Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Greg Harvey: Fitness Training Pioneer, Innovator, Renaissance Man

 (Don't forget to check out the Amazon links, above, below and to the side of this page for fitness equipment and apparel.)

 Greg Harvey has made an impact as a media savvy Personal Fitness Trainer, a wildlife photographer, a trendsetter and a renaissance man! 
   I first met Greg in 1997 in Edmonton at an information session for a new program that was to be initiated at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). The program was advertised as the first of its kind in Canada, a college level course of studies in Personal Fitness Training. Most of us were likely attending the info session out of curiosity but I distinctly remember that this tall, intense, focused individual was also present. This individual was Greg Harvey.  He was not there out of curiosity but for a distinct purpose.  He knew exactly what he needed and this program was it!
We both were accepted into the program and became colleagues and forever connected by the fitness link.
   Greg had a strong career background in sales as well as having worked in the oil industry. He knew how to close a sale. Now he just needed the right product to sell - a product that he truly believed in.. His past recreational pursuits included volleyball, squash, boxing, weight training and even marathon running. He also had a comedic talent for infusing moments of humor into something that seemed like drudgery.These were all elements that would successfully turn his avocation - fitness - into his vocation.

 Greg graduated with Honors from NAIT and set up Fit'N'Well Personal Training Inc.
Fit'N'Well started out by providing a service in which the Fitness Trainer would come to the client's residence. Greg also began offering Fitness Training at the Terrace Fitness and Racquet club at the Radisson Hotel in south Edmonton.
   Fit'N'Well attracted clients to the point that Greg began hiring other Fitness Trainers. He also worked out a deal to manage and provide exercise classes and training services for the Scotia Place Fitness Center in Edmonton's central business district. 
   
   Fit'N'Well uses a 3 pronged approach to help clients achieve their fitness goals: 
  1.  Find an activity that the client enjoys such as weight training, aerobics,squash, racquetball, yoga or running and make that the focus of each workout. Fit 'N'Well employs group exercise specialists and yoga instructors to help meet the needs of its clients.
  2. Have the client be accountable for their own eating habits. Although Greg is a practicing vegan, he does not push this lifestyle onto his clients. He does refer to the Canada Food Guide and promotes sensible food choices. (Despite what you see on the internet, it is beyond the scope of a Fitness Trainer to give meal plans to clients or put them on the path to extreme diets). 
  3. Throw in extra group activities such as weekend hikes, laser tag evenings, squash tournaments, tennis ball soccer, or raquetball court volleyball games to add a fun, social element.

      Image result for greg harvey fitnwell
      Greg and Client and Newspaper write Up
    Fitness is a results driven occupation and Greg has run up a list of accomplishments.
    • Fit 'N' Well has helped multitudes of clients lose excess body fat in a safe and sensible manner.
    • Numerous sedentary or unhealthy people have improved their quality of life using Fit N Well principles and guidance
    • Greg has been a spokesperson and media sounding board for the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle.





    Image result for greg harvey fitnwell



    Fit'N'Well has has been at the vanguard of the Edmonton fitness scene for 20 plus years now. This is no easy feat in an oil dependent Alberta economy that historically goes from boom to bust repeatedly. Right now is another bust time.
    Fit'N'Well has had its ebb and flow periods as well as numerous challenges unique to the Fitness Training profession.
    • 20 years ago, Fitness Trainers were rarely employees of a fitness center. They were mostly independent contractors responsible for finding their own clients. When they did find a client, the fitness center would demand a cut of the fee. This cut was sometimes as much as 50%. 
    •  Greg challenged this paradigm! After all, he was providing a service to club members as well as drawing in new members who came to the facility to train with him. The club was already benefiting without having to take a substantial portion of his earnings. The fitness centers that Greg operates out of were progressive enough to buy into this concept and not take a cut of his fee when he brought in new members. He also helped these fitness clubs to redesign  their internet websites to promote the Fitness Training services. 
    • Unfortunately, to this day, many fitness clubs still take a large portion of a Fitness Trainer's action while providing nothing more than a facility for the trainers to operate out of. 
    •  When Fitness Training was in its infancy anyone could call themselves a Fitness Trainer. Some were gym rats with no credentials. Others had weekend certifications. A 4 year Bachelors degree in physical education (often called kinesiology) was geared more towards preparing gym teachers or sports coaches rather than Personal Fitness Trainers. The NAIT program was meant to prepare actual Fitness Trainers. Municipal recreation centers in the metropolitan Edmonton region only allowed people with Phys Ed degrees to operate in their facilities.
    • Greg Harvey challenged the status quo and pushed for change. NAIT PFT grads or the equivalent with jobs or contracts at such facilities owe a debt of gratitude to this fitness pioneer. 
    • Retaining Fitness Trainers is an ongoing issue. They don't seem to last long. According to Greg "The average life span of a trainer is about 2 to 3 years. Why you might ask? Is it because they have to get up at 5:00 a.m. to see 3 clients, then wait around all day for people to get off work to have more clients for 4:00 to 8:00 p.m? Also remember 15% of those clients may cancel on a given day. We do not keep 9 to 5 hours." 
    • Even more disturbing, some Fitness Trainers will work for someone until they get a full client base. They than leave, start their own business , and poach away those clients. Greg shrugged as he explained "Sure, it is in breach of our contract. However, do I have the time to pay a lawyer, take off work, and sue every trainer that pulls such a stunt? Besides the possibility of  a judge ruling against you in court, situations like this can drown you in negativity." 
    • Greg has since changed his approach to hiring other trainers. "I am learning to treat people as they like to be treated rather than as I would like to be treated. Learning that is a completely different approach."
    • Fitness Trainers always have to be accountable for their lifestyle. In Greg's view "Your client is always watching to see if you 'walk the talk' and 'practice what you preach.' While everyone else is going out for beer and pizza, I can guarantee you that I am not! My clients are always asking about my diet and what I ate that day. I don't have the luxury of skipping too many workouts or eating a poor diet which in the long run, I am actually grateful for."
       If you live in the Edmonton area and feel a need to transform yourself physically call Fit'N'Well Personal Training Inc. at (789) 945-6882 or E-Mail greg@fitnwell.com or view the website at www.fitnwell.com  Why wait? Do it now!!!!

    Greg Harvey of Fit'N Well Personal Training Inc.
    A peaceful but strong man who is not afraid to fight the system when required.





















       I also referred to Greg Harvey as a renaissance man. He is not the sort to sit still and stagnate.
    He turned his passion for fitness in a Fitness Training business. His other passion is photography - more specifically - wildlife photography. Greg stated by taking pictures of wolves, deer, bears, and moose in the Canadian Rockies. Then he began going with safari groups to Africa or Alaska on his  holidays. This has evolved into another business venture www.hwsafaris.ca in which Greg takes groups on photography tours to Africa or Alaska 2 or 3 times a year.
       As Greg explains "Who knows the world's best wildlife spot? It isn't the travel agency. It's the wildlife photographer who has been going to these secret spots for decades. I take small groups to the best places in the world to view wildlife. I document their holiday for them and serve as their professional photographer. At the end of the holiday, I give them the digital images that I take of them while on vacation. That way the images of them are more genuine and they don't have to do fake poses with selfie sticks."
       Just think, during a cold Edmonton winter, doesn't the idea of watching wildlife in an equatorial climate sound appealing? If so call (780) 945-6885 or E-Mail greg@hwphoto.ca or check out the website at www.hwsafaris.ca


    It takes stealth and patience to capture a mountain lion on film.














     





    Greg and I have worked together successfully in the past. Now I am brainstorming. How about combining the 2 passions. Fitness and wildlife safaris or maybe even Extreme Fitness Safaris.
    For example:
    • Can you out run a cheetah when smeared with chicken grease?
    • Can you win a snowball fight a baboon - using coconuts instead of snowballs?
    • Win a mud wrestling match with a hippo? 
    • Lift more weight than a gorilla?
    • Swim faster than a Zambezi crocodile?
    • Win a tennis ball soccer match against a group of rhinos?
       I am suddenly bustling with brilliant business ideas. Greg, we have to talk....call me!

    Little Bobby Strong





    Friday, 1 February 2019

    Tom Brady's Fitness Guru - Innovator or Charlatan?

       How can Tom Brady be so durable? This super human NFL football player is 41 years young. He has been to 9 Super Bowl Championships and won 5 of them. He was a Super Bowl MVP at age 39 and a league MVP at age 40. He is arguably the greatest football quarterback of his era, possible the greatest quarterback ever and ranks as one of the world''s all time top athletes! How can he keep playing so well and stay so healthy at that age in a sport that is infamous for destroying athletic bodies? Here are some possible explanations for such longevity of excellence.
    • Brady's team, the New England Patriots, have been a superbly coached football dynasty for decades.
    • The Patriots offensive line is one of the best at protecting the quarterback. 
    • The team medical and strength and conditioning staff must also be models of excellence. More on that later.
    • Tom Brady eats a special diet that avoids junk food, and processed cuisine.
    • Brady is smart enough to avoid dangerous situations on the field of play. 
    • He is likely a genetic physical specimen that borders on freakish.
    • He is fanatical about his fitness and employs a fitness guru, Alex Guerrero, who obviously gets results but is no stranger to controversy. 


     (Don't forget to check out the Amazon links, above, below and to the side of this page for fitness equipment and apparel.)
    Image result for tom brady
    Tom Brady: a study in longevity and durability.

       Brady and Guerrero have actually gone into business together marketing Guerrero's diet, strength, and fitness principles known as the TB 12 method. I think the TB stands for Total Body and the 12 stands for the 12 Principles. Then again, maybe it stands for Tom Brady and his football number 12. With the help of  Askmen.com, the strength and bodybuilding website, I was able to find the TB 12 principles without having to buy the book for $23.00 (American funds no doubt). Here it is, Tom Brady and Alex Guerrero's TB 12 principles of strength, fitness and health and some critique.

    1. Muscle Pliability: According to Guerrero, muscles are to be soft and pliable. Soft is supposed to be different than flexible. So far exercise research has not ventured into the realm of soft versus flexible to really define what TB 12 means by 'pliability'. One prominent exercise physiologist referred to the 'pliability' concept as balderdash'!  Could it be that hand pliability makes for a more secure grip on a deflated football?
    2. Holistic and Integrative Training: This could be another way of describing functional fitness.  Training totally on machines or just distance running will not prepare somebody for the demands of the football field. 
    3. Balance and Moderation: This is mostly common sense. However, I would argue that many world class athletes push hard on the upper boundaries of moderation.
    4. Conditioning for Endurance and Vitality: This principle is also a common fitness theme. This principle seems more for the everyday clients of the TB 12 business than for a professional quarterback. Pro football plays rarely last more than 10 seconds if even that long. Explosive speed and power would be more specific to the sport than cardiovascular endurance.
    5. No Load Strength Training: The TB 12 program eschews traditional weight lifting with barbells or machines. Instead strengthening is done using body weight exercises as well as using resistance bands. This is not that outrageous a concept. Barbells are not the only means to achieving strength. Besides, it obviously works for Tom Brady.
    6. Promoting Anti - Inflammatory Responses: The TB 12 diet avoids certain foods that Guerrero claims cause inflammation. The client is also to avoid exercises that cause inflammation. This is a problematic theory because inflammation is a required process of muscle repair and growth. Inflammation is also part of the healing cycle.
    7. Promoting Oxygen Rich Blood Flow: The TB 12 program promotes sleepwear designed to improve blood flow. There may be some substance to wearing compression garments for certain conditions but this principle seems more like a marketing ploy.
    8. Proper Hydration: It is a known fact that drinking plenty of water is important. However, the TB 12 advocates drinking half of your body weight or more of water per day.That seems like over kill. Over hydration has been known to cause a condition called 'water intoxication' in which the body becomes too diluted and the percentage of electrolyte levels can become dangerously low. The TB 12 program recommends buying their electrolyte kits to drink with the water. Marketing rather than health seems to be the goal here. 
    9. Healthy Nutrition:  As stated previously, the TB 12 diet eliminates foods that they say cause inflammation such as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms and fruit. Nutritional science does not support this theory. Coffee is also forbidden. Give me a break! I need a cup of java beans before I can even blink in the morning! Otherwise the TB 12 diet is a healthy one. Certain types of meat are allowed but all food should be local and organic. if you have a pro football salary and your wife is a highly paid supermodel, I suppose that can be affordable.  Once again, if it works for Tom Brady that's good for him. Tom Brady also rarely drinks alcohol.
    10. Supplementation: The TB 12 diet promotes its own brand of costly food supplements. Medical science supports the view that a healthy person with no deficiency conditions should be able to get sufficient vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and proteins from a sensible diet. Then again, if you ban fruits you may need to get the right vegetables or else you will be lacking in  vitamin C. 
    11. Brain Exercise: The TB 12 program recommends and sells games that challenge the thinking process. Science is on board with this one. However, I refuse to play a rousing game of Monotony (or is it Monopoly?) or spend free time doing puzzles in order to improve my athleticism. Then again, that's just me.
    12. Brain Rest: No arguments from me on this one.


      Image result for tom brady training with alex guerrero
      Alex Guerrero(left) and Tom Brady resistance running

       Tom Brady's Fitness Guru, Alex Guerrero is an interesting and controversial character.
    • Guerrero claims to be a doctor with a medical degree in Chinese medicine. 
    • In reality, he has a Masters degree from a California school that no longer exists.
    • Guerrero was once reprimanded from the Food and Drug Administration for using infomercials to peddle a supplement that  he claimed could cure cancer and prevent ailments such as arthritis, Parkinson's disease and AIDS.
    • The FDA banned him from selling supplements or referring to himself as a medical doctor. He gets around the selling supplement ban by using Brady as his business partner.
    • Guerrero worked with a number of professional athletes.
    • In 2006 he was introduced to Tom Brady and has been his fitness guru ever since.
    • Guerrero was also censured for selling a supplement that supposedly sped up the recovery time for concussion victims.
    • Guerrero and Brady opened a TB 12 fitness facility at the New England Patriot's football stadium.
    • Some Patriots's players fitness train at TB 12 while others fitness train with the football team staff. 
    • This has led to some conflict with the football team's own medical, fitness and physiotherapy staff. Guerrero once inferred that the Patriots staff was doing a sub par job of preventing injuries.
    • Guerrero has had on and off privileges with the team regarding travel and attending games with employee status. 
    • Despite rumors of  a divided team with split allegiances, the Patriot's keep on winning.
    • Surprisingly, there has been no hint of any performance enhancing drug use in this partnership.....unless there is something strange and undetectable in the water... or in the supplements.  
      Is Alex Guerrero a snake oil salesman or a new age innovator?  Is he both? Would Tom Brady be as durable without this fitness guru? Exercise science is not stagnant. More knowledge and improved methods lead to evolution.and revolution. Is TB 12 based on science or on pseudo-science? Tom Brady's success and longevity is a great argument in Alex Guerrero's favor!  No doubt, the controversy and debate will continue. Tom Brady says he wants to play until he is 45.

    P.S. Patriots won again on Sunday. That is six Super Bowl rings for Tom Brady. Also yesterday a reporter for the NFL network blamed 'Brady's quack trainer' for Patriot's tight end Rob Gronkowsi's recent spate of injury issues. Supposedly since training with Guerrero, Gronk has lacked strength and explosive power. Winning doesn't always solve controversy. 

    Until next time,    Keep Fit

    Little Bobby Strong


    References:
    https://www.msn.com/en-ca/sports/nfl/report-the-patriots-blame-tom-bradys-quack-trainer-for-gronks-injuries/ar-BBT7HGB
    https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/the-secrets-of-tom-bradys-personal-trainer-w479755/
    https://www.boston.com/sports/new-england-patriots/2018/08/29/who-is-alex-guerrero
    https://wThis ww.menshealth.com/nutrition/a19548371/tom-bradys-crazy-diet/
    https://ca.askmen.com/sports/bodybuilding/the-tb12-method-review.html



       

    Thursday, 24 January 2019

    The New Canada's Food Guide -2019 Version

      (Don't forget to check out the Amazon links, above, below and to the side of this page for fitness equipment and apparel.)
      

       Most Fitness Trainers are not Registered Dietitians or Nutritionists.(Some Fitness Trainers may have the education to be Registered Dietitians or Nutritionists but most do not.) It is actually beyond the scope of most Trainers to push certain diets such as the Paleo or the Keto or the Atkins or intermittent fasting.  What they can do is to encourage sensible and healthy eating habits. For CanadianFitness Trainers this often involves giving the client a copy of Canada's Food Guide to assist in proper and safe energy consumption. 
        Canada's Food Guide is a pamphlet of dietary suggestions for daily eating behavior. The guide was established in 1942 during the Second World War to educate people on how to maximize their nutrient intake during a period of national food rationing.  It started out as the 'Official Food Rules' then morphed into 'Canada's Food Rules' and finally evolved into 'Canada's Food Guide'.
       The guide used to include four food groups.
    1. Vegetables and Fruit
    2. Grain (or rice) products
    3. Milk and Alternatives
    4. Meat and Alternatives
    Foods that did not fall into the 4 categories were listed as 'other' foods. They were to be eaten sparingly. This included sugar, processed foods, alcohol and pop.
     Every updated version was a slight variation with the same 4 food groups. The dairy and meat lobbyists had the ear of Health Canada during each revision to the guide. Times seem to have changed.
       The revised guide divides the healthy plate into 3 sections;
    1. Fruits and vegetables: Portion sized are not given, just to eat plenty of them.
    2. Protein Foods: The old guide had meat and alternatives as the main suggestion. Now it can be meat or eggs or legumes, and other high protein seeds. Meat is not named as a required food. Milk would likely fall into this category but milk products are not mentioned.
    3. Whole grain foods
              Water is suggested as the drink of choice. Processed foods, sugary drinks, (even fruit juices) and alcoholic beverages are to be used minimally if at all.


    Canada's Food Guide - Revised for 2019




       This diet appears to cover all of the angles to good health and arguably help save the environment.

    •  Lacto-Vegetarians can still use dairy products. Vegans can easily adhere to the guide.
    •  People with wheat allergies or Celiac disease can replace wheat products with rice products in the whole grain section.
    • This is a great tool for Fitness Trainers to supply to their clients since exercise and diet work best in tandem.
    • The meat lobbyists and the dairy farmers obviously feel slighted.  Some of the reasoning behind the new guide is that these industries use up resources that may be environmentally unsustainable in the future.  
       The reality is that apart from people in the health and profession, Canada's Food Guide is probably underutilized. Most restaurants don''t give it much heed. Families mostly stick to their traditional meal plans with meat, potatoes, vegetables, bread and dessert.. People who order "Skip the Dishes" instead of cooking are likely more interested in taste and satiety rather than food grouping. As for the fast food, take-out customers, do we really think that they are thinking of food guides? The meat and dairy industries will be in business for some time yet.

       My advice to Fitness Trainers is to use these new guidelines to your advantage. 
     Tonight I have a free evening. I intend to relax and fuel up with 4 major but neglected food groups: pizza, chicken wings, egg rolls and beer.

    Until Next Time,  Keep Fit

    Little Bobby Strong