Lose Weight, the healthy way during the summer months!

In our last Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/bodyagefitness?ref=aymt_homepage_panel we discussed how carrying any excess body weight makes everyday activity harder. And since we also have people often asking us about weight loss tips and what is the “quickest way” to lose weight, we thought of combining our answers in today’s post.

After being involved in the Health and Fitness industry for 30 years now, we have witnessed that people who go through rapid weight loss programs most often regain all the body weight they have lost (and sometimes even more) in faster time than it took them to lose the weight in the first place!

We would strongly advise you to try to make losing weight a “lifestyle change” and aim at losing 1 to 2 lbs per week maximum!

The reality is that even though there are many different weight loss programs around, our society continues to struggle with an obesity problem.   We need to realize that something else needs to be tried in order to lose weight and be able to maintain this healthy body weight level!

Many of our clients have achieved and been able to maintain their desired body weight by adapting some healthy lifestyle changes/modifications.

Here are a few, easy to do, changes you can make to your lifestyle, beginning today:

– Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – NEVER SKIP BREAKFAST!   Good breakfast provides your body and brain with fuel following an overnight fast. ( Your are Breaking – the – fast!) Without breakfast, your body is running on an empty energy tank.  Complete meal with some carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat are easy and quick to make. We often choose a protein shake for breakfast.

– Drink more calorie free liquid (a.k.a. water!): Drinking a glass of water before each meal has been proven to help people be more aware of the size of the meal they will eat. Being well hydrated during the day also help people who confuse being dehydrated with being hungry!

– Only eat one plate per meal! We know this sounds like an obvious one but believe us when we are saying that many people have a really hard time understanding that in order to lose some weight, they do need to eat less than before!! By eating only one plate of food per meal ( The smaller the plate is the better!**) and by truly taking the time to enjoy and taste the food you are eating you will become fuller quicker and end up eating a smaller amount of calories per meal!

** Research has proven that eating a meal in a smaller plate full of food feels more satisfying than a large plate with that same amount of food on it!

– Share more often: When we eat out, we will often share appetizer and if we decide to eat dessert we will always take only one dessert and share it. Eating a meal with someone can definitely be a social event. Sharing the meal will allow you to eat less while still enjoying a bit of everything.

– Since summer is here, it is a great time to minimize starchy carbohydrates (rice, pasta, breads…) and add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your meals. Try to make a rainbow in your plate at each meal by including different colours fresh fruits and veggies.

The above tips will help anyone managing their overall intake of food. Start TODAY!! People, go for Quality Meals instead of Quantity!

Eat Smarter – Train Harder – Live Longer!

Michel & Svetlana



We do understand that “working out” is not on everyone’s list of top priority of activities. However, since our goal is to keep our client as healthy and strong as we can, we keep reminding them that consistent training is the best way to maintain one’s muscle strength and cardio-vascular fitness as we age.

Being regularly active is the key to maintaining a strong and injuries resistant body.

  • Did you know that inactive people lose on average about 1 percent of their lean muscle mass per year after age 40?

We have found that a schedule of, at least, 2 vigorous workouts per week is realistically achievable for the majority of our clients. And we have definitely seen continued strength and fitness progress as long as this regular schedule is maintained.

But of course, travels, holidays, work schedule, illness… often cause irregularities in the workout schedule.

We realize everyone wants to stay fit and healthy and so we thought that a few “Use it or Lose it Facts” may help you understand the importance  of  your “Regular Weekly Vigorous Workout”.

Below are some details on how fast you will lose your hard earned fitness.

Let’s start with the good news. Most studies agree that the fitter you are, the longer your body will maintain some of the strength and cardio vascular fitness you have worked so hard for.

  • Studies have showed that people who have been regularly exercising for 1 year or more lose between 40 to 50% of their gains after a 3 months lay-off. Compared this with the fact that beginner exercisers (people who have only been exercising for 2 to 3 months) will lose all of their gains after the same 3 months lay-off and you can see that consistency and a long term exercise regime does pay off.
  • The other good news is that muscle atrophy is often dependent on how often the muscle is used. The muscles you use everyday (hamstrings, calves…) seems to regain their tone/strength longer than the less often used muscle groups (triceps, core muscles…). This means that even if you are not able to go to the gym, you can always do some other type of exercises: push ups, crunches, stair walking…

Here comes the bad news:

  • We have already talked about how Sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass as part of the natural aging process) affects us all. A recent study concluded that total muscle mass decreases by nearly 50 percent for people between the ages of 20 and 90. On average, people lose about 30 percent of their strength between ages 50 and 70, and another 30 percent of what’s left per decade after that..

As mentioned, the numbers above are for the inactive population. And yes, you should be proud of yourself if you have been exercising regularly but PLEASE DO KEEP GOING!  Look at what will happen to your hard earned strength and fitness if you take an extended leave from your regular exercise regime.

Most studies agree on the fact that muscle atrophy and cardio vascular fitness decline will definitely be noticeable after a 2 weeks lay-off!

  • VO2 max of highly trained athletes decreases by 7% in the 12 to 21days after stopping training and another 9% from 21 to 84 days.
  • Regular weight lifters will notice a drop of 10 to 12% strength after 10 to 15 days lay off.
  • 2 months lay off will results in 25 to 35% loss in strength and 18 to 20% loss in cardio vascular fitness. AND it will take around 2 to 3 months of regular training to get back to the level you were prior to the lay off!!
  • And in case you suffer a more serious injury and require complete bed rest: Disuse of muscles leads to atrophy and a loss of muscle strength at a rate of around 12% a week. After 3–5 weeks of bedrest, almost half the normal strength of a muscle is lost. These last numbers always remind us to “play safe” and not take too many risks out there…

Add these loses to the fact that all of us are getting older every single day and you can understand why we keep reminding our clients that “regular exercise is the best way to defy the aging process!”

Here are a few tips, which we hope will help you stay regularly active:

  • Try to do, at the very least, 1 vigorous workout per week. For example, if you know you won’t make it to the gym for awhile. Set a goal of doing one good cardio vascular workout on the weekend and try to do some push-ups and abdominal exercises a few days each week.
  • If it’s injury that’s keeping you from doing your usual workout routine. There’s most often no reason that you can’t still exercise. You can almost always train the rest of the un-injured muscle groups without causing any extra stress of the injured limb/muscle group…
  • There is no excuse for not exercising just because you can’t make it to a gym. … push-ups, body weight squats, lunges, and crunches can be combined with jumping jacks – running – skipping – spinning for a highly effective fitness-maintaining workout.
  • If you’re pressed for time and cannot dedicate a full hour to your workout, no worries. 20 to 30 minutes of continued exercise is MUCH BETTER than no exercise at all!

If you are sitting there realizing that you have not exercised yet this week, no worries, just drop to the floor and do 10 push-ups. See, wasn’t that easy? 🙂

To conclude, we would like to remind you that there are many things in life which you cannot control (ex: weather, price of gas, Montreal Canadiens winning the Stanley Cup…). However, we also know that you can DEFINITELY control whether or not you will be able to do some vigorous exercise this week. So, please do what Nike has been telling us for years now: “JUST DO IT!”

Train Smarter – Not Harder!

Michel & Svetlana


Diaphragmatic Breathing is for EVERYONE! Yes, that does mean YOU too!

Breathing is the first thing you did when you were born and it is one of these actions you WILL have to do for the rest of your life! It must be important, right? Why not breathe in the most effective fashion…

The principle goal of breathing is to create an optimum balance between the amount of Oxygen (O2) you breathe in and the amount of Carbon Dioxide ( CO2) you breathe out.  Oxygen is vital for life (try holding your breath and you will quickly see…), every cell in your body needs oxygen to live. “Oxygen is used by the body for cellular respiration and other uses and carbon dioxide is a product of these processes.”

Straight forward enough so far, right?

The way you breathe in and out is what we want to discuss today.

The most natural and effective way to breathe is Diaphragmatic breathing. The diaphragm is a dome shape muscle at bottom of your rib cage. As you breathe in, your diaphragm moves downward into your stomach. This increases the space in your chest cavity, into which your lungs can then expand. By moving downward, your diaphragm will push down against the organs in your stomach which will make your belly expand as you breathe in.

Simply observe how young babies breathe – they will use their diaphragm/belly with each breath.

But as we age, poor posture, anxious thinking, tension and simply not being aware of the importance of the proper use of the diaphragm will result in rapid – upper chest breathing patterns – which are not effective.

Too many members of the adult population are not recruiting their diaphragm effectively when breathing? Time to change this, starting with you!

As you are reading this, pay attention to your breathing. You’ll know if your breathing is not right if one or more of the following happens:

  • Your neck and shoulders are moving while breathing
  • Your breathing is shallow and you can feel your upper chest and/or neck muscles contacting with each breath
  • Your resting breathing rate is fast such as more than 20 breaths a minute (normal is 8 to 15)

Negative effects of shallow – chest breathing are, among other things:

  • Poor oxygen supply to your brain and every cells in your body
  • Breathlessness and difficulty breathing under minimal stress load
  • Easily distracted, agitated mind and emotions

You will know if you are using correct and effective diaphragmatic breathing when:

  • Your stomach expands with each breath intake and falls with each exhale
  • Your chest and neck muscles are motionless during your breathing process
  • You can easily control your breathing rate to 6 to 8 breaths per minute.

The positive benefits of effective diaphragmatic breathing are:

  • Improved mental focus and clarity by increasing blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex of your brain
  • Increased sense of control over shortness of breath
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Increased exercise endurance
  • Reduced anxiety and/or depression
  • Increased secretion of growth hormone which helps slowing down the aging process
  • Facilitates weight loss by balancing stress hormones with anabolic hormones
  • … you get my point that it is good for you!

If you are already practicing diaphragmatic breathing, Well Done! Keep doing it and you can stop reading now.

For the people who have realized that their breathing is not as good as it could be (some studies say as much as half the adult population are not recruiting their diaphragm properly!) PLEASE keep reading.

Since you were, most likely, breathing correctly as a child, there are many different reasons why you have switched to shallow/chest breathing along the way. No point in dwelling in the past,. Let’s just focus on what you can do, starting today, to re-teach your body how to use your diaphragm to initiate the breathing process.

Here are some step-by-step instructions on how to re-learn diaphragmatic breathing:

  1. Find a quiet place to lie down on your back and relax with your knees and head supported. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe.
  2. Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain as motionless as possible.
  3. Then gently tighten your stomach muscles, letting them fall inward as you exhale. The hand on your upper chest should remain as still as possible.

When you first re – learn the diaphragmatic breathing technique, it may be best for you to do it while lying down. As soon as you begin to improve, you can do it while sitting down and finally standing. Practice makes perfect!

Statistics shows that a person at rest takes 12 breaths per minute. This means about 720 breaths an hour, 17,280 breaths a day, 6,307,200 breaths a year.

We do believe it is well worth the effort to re-learn to breath effectively.

Breathe Better – Train Smarter – Not Harder!

Michel & Svetlana










5 Supplements we believe you should take on a Daily Basis!

We know supplements are often a controversial issue among fitness & wellness professionals. Just so you know, we are on the pro-supplements side.

It is very obvious to us that due to most people’s daily levels of stress, toxicity in the environment, and less than optimal diets, everyone can get major benefits from taking good quality vitamins and supplements.

However, with the abundance of many different supplements on the market, how are you to know which ones you should be taking and if they will be giving you the nutrients you need on a daily basis?

Below are 5 supplements we strongly believe will benefit everyone.

Multivitamins including CoQ10 and minerals

Even if you believe you are eating a super healthy diet, you are probably not getting the optimum levels of nutrients. Most people do not get the recommended 6-8 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. And even if you did, some of the produce you consume may be grown in depleted soil, lacking in the proper content of vitamins and minerals.

Making sure you are taking good quality multivitamins and minerals will help ensuring you are intaking the daily levels of vitamins and mineral your body needs to function effectively.

By-the-way,  most quality multivitamins do not come in a ‘once a day’ pill. To be most effective supplement will dissolve and absorb properly in your body, so your cells can utilize the nutrients. Many supplements you get at the store are not in a form that can be broken down and absorbed by your body. Do your research before wasting your money on poor quality supplements.

Vitamin D

Since most of us work indoors and do not get enough exposure to the sun on a daily basis, we are deficient in vitamin D.  Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal mineralization of bone and to prevent hypocalcemic tetany (involuntary contraction of muscles causes by low calcium levels) . It is also needed for bone growth and bone remodelling by osteoblasts and osteoclasts.  Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen.

The present guidelines recommends taking daily supplements of 400 to 1000 IU for adults under age 50 without osteoporosis or conditions affecting vitamin D absorption. For adults over 50, supplements of between 800 and 2000 IU are recommended.

Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid

Researchers believe our contemporary Western diet is unbalanced, because it contains high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids (which come from grains) and not enough omega-3s.
A good omega-3 supplement offers so many benefits. Mounting scientific evidence shows that as well as helping our hearts, a diet rich in omega-3s is beneficial in reducing diabetes, depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. And there’s also strong evidence that omega-3s counter inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s  disease.

Many experts recommend that adults should consume 1 gram (1000 mg) of EPA/DHA per day for good health. Fish products are a great source of omega 3s but there is increasing concern about mercury and other toxins found in some fish. Therefore, a good quality omega-3 supplement is essential to incorporate into your daily regimen.


A good probiotic is essential for healthy digestive function. Probiotics are bacteria that help keep the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestines . The normal human digestive tract contains about 400 types of probiotic bacteria that reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and promote a healthy digestive system. We actually have more bacteria in our body than we do cells! As we age, we lose some of our good bacteria, and we experience digestive complications.

Studies have concluded that probiotics are beneficial, especially to aging adults who often suffer from suppressed immune systems due to the effects of aging and increased antibiotic use.

Finding a good, broad-spectrum probiotic will help improve your gut function and digestion. This will leave you feeling healthier, happier, and more energetic.

Whey Protein supplements

If you read our post from last month, you’ll know we are strong supporter of intaking, at least 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilograms of body weight on a daily basis.  We also understand that sometimes, “life” gets in the way and the best laid-out eating plan gets sidetracked.

That is one of the reason we drink 1 to sometimes 2 Whey Protein shakes per day.

Daily intake of liquid Whey Protein will help with keeping your existing muscles mass, increasing your daily metabolic rate and maintaining your body’s nitrogen balance.

Recent research shows that liquid Whey Protein consumption also confers positive cardiovascular benefits, including improved insulin function, improved lipid profiles, and reduced levels of C-reactive protein. For these reasons alone it offers an easy to take supplement that could have far-reaching effects in supporting healthy aging.

If you were on the fence regarding whether or not to take supplements, we hope this post will convince you to begin taking them.

The supplements we recommended are essential for normal body functions like cell growth, blood cell production, hormone and enzyme synthesis, energy metabolism, and proper functioning of body systems, including the immune system, nervous system, circulatory system, and reproductive system.

Our advice as Athletes/Coach/Sport Nutritionists and two people who wants to live long and healthy is start taking some good quality supplements.  You can thank us later…

Train Smarter – Not Harder

Michel & Svetlana

Daily Protein Intake is a Key Factor to Maintaining Strength and Vitality!

As we mentioned before, it is a known fact “Sarcopenia” (age related muscle loss) affects many baby-boomers. Estimations are that up to 30% of people older than 60 and more than 50% of people older than 80 are affected by sarcopenia.

The anabolic muscle building response provided from regular resistance training makes it the most effective interventions for Sarcopenia. In addition to promoting muscle mass building, resistance training will help improve mobility, enhances fitness, and increase bone health and strength.

But in order to get the best anabolic response from resistance training, your body needs to have access to the proper material to build those muscles.  And that’s when intaking enough good quality protein comes in.

In the past, the recommended daily intake of protein has been low ( 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight).  New exiting research has demonstrated that protein stores throughout the body naturally decrease with age. Some of these storage sites are: skeletal muscles, red blood cells, white blood cells… It has also been demonstrated that as you age, your body’s rate of protein catabolism is much higher and your digestive system has a harder time utilizing some of the proteins you have ingested. This can indeed create a protein deficiency known as a negative nitrogen balance which indicates that muscle is being broken down and used for energy.  But following the results from these new research, the medical opinion now seems to agree that daily dietary protein for people 55 and over should be between 1 to 1.5g/kg to help maintain muscle mass and prevent the loss of body protein stores.

As trainers who greatly values the need of a strong muscle mass , we wholeheartedly agree with the new opinion of the medical system.  Personally, we have been watching my daily protein intake for many years now.  We have never really been one to count calories but we definitely intake between 1.5 to 2 grams of good quality protein per kgs of body weight every day.  We eat a diet low on starchy carbohydrates.  However, we make sure that protein is part of each of our main meals; breakfast – lunch and dinner.  We always drink a post workout shake and also we often drink a protein shake as a snack during the day or before bed.

We have seen and felt the benefits of a regular intake of protein.  Did you know that protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. And obviously, protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Also as you age, eating sufficient high-quality protein can improve your mood, boost your resistance to stress, anxiety, and depression, and even help you think clearly.

The best way to get this 1 to 1.5 gr/kg of good quality protein is from fish, chicken, lean meats, whey protein and also dairy products.  For the people who prefer not to intake animal protein, you can get complete protein ( all 20 amino acids) from hemp, soy and others.

Make sure you plan your meals properly so that you intake protein equally throughout the day. A study recently published in the Journal of Nutrition found that muscle protein synthesis was 25% higher when protein was evenly distributed across breakfast, lunch, and dinner compared with a more typical pattern, when most protein was consumed at the evening meal, even when total protein intake was the same.

Our job as a trainer/coach makes us want to keep everyone fit, strong and healthy for a VERY LONG TIME!  Quality protein helps us stay strong.  Hint, Hint!

Train Smarter – Not Harder!

Michel & Svetlana.