Fitness & Wellness

Increase Your Good Gut Bacteria

Increase Your Good Gut Bacteria

You’re never alone. No, it’s not Big Brother that’s watching you, but the microbiome that’s living in you. You have billions of microscopic fungi, bacteria, archaea, virus and eukaryotes living in and on your body. In fact, some estimates say they outnumber human cells by ten to one. They play an important role in your digestion, aid the immune system, produce vitamins, fight off bad bacteria or fungi and they even affect our mental health. Some things, like a round of antibiotics, can disrupt the balance and that’s when you need to increase your good gut bacteria.

Your doctor may have told you about probiotics and fermented food.

Whether you grab a container of yogurt with a live culture or head for the sauerkraut or kimchi, both fermented food and probiotics will help get your gut back to normal. It can prevent those horrible days after a round of antibiotics that kill off the good bacteria with the bad and leave the fungi and other microbes without good bacteria to keep them in check. Eating kefir, live culture yogurt, fermented vegetables, kimchi, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut and tempeh can help you get your microbiome back in order.

Feed the survivors.

Those bacteria you introduced with the probiotics or those that survived antibiotics are fragile and go through a lot of changes, including temperature changes and changes in pH. They need food that helps make the transition from the container to the gut easier. That food that makes them more tolerant and hardy are carbohydrates we can’t digest. Prebiotics, the food of healthy bacteria include onions, spinach, beans, garlic, asparagus, leeks, whole wheat, chicory root, bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, raw dandelion greens, oats and soybeans

Cut out sugar and fat!

It’s not enough to feed the good bacteria, you have to quit feeding the fungi and bad bacteria. Sugar and even artificial sweeteners can make the bad boys happy. Both of those cause an imbalance of bacteria in the gut called dysbiosis. One study in 2015 showed that artificial sweeteners, sugar and fat affected the balancing act of the bacteria and other microbes in the gut. Not only does it affect digestion, it can affect behavior and brain functioning. Eat healthy. Go with more vegetables and less meat in your diet.

  • Cut out stress. Stress can kill friendly bacteria, whether it comes from environmental stress like it being too hot or cold, day-to-day stress, lack of sleep or a shift in your sleep/wake pattern. You’ll have happy bacteria when you do.
  • Quit smoking. Studies show that smoking boosted the production of bad bacteria and halted the growth of healthy bacteria.
  • Watch out for the hand sanitizing and the cleaning chemicals you use. If you disinfect everything and use antibacterial soaps, including hand soap, you might be promoting the growth of lachnospiraceae, a gut bacteria linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • Exercise is a cure all, even for lopsided bacterial count. You can boost your healthy bacteria with a program of regular exercise. Come check out our free trial days at 180 Fitness.

For more information, contact us today at 180 Fitness


Health Benefits Of Kale

Health Benefits Of Kale

Kale used to be relegated to the salad bar as decoration, but is now touted as one of the superfoods. How did that happen? It occurred because of all the health benefits of kale. I remember early in my grocery shopping days, there was always a small display of kale in Gloucester, ON, but it’s grown to take the space afforded to a popular vegetable that sells quickly. Kale has a lot to offer and since about 2012, has been coming on strong in popularity, with new kale recipes and treats appearing almost daily.

Eating kale is like taking a vitamin-mineral supplement.

This crucifer is a member of the cabbage family, so it offers many of the benefits other family members offer. It’s packed with nutrients. Whether you get the purple kale, green kale, curly kale or the kind with smooth leaves, there’s a ton of nutrition in just one cup. It offers over 200 percent of the daily value—DV—for vitamin A, almost 700 percent of the DV for vitamin K and well over 100 percent of the DV of vitamin C. It also contains vitamin B6, manganese, calcium, copper, magnesium, vitamin B1, B2, niacin, phosphorus and iron. This tasty little packet of nutrition also is low in calories—just 33, has just 6 grams of carbs, with a third of those from fiber and three grams of protein. That’s not all. It has the healthy fat, linolenic-acid.

Besides containing powerful antioxidants like vitamin C, it also contains other types.

Quercetin and kaempferol may not be as well known a vitamin C or vitamin A, but they are quite powerful and kale is loaded with them. It also has other ones, such as flavonoids and polyphenols. The antioxidants protect cells from oxidative damage. The more damage to cells, the faster you age and the more prone you are to serious illnesses like cancer. Antioxidants help keep blood pressure low, are anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and act as an antidepressant, while also protecting the heart. Put a smile on your face, while you’re warding off wrinkles by eating a kale salad.

Kale keeps your eyes healthy.

If you want to keep your peepers protected, munch on a bunch of kale. Most people expect to wear glasses or have poorer vision, the older they get. If you want to avoid the lenses longer, eating healthy can do that. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two nutrients that are found in kale that help you keep your eyes healthier and protect them from macular degeneration and cataracts, two very common senior eye disorders.

  • Kale can help you lose weight. Considering that one cup is just 33 calories, it would take a lot to eat too much kale or consume too many calories.
  • Kale is high in fiber, which fills you up, not out. It also has some protein. Both of these facts, combined with the high nutritional value, means it’s also great for losing weight.
  • Not only is kale high in potassium to help lower blood pressure, it also has lots of calcium. Unlike spinach, which is loaded with calcium, it has low amounts of oxalate, which blocks calcium and other minerals from being absorbed, so there’s more bioavailability.
  • You can find a lot of healthy kale recipes when you use our nutritional program. Isn’t time to try the three free workouts and see everything that 180 Fitness has to offer.

For more information, contact us today at 180 Fitness


Are You Wasting Time With Cardio

Are You Wasting Time With Cardio

While cardio is important to your fitness effort, you might be wasting time with cardio if you want to lose weight. Even worse, you might be sabotaging your efforts, too. Cardio is important for overall fitness, just as flexibility, strength and balance training is. It’s not meant as a cure all for every fitness goal, such as weight loss. You need cardio for endurance and a healthy heart, but strength-building workouts help prevent osteoporosis, while building muscles and flexibility training can prevent injury. Some people think that just running every day is enough. Not only is it not enough to get you fit, it can actually make losing weight harder.

Why isn’t cardio good for weight loss?

Sure cardio workouts burn tons of calories, but the problem comes from where it gets the calories to burn. It uses calories from both fat and lean muscle tissue. Think about the marathon runner. Their body is lean and not muscular at all. While the workout of a marathon runner will keep weight off, once they quit, it’s harder to maintain the low weight and not put on fat. That’s because the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn and the higher your metabolism will be. Muscle tissue requires more calories for maintenance than fat tissue does.

Going bonkers with excess cardio workouts not only makes weight loss tougher, it’s boring.

Nothing will kill a workout program faster than boredom. If you love running, do it, but don’t forget to include other types of exercise for building strength and flexibility. However, if you hate it, there’s no reason to include running as part of your fitness program. There’s far more interesting ways to get fit, such as kettlebells, HIIT workouts, circuit training and exercise bands. You can get cardio training in a number of ways, it doesn’t have to be from a run or a walk.

Why not make your fitness and weight loss fun?

One thing we promise, besides great results, is that you’ll never be bored. Our boot camp atmosphere and constant change in the workout will keep you coming back for more. Working out in a group is not only cost effective, it’s also far more fun than working out on your own. You have the energy and momentum of the group and the comradery of others cheering you on to success.

  • We use many exercises that are full body workouts and not only build strength, but also flexibility and endurance, plus burn huge amounts of calories. You’ll get more benefit from every minute you workout.
  • Even walking can become a more effective workout by adjusting the pace of your walk. Walk at top intensity for a few minutes then at a slower recovery pace. It becomes a HIIT—High Intensity Interval Training—workout.
  • Even though distance running is a good calorie burner, it puts a lot of stress on your body. If you do too much day-after-day, it can affect your immune system and leave you feeling dragged out. We create a program that’s perfect for your needs, boosting your energy without overdoing it.
  • If weight loss is your goal, you need to include a healthy diet, besides working out. At 180 Fitness, we provide help in that area, too.

For more information, contact us today at 180Fitness.ca


Is Sugar Ruining Your Health

Is Sugar Ruining Your Health

One reason we provide nutritional advice, besides a program of exercise, it that what you eat is as important, or even more important as working out when it comes to any fitness goal. You simply can’t out-exercise a bad diet. One of the things we find most people have a problem with is all the sugar in their diet. You might not realize just there’s sugar in almost everything you eat and it could be ruining your health. At 180 Fitness in Gloucester, ON, we help you eat healthier and kick the sugar habit.

Manufacturers hide the fact that sugar is a major ingredient in their product.

What do you do when you shop for healthy food? Often you read the labels to see what the top ingredients are. Manufacturers know that and often choose to use several types of sweeteners, so they show later in the ingredient list, making it look like it’s low sugar, even though when combined, it’s probably the top ingredient. Keeping you hooked on sugar isn’t necessarily part of their plan, but craving their product is. Sugar is addictive and can lead to a myriad of conditions that are varied You might find that chances of weaker eyesight, arthritis, gall stones and varicose veins are increased by eating more sugar.

You’ll crash your immune system when you eat a lot of sugar.

Some people take extra vitamin C when they feel like they’re coming down with a cold or the flu. It’s a good idea, since vitamin C boosts the immune system. However, when you have high amounts of glucose in your bloodstream, their structure is similar to that of vitamin C. Instead of grabbing up vitamin C to help, it grabs the glucose that leaves the phagocytes—white blood cells—powerless to fight. It can occur even with healthy foods that are high in sugar. For instance, drinking orange juice raises glucose levels in the blood to have the effect. Instead, eat the whole orange and the fiber slows the glucose and lets the cells work properly.

Sugar and diabetes go hand-in-hand and it starts with insulin resistance.

Sugar can cause insulin resistance, which occurs when there’s too much free glucose in the bloodstream. The body produces insulin to handle the extra. Insulin opens the cells, allowing the glucose to enter and provide nourishment. Over time, when there’s far too much sugar, the cells don’t respond, so the body produces far more insulin and the cells use the insulin less effectively. Eventually, the pancreas is put into a vicious circle of working overtime and pumping out insulin that isn’t used. Poor diet, lack of exercise, stress and sugar can cause it and it leads to type 2 diabetes.

  • Heart disease can come from eating too much sugar. Excess sugar in the bloodstream raises blood pressure. If more than 25% of your calorie intake is from sugar, it causes the liver to dump fat into the bloodstream, another factor for heart disease.
  • The American Heart Association’s guidelines for sugar for women is no more than 6 teaspoons of extra sugar daily, which doesn’t include natural sugar in fruit. For men, it’s 9 teaspoons of added sugar.
  • Do you want to look your best longer? Cut out sugar, it causes premature aging. They combine with proteins in a process called glycation and creates AGEs— advanced glycation end products. Those cells attack collagen and elastin that keep your skin looking younger.
  • At 180 Fitness, we even take you for a shopping trip to the grocery store. It helps to see how to pick the healthiest foods and maneuver through the jungle of misinformation on food packaging.

For more information, contact us today at 180Fitness.ca


Set Smart Goals And Actually Achieve Them

Set Smart Goals And Actually Achieve Them

Goal setting is universal and not just in Gloucester, ON. Anything you achieve comes from an idea that’ turned into a goal and either kept in your mind or formally written. Setting goals for fitness is an important step and they should be smart goals. What are smart goals? SMART is an acronym for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Each letter in the acronym is important to your success.

Setting a specific goal narrows the parameters of your goal.

A specific goal is important. If you simply say you want to get healthier or fitter, it can mean almost anything from exercising a few times to eating fruit instead of candy. However, saying you want to lose 20 pounds is extremely specific. The more specific you are, the easier it is to know when you’re successful in achieving your goal.

A measurable goal is another way of making it even more specific.

If my goal is to get fitter, how do I know I’ve achieved it? Maybe by changing that goal to being able to run up five flights of stairs without stopping is a good measurement. Just like losing weight, you have created a way to ensure you know when you’ve reached your goal. The goal should also be attainable. Losing weight, if you’re overweight, is attainable, growing taller if you’re an adult, isn’t. If you have a big goal to achieve, break it up to smaller goals that you can achieve quicker, so the faster results will spur you on to continue.

Is the goal relevant to you?

Everything has a price. While you might dream of becoming a famous rock star, spending the time learning to sing or play music isn’t your thing. In other words, it’s not a goal because it’s not relevant and you aren’t willing to pay the price that comes with it. Losing weight and getting into shape also comes with a price tag. It’s the time you spend working out and the determination to eat healthy.

  • Do you have a time attached to achieving your goal. If you don’t have a goal that’s timely, one with a deadline, such as a month, can give you inspiration to stay busy working on your goal.
  • Make sure your goal is something you want, not something a friend, spouse or relative suggests. It has to be driven by your desire to feel better, look better, have more energy or better health.
  • Keep your goals in front of you. Some people use sticky note and put them on their mirror, refrigerator or anywhere they’re more likely to see them.
  • At 180 Fitness, we’ll help you set goals and keep them with both nutritional help and fitness program. We’ll keep you motivated as you see your goals come true.

For more information, contact us today at 180Fitness.ca


Stretch For Success

Stretch For Success

Do you want to get maximum results, plus help prevent injury, you need to stretch for success. That’s right, stretching should be part of everyone’s workout. It’s not only great as a warmup or cool down, it’s also necessary for flexibility. While strength training is definitely important for weight loss and protecting you from injury in some ways, flexibility training, such as stretching, can prevent injury by increasing the range of motion. If you’ve been sitting too long, there’s nothing better than stretching to help relieve the pain and get your circulation going.

Don’t jump straight out of bed and take off running.

Watch a cat wake up. Cats don’t jump straight up, unless they’re scared. Most of the time they reach their paws forward, stretch their back and slowly get moving. You need to do the same thing when you get up each morning. Raise your arms and stretch out. Arch your back and even turn your head side to side. Lunges of all types are good ways to start. Reach your arms in the air and stretch out your body, elongating it as much as possible and then roll your shoulders. Focus on stretching every muscle in your body.

Stretching your hamstrings, hip flexors and quads will get you ready for the day and even help lower back pain.

Not only is stretching great as a warm-up, to ensure muscles are adequately warmed, stretching can relieve pain. Kneel on the floor and then raise on leg, putting the sole of your foot flat on the floor with the knee bent at a 90 degree angle. Put your hands on the top of the bent knee and push your body backward to stretch. It feels amazing.

Your back pain will disappear with this little stretch.

Is your lower back aching from too much sitting. It’s time for a stretch. Get a towel and flip it around until it’s in a roll. Lay on your back with one leg laying straight out and the other bent at the knee with your foot flat on the floor. Lift the foot of the leg with the knee bent an loop the towel around the sole of the foot. Push your foot out as you pull the towel and your foot straight in the air. Do the same on the opposite side. You’ll feel it stretch out your back and relieve any pain your in at the time.

  • Do you have a kink in your neck or are you about to do some lifting. You’ll want to stretch your triceps. Put one hand behind your back as though you’re about to scratch and then grab your elbow with the other hand and stretch your arm even further back.
  • Use dynamic stretching for warming up and static stretching for cooling down. Dynamic stretching moves your muscles and gets you blood flowing. Static stretching includes things like touching your toes and reduces any muscle tension.
  • Do stretching throughout the day for pain relief. Standing with your arms extended and rotating your body from left to right and back can stretch your body and help eliminate muffin tops.
  • When you choose me as your online coach, I include all type of exercise, including flexibility. Just come to 180Fitness.ca for a free consultation.

For more information, contact us today at 180Fitness.ca


Interval Training? Does It Help?

Interval Training? Does It Help?

There’s a lot to be said for interval training. My clients in Ottawa find it extremely effective. HIIT—high intensity interval training—is one where you workout at high intensity, for a few minutes and then have a slightly shorter recovery period and back to the high intensity. Regular interval training combines two or more activities, one right after another. Sprint interval training—SIT—-uses ten to thirty seconds of an all out burst of energy followed by three to four minutes of restful recovery. The difference between SIT and HIIT is the shorter, yet more intense periods of heightened activity with SIT and the longer recovery period.

You don’t have to make it fancy, any workout can be an interval training workout.

If you move briskly from one exercise to another without resting, it’s interval training. If you run at high speed for a few minutes with a few minutes of rest, it’s HIIT. Push yourself harder on the intensity for a few seconds and then make the recovery long and it’s SIT. It doesn’t matter what the exercise, it’s how you do it that counts.

Studies show that you’ll get more benefits with even shorter workouts with interval training.

If you want to get in shape faster and boost your endurance, try interval training. One study showed that just thirty minutes three times a week of interval training was equal to sixty minutes of steady state workouts. HIIT training gets the heart and endurance built faster. In 2011, a study showed the results from two weeks of HIIT training were the same as six to eight weeks of more traditional types of endurance training. HIIT also improved speed as it built stamina and aided your body in burning lactic acid better, so you could exercise longer.

Do you want to lose weight?

If weight loss is one of your goals, interval training is definitely good. It creates both after-burn, which means the body continues burning extra calories up to 24 hours after your workout. HGH—human growth hormone—is also boosted by HIIT. HGH not only helps you build muscles faster, it also helps you heal faster, burn fat and maintain a more youthful appearance. As you age, the body normally produces less.

  • You’ll love how you feel after an interval workout. That sudden burst of energy and continuous workout can trigger the hormones that make you feel good, while it also burns off stress hormones.
  • If you want a great aid for cardiovascular health, tray HIIT training. Always make sure you get the okay from your health care professional. Heart monitors also make this type of exercise more precise.
  • Interval training not only helps boost your immune system and reduce inflammation, it also prevents boredom.
  • If you want the best training plan that’s designed especially for you for the fastest results, check out the 180Fitness.ca website for a free consultation.

Set Your Metabolism On Fire With These Foods

Set Your Metabolism On Fire With These Foods

While you hear about miracle fat burning foods, they’re a bit of a myth. If all you had to do was eat a bowl of kale or two stalks of celery, obesity wouldn’t be at epidemic proportion. However, there are foods that do boost your metabolism. These are thermogenic foods. They’re lower in calories and use most of the calories you consume to help digest and utilize the nutrients in the food. Celery, for example, has a lot of fiber and water, but very few calories, so digesting it burns off more than you consume.

You’ll be hot, hot, hot when you burn calories with capsaicin.

Capsaicin is what makes peppers hot. It’s located in the pith and ribs in the peppers. While that heat from the pepper will burn your eyes and skin, it also burns your fat by speeding up your metabolism. The increased thermogenesis means an increase in fat and calorie burning. If that weren’t enough, it regulates blood sugar, has anti-inflammatory effects to relieve pain, clears out the sinuses and triggers genes that prevents fat accumulation.

Have a cup of Joe.

That cup of coffee in the morning not only wakes you up, it also can boost your metabolism to help you lose weight, as long as it’s not filled with sugary flavors and whipped topping. It’s the caffeine that makes it effective. You’ll get a similar boost by starting your day with a cold glass of water that contains a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar—ACV. The cold water makes you body work to warm it and the ACV will keep you feeling full for hours.

Green tea has benefits for weight loss as well as health benefits.

The EGCG—a type of catechin—in the green tea, acts like an antioxidant an increases fat oxidation by as much as 25 percent. Green tea also contains caffeine, which boosts your metabolism just like coffee does. One study showed that combining six or seven cup of green tea with a program of exercise helped weight loss, while also flushing out toxins from the system, reducing tooth decay, and reducing the risk of serious conditions like Alzheimer’s, cancer and Parkinson disease.

  • Food that contains fiber is also beneficial to weight loss. While it leaves you feeling full, it also makes your body work harder to digest the fiber.
  • Sometimes, things you might otherwise throw out is what is actually the best for you. Use the bones from animal products to create bone broth that provides protein, collagen and boosts your metabolism. Grass fed beef bones and free range chicken bones are best.
  • Using medium-chain fatty acids like coconut oil has fat burning benefits that can help you lose weight. High protein foods like meat are also high thermogenesis foods that add to calorie burning.
  • At 180 Fitness, not only will you get a great workout program, you can also get a personalized nutrition program that will help you burn fat.