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Fitness is essential

What You need to know...

important things

It doesn’t matter if you are trying to just lose a few pounds to drop a couple dress sizes or if you are taking it to the next level trying to build an extremely lean tone body. Resistance training is an essential component that will help speed along your results. Make the most out of your time in the gym, don’t waste time doing exercises you THINK will get you there. No one gets “big and bulky” by accident and neither will you. Below are some Fitness related news and articles that are filled with useful information…

If you are a beginner or first time visitor, its always a good idea to have a look at our Primer To Fintess.

Primer to Fitness

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If you want to change the way that your body looks you need to have a goal. Goals are absolutely necessary in order to keep us motivated and on the right track. At TeamTNA we will help you set a clear, tangible, time based goal and hold you accountable. Without a clear goal you will no doubt waste time with program or routine that will leave you spinning your wheels and getting nowhere. You may want to get into better shape to simply feel better or you may want to take it to the next level and develop a head turning physique. Regardless of how big or small your goal is, you must first recognize that goal to understand what you have to do to achieve it. goals You must take into account many factors when looking at your fitness goal. Factors like:
  • How many days a week am I willing to workout?
  • What sacrifices am i willing to make ?
  • Are my expectations realistic ?
  • What is my timeline ?
  • Do I REALLY want it ?
Basically it all boils down to how much you are willing to sacrifice for this goal. Only the lucky few walk around in great shape without sacrificing for it. Some people have won the genetic lottery and can eat whatever they want and don’t exercise but look great. Most people are not so lucky and have to sacrifice on some level (time, money, comfort) to achieve the look they want. Make no mistake, if you want to change your level of health or the shape of your body you will have to sacrifice something. Your present lifestyle has got you where you are today and you have will to change it. The more extreme you want your body image the more extreme your sacrifices are going to be. Click Here to view the TeamTNA goals page and see what is involved in setting a fitness goal.
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Almost everyone I see in a consultation wants to lose weight, very few (and I mean very few) come to me with a specific body fat percentage they would like to be at, just a specific weight. The thing is losing weight is NOT what you want to do, you want to lose FAT and fat alone.

Most weight loss approaches are exactly that, weight loss, body fat, water weight and lean body mass. The problem here is that more often than not people lose more water and lean body mass than they do body fat. In the end they are left with a smaller version of the original body or even softer or flabbier body than before they lost the weight !

The only way to become toned or leaner is to lose fat alone. As well, it is your body composition (body fat level) that determines your risks for diabetes, heart disease, hypertension etc. If you lose weight for health reasons but you maintain a high body fat percentage you have accomplished nothing from a health standpoint. (see photo)


When people lose weight the traditional way they tend to put it back on and then some really fast. Why is this? Simple… when you lose lean body mass you slow your metabolism down. Your organs and your lean body mass require calories to function properly. The more muscle someone has the more calories they burn while sleeping let alone exercising.

Most people (95%) that follow your typical low calorie diet with cardio or no exercise end up losing up to 70% of the weight from lean body mass. This results in a higher body fat percentage at the end of the diet and a slower metabolism, making it very hard to maintain the new weight. Often they end up eating less than they did before starting the diet yet they continue to gain weight at a record rate.

At #TeamTNA we never have clients lose muscle when losing weight, we have them lose fat only and maintain or build muscle through the process. At the end the client is left with a much leaner body with a lower body fat percentage and a faster metabolism than when they started the program. As a matter of fact they have to increase the amount of food they eat in order to maintain the results because of the faster metabolism. This ensures that the new body is easier to maintain and that all health risks related to the original weight are taken care of.

We also look at fat loss as a lifestyle change, one that has to happen and stay changed for the rest of your life. Your present lifestyle has left you with a body image you do not like and if you return to this destructive lifestyle after achieving you desired body image the old one will eventually return. That is why the Lifestyle approach is for life, it isn’t a quick fix to lose weight at all costs for the short term. It is a healthy way to look and feel your best for the rest of your life.

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You don’t have to do all kinds of confusing programs with many different exercises in order to develop the best body you can. The best approach is a simple well balanced one that you can follow and adapt as your goals change. This applies to the beginner as well as the experienced lifter We are often mislead by the muscle magazines that tell us how to train like a certain pro bodybuilder or have the newest and greatest way to get a six pack. The bottom line is magazines have to sell in order to make money, and they want to suck you in with the latest fitness “discovery”. bf_difference Most of the information confuses the person new to fitness by contradicting other magazines and sometime themselves with their training information. As for any workout you read from a pro bodybuilder, take it with a grain of salt. They are nowhere near the average person. So what works for them will more than likely not work for you. There are basic rules that we want to follow in order to change our body to look the way we want. I don’t care if you just want to feel better or look like a fitness model, you are going to have to work hard and smart in the gym. Your body will adapt to this approach by adding more fat burning shapely muscle or by maintaining and toning your existing muscle. There are people in the gym every day who come religiously but make no progress, day after day month after month. Why? Well, something is obviously missing with their approach. It could be that their diet is not tuned properly or that they are following a program that doesn’t fit with their goals.
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LBM represents pretty well everything in our bodies other than fat. Water is also included in LBM since it makes up such a huge portion of our body. LBM includes all tissues in our body… It basically represents our muscles, bones, organs, tendons, etc. This is one component of our weight that we want to remain the same while dieting or if we are lucky, to go up. That’s right. It is a good thing to gain weight if it is LBM! “How?” you ask. Let me explain


LBM weighs twice as much as fat therefore if you were to lose 20 pounds of fat and gain 20 pounds of LBM, you would look 10 pounds lighter even though your weight has not changed. The major benefit to anyone trying to lose BF is that LBM burns calories!

As a matter of fact LBM is the reason we eat. Fat uses no calories to just sit there, and BF is a by-product of excess calories. LBM requires calories to fuel it for your daily activities. Activities such as exercising, typing, reading and even sleeping! The more LBM you have the more calories you burn in your sleep. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Even when we sleep, our bodies are producing heat, working on processing our macronutrients, and just keeping up with normal bodily functions. For every pound of muscle you gain, you require an additional 50-100 calories a day to maintain it.

Bottom line: the more LBM you have the more your body has to work to maintain it. Hence, the more you get to eat and the easier you lose the unwanted fat. This is also another reason that makes resistance training is so important

Body Composition (body comp) is something that many diets ignore. Most probably because it will make your results on the diet look bad in the end. The body composition is the only true tool to chart your progress whether your weight goes up or down.

What is a body composition? It is basically tells you what your body is composed of. It tells you what your percentage of BF is, versus your percentage of LBM.

The lower your BF percentage is the better. Well… to a certain extent. We have basically two types of BF, essential fat and storage fat. A man’s essential BF requirement is a minimum of around 3%. This essential fat protects organs from trauma as well as being required for normal physiological function. Women on the other hand require approximately 12% BF. This is due to their sex-specific requirements for breast tissue and the uterus. Storage fat is excess fat. This is usually found subcutaneously and is the fat we want to try and shed. We don’t want to get rid of it all. Even though it isn’t essential, we should have some storage fat to fall back on if need be.

You don’t have to worry about falling below safe BF levels. Even though it has been intentionally achieved by professional and recreational bodybuilders, as well as other athletes for competitions or aesthetic reasons. This is only achieved with extreme dedication and a fine tuned diet. In some cases, the use of drugs including diuretics and thyroid medication were used to get people to such low BF levels. I seriously doubt that anyone could casually get this low, not without knowingly trying to get there or being genetically super lean.

These extremely low levels should not be maintained for any extended period of time as you would inevitably have some negative effects. Usually anyone who knowingly achieves this low level stays at it for only a few days and then returns to safer levels. I would imagine the average man or woman would be VERY happy with their appearance long before these super low percentages were achieved.

The charts below will show you what category you presently fall into. This will help you determine how far you have to go as far as fat loss to reach your fitness or body image goal.



So as you can see by this chart, it isn’t necessarily what you weigh but “what you’re made of” that matters. If you are just trying to improve your health you should be aiming to fall somewhere in the good to excellent level. If you are trying to have a body that could appear on the cover of a fitness magazine, you are going to have to be in the single digits for a man and the low teens for a woman.

Many people are never happy with what they see in the mirror, no matter how much they improve. Some experts have a real problem with this, however we at #TeamTNA do not. The way we see it, as long as you are trying to make continued progress in a safe and healthy manor, there is nothing wrong with this ongoing quest to build your perfect body.

As you travel down the road towards a better you, don’t compare yourself to others. Always look back at how far you have come. We are all different and improve at different rates. As long as you see an improvement, you are on the right track. The best way to chart this progress is to take a before picture. This picture should be taken in a swim suit to show as much of your body as possible.

Eventually if you hit a plateau and start to get frustrated or get off track and take a few steps back, you can look back at this picture to see how far you have come. Another good thing about having a before picture is that it isn’t always easy for us to see our progress since we are looking at ourselves in the mirror every day. When dieting to get lean or add lean mass, I like to take new pictures every few weeks in the same lighting, same pose and swim suit then compare.

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Cardiovascular training does have its advantages and is necessary to perform daily. However, how much cardio and what type, depends on your goals. After all, it is your bodies job to “adapt” and having muscle tissue that needs to be supplied with oxygen, is counter productive to performing long duration cardiovascular activities. Have you ever gone into your local gym and looked at the people on the cardio machines? More often than not, they are the people with the worst physiques in the gym. Why is this? Your body adapts to various changes, internal or external, and it can adapt in many ways… To build muscle you must challenge your muscles by lifting weights. Your body is put under the external stress of having to move more weight and must adapt by adding muscle to make the task easier. bf_difference Conversely, when your body is put under the external stress of running, cycling, or any other form of cardiovascular training it adapts by shedding weight. Sounds good to those of you trying to lose weight right? Wrong! The thing is that your body doesn’t care where that weight comes from, muscle or fat. More often than not, the majority of weight lost from a strictly cardio based workout is from muscle and water. In order to shed weight to make the task of running, or the like, easier you must become lighter. Since each gram of protein or carbohydrates is 4 calories and each gram of fat is 9, your body can lose weight faster by burning protein and carbohydrates (in the form of muscle) than fat. You see, cardio burns calories and those calories have to come from somewhere. We would like to take them from our stored body fat but it takes sometime before the fat burning process kicks in when doing cardio, generally 15-30 minutes depending on the individual. The preferred fuel source is carbohydrates in the form of blood sugar and carbohydrates stored in the muscles (glycogen), those are used first. An additional benefit to burning off those carbohydrates in our system is that each gram of carbohydrates we store will enable us to carry four times that amount of water. So just getting rid of the carbohydrates will enable you to lose more weight. After an elite distance runner finishes a race, there is major atrophy that occurs in the legs. Studies on the calves of runners has shown the how catabolic the mere act of running such distances is on the muscle. Now, you may not be running 30 miles at a time when doing your cardio workout but by looking at these extremes we can assume that this is happening on a lesser but still relevant level to you. It doesn’t require much muscle to run far or for a long period of time. It merely requires muscular endurance and enough muscle to move your body weight. As you know, your metabolism is determined by the amount of muscle mass you carry. The less you have, the less food you can afford to eat and the harder it is to burn excess calories. That being said, there is a benefit to performing cardiovascular exercise. Basically, it is one of the best ways to exercise and strengthen your heart. Although, if you follow a strenuous resistance training program, your heart should be pumping throughout your workout. Studies were done comparing the heart of an elite distance runner to that of an elite power lifter. These studies confirmed that the power lifters heart was in just as good (in some cases better) overall condition than that of the distance runner. They both had larger hearts from the stress placed on them through the training they do. However the power lifter has a heart with a thicker more muscled wall. The distance runner had a thinner wall since they don’t put their heart under the same pressure that a power lifter or a sprinter would. The distance runners heart has to be able to pump a lot but not a hard as that of a power athlete. If you are looking to just improve your overall appearance and lose body fat, cardio training is not a must. If you are looking to improve your cardiovascular endurance, it is beneficial. So is there a balance, and if so what is it? Well, that is different for everyone. If your main goal is to put on muscle, forget about doing any cardio. It isn’t worth the effort. It is just going to hamper your lean mass gains. Worry about any fat gained in the process after the fact. Mind you, that doesn’t mean you should let your body fat levels soar. With a proper diet, your muscle to fat gain ratio should be 3 to 1. If you are trying to gain muscle and lose fat, you can get away with a minimal amount of cardio. Ideally, you would focus on one at a time. Too often people try to accomplish too much at once. Technically, gaining muscle and losing fat contradict one another. In order to gain muscle, we must consume more calories than our body needs to maintain its present shape. To lose fat, we need to consume less calories than we require to maintain our shape. However, it is possible keep in an anabolic environment, to gain muscle and a fat burning environment, to lose fat at the same time. In this case, it is ideal for cardio training to be performed at the right times (ie: in a fasted or depleted state). If your main goal is to lose fat and you are quite overweight, you can afford to do more cardio. The more overweight you are, the more cardio you can do. Again, your body knows what it has to do. If you have a lot of fat, it will tap into those stores more readily than it will on someone who is quite lean. Having a large amount of body fat, will require you to have more muscle to lug it around. Therefore, your body will spare your muscle to an extent until your body fat levels are lower. So how much cardio should we do, when is the best time and how often? Again, it depends on your goals. If you are trying to preserve as much muscle as possible (which you better be) and lose fat you will require less, if you want to improve your cardiovascular endurance you will have to do more.
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We should talk about body types. Knowing what kind of body type you are will help you to determine what approach you need to take in order to achieve your fitness goals. bf_difference
There are three major body types:
  • Ectomorph
  • Endomorph
  • Mesomorph
Ectomorph, Endomorph, and Mesomorph. Everyone falls into one of these body types. Just because you fit into one of these categories, doesn’t mean you are forced to follow the general pattern it sets for you. Through proper exercise and nutrition, you can still transform your body to look whatever way you want. Keep in mind, your body type is still going to play an important role in the way you workout and eat.
  • Ectomorph: – A thin person with a lean physique and a little muscle. The ectomorph generally has a hard time building muscle but can shed body fat fairly easy. The ectomorph usually has a fast metabolism. The ectomorph is typically known as a “hard gainer”, someone who will have some trouble putting on lean body mass. They are going to have to focus very hard on eating enough food and working out with weights at a high intensity. Generally the hard gainer should stay away from cardiovascular training if they are trying to gain muscle. By the way, I am your classic ectomorph and have a heck of a time building and maintaining muscle. But trust me, if I was able to transform my body as significantly as I did, anyone can.
  • Endomorph: – A heavyset person with a predominantly round and soft physique. The endomorph generally has a hard time losing body fat. Often they are able to build muscle easier than an ectomorph but not as well as a mesomorph. The endomorph usually has a slow metabolism. The endomorph isn’t the hard gainer that the ectomorph is. They will require a high intensity training program. Since they generally have a hard time with excessive body fat, they will generally have to keep a close watch on their diet. The food should be nutrient dense but not calorie dense. Cardiovascular training can often help the endomorph with their weight loss goals. Since they have a greater amount of body fat, the amount of fat to lean body mass lost while performing cardio will be in their favour.
  • Mesomorph: – A person whose physique features a powerful musculature. The mesomorph generally has an easy time building muscle and an easy time losing body fat. In my opinion, the mesomorph won the genetic lottery. The mesomorph usually has a moderate metabolism. The mesomorph can almost gain muscle by reading a muscle magazine, they can train at a lower intensity and still progress quite well. However, the higher the intensity, the greater the return. They can choose to perform cardiovascular training if they wish to aid with fat loss as it will speed up the fat burning process with minimal effect on lean body mass.
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“I don’t want to get bulky, isn’t heavy weight training just for guys?”
This is probably the most common thing I hear from women when I talk to them about resistance training. NEWSFLASH! You aren’t going to get “all big and bulky” ! First off, most women aren’t able to obtain a huge muscular physique, very few have the genetics to do so. Second off, you don’t wake up one morning after lifting weights and find 30lbs of new muscle in the mirror. Gaining muscle takes time and you will reach your goal and maintain that look long before you would have too much muscle. Getting huge doesn’t happen by accident, it takes a lot of work and dedication. bf_difference Resistance training is the ONLY way to achieve a “tone” body, focusing only on cardio will leave you with a loose flabby appearance despite the weight loss. Have a look around the gym sometime and watch the women with the best figures, they have the proper balance between resistance training and cardio. Resistance training maintains muscle when we lower our caloric intake in order to lose body fat. This is very important since we do not want to lose muscle and lower our metabolism. Resistance training also firms and tightens those sagging body parts, cardio burns calories and strengthens the heart PERIOD. Cardio alone will not firm and tighten anything. As you age past 30 you lose on average ½ pound of muscle a year. This lowers your metabolism forcing you to gain on average 1-½ pounds of fat a year. Resistance training for six weeks, for example, can lead to a fat loss of 10lbs and a muscle gain of up to 5lbs (1lb of new muscle burns up to 100 calories a day). This is like turning the clock back 10 years, you will have the same metabolism of someone 10 years your junior. You will also look and feel healthier and more confident. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to just lose a few pounds to drop a couple dress sizes or if you are taking it to the next level trying to build an extremely lean tone body. Resistance training is an essential component that will help speed along your results. Make sure you follow a resistance training program that is designed to suit your schedule and goals. Make the most out of your time in the gym, don’t waste time doing exercises you THINK will get you there. No one gets “big and bulky” by accident and neither will you. So remember, cardio will burn fat but also muscle, resistance training will maintain and build muscle to help you burn fat long after you leave the gym.
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