to-day in July and August isn’t exactly the same as it is during the hum-drum months of November and April.

I don’t know about you, but workout routine is always one of the first things affected by changes in my schedule. And for me, the summer schedule changes so much it puts me in a different time zone.

I’m actually not kidding. I spend a healthy chunk of time every summer at our family cabin on a lake northeast of Toronto. The cabin is on a heavily treed island just over 3 acres in size. I am a lifelong runner and admitted cardio addict. Perhaps you can see my problem: I cannot walk (or run) on water and there is no treadmill (in this rustic little spot that would be the ultimate blasphemy). One summer I was in such withdrawal that my devoted husband ‘cleared’ a ‘trail’ through the forest creating a 200-ish metre trail so I could ‘run’ laps of the island (all terms in quotes used very loosely). It’s pretty much bush-whacking. It’s awful. I’m shocked that I haven’t broken an ankle.
 
My point? It’s easy to obsess over routine, and when we can’t maintain it we beat ourselves up about the fact that we can’t do things exactly the way we do at other times of the year. Why not embrace it instead? See it as opportunity; an invitation to do something different?

In my old age I have become wise (okay, at least little wiser than I used to be). I mostly take the summer off running; I save my ankles from stray roots on the path and let my body recover from the abuse it suffers through the other 10.5 months of the year. Running, as great as it is for producing endorphins and burning calories, also offers a repetitive slamming of feet into concrete that is very hard on the joints. In fact, the majority of my personal fitness program is designed from a Corrective Exercise perspective in order to let fuel my addiction. But I digress …

For me summer has become a time to do other things. I swim. I cycle (on a wind trainer, not on the suspect trail described above). It’s the only time of the year that I do burpees with any regularity. And the change can be good for both body and soul: I used to feel frustrated that I wasn’t working hard enough in my summer workouts. Even after a cross-channel swim (I am on an island, after all) or a 45-minute spin I’d feel like a slacker. As I’m sure you can appreciate, without a training partner, a group fitness instructor or even any real training plan it’s hard to bang out a HIIT style workout solo. And then in another bolt of genius I realized that this is periodization in its essence: summer is when I focus on flexibility and fundamentals. I can feel my chronically shortened muscles lengthen because I have time to do mat Pilates most days. Continuing with some easy cardio maintains a solid aerobic base from which to build when I ramp back up for the next goal.
 
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On top of that, this year I have specifically used some lake time to focus on nutrition. While I do okay getting balanced meals of mostly whole foods on the table the majority of the time, this is different. I’m eating healthy with intention because I have time when I’m not rushing from work to my secondary taxi-driver job delivering kids to and from extracurricular activities. More fruit and veg. Local. Organic. No sugar. Healthier carbs.
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But enough about me. What does this mean for you? Maybe you are a fanatical devotee of Saturday morning spin class, but can’t make it because you’re at the lake or a baseball tournament or a soccer game or …. you get it … fill in your own blanks here. Rather than get frustrated, try something else. Often summer creates gaps in the studio schedule that means you might be able to snag a spot in a usually full class some other time. Unleash on Tuesday nights? Bring it on! Never tried Fitilates? This might be your chance.

If you’re out of the city, there are dozens (okay, probably hundreds) of options away from the studio as well … paddleboarding or kayaking if you’re on the water … walking/hiking/cycling if you’re not. Maybe you haven’t run in years and you think you hate it but then again maybe you’ll like it when it’s not -25 and you’re not on a treadmill staring at the wall. Do. Something. Different.

There’s value in all of it. This summer, be kind to yourself. Keep moving. Put good stuff in to your body. Enjoy the season. It will be over before you know it.

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Shawna Hiley, B.Sc., Ph.D.
CSEP Certified Personal Trainer
NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist

Personal Trainer at Infinite Fitness

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5 Misconceptions of Indoor Cycling Classes

Indoor Cycling has made a comeback in a big way! As more stand alone studio’s pop up and fitness and recreation centres are adding classes, it might be time for you to try a class. But as owner of a fitness studio, I often hear reasons as to why many think indoor cycling classes are just not for them. And hey, maybe they are not, but the reasons, no wait misconceptions, as to why not are just not true. It’s time to lay those to rest and have a fresh look at if maybe, this is the workout you’ve been missing.

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1. A Sore Bottom
Ok, ok, this one is not a complete misconception. Yes, after your first class it’s not uncommon to feel, well, a little violated. BUT trust me, this quickly passes. The soreness is often not the saddles fault at all but just your body’s way of adjusting to this new activity you are asking your body to do. An indoor cycling bike, much like an outdoor bike, is designed with a saddle, not a seat. This means that you shouldn’t be sitting completely on your bottom but rather let it carry some of your weight while your legs (and a little bit of your upper body) support you. As your legs fatigue during class, you sink deeper into the seat which makes it slightly uncomfortable. Because of the rocking great time you are having, you may not even notice this until after class is over or the next day!

After a few classes, your body starts to understand the demands being placed on it, you get more accustom to the saddle and your legs are able to go longer. The soreness virtually disappears! If you find you are still quite sore after a month, you may want to invest in a pair of padded cycling shorts. Why shorts and not a padded seat? The padding in the seat can actually disperse the pressure to parts of the body, such as the perineum, where we don’t want it. The padded short remains with you at all times, exactly where it needs to be (less chance of shifting and moving).

2. Everybody is Looking at You
Once again, our ego gets the best of us with this thought. As with most fitness activities, we’re often scared to start because we think we are going to look foolish. The truth is, most of the time, nobody actually cares about what you’re doing cause they are so focused on what they’re doing. There is also no need for fancy choreography or impeccable rhythm, you are just there to ride. Most new cycling studios have low lighting which allows you to further focus on your workout and not worry about those around you. The only person that is likely facing you or looking at you is the instructor and they should never be judging you (remember there’s a big difference between giving you pointers and technique tips and judging you)!

3. Classes are Only for the Super Fit (aka It’s Too Hard)
This is likely the biggest misconception of them all!! Chances are you know how to ride a bike; actually even if you don’t know how to ride a bike, because there is no balance component, chances are you can ride an indoor bike. That’s really all you need. You see, the instructor is going to be at the front, possibly yelling like a maniac or cranking the tunes and asking you to give more gear, push harder, go faster, be the best you can be… but wait, that’s it… this is all about being the best you can be! You’re not Lance Armstrong, you’re you, and your ride is only about you.

The beauty of indoor cycling classes is that it’s almost completely subjective, meaning that on a different day, on a different bike, your ability will change. Your gear (tension) is your own, nobody else can even see it. You may have days where you feel unstoppable, you are there to climb the highest mountain, sprint to the finish, nothing is getting in your way… Or you may be having the worst day ever and it took every ounce of willpower you had just to get your butt to class and everything seems just a little bit harder today. The best thing about an indoor cycle class? You just have to do your best! There’s no medal for going faster or farther. Nobody is voting you off the island if you don’t perform to their expectations, you are there for you.

If it’s feeling a bit too much, ease off a little. Sit this drill out. But just stay on the bike and keep moving. Every class will get a little easier; you’ll be able to push a little more and before you know it, you’ll be telling the new person in class, “don’t worry, it gets so much better!”

4. I Need to Invest in Some Fancy Gear
No. Nope. Nada. You need clothes you can move in. Likely you already have a set or two of these around, after you’ve probably worn your yoga pants to the grocery store. You need a pair of running shoes with a fairly hard bottom. This is not the place to try out your Vibrams or minimalist shoes. And you need a water bottle. Yup, that’s it.

Indoor cycling classes are not about having fancy jerseys, there is no need for wind resistant clothing (there’s no wind, remember) and you certainly don’t need a helmet!

There is one piece of equipment that I recommend just don’t buy them right away. They are not necessary to get started. But a pair of cycling shoes that you can clip into the bike pedals can go along way in improving efficiency, recruiting muscles properly and decreasing risk of injury. Wait to see if this is something you are going to be adding to your schedule on a regular basis. If it is, and especially if you are participating in 2 or more classes a week, I strongly recommend you purchase a pair.

As a side note, you will need to know what type of clips to purchase for your shoes. Check with the facility that you ride at but it’s almost always SPD. You will also want to maintain your shoes (a few turns of the screws every now and then) to ensure they don’t get stuck in the pedals or worse unclip at a less than desirable moment!

5. Indoor Cycling Classes are Highly Competitive and No Fun
This ranks up there with number 3 in misconceptions! They are almost all the exact opposite. Think great music, fun lights, lots of laughing, comradery, with some sweat mixed in and you’ve got a recipe for a great class! Classes should be never boring, challenging yet achievable, and allow you to escape the mundane or chaos of the everyday. There are theme classes, candlelight classes, hybrid classes (Cycle & Strength, Cycle + Yoga, Cycle + Pilates/Core, etc), DJ classes, endurance classes and interval classes, etc, etc. You can lose yourself in the music which ranges from Top 40 to R&B to Old School to well let’s be honest, the options are endless.

As mentioned above, there is no competition, well maybe there is, but it’s only with yourself!

So there you have it, if you’ve been putting off trying an indoor cycle class for any of the reasons above, well no more! If you’ve never tried a class and you are looking for a great workout that may just become slightly addicting, sign up for a class today. After all, you’ll never know until you try!

New to the studio? Try our Infinite Ride classes for only $49 month of unlimited rides (plus our other great classes). Click here to get started today.

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Be Fit, Not Fat

The number one reason clients consult with us is to help them manage their weight and lets be honest, Canadians are getting unhealthier each and every year. Health-related disease such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disorders, and various forms of cancer are at an all-time high. Plus we must consider the effect of excess weight and unhealthy lifestyle on our joints and backs, not to mention the psychological effects on our self-esteem and confidence! At Infinite Fitness, we want you to focus on your fitness, not your fatness. What does that mean exactly?? Read More

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Celebrating Success - Judy R

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Today we're featuring one of our new clients Judy, who is living proof that you can make big changes in just a couple months when you're motivated and have the support, guidance, and training needed to succeed! Our fabulous trainer, Rylee, sent us these before and after photos with this message:

"Days like today make me so proud to be a trainer. I want to highlight one of my clients, Judy!

She came in very shy and extremely nervous. It was all brand new to her. In the short 2 months that I have worked with her, she has made leaps and bounds. She has lost 9 pounds and 6.5 inches, and has made huge progress in her strength and endurance. She has become so much more confident, comfortable, and full of life--her reaction to her results was priceless!

I am so lucky to have been a part of her progress and I can't wait to see what else she will accomplish!

Great work Judy!"

We are so proud of Judy and her hard work combined with Rylee and her guidance!

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Fitness Fact - Halloween Tricks and Treats!

It's no secret that Halloween weekend usually means eating a year's worth of fun-sized candies and chocolate bars and drinking cocktails with friends at numerous Halloween parties. So, for this week's Fitness Fact Friday, we've chosen to ease your minds about ingesting some goodies and write a post in DEFENSE of cheat meals, cheat days, and, realistically, cheat weekends!

Cheat meals don't have to spell diet disaster. In fact, a well-structured cheat meal can actually help you surmount weight-loss plateaus. The secret, however, is to cheat smart.

As everyone knows, diets are a nightmare, and they don't work. It's always best to strive for a 90/10 ratio of healthy, lean meals to cheat meals, not only to maintain your sanity and happiness, but also because these cheat meals help reset hormones responsible for metabolism and insulin regulation, replenish glycogen for increased energy, and keep calorie-burning and fat-torching mechanisms high.

The science behind using cheat meals as a dietary tool revolves around the same hormones we discussed in the post about sleep: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin, a protein mainly produced by fat tissue, regulates appetite and energy balance in the body. It acts on the brain's hypothalamus to suppress food intake and stimulate the use of energy, or calories. Leptin plays a key role in regulating body weight and fat mass through its stimulating effect on the brain. In fact, studies have shown that within 24 hours of fasting, leptin levels decrease to 30 percent of their normal value.

Ghrelin, a peptide hormone mainly produced by the stomach, is an appetite stimulant that signals the release of growth hormone. Low-calorie diets and chronic exercise have been shown to result in increased ghrelin concentrations, which may lead to increasing food intake and body weight.

In addition to affecting appetite and energy use through leptin and ghrelin, sustained caloric-deficit diets also cause the body to attempt to conserve energy by decreasing levels of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4, which help regulate and maintain metabolism. Sustained low-carbohydrate diets deplete the body of glycogen stores and can leave you feeling sluggish and weak, which can negatively affect your training performance.

But keep in mind! This doesn't mean that gorging on 10 lbs of treats is beneficial to your fitness. The trick is to continue to keep track of cheat meals (schedule them if you can!) and to choose treats that are as nutritional as possible. Try choosing a few bites of dark chocolate instead of processed chocolates, or choose the protein-rich smoothie we posted earlier in the week instead of ice cream, etc. And if you just can't resist those adorable little candies and chocolates, remember that we're always here for you to burn off a treat or two ;)

Have a safe and spooky Halloween.

(written by Jenaye Lewis)ghosts&pumpkins

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Be Proactive and Prevent Colds and Flus This Year

It's sad to say it, but as we enter into the first few days of fall, we also have to accept the oncoming cold and flu season! Luckily Jenaye has put together this handy infographic to keep the germs from settling in.

Here are a few of the most important tips to help prevent, protect against, and combat cold and flu symptoms! Tips 1-4 are for you to incorporate but we can help you with the fifth tip: Exercise! Generally you want to aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Check out our class schedule, Pilates and fitilates Reformer classes and Personal Training packages to make this easy for you to commit to.

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Functional Fitness - the Why, What and How!

Functional fitness is a term tossed around in the fitness world, much like core training and HIIT. It seems like everyone’s doing it but we’re not always 100% what it means. Simply put, functional fitness is moving and training your body in a way that mimics the activities that you do in your everyday life. Breaking it down even further, there are activities that almost all of us do everyday – carrying things, getting in and out of vehicles, reaching overhead, bending, twisting and even squatting to sit on the toilet. Then there are the activities that may be specific to us individually – playing a sport, lifting and carrying small children, sitting at a desk, driving for long periods, etc. Any exercise that takes our activities into account can be considered functional!

So if we are already doing those movements, why train that way? Unfortunately our bodies are always looking for a shortcut to do repetitive movements, which means we set ourselves up for muscle imbalances and overuse injuries. Functional training can balance out these problems and be used preventatively and as part of a rehabilitation process. We of course, prefer you be preventative.
What should a functional exercise include? For an exercise to be considered functional, we look for it to include elements such as multi-joint, multi-directional, rotation, balance, proprioception and uneven loads. Of course every exercise will not include every element but at least one and some maybe more. We’ve created a video of six our favourite functional exercises. These can be completed by everyone and done almost anywhere; you may just need to be creative on what tool you use! Click on the video to watch now.

 



To start with we recommend that you do 2-4 sets of each exercise for 12-15 reps with a 30-60 second break for a beginner or 8-12 reps for intermediate to advance. Chose a load (weight) that allows you to complete the exercise with good form but is challenging.

Once you feel comfortable with the exercises and if trying to increase your intensity is a goal, we recommend that you complete each exercise for time, with little to no rest between exercises. An example would be to complete the exercise for 20-40 seconds, move to the next exercise with zero to 10 seconds of rest and continue that pattern till you have completed all six. Rest for a full minute and then repeat 2-4 times through.

If the thought of fitting in your fitness is overwhelming and you’re just not sure where to start, we’ve created our Fit in Fitness, seven-day program. This will take you from feeling overwhelmed to having clear and defined goals, as well as providing you with the tools you need to achieve them. If this sounds like something you need, click on the link below to sign up for this FREE (yes, completely FREE) program.



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