All posts by Elsbeth

The purity of sport: Shinny hockey

It was a cold winter Tuesday evening in Ottawa and I was eager to get a bit of exercise – It was too soon since my last workout to hit the gym, maybe skiing? I have a night season pass and the hill is only 20 minutes away, but we’ve had a few days of rain followed by a deep freeze – not exactly ideal conditions. Maybe a skate on the canal (Ottawa has a 7km long canal that turns into the World’s largest skating rink each winter)? And then suddenly I remembered the boards at the Plant Recreation Centre. Shinny hockey. The gem of winter. Continue reading The purity of sport: Shinny hockey

Shoveling as a workout?

I for one complained about the lack of snow in November. I’ll admit it.  And while I am super happy to be able to ski now, I can’t say I look forward to the driving and walking related issues that snow brings.

For many, shoveling is the big frustration.  It’s hard work if you have a big driveway.  I’m not sure if this is a surprise to anyone, but emergency rooms fill up after big snow falls.  Okay, I’m sure that doesn’t surprise anyone.  Many of the visits are from falling injuries – slippery sidewalks, ski or snowboard tumbles, and of course toboggan injuries.  But did you know there is also an increase in cardiac incidents? Continue reading Shoveling as a workout?

Q&A: Healthy late night snacking

Q: I find that I am always hungry at night even after a good meal. What are some healthy snacks you’d recommend that are ok for eating later at night and wont affect our sleep?

A: Before addressing good late-night snack options, I have two questions for you: Are you eating enough of the throughout the day? What is the macronutrient (carb/protein/fat) makeup of the good meal?

Some people skimp on calories throughout the day and by evening they are just hungry. And for some reason when we’re hungry at night, we tend toward junkie food options – like we’ve been socially programmed to believe that whatever we eat after dinner is dessert. Is it possible that this is the case with you?

Continue reading Q&A: Healthy late night snacking

At The Gym: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Even though I am a trainer and have the equipment to work out at home or at the sports therapy clinic where I work, I still prefer going to the gym.

It’s partly a social thing I suppose – I’m not a big chatter at the gym, but I do have the people I say hi to or nod to. Strangely it’s also partly being able to tune out. I love to put my mp3 player on and enjoy some loud tunes. Aside from at the gym and in the car, I don’t listen to a lot of music. Maybe I need to do that more. ..

Continue reading At The Gym: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Q&A: Hamstring and glute exercises

Q&A: Glute and hamstring exercises

Q: I have some questions about glute and hamstring exercises. I find these hard groups to target. For example, I’ve read so many great things about deadlifts…but my problem is that I can’t hold enough weight to get a good workout – my hands give out.

A: I’m assuming that you’re talking about Romanian (stiff leg) deadlifts where you start with the weight in your hands and bend at the hips to lower it. Some people suggest using an alternating grip to address grip strength but personally I’m not a fan of that because it puts uneven stress on your shoulders. I actually like straps for deadlifts. Something else to keep in mind with these exercises is that it’s a good idea to have about a 20 degree knee bend as opposed to straight leg because that helps to target glutes more than hamstrings. Continue reading Q&A: Hamstring and glute exercises

Introducing your new best friend, Foam Roll

“Foam rolling is great, we have quickly become best friends” was a recent response from a client when I inquired about his progress with some foam roll exercises that I had recommended.

I can honestly say that I feel the same way.  I didn’t feel that way initially mind you – we really had to work through some painful spots, but thankfully we were both willing to keep working at them, and soon enough it was smooth rolling.  And that lead to happy running and skiing for me.  But after a while the old white foam roller started to feel a little soft.  Then one day, my wandering eye got the best of me – I just couldn’t resist that fancy blue foam roller, standing in the corner of the fitness store, so hard and rugged.  Who could resist? Continue reading Introducing your new best friend, Foam Roll

The One True Diet: Does it Include Donuts?

Millions of North Americans are trapped in some stage of the weight loss cycle:
- Thinking about dieting
- Buying into a diet book/program
- Dieting
- Giving up on the diet
- Feeling bad about themselves for giving up
- Gaining weight
- Thinking about dieting…

Some people actually succeed and make the necessary and sustainable changes that lead to a new and healthy life. Unfortunately, most are stuck in some stage of that cycle.

Continue reading The One True Diet: Does it Include Donuts?

Want to get in shape for ski season?

Raise your hand if this sounds like you:

You book a great week-long ski vacation somewhere out west. Maybe Heavenly? Lake Louise? Whistler? You can’t stop thinking about knee deep powder, and 3,000+ vertical feet, and runs that take half an hour to ski down. Then you start thinking about that, and you remember the last ski vacation you took:

Low back pain redux

This week’s post is a follow on to last week’s post with some basic information about low-back pain, covering some slightly different topics and getting into a bit more detail.

The post will primarily address whether and how much we should bend, extend and rotate our backs.

Dr. McGill has lectured and written extensively on why flexion is bad for our backs, and yet what exercise does your physical therapist give you to address your low back pain? Crunches! Somehow in the last 20 years it has become a universal truth that situps are bad but crunches are good. Take a look at these two photos. Continue reading Low back pain redux

Lessons about low back pain (part one)

I had the pleasure of spending two days at a Dr. Stuart McGill seminar about “Building the Ultimate Back”. Dr. McGill is a spine biomechanist at the University of Waterloo, an internationally renowned speaker about low back dysfunction, an equally renowned clinician, and the author of Low back Disorders and Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance.

Because Dr. McGill covered so much amazing information, and because back function is such an important topic, I have split this into three articles. This first article provides what I view as the 4 basic points he addressed.

Continue reading Lessons about low back pain (part one)