Friday, January 29, 2010

Natural Training & Equipment?

As a lot of you know, I am a big advocate of body weight training. It's incredibly versatile and can be designed to drop your body fat or boost your strength. Body weight training also has the added benefit of being able to give you one heck of a workout no matter where you are on earth! It's also the most natural form of exercise possible, what's more natural than the ability to move your own body with control and ease? Those reasons alone are enough to tell you why Jungle Fit training (natural training) is rooted in body weight exercises. However, body weight is not the end all be all of fitness, but it is a great place to start and use as the glue to build your fitness program. In my experience it is best to blend a mix of body weight training with some of the many functional fitness tools available on the market today! These tools will not only challenge your body weight routine, but also throw your body for a loop and keep it guessing. I'm sure some of you are wondering what kind of equipment is functional and not just another crazy "globo gym" apparatus? That's why I have created a little list of just some of the many products you might decide to use in your own fitness routine...

1. Resistance Bands: I would suggest Rubberbanditz bands. These bands are an excellent tool to challenge your body through limitless ranges of motion and countless exercises. Use them to assist your chin ups, put pressure on your squats, make push ups even more challenging, even for stretching and re-hab! The bands are guaranteed not to snap, and if they ever do then you will be sent brand new bands free of charge! They're a green company as well and the bands are small and portable, what more can you ask! Visit them at

2. Suspension Trainers: Gym Rings, Lifeline Jungle Gym, TRX these are some of the best tools for taking your body weight training to the next level. They come in many names and colours but really, they all do the same thing! Throw them over your chin up bar (another MUST HAVE), soccer net or even a tree branch! Aiding with progressions in multiple areas such as chin ups, push ups, rows, squats etc. it's the perfect tool for anyone of any fitness level. Find one for a good price, shop around and you will not be disappointed. For some exercises such as push ups I have even combined the use or resistance bands and the suspension trainer to make the exercise even more challenging!

3. Kettlebells: No surprise here people! We all know my love for kettlebell training being that I am a kettlebell trainer myself. A very primal design and so many options. Blast yourself with explosive movements such as the swing and snatch, or focus on strength with high tension exercises like the double front squat or renegade row! Kettlebells work so well with body weight training that I think of them as the yin to the others yang! Do yourself a favour and learn from a qualified instructor how to use kettlebells. You will not be sorry!

4. Stability Balls: What I think I love so much about stability balls is the fact that I feel like a little kid again! It's a giant colourful ball that you get to roll around on and can add unique challenges to a workout, who wouldn't love that?! They're great for stretching, crunches, push ups, internal abdominal work and much more. It's even useful as a chair when it's not being used for exercise! Find a good anti-burst ball (not burst resistant) and get rolling.

... so there you have it guys! It's nowhere near all of them, but that's a great place to start and if you shop around you can find all of these products for a great price. Body weight training will cost you nothing at all, but if you want to spice things up a bit then you don't have to break the bank! Until next time, take care!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Two Feet & A Heart Beat!

When anyone starts their on their journey towards optimal health and fitness with Jungle Fit, there are a few questions and forms for everyone to answer and fill out. One of those questions (which is rather obvious) is,"What is your current activity level, and what are you doing for exercise.". The most common answer is "I walk about 3-4 times per week". I'm going to make this pretty clear ... I have a problem with this answer!

Please don't get me wrong, I have nothing against walking. I love it, I love going out for walks down town or just getting outside and enjoying my surroundings. Walking can be great for maintaining foot health (when wearing minimal foot wear ex. flip flops), it's a great stress reliever and a chance to leave your house and move around or spend time with your dog! What I have a problem with is the popular belief that walking is a legitimate form of exercise!

Walking is NOT exercise ... it's just what we do! It's what we were born to do, it's what we're designed to do, and it's something all of us (for the most part) here in North America aren't doing enough! The obvious reasons for this would be that most people have cars and drive everywhere, even down the road 1block to go to work. We can order anything we would like on the Internet/phone (including food) and have it brought to our homes without ever having to walk anywhere. The list goes on and on, but the fact is all of our technology has made us ... for lack of a better word, lazy. So now that we never really walk anywhere anymore, it makes walking down the road seem like a hard thing to do, most people view exercise as something hard ... so now the general public views walking as a form of exercise.

If you're one of the many who look at walking as exercise than you need to shift that view because you're mistaken. Walking is just our form of natural transportation, it's how we're designed to get from place to place. Walking will burn calories, but heck even your brain burns calories just to function each day, and the majority of people don't walk anywhere near enough to burn any significant amount of calories to lose body fat. Real exercise involves moving/lifting heavy things sometimes, moving really fast other times, and their are ways to accomplish real exercise with little to no impact on your joints. Kettlebell swings will not hurt your knees or feet (like jogging) and will boost your metabolism, drop your body fat, and improve your range of motion. That one exercise alone has the low impact benefit of walking, but is actually exercise! Walking should just be something that you do, exercise should be something completely separate! Make time to walk or make a decision to only take your car if it's absolutely necessary, hell you could even walk to the gym or to your personal trainer!

What it all comes down to people is that cavemen didn't own cars (unless you take your history from the Flinstones) they just walked everywhere. So it's time to put the keys away and begin walking as your form of transportation whenever you can, but please for your own health know that walking is not exercise, it's just what we we're born to do.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Push Ups ... Ask Your Doctor If They're Right For You!

Flick on your T.V. right now! Okay, are you watching it? Good, skip through a few channels ... did you see it? I'm willing to bet you did!

I'm talking about drug commercials ... you know the ones that show a bunch of happy people running in fields of flowers or playing catch with their kids while they tell you about some new prescription drug. Then right before the commercial ends it rambles off on the laundry list of side effects that seem WAY worse than the "condition" they are designed to treat!

And doesn't it seem that every day there's a new pill to "treat" your specific "symptom". I know that we all make fun of these commercials, but have you ever really wondered why there are so many of them? Why there are new ones every day, or why they have that crazy list of side effects attached to them?

Well the answer is simple ... MONEY! That's right people its all about the money. And any smart business knows that the money comes from repeat customers. People who come back for more of the product they are selling. As we know, the drug companies sell pills.

So lets take a look at how they make their money. If they make pills that treat a certain symptom and when you stop taking that pill your symptoms come back, then you'll continue to take that pill until the day you die. This is what I like to call masking a problem ... it doesn't actually cure your or solve your problem , it just hides the problem enough to live with. So now that you're hooked on this medication you start having side effects. Now not only do you have to take a pill for one condition, you have a whole other problem that needs to be addressed! So you head to your doctor and they prescribe you another pill to treat the side effect.

As you can see its one heck of a vicious circle! However, the drug companies don't view it that way, they see it as money. Money to pay their bills, buy their food, drive their cars etc. Simply put, if everyone was healthy all the time ... then the drug companies would be out of business.

What they don't want you to know is that most health problems can be solved and prevented with correct diet and exercise alone! But their is no money for them if they tell you how a paleo diet can solve type 2 diabetes in 2-3 weeks. There is no money in letting people who are hooked on anti depressants know that exercise alone is more effective for fighting depression then the pill they are on. Most anti depressants do nothing for the average person, and in fact can heighten mood swings and suicidal thoughts! Their is no money in them telling you how nutrition and exercise can solve/prevent conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, colitis, obesity, osteoporosis etc.

Look, I could go on and on about this all day, but lets get to the point shall we! Health is all about preventing decease and health complications. If we all eat a paleo diet (full of fresh real fruits/veggies, meats, nuts/seeds/ and water), worked out hard, took our vitamins, and got some good sleep ... then we wouldn't be so sick. Also, there would be a hell of a lot less commercials on T.V. asking me to call my doctor and ask if this pill is right for me!

Long story short, push ups and broccoli are the new Prozac!