Habeeb Salloum is not only a special client who has made great advances since starting with us in May, but he is also an exceptional human being. He a World War II veteran, having served with the Canadian Air Force – and he is the recipient of the Governor General of Canada’s Meritorious Service Medal in 2018.
Habeeb is a true example of a what a positive attitude can achieve. At 94 years old he’s always striving for more – and is about to publish his latest (of many!) books.
When we started with a Habeeb he couldn’t do much more than get out of bed and sit in a chair (with assistance). He frequently felt dizzy and lacked balance and stability. Since May he has been exercising everyday, and along with an exceptional diet and a positive attitude he is now able to do so much more.
He’s a very special client – and person – and we’re thrilled to share his story with you.
Many people think of exercise and a healthy diet as the key ingredients of a fit and healthy lifestyle. But did you know that getting a good night’s sleep is every bit as important as a getting in a good workout or eating all that kale?
Here are the three ways sleep can make – or break – your fitness goals (and why you should never cut your ‘zzz’s short).
At age 37, Barry thought it was high time to get his physical health in check, especially with his 40th birthday in sight. He called Nielsen Fitness and now, at age 41, he has never felt or looked better. Here’s his story:
There’s an app for just about everything these days - and fitness is no exception. We believe in leveraging all the tools at your disposal to help you create lasting, positive change - including technology! Here are four of our favorite wellness apps, each of which will keep you motivated and on-track in a different way.
Many of our trainers incorporate the principles of Pilates in their training – and a handful are also certified instructors. We asked one trainer, Tanya, to explain more about the Pilates method.
What started off as a Valentines gift to each other 6.5 years ago has turned into a new – and much healthier – lifestyle for Marjut and Greg. We recently caught up with Greg to give us the low down on his experience with Nielsen Fitness and how it’s changed their lives for the better.
Running is – technically – something that just about anybody can do. But there’s an art and science to doing it right.
What does ‘right’ mean? In this case, it’s an optimal stride that moves you along as efficiently – and comfortably – as possible.
There are three major areas that factor into an optimal stride – here they are, along with an overview of why they’re important and some exercises you can take away and work on.
A health scare got Deleo motivated to start her fitness journey. Now, after two plus years of working
with the Nielsen Fitness team, she is more motivated than ever to keep it up.
Here’s her story:
Over time, chronic hunching or slouching can lead to a ton of problems over and above tight muscles and a rounded back.
Chronic poor posture – which many of us are dealing with thanks to desk jobs and driving – can lead to structural changes in your spine, which cause abnormal wear and tear on the joint surfaces, which can lead to arthritis or degenerative disc disease.
If that slippery slope of despair isn’t enough to scare you, poor posture can also cause blood vessel constriction, digestive issues, headaches, and even depression.
Reversing poor posture starts with awareness, and correcting alignment when you notice slouching or hunching. Do this by pulling the shoulders down and back, followed by pulling the head back so it is in-line with the shoulders. We call this the chin tuck and it is the first of three easy, no-equipment exercises to improve your posture.
3 EASY EXERCISES FOR BETTER POSTURE:
1. Chin tuck. Sitting or standing, elongate your spine by imagining you are lifting the top of your skull to the sky. Tuck your chin back without tilting the head, until your head is in line with your shoulders. Tip: this exercise can be especially useful in the car while driving, use the headrest as a guide for optimal positioning.
2. The 'I-T-W'. Lying on your stomach, bring your arms straight out to an overhead position (or an “I” position) and lift them off the floor. From there float the arms straight out to the side (or a “T” position), followed by shifting the elbows back creating a “W” position with the arms. Return to the original “I” position and repeat. Tip: do this with palms facing the floor or with thumbs pointing up to the ceiling, make sure you are lifting the arms with the upper back and NOT the lower back.
3. Wall Slides. Stand tall with your upper back, glutes, and head contacting the wall. Bring your arms up on the wall starting in a “W” position. Slowly lift the arms up to an “I” position overhead, trying to keep elbows and wrists contacting the wall. Return to starting position and repeat. Tip: If this is too challenging, bring arms out to a “Y” position instead of an “I”.
The goal of any postural exercise is to strengthen your back while lengthening your chest. Therefore, to get the most bang for your buck, do these exercises in combination with stretches for the chest.
Looking for a personalized exercise program? Contact us today for a free assessment, anywhere in Toronto!
Most people think of exercise as a physical pursuit. But to do it correctly you need to get your mind involved as well.
Mind Muscle Connection (as we call it; MMC for short) is a critical – but often over-looked – ingredient for success, and one we focus on a lot with our clients. Here’s a primer on what it is, why it’s important, and how you can use it to improve your fitness.
WHAT IS IT?
In simplest terms, it’s a conscious and intentional connection between the mind and the body. When it comes to exercise, using MMC means tuning in to the exercise you’re doing and consciously engaging a targeted muscle during an exercise (as opposed to moving intuitively without thinking).
Studies have shown that using MMC can increase the amount of muscle fibers a person recruits, resulting in a better quality of muscle contraction and therefore larger increases in strength.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Our bodies like short cuts – we are programmed to make things easier for ourselves. When we perform exercise that involve multiple muscle groups, our bodies default to the dominant (strongest) muscle(s) to get the job done – but often that’s not what we want.
Let’s take the glute bridge (below) for example. It aims to target the glute (aka bum) muscles. In this movement, you would lie flat with your feet on the floor and knees bent, and lift your hips in the air. The hamstring, glute, low back, and core muscles are all involved here – but if you don’t consciously focus on engaging the glutes, the hamstrings will take over because they're more dominant.
In the long run, this can lead to muscle imbalances – which can lead to injury – which is why understanding how to use MMC to engage your less-dominant muscles is critical for long-term success.
HOW DO WE USE IT?
The first step to MMC is knowing which muscle a particular exercise is designed to target. As trainers, we remind our clients of which muscle group they are supposed to be feeling – tapping on the actual muscles before and during the exercise, keeping them focused with cues.
For an individual without a trainer on hand, here are three tips for establishing MMC:
Mind muscle connection is like any other skill – it can be developed and improved over time. If you want to learn more about how you can do this, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free assessment and consultation.
Poul Nielsen is the owner and operator of Nielsen Fitness, Toronto's leading team of in-home personal trainers. He has 18 years' experience in the fitness industry and has taught courses in Fitness and Lifestyle Management at George Brown College.
In addition to exercise (obviously), he loves spending time with his family, playing the guitar, strong coffee - and dark chocolate!