01/23/2013 12:22 EST | Updated 03/25/2013 05:12 EDT

The Question That Will Help You Get in Shape


Around 60 per cent of Canadians are overweight or obese. We have a long way to go to correct the problem.

The problem isn't in the fact that our nation keeps gaining weight, it is the fact that we can't seem to stop the downward health spiral that comes with it. If this was simply about aesthetics, I would never write another article about it. Looks don't matter, your health does.

The plan to battle back against overweight and obesity has to start with simplifying the answer. What works for me? That's the question people should be asking. I have been out of university and personal training for nearly a decade with a kinesiology degree. No client that has lost weight with me has ever been the same.

My personal biggest joy is reading the latest research on how the body works, and I love to exercise. Sound like you? No? Then you may not want to train with a mask that restricts air flow so you can take deeper breaths. I think it's fun -- I enjoy pushing my physical limits. In fact, I am writing this article right now with a torn hamstring. But I would never expect that from a client, or someone reading this.

I hope that you wouldn't expect me to raise your kids, do your taxes, or fix your car. Those things don't interest me. The inner-workings of the body and mind do. If it interests you, if you find it fun, you will put your heart and soul into it.

Some things, like doing taxes, have to be done. Those things take dedication.

So when it comes to diet and exercise I realize everyone is different. But it raises the question: If you don't like to work out, why do you want to look like someone who does? I dieted down to model shape once in my life. The day of my photo shoot I was dehydrated, hungry, and weighed 207 pounds. Normally I weigh 225, post-Christmas about 230. I will never do it again, it was not fun.

The fitness industry is like people who climb Mt. Everest. You climb to the top and stay there for a couple of minutes -- you don't live there because it would kill you. You do snap as many photos as you can and share them for the rest of your life. Most fitness models don't look like their pictures. They look fantastic, but not picture ready.

The key fact is that our nation is getting more and more unfit. The choice is yours to make. I know personally I want to be healthy to stay out of the hospital (was sick as a kid, not heading back), and interact with nature. I am currently filling out an application and making a video to get on the Amazing Race Canada. My hope is to inspire people to get out, get healthy and start doing it so they can enjoy life. You can't make memories if you can't get outside the house.

As you read more articles over the months from this column "what works for me," please never feel spoken down to or that there is an air of condescension in my words. I am healthy and fit, but my house is a mess, my taxes are never done on time, I couldn't raise a child if I had too. If left in charge fiscally, I could even bankrupt Google.

We all have strengths, the key is to find balance. Ensuring that your health is taken care of is critical for you to leave an indelible mark on society.

Start with something simple after reading this. Go through your cupboards and get your diet in check first. Add to that a promise to your loved ones or a friend to walk and be active at least 45 minutes every single day. Make sure that your house is full of snacks that will level your blood sugar, fill you up, and most importantly give your body the nutrients it needs to be healthy.

The key to success in your diet, and it is true for athletes and couch potatoes alike, is to not think restriction but addition. Eat healthy, nutritious food first. Fill your body with everything it needs. Then, if you have cravings, give in to them. Make sure that you have to leave your house or office to get the treat. If you do, go for the walk to get what you were craving -- odds are you really wanted it.

Have healthy snacks close by and grab those first. Don't think restriction -- it will cause you to fail instantly. Think how can you make yourself better and fuel yourself for success. That's what works for me.

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