The Art of Putting
The Art of Putting

The Art of Putting

The putter is the most used club in a Golfer’s arsenal, so it’s certainly...

The Art of Putting

Lifestyle

The Art of Putting

The putter is the most used club in a Golfer’s arsenal, so it’s certainly important. But I imagine being a good putter is far more important than having a good putter. Being a great putter can be the difference between winning and losing. And while you might think you need to spend hundreds on a new putter… it’s likely more valuable to take a long hard look in the mirror and decide what you can improve in yourself first.

Don't Stop Believing
Don't Stop Believing

Don't Stop Believing

Believing in something… believing in yourself… that’s the stuff of...

Don't Stop Believing

Lifestyle

Don't Stop Believing

Believing in something… believing in yourself… that’s the stuff of survivors, champions… the people who make it happen… when everyone else said it was impossible. Hope – even unfounded – keeps a fragile spirit alive. Hope when it’s founded? That’s a beast to be reckoned with. A belief that is founded is based on facts: historical or scientific evidence that the future hoped for is not only probable, it’s inevitable.

Getting out of trouble
Getting out of trouble

Getting out of trouble

Pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge. These are the golf clubs with the...

Getting out of trouble

Lifestyle

Getting out of trouble

Pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge. These are the golf clubs with the highest loft. Designed for chips, pitches, and playing out of sand bunkers. Designed – in other words – to get you out of trouble after you’ve made a less than optimal shot.

Losing is important.
Losing is important.

Losing is important.

No matter how great a golfer you are, you are not going to win every game. That’s...

Losing is important.

Lifestyle

Losing is important.

No matter how great a golfer you are, you are not going to win every game. That’s not to say there isn’t something to be said for approaching your game as if you are going to win. However, you are defining winning at any given moment. A winning mentality is accompanied by hope, determination, confidence, and is, in some cases, self-fulfilling.

The Woods.
The Woods.

The Woods.

Typically played off the tee, for all to scrutinize and see. Your driver is designed...

The Woods.

Lifestyle

The Woods.

Typically played off the tee, for all to scrutinize and see. Your driver is designed for a powerful, fully committed swing which sends the ball on a long, glamourous trajectory.

Summer Weather is Here...
Summer Weather is Here...

Summer Weather is Here...

Summer weather is here and we are ready for it! Staying fit has become difficult the...

Summer Weather is Here...

Lifestyle

Summer Weather is Here...

Summer weather is here and we are ready for it! Staying fit has become difficult the longer we stay in isolation but we can do this together. Some days can be dedicated to staying in and baking, while others can be all about getting outside and moving – it’s all about balance.

Fore the Love of it
Fore the Love of it

Fore the Love of it

Dare I admit this publicly? I was disappointed when the Golf Courses opened. I’d...

Fore the Love of it

Lifestyle

Fore the Love of it

Dare I admit this publicly? I was disappointed when the Golf Courses opened. I’d been sneaking onto the cart paths for some of my runs and bike rides with the boys and WOW! The spaces are glorious. That said, I have many loved ones who love to golf. So ultimately, I can be happy. 

Taste of Spring
Taste of Spring

Taste of Spring

There’s something different in the air. Over the last few days, we’ve...

Taste of Spring

Lifestyle

Taste of Spring

There’s something different in the air. Over the last few days, we’ve experienced phenomenal weather and slowly but surely the city is re-opening. But, for many of us, we’re still spending far more time at home than we would like.

Positive energy is contagious...
Positive energy is contagious...

Positive energy is contagious...

Okay, I NEVER tire of that fact, but I’ve got a different angle on it today:...

Positive energy is contagious...

Lifestyle

Positive energy is contagious...

Okay, I NEVER tire of that fact, but I’ve got a different angle on it today: I’m going to revisit Hell Week. After 3 days without sleep, the SEALs paddle down to the Mud Flats. They enter the swampy patch of terrain and the mud essentially swallows them until only their heads are visible.

On Being Thankful
On Being Thankful

On Being Thankful

“…being thankful has been standing out for me even more as of late: The...

On Being Thankful

Lifestyle

On Being Thankful

“…being thankful has been standing out for me even more as of late: The value it brings, not just to others but really to one’s self… Find something, anything, and be thankful for it. If it is a person in your life, let them know."

Sound Body & Strong Mind
Sound Body & Strong Mind

Sound Body & Strong Mind

Get your workout in. A strong, mobile body reflects solid willpower and a sound work...

Sound Body & Strong Mind

Lifestyle

Sound Body & Strong Mind

Get your workout in. A strong, mobile body reflects solid willpower and a sound work ethic. Low to moderate exercise can act as moving meditation. It calms the mind, increases patience, and boosts your ability to think outside of the box and find creative solutions. Really intense exercise creates a razor-sharp mind. It purges stress hormones, boosts confidence, and makes everything else seem easy.

Make your bed every morning...
Make your bed every morning...

Make your bed every morning...

Make your bed every morning...and make it well. If a SEAL can’t make her bed...

Make your bed every morning...

Lifestyle

Make your bed every morning...

Make your bed every morning...and make it well. If a SEAL can’t make her bed perfectly, is she able to load a gun, map an exit strategy, watch your back? Start your day with integrity. Do the simple things right. Take care of the details. Caring about the little things demonstrates you are committed to the process, committed to excellence, and, in fact, care a lot about the bigger things. Nothing of significance stands the test of time without a sound beginning and carefully built foundation.

Sunshine is on the way
Sunshine is on the way

Sunshine is on the way

Happy Tuesday! This week, we are back with another Healthy View blog and we hope...

Sunshine is on the way

Lifestyle

Sunshine is on the way

Happy Tuesday! This week, we are back with another Healthy View blog and we hope everyone had a great long weekend. It is odd to think of this as a long weekend, since it has been a very long 10 weeks of isolation. We found that it helps to keep a balance between relaxation and productivity. Our team has stayed busy by reading, baking, working out, outdoor walks, and most importantly, staying up-to-date and educated.

Bring What You Have.
Bring What You Have.

Bring What You Have.

We’ve just come off a weird long weekend, and have to cram 5 days worth of work...

Bring What You Have.

Lifestyle

Bring What You Have.

We’ve just come off a weird long weekend, and have to cram 5 days worth of work into 4 bizarre, unconventional days. Who better to look to for guidance and inspiration than the unusually courageous, resourceful individuals trained to thrive during unconventional warfare: SEALs.

Crowns and Coronas
Crowns and Coronas

Crowns and Coronas

We know that an ability to live in the present is associated with greater levels of...

Crowns and Coronas

Lifestyle

Crowns and Coronas

We know that an ability to live in the present is associated with greater levels of happiness and sense of fulfillment. We also know that people who perceive that have a greater sense of control and are better able to live in the present. A sense of lack of control can be pervasive. And there is so much we cannot control these days.

The Long Weekend
The Long Weekend

The Long Weekend

This means an extra day of weekend people. I know. The days are all running into one...

The Long Weekend

Lifestyle

The Long Weekend

This means an extra day of weekend people. I know. The days are all running into one another. But I said this last weekend and I will say it again: Make. Your. Weekend. A. Weekend. Completely clean up your home office and shut it down. Don’t you dare treat Monday as a way to get caught up on work or home schooling for your kids.

The Destination or the Journey?
The Destination or the Journey?

The Destination or the Journey?

Goals are often a specific, objective end point. They are all about measurement:...

The Destination or the Journey?

Lifestyle

The Destination or the Journey?

Goals are often a specific, objective end point. They are all about measurement: Attainment of an ultimate outcome, level of success, or mastery. A process on the other hand is the organization and execution of different strategies, actions, and habits in order to attain said goal.

Taking Risks
Taking Risks

Taking Risks

It takes courage to try something when you are uncertain of the outcome. If you put...

Taking Risks

Lifestyle

Taking Risks

It takes courage to try something when you are uncertain of the outcome. If you put your head down and commit your best effort, you will grow, learn, and become more resilient and confident. All this irrespective of whether or not you achieve “success”. The skills you acquire help you approach other risks in more effective ways and increase your chances of being successful in the future. This is the stuff that heroes and leaders are made of.

Intrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic Motivation

You know what I’d like you to do today: something exercise or activity based that...

Intrinsic Motivation

Lifestyle

Intrinsic Motivation

You know what I’d like you to do today: something exercise or activity based that just feels good. We are intrinsically motivated to do something because the work or process itself is rewarding, interesting, enjoyable. We’re more likely to repeat an activity, form a habit if it feels good, it’s fun, and it’s what you want to do. That’s what intrinsic motivation is all about: ensuring what you are doing fosters a sense of fulfillment, competence, and autonomy. Science would tell us, people who are intrinsically motivated to exercise are far more likely to make exercise a life long habit. Good to know.

The Cook and the Baker
The Cook and the Baker

The Cook and the Baker

Ah… to cook or to bake? That is the question. I quite enjoy both. Though they...

The Cook and the Baker

Lifestyle

The Cook and the Baker

Ah… to cook or to bake? That is the question. I quite enjoy both. Though they are quite different, and I do in the end prefer one over the other.

5x5 Minutes with Meg: Women's Edition

Posted: Mar 3, 2020

Since 1910, the 8th of March has been considered globally by many as a day to celebrate women. International Women’s Day Organization 2020 is supporting a number of important and laudable missions including highlighting and applauding important gains that are being made, celebrating women’s achievements and accomplishments, and taking a stance to call out and raise awareness about inequality. They also encourage everyone to “do what you can to truly make a positive difference for women”.

I’m going to try and tackle that last piece here. It’s important to encourage equality between men and women. And it’s important to recognize and embrace how we are typically different.

Today, I would like to highlight a few ways that many women differ from many men biologically. I’m going to write about how we can embrace and address those difference to ensure we live lives that are filled with vitality, strength, power, self-confidence, and happiness. Because strong, healthy bodies are often happy bodies. And when women and men prioritize their own physical health and well-being, they set an incredible and inspiring example for all those around them; and therefore, exude a positive impact on the physical health and well-being of those they love.

This article is for everyone: The interesting phenomena discussed below tend to affect women markedly more than men. Some women will experience none of these phenomena in their lifetimes and some men may experience some or even all of them. And we might have partners, sisters, daughters, mothers, and friends we love, that would benefit from the facts and ideas discussed below.

30 Second Edition:

  1. Muscle %
  2. The “Q” Angle
  3. Intermittent Fasting
  4. Hyperkyphosis
  5. Weight Loss as a Goal
  6. Prioritization

Muscle %:

Women generally carry less muscle, and therefore, more adipose tissue, on our frames compared to men. 

Important segue: We carry two kinds of fat in our bodies, essential fat required for optimal function of our body systems (organs, the central nervous system and muscles) and stored fat which is used for energy. For women our essential body fat sits around 12% while men’s is somewhere around 3%. So, the MINIMUM body fat % to ensure optimal health is significantly higher in women than men. There are also a lot of interesting differences in fat storage, but this section is about muscle.

Everything we can do to maintain the muscle we have, and even build more if possible, is a win.

A few reminders of the benefits of muscle:

  1. You are stronger. That sounds so obvious – but it’s a simple fact we sometimes overlook. I’m hoping to be a grandmother one day, but given that my boys are 7 and 9, I will likely be over 65 before that happens. And I hope to carry my grandchildren on my shoulders. That will take strength!
  2. Muscle tissue is metabolically active – so supports higher energy, higher metabolic rates, and less muscle fatigue.
  3. More skeletal muscle helps moderate insulin levels.
  4. Active muscle pulls on our bones, encouraging stronger bones. Specific strength training exercise will also pull on the bones in a manner than helps the skeleton counter the effects of gravity. More on that later.

You’re a member of the Cambridge Group of Clubs. You know how to build muscle. If your preferred activities engage more lower body muscles (cycling, running, some group ex classes) or are asymmetrical in nature (squash, some martial arts) then please layer in specific resistance training to balance this out. Reach out to me if you need some help. We’d be happy to cover the cost of a session with one of our incredible personal trainers.

The “Q Angle”:

Aka the quadriceps angle, describes the vector of pull exerted by the quadriceps muscle on the patella. Simply put, wider hips relative to the knees, will tend to pull the knees out of line. Typical Q angles in men range between 8 and 14 degrees, and 11 to 20 degrees in women. In general, individuals with Q angles greater than 14, tend to have knee joints that are less stable and under more stress. They also may be at higher risk for specific types of knee injury, including:

  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • Chondromalacia of the knee
  • ACL injuries

What can help:

  1. Glute activation: I’m not going to detail much here. Simply put, anything and everything that encourages a stronger backside is a good thing for the majority of Canadians!
  2. Glute activation through external rotation: For some, a greater Q angle is associated with internal rotation of the femur. Slightly modifying your current exercise routine so that you are encouraging a little more external rotation can be beneficial. For example, before you begin your squat, think about slightly rotating your thigh bones outwards from where these long bones connect with your pelvis or hips. You should notice your glutes firing a little. As you squat down, this external rotation should encourage your knees to track in line with your toes, and not cave in. You can try similar adjustments with your deadlift, lunges, and leg press. The trick is be subtle. No huge mechanical adjustments please!
  3. Strengthen your VMO: Your vastus medialis oblique (VMO) is the muscle that lies on the inside half of the front of your thigh. One of its key roles is ensuring optimal tracking and control of the patella when the knee is both bent and straight. Ensuring this muscle is strong will help balance the lateral pull created by a steeper Q angle. 
    • Seated knee extension
    • Standing terminal knee extension
    • Heel drops

Intermittent Fasting:

My current knowledge on this topic is far too limited for me to do more than brush the surface. But I feel compelled to say something as there is good evidence to support that intermittent fasting may affect women quite differently from men, and indeed may not be beneficial for certain women

So, please consult a trusted healthcare practitioner before considering this practice. A few quick facts:

  • Fasting seems to more significantly impact women’s hormones compared to men’s.
  • It may disrupt the menstrual cycle – which can be detrimental to overall health irrespective of whether or not you are trying to conceive.
  • It can have a negative impact on women’s blood sugar levels, sleep, and metabolism.
  • Women may be more likely to struggle with increased stress and anxiety when following fasting protocols.
  • Women may find it more difficult to exercise in a fasted state.

Don’t misunderstand: I’m not saying women can’t benefit from intermittent fasting. If you are compelled by the potential benefits, please ensure you are careful about the protocol you decide to follow, as a lot of the literature out there is based on evidence using male bodies. And please tune back in 4 weeks. I’m going to dive into this topic and look forward to sharing the research and my thoughts in April!

Hyperkyphosis:

Age-related hyperkyphosis is an exaggerated anterior curvature in the thoracic spine. It affects between 20-40% of North American adults and is increasing in both prevalence and severity. It is twice as common in women, in part due to less muscle mass and bone density: as the bones in the spine and the muscles that support it become weaker the vertebrae shift and become susceptible to compression fractures. That said, the causes are complex and can vary significantly from one individual to the next, but one thing is certain: strength and mobility exercises targeting the spine, shoulder girdle, core, and pelvis are total game changers. They can slow the progression, potentially reverse some of the curvature, and – started early enough – help you avoid the challenge all together. Now if that doesn’t make you sit up straight and pay attention, I’m not sure what will?!

In terms of mobility, look to increase the active ROM in the pecs, hip flexors, and thoracic spine. Do your mobility often, and definitely prior to your strength training.

Some of my favourite strength exercises for anyone wanting to improve posture:

  • Rows (seated, standing, kneeling, cable, dumbbell…)
  • Supine Y’s
  • Reverse Flyes
  • Band Pull Aparts
  • Dead Bugs
  • Bird Dogs

A few subtle and important steps before your strength work:

  1. Gently extend through the thoracic spine first (think “tall spine” – put a toilet plunger on your head and traction yourself up towards the ceiling)
  2. Open up your chest (drop the shoulders down and back, slightly expand the top of the ribcage, think “wide collarbone”, “headlights up!”)
  3. Draw your shoulder blades down and back.
  4. Check your low back. These subtle adjustments around your shoulders and mid back will tend to – in many of us – encourage the low back to arch in a not so good way. Brace the abdominal muscles to readjust to neutral spine. It may be helpful to think about tucking the tailbone under a little or closing or “knitting” the bottom of the ribcage and drawing it down towards the top of the hip bones.

Please avoid exercises that encourage spinal flexion. If you’re an avid cyclist, consider raising your handlebars, and practice incorporating the 4 steps above into your cycling posture.

Weight Loss as a Goal:

Loads of people join gyms, and start new or change up existing exercise routines with the goal of losing weight. There is some evidence to support that weight loss goals are more prevalent in women than men, though I believe this trend is shifting. So, while the following notes are based on longitudinal studies involving women and my own experiences working with women, I am quite confident all genders will find some great insights from the following:

  • The most important factor to consider for weight loss is food: altering how, when, and what you eat.
  • While exercise isn’t always the most effective way to lose weight, it is vital for keeping weight off. People who diet only tend to regain the weight. People who exercise and diet are far more likely to keep it off.
  • If you begin an exercise program or join a gym with the sole goal of weight loss or appearance improvement, you are far less likely to stick with your exercise program and far less likely to lose the weight. You are more likely to get frustrated, feel rotten about your body, and blame yourself. 

HOWEVER, if you balance that weight or appearance centered goal with focusing on other outcomes that are important to you – socializing, better health, becoming stronger, becoming faster, fitter, more powerful, reducing stress, improving memory, taking care of yourself, building your bones, having more energy – you are far more likely to continue to exercise, start to feel great about yourself, better about your body, and – ironically? – far more likely to alter you body composition.

Making Yourself A Priority:

Women are important. Women are wonderful. Women are key for the property, health, vitality, and happiness of this planet. That makes us an incredibly valuable natural resource. And so, we must care for ourselves as such. Of course, caring for such a dynamic, powerful resource is complicated. And there are simple steps too: Make yourself a priority. Give yourself time and space to rest and recover. Feed yourself delicious, colourful, nutritious foods. Ask someone to prepare these for you once in while. Exercise in a way that makes you feel wonderful…and ensures you are and remain strong and stable. And if you think a little help, advice, knowledge, support, or a kick in the pants would help – for goodness sake let me know. I’d love to lend a hand if I can.

There are a whole lot of people who count on you. Who love you. And their world is a far better place with you in it. So, they can wait 30 minutes while you go for a run. They can live without you over the lunch hour while you go to a spin class. They can – and will – help you with the laundry, grocery shopping, HR agenda, vegetables that need to be chopped, hockey practices, new hires, follow-up phone calls – if you ask and delegate. So, please, make taking care of yourself a TOP priority. You deserve it. You’re worth it. We need you.

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Meg Sharp, MSc., B.Ed.Kin, FST Executive Director of Personal Training CGoC

msharp@cambridgegroupofclubs.com

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References:

Ahmed, A.; Saeed, F. (2018).  Impact of intermittent fasting on human health: an extended review of metabolic cascades.  International Journal of Food Properties.  21(1).

Ailon, T. et al., (2015).  Progressive Spinal Kyphosis in the Aging Population.  Neurosurgery.  77(Suppl1,1):  S164-S172.

Baker, M.M.; Juhn, M.S.  (2000).  Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome in the Female Athlete.  Clinics in Sports Medicine.  19(2):  315-329.

Edwards, S.E.; Sackett, C.S.  (2016).  Psychosocial Variables Related to Why Women are Less Active than Men and Related Health Implications.  Clinical Medicine Insights: Women’s Health.  9(Suppl1): 47-56.

Katzman, W.B. et al. (2010).  Age-Related Hyperkyphosis: It’s Causes, Consequences, and Management.  KOSPT.  40(6): 352-360.

Khasawneh, R.R.  (2019).  Measurement of the quadriceps (Q) angle with respect to various body parameters in young Arab population.  PLoS One.  14(6).

Mroz, E.M. et al. (2018).  Health and appearance reasons for weight loss as predictors of long-term weight change.  Health Psychology Open.  Jul-Dec; 5(2).

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