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Get Real -
The No Excuse
Method For
Weight Loss

Over the years, Amanda has acquired a substantial knowledge of how the body works and what's needed to keep it working its best. The following is a compendium of some of the many tips and tidbits she has chronicled.

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Preventing or Reducing High Blood Pressure

Most people have had their blood pressure taken at some time.  It is a simple procedure that gives a lot of useful information about the heart and the condition of the blood vessels.  The doctor measures the maximum pressure (systolic) and the lowest pressure (diastolic) made by the beating of the heart.  

The systolic pressure is the maximum pressure in an artery at the moment when the heart is beating and pumping blood throughout the body. The diastolic pressure is the lowest pressure in an artery in the moments between beats when the heart is resting.

The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.  Lower than120/80mm Hg is the most desirable reading for blood pressure.  Systolic pressure of 140 or higher or diastolic pressure of 90 or higher is considered high and should be evaluated by your physician immediately.

Your health is your responsibility so you should always be aware of your risk factors for heart disease and stroke.  Even reducing your blood pressure by 2mm Hg could reduce strokes by 14% and heart disease by 6%.  I recommend that you try to restore healthy blood pressure levels by making lifestyle changes.  Here are some to prevent or reduce high blood pressure:

Stop Smoking. Not only will this help keep your blood pressure in line, you'll also diminish your risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Shed Excess Pounds.

Decrease Salt Intake. High salt intake is linked to high blood pressure. You should consume no more than 2,000 milligrams of sodium per day (about one teaspoon of salt). The average person consumes twice that, often through canned soups, frozen dinners, soy sauce, pickles, olives and processed cheeses, which are loaded with sodium. Add more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products to your plate. Eat one additional fruit or vegetable with every meal.

Limit Alcohol Consumption. Drink no more than one 12-ounce beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine or one swallow (1.5 ounces) of 80-proof whiskey if you're a woman. Men can double these amounts. Anything more elevates blood pressure.

Exercise Regularly.
First, get the green light from your physician. Slowly introduce aerobic and resistant training exercises into your life, increasing the time and intensity at a pace that feels right, aiming for at least a 30-60 minute workouts 3 days of the week.

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Healthy Eating Habits

For the majority of people, a healthy diet is just a matter of following a few basic rules.

Eat 5-6 smaller meals per day (every 2-3 hours) instead of 3 larger ones.
Keep fat intake low (25% or less of total calories)
Keep protein intake moderate (30-40% of total calories)
Keep your carbs complex by eating whole grains, veggies, etc.
Drink lots of water----2 litres minimum, but aim for 4 litres

Water:  More = Less?
When you don't drink enough water you can feel bloated, because water is needed to eliminate extra sodium in your body.  This excess sodium causes fluid retention, which can usually be eliminated by drinking more water, not less.

Lower Your Fat Intake
Drinking nonfat milk instead of whole milk greatly reduces your fat and calorie intake.  One cup of whole milk has almost as much calories and saturated fat as five strips of bacon!!

Eat Oven Baked French Fries

Salad Dressing Alternatives
Salads can be such a great part of a healthy diet, but most people turn it into an un-healthy mess by piling on the dressing, which is usually full of fat and too many calories.  So here are a couple of good ideas to keep that salad good for you.  Try using salsa instead of dressing...it's really low in calories, and adds a little zing to your salad.  Or, sprinkle your salad with a little water, then add just a little dressing and mix it all up really well...this will help spread the flavor over the salad better.  With a little experimentation, you can sometimes find a non-fat or low calorie dressing that you like.   Of course, when eating out, order your dressing on the side, and use the fork-dip method...just dip the fork tines in the dressing, then stab your salad...you'll get a little of the dressing's flavor on each bite, and a little dressing will go a long way.

Orange Creamsicles Make A Great Snack

For a quick pre or post workout shake that tastes a lot like a Creamsicle, shake up a scoop of vanilla protein powder in 1-2 cups of orange juice (adjust to fit your needs).  Or, try chocolate protein powder in orange or strawberry/guava juice if you're a chocoholic.

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The Art If 4get It
Too many people spend more time socializing in the gym than they do working out, so when I hear someone say "I don't have time to go to the gym today", I tell them "4get it!"  GET in, GET busy, GET done, GET out. Keep the chatter and rest periods to a minimum---you'll probably get a better workout and you'll feel great about yourself for not skipping it.

Stair-Climber Dos & Don'ts

  • Do keep a straight back with your head up and shoulders back.
  • Don't lean or crouch forward.
  • Do lightly rest your hands on the top of the rails. For a more advance workout pump your arms and hands as though you're actually walking up stairs.
  • Don't grasp the railing and use it to hold yourself up.

The Benefits of Strength Training

  • Increased metabolic rate (burn more calories at rest).
  • Increased bone density (reduce risk of osteoporosis).
  • Improved coordination, body awareness and posture.
  • Improved self-image (confidence).
  • Improved physical appearance
  • Increase in muscle tissue.
  • Reduced risk of injury.

Do not rotate, or roll, the shoulders when doing shrugs.  Doing so will expose the shoulders to injury and you get no additional benefit from doing it.  Just move the weight straight up and down.  Do the movement slowly and under control with a pause and squeeze at the top.

When you agree to spot somebody, you are accepting a great deal of responsibility.  Don't take it lightly!  Here are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Before a set begins, talk with your training partner about what you expect from
  • each other.
  • Stay focused on the lifter until the set is completed and the weight is secured.
  • Keep your body close to the weight and in a stable position at all times.
  • Keep your knees bent and your hands near the dumbbells or barbell.

Don't cause sudden changes or shifts in the weight being handled by the lifter.

Don't agree to spot someone if differences in height or strength will prevent you from assuming control of the weight once the lifter fails.

Benefits of Cardiovascular Fitness

  • Decreased weight for a lower body fat percentage.
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Improved appearance and self-image.
  • Increased stamina and endurance.
  • Lowered resting blood pressure.
  • Reduced stress.

The Dangers of Overtraining
Overtraining occurs when you train your body beyond its ability to recover.  If your body cannot recover from the last workout then it will be unable to adapt and unable to grow.  

Symptoms of overtraining include:

  • A higher-than-normal resting pulse
  • Illnesses become more frequent and last longer than usual
  • Muscle spasms while resting e.g. eyelid twitch etc.
  • Shaky hands
  • Loss of sleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexpected and unexplained fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Very slow or non-existent gains in exercise poundage,
  • Loss of strength and the use of reduced poundage in the gym.

How To Eliminate The Risk
If you are overtraining on your current routine, first take a week off (or two) to let your body recover, then cut back on the number of workout days per week, exercises and number of sets used.

Avoid Lockout
On pretty much all exercises, don't let your joints 'lock out'.  This keeps the muscle under constant tension and lessens the risk of injury.

Low Intensity Cardio
Don't buy into the myth that by doing low intensity cardio you'll burn more fat than doing high intensity cardio. Whereas it is true that the percentage of calories coming from fat is higher, total calories burned will be lower....and for fat loss, it's all about burning more calories.

Exercising When You Are Ill
The question of whether to exercise when sick comes up often, so here's some general guidelines to go by:

If your symptoms are limited to sore throat, stuffy head, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and headache, then you can probably exercise, but at a reduced intensity.

If your symptoms include muscle aches, chills, diarrhea, vomiting or a fever, skip your workouts until your symptoms subside

Most importantly, use some common sense and listen to your body.

Spot Reduction
Spot reduction does not work, and doing hundreds of crunches will not make you lose the fat covering your abs.  Think about it---if exercising a body part got rid of the fat in that area, then everyone you know who talks a lot would have a skinny little face.

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Sex & Drugs & Exercise

A couple of the hottest drugs on the market are for erectile dysfunction.  These drugs work by increasing blood flow to the affected, or more precisely, the un-affected area.....but why not do the same thing naturally with exercise?  Studies have shown that men who exercise vigorously are about half as likely to have erection problems as inactive men.  It's also been shown that as a man gains weight, he becomes more susceptible to experiencing erectile dysfunction.

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General Tips

Burn Fat While Surfing The Internet
Well, not exactly, but consider this: a pound of muscle can burn up to 50 calories a day, and there's 3500 calories in a pound of fat.  So, if you put on only 2 pounds of muscle you could burn the equivalent of 10 pounds of fat in a year even while surfing the net!

Be Active
As many as 12% of all deaths---250,000 per year---in the U.S. may be attributed indirectly to lack of regular physical activity, according to the CDC.

Some studies indicate that slow static (passive) stretching may not be a good part of a proper warm-up before exercise, sporting events, etc.  This type of stretching relaxes your muscles and can lead to injury or poor performance.  Five to ten minutes of cardio will warm your muscles and get the blood flowing.  You may want to do these types of stretches after you workout.

Train when you should, eat when you should and rest when you should, but don't confuse consistency with obsession.  If you miss a workout, skip a meal or indulge in some junk food, don't sweat it----just don't make a habit of it.

Staying Motivated
Keep inspirational pictures in places you see them regularly for motivation, dream of your ideal physique, take pictures so you can see improvements.

Your Metabolism Is Like A Campfire
You need to think of your metabolism as a campfire and calories like the wood you feed into that fire--your fire will burn a lot hotter and burn more wood if you feed it small amounts throughout the day instead of throwing a huge log on it once or twice a day after it's died down.

Get A Phone Pal
When making changes in your life such as starting an exercise program or changing your eating habits, it can help to have someone you can call for support---whether it's a friend or your trainer.  When you feel like you want to cheat on your food intake or skip a workout, give your pal a call---most likely you'll actually talk yourself out of it even if you just get their voice mail.

Vacation & Other Forms of Slacking Off
Too often when people go on vacation or have a special event that they go to, they totally put their exercise and nutrition on hold.  But, this is about your health isn't it?  Would you stop taking your heart medication or insulin just because you're on vacation?  I think not!  You need to get your priorities in order and decide if your health or some temporary gratification is more important.

Posture & Driving

Here's a great little tip for keeping your posture correct while driving.  When you first get in your car, sit up straight and adjust your rear view mirror.  If you notice after a little driving that you need to re-adjust your mirror, try re-adjusting your posture instead.  Typically, you will start to slump a little and the result is you can't see out your rear view mirror as well as you did when you first adjusted it---most likely your mirror didn't move and you just need to correct your posture.  So, use your mirror to remind you to sit up straight----your back and neck will thank you.

Get Fit To Play
Whenever the weather starts getting nicer, people start thinking about getting involved in sports to get fit.  But, this is really backwards thinking and can lead to injury.  You should be getting fit to play sports, not playing sports to get fit.  Once you are fit, sports can help you stay that way, but you need to train your body ahead of time to prepare it for the unique stresses it will be put under.

Time seems to be the excuse everyone uses when they don't eat right or exercise, but if you don't find time to do it now, you'll really come up short on time at the end of your life.  Kind of blunt I know, but find the time now to get healthy and stay healthy, and you'll more than make up for it by living a longer and more functional life.

Cutting Cancer Risk
According to the American Council for Cancer Research, you can lower your risk of cancer by 20% by eating your 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. 20% not enough to get your attention?  Then bump that up to as much as a 40% reduction by making the rest of your diet healthy, staying active

Results are what it's all about

Lisa is 28 year old office worker.
She was dissatisfied with her body
and lacked confidence. We took a hard
look at Lisa's lifestyle and determined that
an effective way for her to burn calories
was through a combination of strength
(weights) and cardio training.
in 12 weeks Lisa went from a size 10 to
a size 2 and now has ton of confidence.

Amanda Aivaliotis, The Travelling Trainer, provides one of the most complete personal training service offerings in North America including:
Full Assessment • Body Training • Group Training Sessions • In-Studio Sessions • On-Site Sessions • Nutrition Advice • Diet Design • Massage Therapies & Targeted Weight Loss Programs

Amanda's Studio/Gym is located at 400 Finchdene, Unit 13, Scarborough Ontario Phone 416 605-4462. Click Here for a location map.