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Bring Your Friends to The Gym and You Shall Be Rewarded.

posted by Fitness Focus    |   September 11, 2015 17:38

If you're a member of Fitness Focus, it pays to bring your friends to the gym!  Bring in a friend, a family member, a co-worker, a teammate, or even a stranger off the street, when they sign-up for a biweekly membership and mention your name we will reward YOU with a free month. You aren't limited to just one referral for one month; you can refer as many people as you want. You could even refer 12 people and get a full year free!

Some rules apply,
Contact Fitness Focus with any questions at info@fitnessfocus.ca

Friend Referral Rewards

posted by Fitness Focus    |   January 25, 2015 17:30

Encouraging your friends to go to the gym is obviously good for them, and now it's good for you too!  The Fitness Focus Friend Referral Program rewards you as a member for encouraging your friends to live a healthier and more active lifestyle. For every friend that signs up at Fitness Focus that you referred, you earn a free month on your membership.


Refer 1 Friend and you Receive 1 Month Free
Refer 2 Friends and you Receive 2 Months Free
and so on.....
 Why not try to earn a free year?

Questions?  Please email info@fitnessfocus.ca

Best Gym Saskatoon refer your friends

Strength Training With The Team Wawryk Personal Trainers

posted by Fitness Focus    |   December 11, 2014 19:50

Training in the gym with Team Wawryk Personal Trainers. Fitness Focus and TrustedSaskatoon.com brings you trusted tips from Chris Pylypchuk, part of the Team Wawryk Personal Training Team.  Chris has been a part of Fitness Focus for fifteen years and has been working with Team Wawryk since 2010.

Team Wawryk is ready to train you; offering a training service that is suitable for both the beginner and experienced athlete. In addition to individual training sessions, they also offer group training sessions.  They specialize in weight management, nutrition and diet planning backed by over 50 years collective experience in the gym.

Squatting With Proper Technique

posted by Fitness Focus    |   February 1, 2014 16:50

All too often in the gym many of us are performing our squats with improper technique, there are 2 causes for this.  The first and common reason is that we tend overload the weight and use more than we should causing us to sacrifice technique as well as depth on the downward part of the squat.  The second reason is that we are generally taught to limit our squatting is to lower our thighs to just below parallel rather than perform full ‘arse to grass’ squats, because it is a ‘safer alternative’. The argument for this is that a full squat places much more stress on our knees and ligaments.

While from a static anatomical standpoint, this argument is seemingly true, our body actually behaves different in a dynamic movement under load. For example, supporting structures like cartilage and ligaments work to dissipate the intensification of stress on joints. On sensing the increased load, stretch receptor cells in the joint alert the brain to increase the muscular and ligamentous stability in and around the joint capsule, thus preventing injury. 

It's not all black and white though, there are circumstances when a full squat would not be initially advised, such as people with damaged knee cartilage or post knee operation patients, also  individuals with disc bulges or spinal issues. In the majority of clients with knee issues though, it is ironically their years of half squatting, poor technique and the lack of full squatting that forms the root of their problem.

 
The Benefits

 So, if a full Range Of Motion (ROM) squat is not bad for us, what exactly are the advantages of performing such an exercise?

• Recent research has shown that full ROM squats help to strengthen the ligaments around the knees, and maintain the capsule integrity.

• Squatting through a full range of motion helps to minimise imbalances of the quadriceps muscles by forcing the muscles to work through the lower half of its movement capacity, as well as reduce imbalances between the quadriceps and hamstrings.

• It encourages optimal muscle recruitment and activation over a larger range of motion, leading to better quadriceps development.

• Deep squatting helps to activate the lower fibers of the Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO), which serve a critical purpose of stabilizing the knee during movements like running and jumping.

• Full squatting is an instinctive movement pattern of the body, like walking or breathing. For example, perfect squatting techniques are best observed in children, who perform the exercise with ease and without instruction.

• It can help to eliminate knee pain caused by patella-femoral tracking syndrome which ironically can be caused by muscular imbalances and tight iliotibial band as a result of partial squatting.

 

15 Minture Free With a Personal Trainer

posted by Fitness Focus    |   January 17, 2014 14:02

Now is your chance to jumpstart your training. It's the New Year and a great time to take your training in a different direction; 15 minutes free with a Personal Trainer is an excellent opportunity to get answers to those questions you have about your training.  Maybe there are areas of your workout that are missing something or maybe there's a part of your routine you could work on.  Have questions about diet and nutrition?  Ask a Trainer about ways to improve your diet and weight management.  If you have been planning on meeting with a Personal Trainer, why not setup a 15 minutes meeting to get the ball rolling?

Contact Fitness Focus at (306) 244-6413 or by email to info@fitnessfocus.ca to reserve your spot today.  Free training sessions will take place Friday, January 24th at Fitness Focus. If you Prefer Specifically a Male or Female Trainers Please Let us Know.

Does Your Workplace Offer Fitness and Health Incentives?

posted by Fitness Focus    |   August 14, 2013 16:05

The bottom line of a Workplace Wellness Program is to promote healthier employees.  Healthy employees can be an employer's best asset as they tend to be happier and more productive in the workplace. These programs are becoming more widespread throughout Canada and the U.S. and range from simply offering information and fitness education to workers, to subsidized healthy lunches.  Many even go as far to provide an onsite company gym or subsidize the employees gym membership at a local facility. Here is why a workplace wellness programs should matter to you:

The benefits for employers result from the welfare of their employees. Healthy employees provide the company with a strategic edge, and by investing money in a program that will bring them lowered expenses in return keeps them ahead of the competition.  Employers can expect to see its workers performing more efficiently, with lower absenteeism and lower health care costs.  Other indirect benefits for a company providing these programs include job satisfaction, as well as raising retention rates and incentives for hiring. The welfare of employees has a direct impact on the success of the company.

Workplace wellness programs can help you get healthier, even if that simply means learning how to reduce stress and muscle strain when you are on the job. Depending on what your company offers, it might also help to lose weight, lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, sleep better, and save money on prescriptions. You may even find your life taking a new direction, such as the desire to become more involved in recreational sports teams or other forms of competition like marathons or bodybuilding competitions.  Sometimes, all you need is a little motivation to get the ball rolling and a workplace wellness plan might be it.

Another great benefit of wellness programs is a built sense of camaraderie with your co-workers. You’ll have a chance to experience activities with them that aren’t related to work, whether in a walking club or sports team, by having lunch together, or by going to the gym. Social support is a very important part of weight loss and getting fit. By interacting with co-workers, you’ll have others to give you encouragement when you need it, as well as to hold you accountable to your goals. Plus, you’ll be motivated by seeing other’s positive results. By using a wellness program, you’ll be an important part of the team.

If you work for a large company, chances are there is already a Health and Fitness Program in place.  You can find out if there is one offered from your Human Resource Department.  Many smaller companies do offer these programs as well; discuss with other employees and your employer whether it is something that your workplace should offer.

Saskatoon Gyms Company Wellness

If you have any questions about setting up a company health and fitness program or corporate discounts please contact us info@fitnessfocus.ca.

 

Beyond The Weight Room: Standing Straight With Back Basics

posted by Fitness Focus    |   November 6, 2012 14:21

by Melissa Leier

STRENGTH TRAINING YOUR BACK MUSCLES
can help create a nice, shapely V, but aside from the muscular definition, developing these muscle groups effectively can have a significant impact on your posture.
Melissa Leier Fitness Training SaskatoonWe’re constantly moving in a forward direction or using pushing movements in day-to-day activities and there are rarely any backward or pulling movements to balance it out. Gradually, your upper back posture will suffer as your shoulders become rounded forward, you slouch or develop a head-forward posture. This posture can then lead to tension in the upper spine, shoulders and neck.
A little fun fact for you: every inch of forward head posture can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds.

 POSTURE AND SYMMETRY

Frequent forward movements in daily activities or even exercising pushing movements in a strength training program, such as chest presses or push-ups, without the balance of exercising the muscles that create pulling movements, can cause strength development to be disproportional anterior to posterior. In addition, the chest muscles can become very tight and start to pull the shoulders into this rounded forward posture, which not only looks less than aesthetically pleasing, but can also cause discomfort. This can even result from the constant or frequent movements we do day to day, such as pushing doors open, working at a computer, driving a car or relaxing into the couch watching TV.

Slouching and head-forward posture can lead to long-term muscle strain, disc herniation, arthritis and pinched nerves. Long-term sustained posture like this can lead to bones moving position and losing range of motion, creating a more permanent hunchback posture.

So what can you do to improve your posture?

Strength training exercises, such as deadlifts, lat pull-downs, barbell or dumbbell rows, wide pull-ups, rear delt lateral raises; all done properly, of course.

Chest stretches and lots of them! Even doing a ‘chest in the doorway’ stretch every hour would help. Extend your arms out to your sides at a right angle and bend your elbows 90 degrees. Place both of your forearms against a doorjamb and lean forward. You can stagger your stance with one foot forward if it feels more comfortable. Hold the stretch on each side for about 30 seconds.

Exaggerating perfect posture and always being aware of your posture, including trunk alignment and chin position.

 CHECKING MY ASSUMPTIONS

There was a time in my training history when I was boxing competitively. Aside from throwing hundreds of punches, I was doing hundreds of push-ups daily. When I would consider my own posture, I thought, “Of course it’s great. I’m young and I’m an athlete.” But then why was I starting to get a lot of stiffness and feeling the need to be constantly stretching to feel at ease? I looked in the mirror sideways in a standing posture that I had thought was relaxed and neural, and it was not even close. My chin wasn’t tucked back where it should be and my shoulders were quite rounded forward. Not only did the muscular tension cause discomfort, but also my posture was nowhere near looking tall, poised and confident, the way I wanted it to be. I decided it was time to make a change.

 LESSONS LEARNED

1. Mind-Muscle Connection

To balance out my physique, improve strength and correct my posture, I started strength training my back with twice the frequency of my chest workouts, stretching regularly and using frequent postural awareness. I started to increase strength by increasing the weight I was using somewhat, but felt my lower arm and bicep muscles taking over and fatiguing before I felt my back really engage.

Working with my professional coach, I learned to use little grip strength in my hands and to pull from the larger muscle group (lattisimus dorsi) in the back while visualizing the muscle I was actually using through its range of motion. In less than a year, I had made significant progress to balance out my physique and it did wonders to reduce my muscle stiffness.

The concept of the mind-muscle connection means getting to know your own anatomy and connecting the feeling of specific muscle contraction with a visual for yourself. You should be able to know you’ve contracted a certain muscle with your eyes closed without having to look in the mirror. The more in touch you can get with your own body, the better.

 2. Patience And Persistence Pays Off

Progressing from an exercise using the cable lat pull-down machine regularly, I went on to try the body weight wide grip pull-up. I started off barely able to do one body weight wide pull-up and an ugly one at that! It was difficult and frustrating trying to do these, but I stuck with it and over several months worked my way up to more than 20 at a time for several sets. Not only did this feel great as the muscles grew stronger and the exercise became a smoother movement, but what a sense of accomplishment to motivate me to continue!

 3. Practice Perfect Posture

You need to purposefully think about your alignment, not just in back- specific exercises, but all exercises. Don’t let your back or shoulders round forward when sitting in the leg extension machine or doing a bent- over dumbbell rear delt raise. Even at home or when you’re going to be working at a desk, before you even dive into the activity, take the time to set yourself up first. Even small and light activities throughout the day count towards your overall spinal health. Focus on maintaining neutral spinal alignment when bending to pick something up, when setting up your pillow for sleep and while driving, keeping your chin tucked under and shoulder blades tucked back.

 Put Your Excuses Aside

I once heard someone say, “Well, I don’t exercise my back. It’s sore already.” I would challenge anyone to question themselves on the decision to not exercise the back. Often, a sore back is the result of a lack of effective utilization and exercise of the back muscles. As long as you are medically cleared to exercise, the back should be one of the most important muscle groups to work to improve!

Saskatoon Well Being: Our Favorite Article for September

posted by Fitness Focus    |   September 7, 2012 17:37

Here is our favorite article chosen from the September 2012 issue of Saskatoon Wellbeing Magazine.  This month's article is about sleep.  Most of us take this luxury for granted; we don't realize how important a good night sleep really is to what we do the following day.  It can affect your work, relationships with people and even be the deciding factor of whether to make it to the gym or not.  This article touches base on a side of sleep deprivation we might not be acknowledging.

Sleeping Separately: Why More Couples Are Going To Sleep In Different Beds

by Sarah Stefanson

She needs complete silence to get to sleep. He likes the white noise of a fan in the background. The fan also keeps him cool, but she likes to be nice and warm. She needs darkness and he can fall asleep in a fully lit room. He tends to go to sleep early and wake up early, while she’s just the opposite. He twitches in his sleep. Oh, and he snores.

They have tried different tactics to solve their sleep differences. She sings the praises of her sleep mask. They tried having different blankets for each of them. Schedule adjustments. Earplugs. No matter what they attempted, the glaring truth was staring them in the face: they were not meant to sleep in the same room.

Many couples are experiencing similar dilemmas and most are hesitant to resort to separate bedrooms, but it is a growing trend for partners to split up at bedtime. From 2001 to 2005, the National Sleep Foundation found that the numbers of American married couples that sleep in separate beds rose from 12 per cent to 23 per cent. The Sleep Council of England reports that 1 in 4 Brits habitually spend their nights in spare rooms or on sofas. Want more proof? The National Association of Home Builders says there have been more and more requests for homes built with two master bedrooms. In fact, they estimate that by the year 2015, 60 per cent of all custom-built homes will have his and hers bedrooms.

Proponents of separate bedrooms have several good arguments to back them up and even some scientific evidence.

Sleep specialist Dr. Neil Stanley revealed at the British Science Festival in 2009 that couples that sleep in the same bed may experience 50 per cent more sleep disturbances than those who sleep separately

A Perspective on Fat

posted by Fitness Focus    |   July 20, 2012 16:05

Questions from around the gym about dietary fats;

Essential properties of your food, including fats, must be ingested in optimum quantities to build optimum health. Surveys show that the majority of the members of affluent populations obtain too little of many essential substances, leading to deteriorating health which in turn leads to degeneration due to malnutrition and ultimately kills two-thirds of the world's population.

More than 70% of people die from just three conditions that involve fatty degeneration: cardiovascular disease (50%), cancer (25%), and diabetes (3%).

Some fats are detrimental to our health, but the fact is that some fats are very important for health. If we eat the right kinds of fats in the right amounts and balances, they will contribute to good health; the wrong kinds of fats in the wrong amounts and balances will cause degenerative diseases.

Fatty acids are part of the basic structure of dietary fats. Almost all dietary fats contain a mixture of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The type of fatty acid that predominates determines whether it is solid or liquid as well as its stability. They are key building blocks of all fats and oils (lipids) both in our foods and in our body. Fatty acids are also the main components in neutral fats (triglycerides) carried in our blood, and stored fat (adipose) which serves as an important source of energy.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are found primarily in animal products such as beef, pork, lamb, and ham as well as whole milk, cream, coconut oil, and vegetable shortening.  The body uses saturated fats to make cholesterol. A high dietary intake can raise LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) levels in the blood, increasing your risk of heart disease.

It is recommended to limit your intake of saturated fats to lbe ess than 10% of your total daily calories.

Polyunsaturated Fats

Found mostly in corn, soybean, safflower, and sunflower oils and certain fish oils, these fats may actually lower your total blood cholesterol levels. But they may also lower your good cholesterol (HDLs) and are still high in calories. They should not exceed 10% of your total daily caloric intake.

Monounsaturated Fats

These fats are found in olive, peanut, and canola oils. It is thought that monounsaturated fats may reduce LDLs (bad) without affecting HDLs (good). It is recommended that these fats make up no more than 10-15% of your total caloric intake.

Trans-fatty acids

Trans-fatty acids occur when polyunsaturated fats are hydrogenated to make margarine and shortening. These fats are processed by injecting hydrogen into the food product.  While the jury is still out, it is thought that trans-fatty acids behave much like saturated fats, raising LDL cholesterol.

Essential Fatty acids (EFA)

Essential fatty acids are sources of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids (technically categorized as polyunsaturated fatty acids). They include linoleic and linolenic acids. The body must have these essential fatty acids, yet cannot synthesize them itself. One of the main functions of essential fatty acids is the production of prostaglandins which are hormone-like substances that regulate many body functions. They basically control every cell of the body on a second-by-second basis. They are required for energy production and increase oxidation and metabolic rate. Some of the many benefits of EFA's for the body are reducing blood pressure, preventing inflammation, stimulating immunity, reducing joint tenderness, and positively influencing HDL/LDL cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol

We are told to think of cholesterol as the enemy, our bodies do need cholesterol. In fact, much of our cholesterol is made inside our bodies, by the liver. People don't need to consume dietary cholesterol because the body can make enough cholesterol for its needs. But the typical diet contains substantial amounts of cholesterol, found in foods such as egg yolks, liver, meat, some shellfish, and whole-milk dairy products. Only foods of animal origin contain cholesterol.

Cholesterol is transported in the bloodstream in large molecules of fat and protein called lipoproteins. Cholesterol carried in low-density lipoproteins is called LDL-cholesterol; most cholesterol is of this type. Cholesterol carried in high-density lipoproteins is called HDL-cholesterol. LDL-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol act differently in the body. A high level of LDL-cholesterol in the blood increases the risk of fatty deposits forming in the arteries, which in turn increases the risk of a heart attack. Thus, LDL-cholesterol has been dubbed "bad" cholesterol. On the other hand, an elevated level of HDL-cholesterol seems to have a protective effect against heart disease. For this reason, HDL-cholesterol is often called "good" cholesterol.

Body Fat

Body fat (fat present in the cells of adipose tissue) is probably the fat that most people are familiar with. Body fat is vital to daily body functions. It cushions the joints and protects the organs, helps regulates body temperature, stores vitamins and helps the body sustain itself when food is scarce. However, serious health risks have been associated with both too much and too little body fat.

The Fat Perspective  -  Written by Jeff Behar

Fitness Focus, Saskatoon's No Contract Gym

Here is our favorite article from the July issue of Saskatoon Well Being Magazine.

posted by Fitness Focus    |   July 3, 2012 16:13

Here is our favorite article from the July issue of Saskatoon Well Being Magazine.  This month our favorite article forcuses on infant wellness.

Most experts agree that breastfeeding is the best way to go when it comes to giving your baby the nutrition she needs during those all-important formative years. Breast milk contains over 100 ingredients including antibodies that protect babies from illness and strengthen their immune systems. Plus, your breast milk is specially formulated for your baby and its composition changes as your baby grows.

Sometimes, however, breastfeeding is not an option or a mother may choose to switch from breastfeeding to bottle feeding. A study published in Pediatrics in 2008 showed that “Breast milk alone did not satisfy my baby” was the most frequently cited reason by mothers who decided to stop breastfeeding their babies. Early on, many women have problems with sore, cracked nipples or clogged ducts and infections of the breast tissue (mastitis), which can make breastfeeding an unpleasant or even painful experience. Some babies have trouble latching on in order to feed properly and this can be frustrating to the mother.

Whether it is a medical issue or a lifestyle choice that motivates the decision to bottle feed, Well Being wants you to know the basics of what you’ll need to do it correctly to make sure your baby is getting all the nutrition she requires.

INGREDIENTS

Although they cannot imitate breast milk exactly, commercially manufactured infant formulas contain many of the vitamins and nutrients a baby would get from breast milk as well as others only available in supplements. Infant formulas come in powdered, concentrated and ready-mixed versions and are either cow-milk-based, soy-based or specially formulated for specific conditions. An iron-fortified formula is recommended for babies younger than one year.

Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada advise against attempting to make your own baby formula at home since it is difficult to make a homemade formula nutritionally complete.

HOW OFTEN AND HOW MUCH

Formula-fed babies generally have to eat less often than breast-fed babies. This is because formula is slower to digest than breast milk. (More complicated digestion is also the reason that formula-fed babies have smellier bowel movements.)

On average, your baby should consume between 150 and 200ml of formula per kilogram of body weight each day (between 2.5 and 2.5 oz per pound).

As your baby grows, feeding habits and amounts will change.

CHOOSING BOTTLES

When it comes to choosing the right bottle for your new little one, the choices can be staggering.

The first decision to make is glass or plastic. Glass is regaining popularity lately due to concerns over harmful chemicals in plastic bottles. There is a risk of breakage with glass, but they are made quite sturdy and you can purchase wraps made of silicone or foam to cushion the glass from falls. Plastic bottles are cheaper, but may not last as long as glass. Always look for BPA-free plastic bottles.

The size and shape of the bottle are the next considerations. Newborns won’t need more than four ounces, but as your baby grows, she will need up to eight or nine ounces in a sitting. You may want to buy bigger bottles from the start and just not fill them up entirely for your newborn. Bottles with air vent systems and ones with an angled shape may help prevent your baby from swallowing too much air along with her food, which can result in gas and digestion issues. If you chose a specially shaped bottle, make sure it is dishwasher safe and that it fits in your bottle warmer (if used). Drop-in plastic bottle liners are another option for reducing your baby’s air intake while feeding and they also cut down on cleaning time since the liners can be thrown away after use. Of course, liners do have a larger environmental impact.

Finally, you’ll want to decide on the type of nipple for the bottle. If your baby is exclusively formula- fed, the shape of the nipple is not as important, but if you plan to go back and forth between breast and formula feeding, it is a good idea to choose a wide-base nipple that resembles the breast so the baby won’t get confused and have latching on problems. Different nipples are designed to allow a faster or slower rate of flow and you may have to experiment with flow rate until you find one your baby likes. Slower is usually better to start out with and you can increase as the baby ages.

PREPARATION

Before using bottles and nipples for the first time, you can sterilize them in a rolling boil for two minutes. It is unnecessary to sterilize bottles before each subsequent use. Proper washing with hot water and soap is sufficient. If you do choose to sterilize, you can boil, steam, microwave or use a sterilizing solution.

Follow the instructions on the package of formula to figure out the proper amounts of powder or concentrate and tepid water you should mix together in the bottle, then screw on the nipple tightly and shake. If your tap water is considered safe for consumption, it is fine to use for formula, but you can boil your water before making formula if you have concerns. Warming is not necessary, but if your baby prefers it, warm the bottle by placing it in a container of hot (not boiling) water or by using a bottle warmer. Don’t use a microwave as it may create hot spots that can burn your baby’s mouth.

The formula is ready to eat immediately, but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. If the bottle is left out for longer than an hour or two, throw the formula out. Discard any remaining formula when your baby is done eating.

COSTS

The costs of using formula can add up. Powdered formula is the least expensive option, followed by concentrated and ready-made formulas being most expensive. Specialty formulas will also cost more than basic ones. You can expect to pay between $1,500 and $2,000 for formula in your baby’s first year.

CONVENIENCE

You can’t beat the convenience of bottle feeding your baby. Being able to prepare bottles ahead of time means that you can enjoy some time away from your baby while your partner or other helpers assist with the feeding process. You may also be able to head back to work sooner since your baby won’t be as dependent on you.

BONDING

Some women worry about missing out on the bonding that happens during breastfeeding between mother and baby. If you spend time with your baby while you feed her, cuddling, making eye contact and placing her bare skin against yours, you should have no trouble creating a connection.

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