TCB FITNESS: When Is It Time To Take A Break

Our newest post is courtesy of lifting champion Andy Bolton.  We look at when is it a good time to take a break from lifting, or any exercise for that matter.  Many people feel that because they are not competing in anything or that they are not high level athletes, a lot of the ideas and principles do not apply to them. On the contrary, the old saying “success leaves clues” applies here.  What works for these champions can work for you! MyphoneDec10-13 126

One thing that all great lifters have in common is

Mediocre lifters and people who never build any
kind of great strength are usually inconsistent
with their training.

You’ve seen it…

They train hard for 6 months, but then something
happens and they miss 4 months of training.

That approach is never going to lead you to your
true strength potential.

With that said, is it ever right to take a week off?


Read on and I’ll explain…


When It’s OK To Take A Week Off Training…


1. After A Competition

If you’ve just done a competition – taking a week off
after wards is a great idea.

The reason why I say that is because it gives your
body and mind time to recover from the maximal
exertions you have asked of it.

2. After Maxing Out In The Gym

Perhaps you haven’t competed, but you may have
tested your maxes on your squat, bench and deadlift
in the gym.

This may warrant a week off, for the same reason as
if you had competed.

3. If You Have Aches and Pains

Sometimes heavy strength training can lead us to
aches and pains.

These aches and pains can go one of two ways:

i. Away! (if you treat them correctly)

ii. Into injuries if you carry on pushing

If you are REALLY beat up from training, with sore
joints, take a week off and spend a ton of time doing
mobility work and soft tissue work.

Do 10 minutes multiple times a day. You’ll feel better
and you’ll get rid of those aches and pains before
they turn into something NASTY!

4. If Your Motivation Has Gone

You can only push for so long. After a while the MIND
can get tired.

Motivation can vanish.

You stop wanting to train.

You start finding excuses to skip gym sessions.

If you feel this way, take a week off and don’t touch any
weights. Do some other, less intense physical activities.
Rest, chill out, spend time with friends and family.

After a week or two your motivation to train will come
back. Let it build for a few days – then hit the gym.

You’ll feel like an ANIMAL again – ready to ATTACK
the iron.

-Andy Bolton


Andy Lewis is a Certified Fitness Professional who owns and operates TCB Fitness, located in west Edmonton.

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TCB FITNESS: Life Is A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Exercise and training is mental. Some of you may laugh and agree after reading that statement but it is true. I discuss this idea often with clients at TCB Fitness. Your mental attitude and thought processes can greatly affect what you do not only in the gym, but in life! Our newest blog post is courtesy of Denis Waitley and looks at how your mind influences your success in life. Read on!

Life Is A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Positive self-expectancy is the first, most identifiable quality of a top-achieving, winning human being. It is pure and simple optimism: real enthusiasm for everything you do. And optimism is expecting the most favorable result from your own actions.

There never was a winner who didn’t expect to win in advance. Winners understand that life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. And they know that you usually get what you expect in the long run. So winners accept the belief that hope and a deep, unbreakable faith—forged into a fundamental attitude of positive self-expectancy—is the eternal spring from which all creative, motivating energy flows.

The idea that faith conquers all has been verified from biblical times to current-day medical histories to daily stories of heroism and come-from-behind victories and rags-to-riches success we read about every day in the newspapers. They’re human biographies of greatness we read about, hear about, and watch on TV. And we marvel over these special people who pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.

Let me ask you this: Did it ever occur to you that you, also, are one of these special people? Well, you are! Most real winners in life are so busy contributing, they don’t even think of seeking publicity for their acts. Most are discovered by the media, caught in the act of winning. Only a few famous people are winners, and only a few winners will become famous people. That’s because success is a very individual thing. Success is the way you spend your minutes doing your best for others. It is the way you take the talent you were born with, and the knowledge and skills you have since developed, and use them fully, toward a purpose that makes you feel worthwhile, according to your own individual, internal standards.

In your quest for excellence, there are two powerful sets of great expectations affecting your life. First, there are the expectations that others have for you. Then there are expectations you have for yourself. While we all try to rise to the expectations others have for us, there is no question that our limitations and success will be based, most often, on our own expectations for ourselves.

Winners expect another good day, a promotion, a raise, to find a parking place, a productive meeting, and a harmonious family life—and they usually get them. Winners know that their actions will be controlled by their current obsessions. Losers generally expect more of the same frustration, more problems, the loss of a job, a dull evening, bad service, and failure. Most importantly, losers expect to feel bad and get sick—and they do.

Optimism is a way of life. Here are techniques for generating a greater attitude of positive self-expectancy:

  1. Look at problems as opportunities—search for the favorable aspects of every situation.
  2. Learn to stay relaxed and friendly, no matter how much pressure and tension you’re under. In the beginning, it’s likely that you’ll have to fake it. But the truth is that both calmness and courage are learned habits, and there’s no better way to learn a good habit than by actually getting in and doing it and living it.
  3. In dealing with other people, instead of griping, try praising. In place of cynicism, try optimism. Instead of being unhelpfully critical, try being constructively helpful. You know these are learned habits, too. And everyone is dependent on others for at least part of their own positive self-expectancy.
  4. Get excited and enthusiastic about your own dream. This excitement is like a forest fire. You can smell it, taste it, and see it a mile away. Everybody loves a winner. But nobody crowds around a loser’s locker room. Don’t run around with the doomsayers who look up and shout that the sky is always falling.

Optimism and realism go together. They are the problem-solving twins. Pessimism and cynicism are the two worst companions. Surround yourself with the “no-problem, can-do” type with big dreams like your own. It’s the excitement of the big dream that carries you through the setback that you encounter. The single most outwardly identifiable quality of a winner is positive self-expectancy—optimism. It’s the key to good health. It’s the key to happiness, and it puts the favorable inclination toward the achievement of every goal you set. Positive self-expectancy is the winner’s edge.  – Denis Waitley

Andy Lewis is a Certified Fitness professional who operates TCB Fitness located in west Edmonton.

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TCB FITNESS: The Way You Carry Your Strength Matters

Happy New Year! With new beginnings often comes times where people resolve many things, getting “fit” or “in shape” are usually near the top of the list. Unfortunately, not everybody has the know how and/or confidence when hitting the gym. Motivation disappears quickly, the visits become less frequent and the gym membership goes to waste.

One thing that does not help are the people at the gym or on social media who are quick to dismiss all the new trainees. “Great, one more week until all the wannabes disappear.” This attitude is crap. We all have to start somewhere, we can all use some encouragement. If you don’t want to say anything positive, follow the old addage then and “don’t say anything at all.”

Today’s blog is something I recently read that hits home with the above point and I felt the need to share it. Reminds me of the saying “with great power comes great responsibility.”

The Way You Carry Your Strength Matters

By Pavel Tsatsouline, Chairman, Strong First

Have a strong year, brothers and sisters in strength!

I am not going to patronize you with “Go get, ‘em, tiger!” speeches.  You have your training plans and goals and Jan 1 is just another date on your training schedule.  Another swing day, deadlift day, pullup day.  Business as usual, nothing to discuss.

Today I want to talk to you about the way you carry your strength.  If you are already strong, it is an opportunity for introspection.  If you are on your way, here is your chance to “reverse engineer” the good manners of the strong, along with their lifting technique.


Recently I read a book I enjoyed very much.  Ronen Katz, SFG II, SFB gave it to me.  Ronen is a 6th Dan in Kyokushin Karate.  He studied in Tokyo under Mas Oyama himself.  At the karate legend’s dojo he made friends with another foreigner on the same quest.  Nicholas Pettas would later become a world-class karate competitor and receive an unheard of compliment from the Japanese who nicknamed him “Blue-Eyed Samurai”.  That was the title of the book Ronen brought to me from Japan.  A couple of months ago Katz taught a seminar introducing StrongFirst training methods in Tokyo.  Pettas was one of the students and he was kind enough to sign a book for me.


There is a Japanese proverb in Blue-Eyed Samurai: “The mightier the rice becomes, the more it bows its head.”  The stronger one becomes, the more humility he shows.I have witnessed that the proverb is right on the money time and time again.  One day I brought an acquaintance to Muscle Beach Venice.  A skinny middle-aged guy, Bob decided to get strong and asked me to teach him the deadlift and a few other lifts.

It was Saturday and a powerlifting meet was in progress.  The lifting platform was outside the weight pit, but the competitors warmed up inside.  Bob wanted to turn around and leave but I insisted that we go in.

The pit was crowded but we did manage to find an empty bar and started setting up.  Bob was intimidated, surrounded by guys three times bigger and five times stronger than himself.  Growls from the competition platform outside did not help.  Bob was loading a bar with 135 when a man with no neck towered over him.  The lifter’s voice boomed: “Are you, guys, using these plates?  Do you mind if grab them?”

Bob could not believe his eyes or ears.  And for the rest of his lesson he was treated with utmost respect by the shaved head crew that had set up their warm-up station next to us, even getting called “sir” a few times.

Really strong people have class.  They never bully the weak.  Who does then?—The less weak.

Rob Lawrence, the master of one-liner, once quipped that the very strong and the very weak will never give you any trouble.  It is the guys in the middle who have a chip on their shoulder.  Beta males, frustrated with their inability to rise to the top and taking it out on the even weaker letters of the Greek alphabet.

These betas are easy to recognize in gyms by their swagger and their baseball caps turned backward.  Just a week ago I witnessed one make a lot of noise quarter squatting 315—and then walk away and never come back.  The unfortunate newbie in gym gloves who later came to the power rack to do his curls got stuck unloading the bar.  Next week he probably quit the gym for a health spa that promised “no gym intimidation” in its ads.

If you are reading this blog, you are strong, or at least on your way to strong.  Do not let it go to your head.  Do not give the noble pursuit of strength a bad name by acting like a jack.  Let your conduct inspire the weak to be strong.


Andy Lewis is a Certified Fitness Professional who owns and operates TCB Fitness located in west Edmonton.

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TCB FITNESS: New To The Gym or A Regular, Here’s A Refresher on Gym Etiquette

TCB FITNESS: ABC’s from TCB on Gym Etiquette

I first posted this blog back in March 2013, but with the new year maybe you are making your first foray into the gym and have nary a clue on what to do or some of the more appropriate gym behavior.. Or perhaps you are a regular who may have gotten a little complacent or forgotten a few of the more obvious “rules”.. Either way, read on, remember and implement!

When was the last time you recited the alphabet? Ok, if you have kids or are around kids often then you got me. I admit the ABC’s from TCB is just a quirky title that I think sounds good. I am not going to give you 26 alphabetized commandments on ways you should carry yourself in a gym/health club setting. These are tips to help make your gym experience a positive one and really, many of these should be common sense. Now let’s go!

Personal Hygiene – It is sad that I even have to have this topic as a “tip”. Sure, you may get a little ripe while you workout, that is one thing. If it has been a long day and your feet, pits, undercarriage or whatever are odoriferous, then have a quick pre-workout rinse! This also means easy on the Axe, cologne and perfumes. Soap, deodorant and talcum powder are your friends! Out of respect for yourself and those around you, don’t stink

 The Gym Bag – Keep it clean, make sure you have all your gear, your ipod, your water bottle, your post-workout shake, a lock for your locker, a gym towel plus whatever toiletries you need. I also recommend keeping a spare change of gym clothes. If not in your bag, then keep it in the trunk of your car.

The Gym Gear – Keep your gym clothes clean! Make sure you wear clean shorts, shirts, sweats, socks, lulus, whatever you wear, out of respect for yourself and those around you, wear clean clothes. And for the record, that doesn’t just mean “febreeze’em!”

dumb 3 300x208 TCB FITNESS: ABCs from TCB on Gym EtiquetteGeneral Behaviour – Like many rules we are taught in school, those lessons apply in the gym too:

  • Everybody had to start somewhere and everyone was once a beginner. There will also be people bigger, stronger, smaller and not as strong as you. Respect others.
  • Do not hog equipment. Share.
  • If you use barbells, dumbbells or any other piece of equipment, put it away.
  • I think all gyms have disinfecting wipes or spray bottle and towel handy, so look around. After you have used a bench or some equipment, wipe it down.
  • Sometimes the grunts and groans may be necessary and maybe you need to turn the volume on your iPod up to “insane” to get pumped, but keep the noise down. Even in “Pumping Iron” during a training scene, Arnold says, “you make too much noise! Has to be very quiet in here, like a church” Ok, maybe not that quiet but you get the point.
  • Keep the talking and socializing to a minimum, especially on the gym floor and hanging around equipment. For many, they are on a time budget. Respect that. As I often joke with people, “I don’t workout in your nightclub or living room, please don’t make a social scene in my office”. Same rule applies for chatting and using your cellphone.
  • The mirrors. Use them to give yourself visual feedback on your form. Do not use them to creep on someone. Do not use them to do your flexin’, posin’ and showing off. If someone is using them to check form, try not cut in front of them.

The Locker Room – Obviously, I can only speak for the men’s change room but I would hope and think the same applies to the ladies:

  • Be courteous and polite. Keep your eyes up and forward.
  • Do not be a space hog. You are sharing space and facilities.
  • Do not walk around or sit on benches naked. Ew. Use a towel.
  • Use a lock on your locker. Seriously. Not everyone is respectful of others belongings.
  • Do not litter.
  • Flush the toilet after you use it. Not just in the gym, but anywhere. Seriously, I never understood how people do not flush sometimes. Are you in that much of a rush or did you forget how to push a handle or button?

One last thing. If you have never been in a gym or gone in not knowing what you are doing, STOP! Take advantage of free training sessions offered, go with a partner who legitimately knows what they are doing or hire a good, competent trainer (gratuitous plug: please see a previous blog where I discuss tips when looking for a trainer) It may initially be costly, but the wasted time and money of not knowing what you are doing can be even more expensive.

These guidelines are not written in stone and could vary depending on your facility, but following them should ensure a relatively stress-free and enjoyable session. I know there is a saying about “leaving a place better than the way you found it.” I am not saying you have to pull out a mop and clean the whole gym floor, but at the very, very least, do not leave the gym in worse shape than you found it.


Andy Lewis is a Certified Personal Trainer who owns and operates TCB Fitness located in west Edmonton.

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TCB FITNESS: Last Minute Gift Ideas and Your Fitness “RESOLUTION SOLUTION”

Last minute gift ideas or you want to act NOW to start fresh, commit and not quit in 2014, TCB Fitness has you covered! Gift Certifcates available too!
2-4x/week  1/2hr sessions
+ 1-1hr session
+ 1 – consultation
It takes 21 days to create a new habit. This offer is to help you get going and is valid for use in the month of January
$360 – Some Conditions Apply

"These are great specials!"

“These are great holiday specials!”

8 Session Pack
8- 1/2hr sessions
+ 1- 1hr session
+ 1 consultation
$249 – Some Conditions Apply

5 Session Pack
5- 1/2hr sessions
+ 1- 1hr session
+ 1 consultation
$149 – Some Conditions  Apply

3 Session Pack
3- 1/2hr sessions
+1- 1hr session
+1 consultation
$97 – Some Conditions Apply

Email us at or call 780-993-2523 to book NOW!


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TCB FITNESS: Damage Control Over The Holidays

Hey! December is often the busiest month of the year for a lot of people. Maybe you can relate? As a result, our exercise programs often get shoved aside or flat out dropped because we are “too busy”.  January comes along and then we are frustrated for “letting ourselves go”.  So now besides the issue of having those January bills and blahs,  you are frustrated because you ate too much, have not exercised in a month or maybe worse,  your 2013 resolution of exercising did not happen at all!

Well rejoice! Our latest blog comes courtesy of champion lifter Andy Bolton on what you CAN do over the next few weeks to maintain, or at least “minimize damage” on your exercise program! If you have not been exercising and want to do something so you do not feel as guilty about holiday indulging, tips 1 and 2 are  starting points for you!

Training over the Christmas period can be tough…

No Lift No Gift

You’ve got Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and
Boxing Day where it’s highly unlikely you’ll be
able to train…

You’ve got parties…

Shopping trips to fit in…

New Years Eve…

Plus New Years Day!

When you look at it like that, it’s easy to see
how many lifters end up not doing any training,
or very little – over the Christmas and New Year


That’s a mistake!

Because it you don’t train for 3 or 4 weeks, you’ll
feel WEAK when you come back and then you have
to spend weeks training just to get back to where
you were.

And that always SUCKS.

With that thought in mind, here are:


3 Suggestions For Maintaining Your Strength
Over Christmas and New Year…


1. Find the time to train at least twice a week for 45
minutes, excluding warm up time.

This is enough training time to MAINTAIN your

By all means train more if you can – but if not, do at
least 2 sessions of 45 minutes

2. Focus on the basics.

Do some squats.

Do some bench presses.

Do some deadlifts.

If you have to drop the assistance work for a few
weeks – so be it. (Just don’t drop your warm up –
you might seriously regret it if you do).

3. Go heavy

45 minutes is probably not enough time to do a high
volume session.

So go heavy…

A heavy triple.

A couple of singles at 90%.

Three doubles.

You get the idea.

Heavy, low volume lifting will MAINTAIN your strength.

Then, when you have more time – after Christmas and
New Year – jack up the training frequency and volume and
watch your strength go through the roof.

Remember – keeping training frequency, volume and
intensity the same all year round is a huge MISTAKE.

– Andy Bolton


Andy Lewis is a Certified Fitness Professional who works at TCB Fitness located in West Edmonton.

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TCB Fitness: The TCB Oath – You NEED To Read This Now!

elvis-tcbGuess what I just read and will now share with you? One of THE best articles I have ever seen discussing Elvis Presley’s TCB Oath. What is Elvis’ TCB Oath? I am glad you asked that intelligent question! If you go to our “Background” section, scroll to the bottom of the page and you will find it.

After you have familiarized yourself with it, read the brilliant insights from Contributor, Maura Pennington. Things I have said and thought as it applies to the TCB Oath, she has put it all together in a way that is simple and makes sense.

Forget ‘Mentally Strong’: Take The Oath Of Elvis And Be Creative
By Maura Pennington, Contributor,

When Elvis Presley initiated the entourage that accompanied him in his eccentric life at Graceland, he had his so-called Memphis Mafia accept an oath of TCB: Taking Care of Business. He adorned keepsakes and the tail of his jet with the letters and a lightning bolt. TCB came with a code, one that included:

“More self-respect, more respect for fellow man. Respect for fellow students and instructors. Respect for all styles and techniques.”

In Forbes contributor Cheryl Conner’s viral post about “mentally strong people,” the success of the dynamic and enterprising among us boils down to their positive, forward-looking perspective: Let go of what drags you down, rise to the top.

What it lacks is the TCB ethos.

Elvis blazed past his peers and detractors and set popular culture afire. He was the lightning bolt on his insignia. He was also known for his humility and loyalty. Like his impact on music, TCB goes beyond him.

It is an attitude of acceptance and evolution that allows for creativity.

TCB is productive because it is tolerant.

When a person wakes up in an adversarial world with the elements of nature and the aggression of fellow man aimed against the ascension of any individual who desires to live differently, it doesn’t matter how mentally strong, how capable, or how ambitious that person is. Without TCB, they will never go far.

Without “respect for all styles and techniques,” they will never develop their own style and technique. They will never be anything but a member of the hostile herd.

Creativity requires an openness that few achieve. It requires a willingness to look with a curious eye at possibility and to seize the opportunities to discover the unseen realm of accomplishments yet to be made.

TCB is a style of learning as much as it is a mantra of acting. To take care of business is to find business not being done. To do so, an individual has to scan and consolidate information in his or her own way. A creative person is always listening, watching, absorbing, and personally integrating.

That doesn’t speak to mental strength, but to mental flexibility. Limits can be pushed with brute force or they can be stretched with imagination. The mentally flexible are the ones who TCB to our benefit.

They invent and renew. They inspire. They take care of business, yet as history has shown, the mentally flexible are also often the mentally fractured or fragile. Elvis is not the only artist, entrepreneur, or adventurer to lose a battle with life.

Rather than anxiously seek the secrets to success in the habits of the mentally strong, we should live with the minds we’ve been given.

Respect the choices of others and take care of your own business in the only way you of all people would.

Experiment and experience. Just TCB.


Andy Lewis is a Certified Fitness Professional who operates TCB Fitness located in West Edmonton.

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TCB Fitness: Mental Exercise – Believe It’s Possible!

“It’s a mental thing.” That idea has increasingly been brought up here at TCB Fitness with clients. Whether it refers to increasing range of motion in a movement or moving heavier than thought possible weight, the concept that it’s all in your mind bears some heavy weight (pun intended).

I’m not referring to anything new age or magical, but the belief that you can do it, rather than giving yourself limits and believing those limits. Don’t short-change yourself before giving yourself an honest chance. “Let’s see what happens”, I’ll advise a client. “Don’t worry about failing or not making it. Focus on doing it and we’ll go from there”. Believe.

Our latest read comes courtesy of Vic Johnson and he discusses the importance of belief. Read it. Own it. Implement it.

Believe It’s Possible
by Vic Johnson

“Belief is the basis of all action, and, this being so, the belief that dominates the hearts or mind is shown in the life.” –Above Life’s Turmoil

You will rarely attempt something you don’t believe possible and you will ‘never’ give 100 percent of your ability to something you don’t believe in.

Some years ago I was listening to a friend speaking to a business audience. She quoted a teaching by David Schwartz from The Magic of Thinking Big that rocked my life. She said, “The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief.” Now that was the first personal development book I ever read and I’ve read it at least 20 times since. I’m sure that I had heard that concept many times before that night. But it impacted me so much that I wrote it down and must have looked at it a hundred times or more in the thirty days after that.

I spent the next few months focused on strengthening my belief in myself and in what I wanted to do. I took to heart what Wayne Dyer wrote in You’ll See it When You Believe It: “Work each day on your thoughts rather than concentrating on your behavior. It is your thinking that creates the feeling that you have and ultimately your actions as well.” So I worked each day on my beliefs by constantly affirming myself using written and verbal affirmations. The years since have been an incredible rocket ride.

One of the best known stories about the power of belief is about Roger Bannister, the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. Before his accomplishment it was generally believed that the human body was incapable of such a feat. But as soon as he had done it, scores of others accomplished the same thing. Thousands have done so since and today it’s not uncommon for it to be done by a talented high-schooler. Did the human body change so that this could be done? No, but the human belief system did!

Nightingale-Conant says Napoleon Hill is considered to have influenced more people into success than any other person in history. And his most quoted line from Think and Grow Rich describes the power of belief: “Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Just believing that statement, truly believing it deep down inside, is a bold step toward living your dreams.

Lisa Jimenez, in her great book Conquer Fear! writes, “Change your beliefs and you change your behavior. Change your behaviors and you change your results. Change your results and you change your life.”

And that’s worth thinking about.


Andy Lewis is a Certified Fitness Professional that operates TCB Fitness located in west Edmontonn.

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TCB FITNESS: Top 10 Benefits of Pregnancy Exercise

With the missus expecting anytime now, I reflect back at what a great job she has done at being pregnant. She has worked smart and hard at keeping herself healthy. We have both done reading (her A LOT more than me) on what to do, what to expect and a whole host of how to’s and how not to’s. It should come as no surprise that I have had a more vested interest in her exercise regime. She has stayed active working out at least 2x/week throughout her pregnancy. put out a list of  “Top 10 Benefits of Pregnancy Exercise” that I think is a great read, so I’m sharing it with you now. If you are expecting (congrats!) or know someone who is, pass this post on to them! Remember, TCB can mean “Taking Care of Baby”!

Shandrie prego

If your favorite (make that only) workout equipment is the pregnancy mood swing, stop for a moment to consider how a slightly more ambitious program will help in lots of ways.

Exercise and Pregnancy
Pregnancy comes with its share of annoying complaints. But the more you exercise during pregnancy, the less you’ll find to complain about. There’s a case to be made for fitness for everyone, but in moms-to-be specifically, pregnancy exercise can:

1. Fight pregnancy fatigue. Low-level tiredness plagues many women during the first trimester, then again late in the third trimester. It seems paradoxical, but sometimes getting too much rest can actually make you feel more pooped. And while you should never push yourself too hard when you’re pregnant — and especially when you’re feeling fatigued — a little nudge can make a big difference in your pregnancy energy level. So take baby steps — go for an easy walk or pop in a pregnancy exercise video. You’ll be surprised at how peppy you feel afterward.

2.Improve your sleep during pregnancy. While many pregnant women report that they have a harder time falling asleep (not to mention staying asleep with all the bathroom interruptions), those who exercise consistently (as long as it’s not near bedtime, which can be too energizing) say the quality of their sleep is better and that they wake up feeling more rested.

3.Conquer pregnancy constipation. An active body encourages active bowels. Some women swear by a brisk 30-minute walk to keep them regular, others say even a ten-minute stroll helps get things going.

4.Do pregnancy back exercises. Back pain affects half of all pregnant women — and your best defense is a strong set of abs. Do simple pregnancy-safe exercises to strengthen your abs — which will give your back the back-up it needs. (See Pregnancy Workouts for exercises that work for you.) But don’t stop there. Even exercise that’s not directly targeting the tummy — a short walk to the post office — can also relieve pain and pressure.

5.Don’t worry, be happy. Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that give a natural high — improving your mood, diminishing feelings of worry and anxiety.

6.Do pregnancy stretches. It’s not a stretch — stretching does your body good, and you don’t even have to break a sweat. This is especially true if you’ve been troubled by muscle cramps — particularly in your leg. Stretching out (flexing your toes up instead of pointing down) can help you uncover little pockets of tension, warding off cramps and sore muscles. Stretch after your exercise routine, but also stretch at your desk (especially if you’ve been sitting or standing for a long time), in the car or airplane, and always before bed (particularly if nocturnal leg cramps have been cramping your sleeping style).

7.Guard against gestational diabetes. Exercise may prevent this common problem, and the American Diabetes Association recommends exercise as a helpful therapy for women who are at risk. If that’s you, don’t be surprised if your practitioner is even more gung ho about prescribing a workout routine.

8.Make a healthy baby. Babies of moms who exercise during pregnancy are born at healthier weights, are better able to weather labor and delivery (they are less stressed by it), and recover from the stresses of birth more quickly.

9.Have an easier labor (possibly). While exercise during pregnancy can’t guarantee that you’ll sail through childbirth, moms who exercise tend to have shorter labors and are less likely to need medical interventions during labor (including C-sections).

10. Speed your postpartum recovery. The more you increase your pregnancy fitness, the faster you’ll recover physically after childbirth, the more fit you’ll be after delivery — and the sooner you’ll be zipping up those prepregnancy jeans again.

-Courtesy of


Andy Lewis is a Certified Fitness Professional who works at TCB Fitness located in west Edmonton.

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TCB FITNESS: Make the Compound Effect Work For You!

I do not get to read books as often as I should, but one of my favorite books that I highly recommend for everybody is “The Compound Effect”, by Darren Hardy. It is a simple, smart, meat and potatoes book that if used properly, can help you make positive lifestyle changes, not just for exercise, but for any area of your life. There’s no “secret” or “magic formula”, but simple, identifiable ways you can improve your life.

This blog contains an excerpt from the Compound Effect. Read it. Re-read it. Apply it. TCB.

The Compound Effect: Creatures of Habit
by Darren Hardy

Aristotle wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do.” Merriam-Webster defines habit this way: “An acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.”

There’s a story about a man riding a horse, galloping quickly. It appears that he’s going somewhere very important. A man standing along the roadside shouts, “Where are you going?” The rider replies, “I don’t know. Ask the horse!” This is the story of most people’s lives; they’re riding the horse of their habits, with no idea where they’re headed. It’s time to take control of the reins, and move your life in the direction of where you really want to go.

If you’ve been living on autopilot and allowing your habits to run you, I want you to understand why. And I want you to let yourself off the hook. After all, you’re in good company.

Psychological studies reveal that 95 percent of everything we feel, think, do, and achieve is a result of a learned habit! We’re born with instincts, of course, but no habits at all. We develop them over time. Beginning in childhood, we learned a series of conditioned responses that led us to react automatically (as in, without thinking) to moscompound effectt situations.

In your day-to-day life, living “automatically” has its definite positives. If you had to consciously think about every step of each ordinary task—making breakfast, driving the kids to school, getting to work, and so on—your life would grind to a halt. You probably brush your teeth twice a day on autopilot. There’s no big philosophical debate; you just do it. You strap on your seatbelt the minute your butt hits the seat. No second thoughts. Our habits and routines allow us to use minimal conscious energy for everyday tasks. They help keep us sane and enable us to handle most situations reasonably well. And because we don’t have to think about the mundane, we can focus our mental energy on more creative and enriching thoughts. Habits can be helpful—as long as they’re good habits, that is.

If you eat healthfully, you’ve likely built healthy habits around the food you buy and what you order at restaurants. If you’re fit, it’s probably because you work out regularly. If you’re successful in a sales job, it’s probably because your habits of mental preparation and positive self-talk enable you to stay optimistic in the face of rejection.

I’ve met and worked with many great achievers, CEOs, and “superstars,” and I can tell you they all share one common trait—they all have good habits. That’s not to say they don’t have bad habits; they do. But not many. A daily routine built on good habits is the difference that separates the most successful amongst us from everyone else. And doesn’t that make sense? From what we’ve already discussed, you know successful people aren’t necessarily more intelligent or more talented than anyone else. But their habits take them in the direction of becoming more informed, more knowledgeable, more competent, better skilled, and better prepared.

My dad used Larry Bird as an example to teach me about habits when I was a kid. “Larry Legend” is known as one of the greatest professional basketball players. But he wasn’t known for being the most athletically talented player. Nobody would have described Larry as “graceful” on the basketball court. Yet, despite his limited natural athletic ability, he led the Boston Celtics to three world championships and remains one of the best players of all time.
How did he do it? It was Larry’s habits—his relentless dedication to practice and to improve his game. Bird was one of the most consistent free-throw shooters in the history of the NBA. Growing up, his habit was to practice five hundred free-throw shots every morning before school. With that kind of discipline, Larry made the most of his God-given talents and kicked the butts of some of the most “gifted” players on the court.

Like Larry Bird, you can condition your automatic and unconscious response to be those of a developed champion. [It is] about choosing to make up for what you lack in innate ability with discipline, hard work, and good habits. It’s about becoming a creature of champion habits.

With enough practice and repetition, any behavior, good or bad, becomes automatic over time. That means that even though we developed most of our habits unconsciously (by modeling our parents, responding to environmental or cultural associations, or creating coping mechanisms), we can consciously decide to change them. It stands to reason that since you learned every habit you have, you can also unlearn the ones that aren’t serving you well. Ready? Here goes…

Andy Lewis is a Certified Fitness Professional who works at TCB Fitness located in west Edmonton.


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