The True Meaning of “Listening to You’re Body”

Listening to your body is super important and can change how effective your exercises are DRAMATICALLY.

A lot of people just do the motion of an exercise without thinking about what their body is doing during it. This changes the more they become aware of themselves in their fitness journey.

Yoga was where I really started listening to my body, Meditation also was a big key thing that helped me really learn my own body. Where my pains and aches are coming from, even why they are happening! Once you start listening, being more aware, you can really start feeling connected with who you are.

Sorry if I am starting to sound a little spiritual, in a lot of ways its hard to explain “listening to your body” without sounding religious or spiritual. I am not saying that you need to be like the monks you see on top of mountains meditating under water falls or something.

What I am really saying? Plug yourself back into you’re body. By turning everything else around you off. Even just for a few moments. Turn off that cell phone, tv, music, computer, just turn it all off for a moment and listen. Hear that? Its you’re breathe! Think about the air coming in, you’re lungs filling up, and then the air leaving. This is how listening to your body starts.

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Once you start focusing more on your breathe start focusing more on the rest of the body. Listen to it as its moving around. Think about why it’s doing what its doing. What muscles are firing when its working, how is it doing what its doing, why do you have pain where you have pain? Listen.

When you are doing cardio, focus on that breath, if you are focused and listening. You can tell when your body is starting to need more oxygen as your pace increases. When you notice that change in your breathe? That is when you are working hard!

I am always asking myself “is this the perfect way” while I walk, while performing an exercise or even as I’m writing this on my laptop on my chair! Do you just do the motion or just let you’re body go in auto pilot?

Always listening to my body, always asking myself how to do it better. The more you listen the more you learn, the better you get. Want to correct your posture? focus on correcting it every time you notice it, work on being mindful about your body and you will correct it more and more!

This is a major step in fitness, in learning the exercises in the gym. This doesn’t matter what style you like, bodybuilding, cross fit, yoga, whatever it is, they all will improve once you master how to listen to your body.

Take a moment right now, close your eyes. Listen to your breathing. This is step one, practice it. You may be surprised on how far it takes you!

As always thank you for reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed it. I hope it helps you.

– Mark Zarvie

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What is The “Perfect” Workout Routine.

So you want to know the perfect workout routine? I am going to let you in on a little secret. There is no perfect routine!! 

Workout routines change, they can change often. As you grow to be stronger and able to challenge yourself with more advanced exercises, your routines will evolve!

I want to mention that there are 3 parts of a workout, a warm up which varies depending on what exercises I plan on doing,  the exercises themselves, and then a cool down or stretching which again varies depending on the exercise I did. The part I am going to be talking about is just the exercises part and why I choose what I choose.

With that said, I stick to a very basic routine idea with my exercises. I split my workout days in 3 parts. Upper Body, Core and Lower Body.

WHAT?! Really just 3 sections? Yup. Its as simple as that.

My upper body will consist of bar work such as pull ups, horizontal rows and different styles of push ups. Sometimes some cable work, I very rarely work with dumbbells or barbells.

My core work, is a mixture of crunches, leg raises, russian twists and planks. These are the core (pun intended) exercises that work your abs and all around core. I also do some bridges and other low back exercises in order to balance my workout. Your core is not just your Abs but your back as well!

My lower body work will consist of lunges, squats, step ups, calf raises and ALWAYS balance exercises. Why balance work? Because… you can never be to good at balancing! Having a great sense of balance can help in a number of ways in your day-to-day life. Can prevent you from falling when you get older, which is one of the main reasons seniors get hurt! People might look at me funny while I’m hoping around the gym on one foot, but I don’t care!

Workout routines are for bodybuilders. Movement is for life. Make it fun, make it interesting, enjoy yourself! Take the “work” out of “workout”

My routines may seem random to most and sometimes they are! However they always follow my basic rule. Focus on 1 of the 3 sections and never repeat the same section twice in a row.  This is it, simple, easy to remember and leaves plenty of room for exploring.

Do you need fitness equipment to get in better shape? No, do they help? Yeah they can. Do you need a gym membership? No, can it help? Yes.

Same can be said with routines, Do they help? Yeah, if you have a goal in mind, a routine can help you get to that goal. Do you need a routine? No not at all.

The most important thing is doing it, I know what you’re saying “but I don’t have time”

Do a little more today, do a push up on the wall, do a lunge while walking in the hall way, practicing your one foot balancing while you are doing the dishes. Find a way to be more active and you will not regret it!

You do not need to be sweating to lose weight or better yourself! Think outside the box, think of ways to work on yourself in your everyday life. This is why you see progress!!

Thank you for reading. You are why I write these.

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Month 5!

Alright! Month 5! Things are looking pretty sweeeeet this month!! No back flare ups, no sickness. I got a lot of good progress done!

Lets start off looking at last months measurements!

Last month:  

Weight: 130.8
Neck: 15 inches
Chest: 36 inches
Biceps: 11.5 inches
Forearms: 10 inches
Waist: 32 inches
Thighs: 17 inches
Calves: 14 inches

Current:

Weight: 129.8
Neck: 15 inches
Chest: 38 inches
Biceps: 11.5 inches
Forearms: 9.5 inches
Waist: 30 inches
Thighs: 18 inches
Calves: 14 inches

Alright so not much change, however I want to remind you I am not trying to “bulk up” I want to get more functional muscle so measurements normally don’t change much from month to month. However…. my body fat and muscle quality has changed!
My body fat and muscle quality, Lets find out!

Last month: 


Current: 

 

Lets look at the body fat % charts first. Look at those numbers! I dropped back down to 15.9 body fat from 20!! Man that is so awesome! Super happy about that.

Muscle quality is staying the same or going up in almost every muscle! I am beyond happy about last months progress.

You might be asking “mark! how did you make this happen?” Well let me tell you… it wasn’t easy and it took A LOT of work. I spent at least an hour doing the Moveu method (link below) working on correcting my back issues. I have been bringing what I have been learning to the gym with me, and practicing my movements. I spend more time watching my form then anything else at the gym. I will do a motion 50 times without any weight just making sure my form is PERFECT. This has been a game changer for my back and my over all health, as the scanner shows!!

So, for the fun of it. Lets look back at my very first scan 5 months ago!


Sorry about the pictures, one is with a phone and one is with an ipad so the files are different. Look at the difference in numbers! I have gone up to 68.5 from 55. Yes this may not be a huge difference to some, but with my lower back issues this is HUGE.

Keep in mind, some months I couldn’t really do much “training” as it was more “recovering” This progress train really picked up last month since joining the Moveu Method. (link below) The things I am learning are making progress easier and faster. Things that are changing not only my back issues but are enhancing my calisthenics and yoga practices!!

https://moveu.com/

This side of the blog is pretty selfish, since it’s all about my own fitness progress, I do an update once a month. I try to keep it short and sweet.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy my blog posts 🙂

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Where do I start?!

Where do I start and what do I do after?!

Finding this answer can be the hardest, most challenging yet the most fun part of getting into a more active lifestyle. There is a lot out there, calisthenics, weight lifting, cardio, cross fit, parkour, rock climbing, slacklines, club training, tai chi and many more!

In fact even these have so many levels to them for example lets look at yoga, do you want to do yin yoga? or hatha yoga? how about hot yoga?! That is only naming a few of the many types of yoga!! See what im getting at? There is a lot out there!


Even on the equipment side of things, sometimes I don’t even know what I want to use I get so overwhelmed! Just look at the picture above, this is my personal collection of fitness equipment. There is more roaming around my house too!!

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Don’t worry it may seem like a lot going on and you might not have any clue on where to start, or you want to just try everything! This is totally normal.

The best way I found is to start with something you enjoy already and then add in something new. Fitness is about exploring and trust me there is A LOT to explore!!

If you enjoy walking, do more walking! Then add in some simple calisthenics exercises like push ups or squats. This is the fun part of learning what you like, because you need to explore and exploring is always fun!

This is what my buddy said about the topic.

“Once I played around with barbell lifts a little, I found that I loved it.” – Brian Green

This shows that you never know what you will fall in love with until you try it!

Once you start finding more and more what you like doing you will open more options to reach your goals. (like we talked about in “How to Set Goals” blog post) Explore those options and your goals will change to fit the new activities you have grown to love.

Lets recap, There is A LOT out there, I have been working out for over 10 years and I have been finding new things I enjoy all the time!! It can be super overwhelming when you first start out. Trust me, when you start isn’t the only time you’ll feel overwhelmed, it will happen again when you’re exploring a new style of exercising! When I first started doing yoga, I felt totally lost on where to start!!

What you like will change and grow as you explore new things, you’ll make goals to fit the new styles you find an enjoyment out of!

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So get out there, explore, try new things! Don’t think of it as a “workout” but as exploring!! Explore the world around you, explore your neighbourhood, local parks, hiking, explore a new sport. Get yours friends and family involved,  make it FUN! If it’s not fun its not worth doing!

Thank you for reading my blog, if you have any suggestions on what I should write about feel free to contact me on facebook and of course if you would like help with your fitness journey I am available to help!

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How to Set goals!

Goal Setting!

This is the first and the most important part of making real progress in fitness (and in life!!)

Alright, what I need you to do right now is get a notebook or some paper and a pen. Nothing fancy is needed to get started, so you got no excuse!

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So you got you’re pen and paper ready right? now its time to write down some goals. Write down anything and everything that comes to your mind, just write down everything you think of, even if it seems totally out of reach right now.

Ok, ill wait here until you finished filling that paper with goals…..

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Are you done?…. GOOD.

Now I need you to look over the goals you have written down. Look at the ones you wrote down first, the ones that didn’t take any time at all to think about. These are the ones that matter the most to you! Don’t worry about anything else but the first few you wrote down.

I am going to break down how to make these goals for you follow with this example.

Now, lets say you wrote down “I want to be healthy”

This is pretty simple. I need you to think harder on this. Ask yourself “why do I want to be healthier”

Lets say you reply with “I want to be healthier to be able to do more hiking”

So that’s 2 levels, you want to be healthier to do something, that’s awesome. The 3rd level is setting a time line to it. So you would say “I want to be healthier to be able to do more hiking in summer”

Now you have a goal, and a timeline to go by. Now I want to challenge you by adding just one more level. I know what you’re saying “but mark you said 3 levels deep and now you’re adding a 4th?” Yes I know, it was all a trick to get you this far! For the 4th level I want you to really go out there, and just think of something that follows your goal but feels so far out of reach its almost seems impossible. So in addition to what we wrote above I would add “I want go be healthier to be able to do more hiking in summer, so I can train to climb Mount Everest” You may think that’s crazy and that’s the point at this stage!

The point of doing this, it gives you something to really reach for.

This is the best way to really make progress, goal setting is extremely important. Reaching for more than you think it possible is also really important. If you reach for the impossible, the possible seems much more attainable!

Now that you have some goals written down, put them somewhere so that you will see them everyday. On your bathroom mirror so you see them every time you brush your teeth, or put them on your door going outside the house so you see it every time you leave the house. Remind yourself of these goals all the time. This is the real trick to keeping progress going.

Make a goal, make a plan to remind yourself of it everyday! Get to work and stick to it!! You will be surprised on just how close to that impossible part of that goal you will get to!
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You may repeat this process over and over and over and over!! Each time you reach that goal, you start over. If something happens that prevents you from reaching that goal, start over again. The key is to keep going, no matter how slow it will take you.You may need to change the timeline a bit, and that’s fine. Goals will change over time. Its part of the process!

Keep rocking on your goals! I wish you the best of luck!

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Month 4!

Alright So this past month was rough. I suffered a very nasty back flare up from slipping on some ice (just slipped didn’t fall!) which prevented me from being able to workout. By the time I started healing from that, I got super sick. Could barely even talk!! And…. then my back got worse again. However in the tail end of this (January) I started a program to help my back forever. It has been helping me LOADS. I am learning lots… I could keep talking about that but I’ll save it for another blog post. This post is about where I am in my progress!

First up, measurements, I foresee a lot change here… and sadly probably not for the better. This month just straight up sucked for “gains”

Before:

Weight: 129.9
Neck: 14.5 inches
Chest: 36 inches
Biceps: 12 inches
Forearms: 10.5 inches
Waist: 31 inches
Thighs: 18.5 inches
Calves: 14 inches

Current: 

Weight: 130.8
Neck: 15 inches
Chest: 36 inches
Biceps: 11.5 inches
Forearms: 10 inches
Waist: 32 inches
Thighs: 17 inches
Calves: 14 inches

As you can see I’ve lost size in most places and gained an inch to my waist… This month was just the worst for me!!

Last month I was 16.5% body fat… as you can tell I have went up to 20% Man!!

Muscle Quality went down to 53 from 62. Man!!

So its been a shitty month, however it is fueling me to correct my weakness (my back issue) and start really making progress. Spending most of last month in a lot of pain or sick, causing me to lose most of my fitness progress?  WILL NOT HAPPEN AGAIN.

I am 100% committed to MoveU Method. I started their program around 2 weeks ago, and seeing great results in helping my back problem. If you suffer from back pain, you owe it to yourself to follow these guys on Facebook, instagram and if you can afford it. DO THEIR PROGRAM NOW.

Mike Wasilisin and Andrew Dettelbach These guys are my favourite people right now. They post daily videos of stretches and exercises to help any and all back problems!! These are the Back Pain Guys!! I would not normally share another company’s name on my blog if it wasn’t worth checking out!! Links below if you are interested!

https://www.facebook.com/moveuofficial/

http://moveumethod.com/

Alright, so… we got some ranting out-of-the-way, time to explain what I’m going to do to ensure progress will be made next month.

First up, like I said above. I am 100% committed to the MoveU Method to correct my back problem. This Involves following their program everyday! I can start adding additional  strength training only after I get into the 3rd section. I am still currently only in the 1st section. There are 8! I am learning LOADS on why my back is such a problem in my life.

Once I get to the 3rd section I will be adding a workout program from http://www.Darebee.com

This pose is a big part of the MoveU method, it may not help everyone but man does it help me!!

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My feet should be flat on the ground not against the couch. Otherwise its starting to look pretty good. Still need work to improve it, my hips are just a tiny bit off the ground and my back needs to be bent back more to be “perfect” however… Pretty damn good!!

Hey! It has been a rough month, but there has been some progress! I started walking barefoot again on my treadmill, going into next month with far less back pain, and feeling fantastic about life in general! Sometimes it’s not about the numbers but how you feel and I feel pretty amazing!

Keep moving, keep pushing on! There is always a bright side 😀

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The Possibilities are Endless

There are so many ways to go about this fitness game, Yoga, Calisthenics, Weight Training, Cross Fit, and so on. Even within these there are many many programs and routines. It can be extremely overwhelming! Trust me, the more I learn, the more I find and the more I want to do.

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There are so many possibilities and the more fit you become the more possibilities open up! Trust me it can become harder and harder to stay focused on a single program when you want to try everything out there!

I’m going to explain a little of what I’ve learned about choosing your path.

So you want to try everything right? That’s cool, but…well here is my experience.

So when I first started getting back into this a fitness lifestyle after my back got better, I wanted to do a lot. At one point I was attempting to do a calisthenics program, Yoga program, Handstand program, Gymnastic Ring program, a Walking/Running program and a Mediation program.

I know what you’re thinking “you’re crazy mark!” and I was. That was just crazy for me to do all that all at once. Know what happened? I made zero progress with any of those programs! So I dropped all of them, and just focused on the yoga program and mediation program. Know what? I started actually making progress.

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The real key here is making it simple, if you are not used to doing it… adding more to the fire isn’t going to help. Simple, small changes make HUGE results in the long run!

So its time to find what you like doing right? You really need to ask “what do I like?” Do I like yoga? Do I like weight lifting? Do I like running? etc

Write down what you like and write down what your goals are. Then find a fitness program (or talk to me!) that focuses on the things that are on the list you made. Always start with what you already enjoy. Trust me, you will find more things soon.

Its ok if running isn’t your thing, or if yoga isn’t for you, or if weight lifting isn’t for you. That is totally fine. There are still loads of options to explore!

I don’t like running long distance, I despise it. I would rather do yoga or calisthenics all day then run on the highway to Port Ed and back. It’s just not my thing, if you like doing that… that’s awesome too!! Fitness is about exploring what you like, and you will find things you don’t like. The key is keep exploring and find something you enjoy doing.

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I hear a lot of people say they don’t want to be in a gym, “it’s no fun” “its intimidating” I’ve heard it all, trust me. So go for a walk instead, workout at home, go somewhere you feel safe and can enjoy the workout. Always remember a workout should be fun, if it’s not fun, why do it?

I’ll break down what I am trying to say.

– Find what you like doing…and do that!
– Stay focused on a single program at a time
– Workout somewhere you enjoy being
– And always…..

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