Monday, 24 June 2013

Why We Kick Your Butts The Way We Kick ‘Em…

Maybe you are wondering just why exactly we structure our workouts the way we do? Why we challenge your bodies, and push them so far that your muscles are screaming and you think you’re going to die (please, don’t think you are the only one – it really is a love/hate relationship that you personally have with bootcamp…).

We thought that since it is the beginning of a brand new session, we would offer you all (the returning and the brand spanking new iluvthis bootcampers) some fabulous insights as to why we train the way that we train – and why it is so gosh darn effective at bringing you those FAT BLASTING, BOOTY SHAPING, MUSCLE BUILDING results!

In the past, straight aerobic exercise has been touted as the most effective way to lose those extra pounds, but a new wave of exercise has rapidly been taking the fitness world by storm.  You may or may not have heard of High Intensity Interval training, but nowadays it seems that everybody has taken to some form of weight/cardio intervals, HIIT, cross-fit etc, to burst through weight loss plateaus in an effort to loose fat and build lean muscle or even just for the purposes of strengthening and conditioning their bodies. People are beginning to realize that in order to actually change the physical SHAPE of your body, you MUST increase the amount of muscle on your body – not only is this the only way to get that lean, fit, healthy shape to your body, but it is also imperative to burning more fat (the more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn even when you are at rest).  This is ultimately the difference between loosing “weight” and losing “fat” – and our ultimate goal for you is that you are able to lose fat, while gaining lean muscle.

Women 150lbs BMI Difference
Check out this quick pic to get an idea of what we mean:

Both of the women in the picture weigh the same amount (150lbs) and have the same BMI – But the different shapes of their body are incredibly noticeable.  The woman in red has a higher muscle mass than the woman in green – red dress is leaner and more toned than her green dress friend. Ultimately, this is what Bootcamp style training, HIIT can do for your body.

So why exactly is interval training so effective at changing your body?

1.  High Intensity Intervals allow you to burn more fat than long duration lower-intensity exercise

An old-schooled personal trainer (one who has stopped reading research for the last 10 years) will tell you that lower intensity cardiovascular exercise like walking for 2 hours daily burns more fat.  They will argue this is because at these lower intensities a higher proportion of fat is used for energy as opposed to carbohydrate or sugar. The key word here is “proportion”.  While it IS true a higher proportion of fat compared to carbs are used in low intensity exercise, higher “total” amounts of both fat and carbs are used in higher intensity exercise.” – (The Myth of Low Intensity Exercise) Overall, you will burn more calories and as such more fat and carbs when performing HIIT exercises opposed to long-duration, low-intensity cardio. 

2.  You will burn fat stores even AFTER you are finished working out

Compared to traditional long duration, low-intensity cardio such as running, jogging or going the elliptical for a set amount of time, assuming that we have worked your body hard enough at bootcamp, “more fat will continue to be burned after the workout as well. This is called EPOC, excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, and it refers to the amount of fat and calories burned after a workout is over.  The EPOC of a workout is determined largely by its intensity.  Low intensity workouts have a very small EPOC while higher intensity workouts have a larger EPOC.  Researchers argue the magnitude of this effect, but it is not disputed that higher intensity cardiovascular activity will generate a larger EPOC effect” (The Myth of Low Intensity Exercise).  Who doesn’t want to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time anyways? Definitely the most bang for your buck! So the next time you want to beat up your trainer just think about all of the amazing benefits to your body after you are done – I told you it’s a love/hate relationship!

3.  Studies have also shown multiple other benefits to HIIT workouts like those we do at bootcamp

“A January 2009 article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology adds to the growing evidence that high-intensity interval training may be more beneficial to the heart than continuous moderate intensity exercise… This study hints that high intensity interval training may be superior to continuous aerobic exercise in addressing one of the key underlying factors involved in the induction and progression of cardiovascular disease.  Another novel finding in this article is that high intensity interval training was shown to greatly enhance, to a significant degree, the production of antioxidants by the body.  Again it outperformed continuous aerobic exercise in this regard. This study and others like it are beginning to show that high-intensity interval exercise is not only great for changing body composition but may also excel at protecting the heart” (Intervals Better Than Aerobics For Heart?). 

For more information on this study please check out the article at the Metabolic Effect Website:

Overall, the benefits of HIIT and our Bootcamp style workouts are many and varied.  We are so glad that you have decided to join us this Summer for iluvthis Bootcamp, and can’t wait to see all of the amazing changes that you are able to make along the way!

Have an amazing day, and remember:

You are going to LUV this!



Monday, 17 June 2013

Why Are Veggies So Good For You?

We’ve all heard it (or most of us have anyways), maybe you’ve even heard it since you were a little kid – “eat your vegetables, so you can grow big and strong.” Mostly it’s a ploy for parents to get something healthy into their children, to get their kids to eat something they might not like, but they know to be beneficial to their growth and development.  Obviously this statement holds some truth, but what exactly is it? What makes vegetables so good for us anyways?

In a society that is overly saturated with outrageously sugary, high-fat, chemically enhanced and flavoured and coloured, and who-knows-what-else “foods” (and I use the term loosely because can anything that is produced in a laboratory or needs a scientist to make it really be considered food?), many people find themselves lost in the grocery store when it comes to a staple food group that offers such an abundance of benefits.

Sometimes when I’m at the store I take a peek into the carts of those around me. Arguably, unless you are shopping at Whole Foods all the time, the carts of the majority of people are filled with this processed junk, boxes & boxes of sugary cereals, boxed potatoes, canned pastas (yuck), potato chips filled with hidden sugars, sodium, artificial flavours and colours, and a myriad of other things that in no way resemble the diets of the past or even other parts of the world.  The real failing of our modern society, specifically in North America is that we are overfed, but starving to death – Hungry For Change (such a great, eye-opening, documentary...)

But I digress…

Obviously this week’s challenge is a Veggie Challenge, so I thought that it would be a fabulous idea to take this time to remind ourselves why vegetables are so good for us and why they should make up the bulk of our daily diets!

Vegetables are packed full of all sorts of nutrients!

Not only are vegetables an amazing source of Vitamins and Minerals such as Vitamin C, Iron, Potassium, Calcium etc. but vegetables are also bursting with PHYTOCHEMICALS.  
“In short, phytochemical ingredients are plant-derived compounds, which…protect the plants from environmental stresses, including insects, and weather ups and downs” (Why Veggies Are So Good For You”).  Even though these phytochemicals are not essential to human-life, they do offer significant benefits to our health and well-being.  Evidence shows that “phytochemicals are able to reduce the oxidative damage to our cells, that cause various diseases like cancer. Foods such as grapes, dark chocolate and carotenoids, sweet potatoes and green leafy vegetables are examples of phytochemicals full of antioxidant material which help us to fight diseases like cancer” (Why Veggies Are So Good For You).

Veggies are the Best Source of Dietary Fiber!

In addition to being such a significant source of Vitamins, Minerals and Phytochemicals, Vegetables are also the best source of dietary fiber.  Cruciferous vegetables as well as legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils contain plenty of fiber, which will help keep you regular… if you catch my drift.

Veggies are Great for Weight Loss!

Relatively speaking many vegetables (though non-starchy veggies are the best for this purpose) can be eaten in abundance, and unlimited quantities – they will serve to fill you up, and because they are full of fiber, they will assist in helping keep you full for longer periods of time.  They are low in calories, and high in nutrients and this makes them an ideal food when you are trying to get rid of those extra pounds.

While both starchy and non-starchy vegetables are part of a proper diet, the starchy selections (which contain more sugar) should be kept in check by making sure you are getting the proper portion size.  “Starchy vegetables include corn, peas, plantains, potatoes, squash, and yams, while non-starchy vegetables are all of the rest including artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, eggplant, leeks, mushrooms, onions, peppers, salad greens, spinach, tomato, and zucchini” (“Vegetables and Weight Loss”).

The key to harnessing the benefits of all of these veggies is without a doubt to eat as many and as much variety as you can.  Vegetables aren’t created equal – apart from the obvious differences of starchy and non-starchy varieties, they each offer different benefits and combinations of vitamins and minerals.

A Quick Guide to the Amazing Benefits of Some Common Fruits and Vegetables:

  • Broccoli, cabbage and kale - The isothiocynanates in these cruciferous vegetables stimulate the liver to break down pesticides and other carcinogens. In people susceptible to colon cancer, these phytochemicals seem to reduce risk.
  • Carrots, mangos and winter squash - The alpha and beta carotenes in these orange vegetables and fruits play a role in cancer prevention, particularly of the lung, esophagus and stomach.
  • Citrus fruits, red apples and yams - The large family of compounds known as flavonoids found in these fruits and vegetables (as well as red wine) show promise as cancer fighters.
  • Garlic and onions - The onion family (including leeks, chives and scallions) is rich in allyl sulfides, which can help lower high blood pressure and show promise in protecting against cancers of the stomach and the digestive tract. Also read Benefits of Garlic in Heart Disease.
  • Pink grapefruit, red bell peppers and tomatoes - The phytochemical lycopene is actually more available after cooking, which makes tomato paste and ketchup the best sources of it. Lycopene shows promise in fighting lung and prostate cancers.
  • Red grapes, blueberries and strawberries - The anthocyanins that give these fruits their distinctive colors may help ward off heart disease by preventing clot formation. Anthocyanins also appear to inhibit tumor growth.
  • Spinach, collard greens and avocado - Lutein, which appears to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke as well as guard against age-related macular degeneration (which leads to blindness), is also abundant in pumpkins.
Source: (Vegetables and Weight Loss)

Be encouraged to add in more of the good stuff each day in order to crowd out the bad!


Why Veggies are So Good For You
Vegetables and Weight Loss

Monday, 10 June 2013

Get That Booty Moving!

Special Guest Post from Melissa Windsor, JQ Fitness

This week at JQ Fitness we’re having a challenge week, a focus week of sorts, where we want you all to make a conscious effort to hit that 120-150 minutes of walking/running this week!

To get you excited about fitting in these extra 25-30 minutes of movement each day (in addition to your 2-3 iluvthis Bootcamp workouts) we thought we would offer you some fab reasons as to why its such a great idea to get your body moving!

The most important thing about getting your body moving should be consistency! Being consistent with walking, jogging or running is an awesome way to tap into all of the amazing benefits that regular exercise and movement can offer your body! Remember it’s what you do 99% of the time that is important! So, lets take a look at some of the benefits that moving your body can bring to your life!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Grain Free and Fabulous

Special Guest Post from Melissa Windsor, JQ Fitness

Just recently, I finished a nutrition challenge with my church entitled Fit Fat 40 – where they challenged each participant to drop all sugars and all grains completely out of their diet for 40 days.  I’m not going to lie to you – its incredibly difficult and frustrating at times, especially when everyone around you is eating delicious looking pastries, cakes, muffins, wraps, sandwiches, burgers, and basically anything starchy and delicious and you want to eat one, and you want to eat it NOW!

However, despite the fact that those 40 days were indeed a challenge, I, along with many of the other participants, soon realized that the pain you may feel for the short time that you are eliminating all grains and sugars (specifically grains as this is what our challenge will focus on) is far outweighed by the benefits that can be experienced if you are able to stick with it and tough it out! Since the beginning of the challenge I’ve noted a few key differences in the way that my body feels and looks, and I know that the other participants noticed many of the same things.  Back to my story in a minute though…

Lets take a look at some of the science behind why ditching those grains may be one of the best things you could do! I think that Jenny from The Nourished Kitchen phrases it the best, she identifies some great reasons to give up those grains!

If you can get it from grain, you can get it elsewhere:
“One of the big reasons that grains are touted as heroes is their nutrient profile which boasts dietary fiber and B vitamins – each grain is different and different grains offer different nutrient profiles.  Yet, one thing remains constant if you can find the nutrient in grain, you can find the nutrient in better quantities of other foods” (Against the Grain). Jenny goes on to describe how some veggies and meats measure up to their whole grain and whole-wheat partners.  In fact, in some cases, especially that of dietary fiber, veggies beat out the competition each time! So make sure to add in tons of greens and veggies to fill your body with that nutritional goodness!

Grains aren’t good for your gut:
Your intestinal health is critical to your overall health. If you’re gut isn’t healthy, you can’t absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat, and if you can’t absorb nutrients from the foods that you eat, your body is malnourished and is more prone to disease. Grains are associated with a condition called “Leaky Gut,” I know it sounds terrible right? Basically what it means is that the tiny particles of grain that you eat are able to slip through the walls of your intestines, because the grain is so foreign to your immune system your body attacks it as if it were an invader! Because your body is so focused on destroying the invading grains it can’t effectively fight against true threats to your immune system like colds, or flu’s, or other pathogens. (Against the Grain). Who would have thought!?

You are probably Gluten Intolerant:
If you are Caucasian, there is a good chance that you are gluten intolerant to some degree.  Some research on Gluten and Celiac disease indicate that while on 1% of the general population suffers from celiac disease; they also estimate that 30%-40% of people of European descent are gluten intolerant to some degree.  That means that on a regular basis people who may not even know it are consuming a food that is making them sick (Against the Grain)! If you are participating in our challenge and notice a significant decrease in symptoms like bloating, gas, or fatigue, you could try cutting out grains for a few weeks and slowly introducing them back in to see how your body reacts to them. Once you clear your system of the offending grains you may notice these symptoms worsen when you add them back in. It’s a great way to discover hidden food intolerances you may not even have been aware of!

Grains cause inflammation:
Grains are super high in starch and as a result of this high starch content grains are inflammatory foods.  The more refined the grain, the more inflammatory it is. Chronic inflammation is linked to a number of degenerative, modern diseases including arthritis, allergies, asthma, cardiovascular disease, bone loss, emotional imbalance and even cancer (Against the Grain).  When I read this, I was so shocked. It really makes you think about how the food that we put into our mouths really affects our bodies long term. 

Grains aren’t good for you skin:
Grains have a very high carbohydrate content, and even though the carbohydrates in grain are complex they are still broken down into sugars.  These sugars force your body to produce more insulin, and elevated insulin levels create all kind of hormonal responses – including encouraging the glands in your skin to produce more oil (Against the Grain). Before you know it, you may feel like a pre-pubescent teenager all over again…

Eating grain makes you crave grain:
Like we said before, grains have an extremely high carbohydrate content.  Foods rich in carbohydrates give you quick energy, but unfortunately that energy wears off just as quickly as it came.  Since grains break down into sugar, they raise your blood sugar and when your blood sugar dips down again you crave more grains (Against the Grain). It’s a vicious cycle my friends! That’s why your trainers at iluvthis Bootcamp talk about maintaining your blood sugar throughout the day, so that you don’t have those intense cravings for all those delicious but oh-so-bad-for-you goodies…

These are all really great reasons to join in our grain free challenge, but just incase you weren’t quite convinced yet, I’m going to hit you with my favourite reasons for you to join in our challenge and DITCH those GRAINS!

Ditching Grains will help you regulate your Blood Sugar… Resulting in Fat Loss!

I know this doesn’t sound all that exciting in and of itself, but the effects of a lower blood sugar will make all of you super excited.  So much of the most common foods in our grocery stores are honestly just garbage.  These processed foods that are bursting with calories and yet devoid of any real nutritional value are starving our bodies and sending our blood sugar on a roller coaster ride that will ultimately end up nowhere that we want to be.  Eating this processed junky food makes us fat and bloated and prevents our bodies from knowing what they really need and how to get it. 

Our bodies become desensitized to insulin and so needs to produce oodles more than we actually need! When you have super high insulin levels your body is unable to burn fat. By maintaining a stable blood sugar through eating lean proteins, omega 3’s, veggies and all that healthy goodness, we are reprogramming our bodies so that rather than simply telling our bodies to store all this sugar into fat, muscle and liver cells by producing insulin, we are alternatively enabling our bodies to produce another hormone called glucagon that goes back to these same cells and turns all of that stored sugar (stored as fat) into energy for our bodies to use! If you are trying to loose weight this is great news for you, because as you begin to re-sensitize your body each of these processes will begin to work in the way that they are intended to work, your insulin levels will stabilize, you will produce more glucagon – and you will drop those extra pounds!

Let me tell you Bootcampers, readers, and anyone else who may happen upon this post, my 40 days without sugar and grains was hard. It was most definitely a challenge. But it was so incredibly worth it.  At the end of my 40 days (which ended just last week!) I had lost 15 pounds and over 2% body fat. I feel great, my skin is has cleared up, I’m not bloated, I have more energy, the list goes on!

So I hope all of this has convinced you to join in our nutrition challenge, and push your body that much harder! It will be so worth it when you finally see those results!

If I can do it, you can do it too!
Trust me!

Have a great week Bootcampers, and good luck DITCHING those GRAINS!


Against the Grain: 10 Reasons to Give Up Grains, The Nourished Kitchen,