Gut healing nutrients: bone broth

Many of us have heard it before- bone broth is good for you. It’s packed with gut-healing, immune-boosting nutrients. You would want to add this to your routine in this cold weather!).

Bone broth is a mineral rich infusion made by boiling the bones of healthy animals with vegetables, herbs and spices. Many societies around the world consume broth regularly as it is inexpensive and for it’s nutrient dense quality.

Benefits of bone broth

Its high calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus content make it great for bone health. Bone broth also supports joints, hair, skin, and nails due to its high collagen content. In fact, some even suggest that it helps eliminate cellulite as it supports healthy connective tissue.

It can be made from the bones of beef, bison, lamb, poultry, or fish, and common aromatics, such as carrots, onions, garlic and bay leaf, are often added.

Some nutrients you will find in bone broth:

  1. Glycine: supports detoxification process, support digestion and the secretion of gastric acids
  2. Proline: supports healthy skin, connective tissue, including ligaments and joints
  3. Gelatin: supports healthy skin and digestion

Basic Bone Broth Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of bones from organic source: venison, elk, poultry, beef or fish
  • 2 chicken feet for extra gelatin (optional)
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
  • vegetable scraps: ends of carrots, outer leaf of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon or more of coloured salt (we like himalayan or celtic salt),
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • filtered water

Directions

  1. Bring water to a vigorous boil and place bones in the water. The blood will flood to the top. Strain and repeat.
  2. Place vegetables, bones, apple cider vinegar, bay leaves, salt and peppercorn in slow cooker.
  3. Cover with filtered water. Cook for 4-10 hours on low.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week, or alternatively, jar them and freeze them for up to a month.

Note: Softer bones, such as fish, will take around 3 hours and denser bones, like beef and bison, will take around 10 hours to extract all the nutrients.

What is overtraining and why you should be avoiding it at all cost

Does working more hours make you more money? Not necessarily. By doing so, you increase your risk of wasting time on useless things. While seemingly busy, you may be preventing yourself from focusing on priorities and the task at hand, and possibly be decreasing your productivity.

The same is true with training. You may be weight training 4 times a week, jogging 30 km a week, doing spin class 3 times a week and going to Pilates class on your “rest” day but still not seeing results. You are fatigued, your body is constantly aching, you don’t sleep well and your morning resting heart rate is through the roof. Your fatigue may be contributing to the sugar cravings just to push you through the day. When you train too hard for too long without sufficient rest, the body is no longer able to adapt and restore its balance, known as homeostsis.

Most people don’t understand that it is while you are resting that these sought-after adaptations occur. During training you are creating microtrauma, or “breaking” your muscles apart to create an endocrine response to promote tissue remodelling, fat burning and hypertrophy when you are at rest.

Signs that you are overtraining or under-recovering and what you can do:

    1. Your mood is changing. If you’re feeling angry, depressed, with a high resting heart rate in the morning, take a break or decrease the volume (see number 5).
    2. You’re getting weaker. If the weights you are using every subsequent workout are decreasing/ plateaued (i.e., no overload), you are most likely not recovering sufficiently.
    3. Get sufficient rest. Optimal sleep should be uninterrupted and you should wake up refreshed. If this is not the case, you might want to read this article.
    4. Use nutrition. Vitamin C, E, glutamine, BCAA, wholesome foods will help you with recovery. Consult a Biosignature Practitioner about the proper peri-training and the best nutritional practice towards your health goals.
    5. Deload. For every 3 weeks you train at a high volume, spend one week at a low volume by decreasing the number of sets performed. 

Overtraining does not make you more fit

Be honest. Can you explain why you’re doing what you’re doing? Or are you just blindly following what someone else does and while feeling like you’re getting nowhere fast? Just as working more hours doesn’t necessarily make you more money, training more does not necessarily make you any fitter. Our goal is to find the happy medium in which our clients can train the fewest days as possible that will provide them with the maximal result. Consult a KX Exercise Coach and get a proper program, prioritize, and enjoy your days off with friends and family.

 

Train smarter, not harder.

Six ways to prevent and rehabilitate shoulder pain

Are you hunched over all day? Do you have rounded shoulders? Suffering from neck and shoulder pain?

Most of the population spend their days internally rotated, going to the gym to work chest and back, neglecting the small but essential rotator cuff muscles that keep their shoulder girdle in balance. When the external rotators are neglected, shoulder problems can arise and the prime movers will shut down when under high tension, and you may experience a sharp pain in the front of your shoulder.

Your rotator cuff muscles should be able to lift at least 10% of your bench press. The good news is, once your external rotators are able to perform under high loads, you will directly improve your larger pressing and pulling movements.

 

Six ways to prevent and rehabilitate shoulder injuries

  1. Emphasise a full range of motion. Pay attention to the eccentric motion (lowering of the resistance) to a completely stretched position.
  2. Improve internal rotation. By increasing the range of motion of the antagonist muscles between sets, you increase motor unit activation of the prime movers. An effective method is PNF.
  3. Apply gradual overload. Start with low weight to improve motor patterns, but eventually you will want to use a challenging weight.
  4. Maintain proper head and wrist position. Keep the wrist in a neutral position to minimize the stress on the elbows. Proper head position reduces strain on the neck.
  5. Always train the non-dominant arm first. The number of repetitions done by your weaker arm will determine how many reps you do for your dominant arm. Performing extra reps on the weaker side can allow it to catch up.
  6. Use soft tissue techniques, such as ART. A qualified practitioner who will release the muscles around the shoulder girdle and forearm will help improve your movement. The deep and superficial forearm flexors, infraspinatus, latissimus dorsi, long head of the triceps, subscapularis, teres major and teres minor can all contribute to imbalance of your shoulder girdle.

 

A strong, functional shoulder girdle translates to better performance in sports and daily activities. Unsure where to start? Find a trainer and a therapist to help you improve your shoulder girdle balance.

Weight loss – what you are doing wrong

One thing that makes us happy is when clients, particularly women, are able to differentiate between fat loss and weight loss.

You can be 150lb of lean muscle or 150lb of skinny fat.

 

Body fat distribution tells a bigger story

There are different types of fat distribution, and different types are associated with certain nutritional or hormonal imbalances. Do you store fat in the belly? You’re probably a stress bucket. On the sides of your body? You could be insulin insensitive or perhaps you may have family history of diabetes. How about in your lower body? You might have trouble detoxifying.

You train to build muscle, increase your strength, improve metabolism and structural balance. You don’t get leaner by shaving off fat in the gym if you eat or drink whatever you want after you leave.

Stop worrying about weight loss and the number on the scale. If your goal is fat loss, then prioritize your training and nutrition around fat loss.

 

Three foolproof ways to improve body composition

  1. Fix existing chronic issues that contribute to inflammation.

    Fix your heartburn, indigestion, chronic stress, adrenal fatigue, somatic pain, recurring injuries and sleep. You will find that your body will recover faster, experience fewer food cravings, and improve digestion, thus improving your motivation to train and eat better.

  2. Nutrition.

    You can’t out-train a poor diet. You can’t train 4 days a week, eat healthy 4 out of 7 days, binge drink on the weekend and expect to see results. Choose high quality, wholesome foods, such as pasture raised meats and organic vegetables. Avoid processed foods and foods that you are intolerant to. If tomatoes give you heartburn, don’t eat tomatoes. Contact our Naturopath to see how a food intolerance test can help you determine your food intolerances.

  3. Choose metabolic resistance training.

    Choose higher intensity and volume to induce a favourable endocrine response to training. Using challenging weights for high repetitions will induce lactic acid, responsible for releasing growth hormone, helping you burn more fat. Full body workouts in a superset, tri-set, or circuit format with non-competing exercises create the biggest metabolic demand. But it must be done in a rep range and intensity that generates lactic acid and pushes the lactic acid threshold.

 

Stop worrying about weight loss and the numbers on the scale. Improve your body composition by addressing gut health, stress, and chronic aches and pains. By reducing systemic inflammation first, you will speed up your rate of fat loss. Book an appointment with a KX Exercise Coach to see how we can help you manage inflammation, nutrition and create a customized fat loss program for you.

 

Toronto Body Transformation – Case Study 1

Somehow, people are led to believe that chronic neck and lower back pain are a normal part of life and that your genetic predisposition determines your hamstring flexibility. You do not have to live with chronic pain and muscular tightness. We design every training program to correct structural imbalances to avoid potential injury.

 

Improving posture through structural balance

Six weeks ago, KX client Neil was suffering from chronic neck, mid back and lower back pain. Posturally, on the left, you can see that his rib cage was anteriorly (forward) shifted and posteriorly (backward) tilted, compressing his mid-back, causing pain. His mid and lower back muscles were underactive, and left arm was very internally rotated.

 

Postural and movement assessment

Like majority of the population, Neil’s career forces him to be seated all day. Slumping forward  over a computer creates increased muscular tension in the upper trapezius, pecs, hamstrings and hip flexors. Consequently, the opposing muscles such as the lower trapezius, scapular stabilizers, transverse abdominus and obliques become weak. Tight hamstrings tilts the pelvis posteriorly in an attempt to correct the anterior tilt imposed by tight hip flexors. This “tug of war” when not protected with a strong abdominal core,  can induce lower back pain during lifting movements.

 

Correcting imbalances through strength training

By targeting these imbalances using strength training and effective myofascial stretches, Neil can better externally rotate his left arm and stabilize his scapula during pushing and pulling movements. By stabilizing his rib cage relative to his pelvis, he can activate his core and reduce back pain, enabling him to deadlift without pain.

 

You don’t have to live with back pain

If you’re looking to improve your posture, get rid of nagging chronic pain, perhaps put on some lean mass in the process, book a complimentary consultation with the KX Team. KX Therapists are an asset for diagnosing these postural issues and our KX Coach will be help you every step of the way to correct movement patterns, giving KX the edge as a multidisciplinary team to optimize the results of the training.

 

Train smarter, and harder.

Oh, and he also gained 5.5lb of lean muscle mass. Good job, Neil.

Natural ways to restore regularity, when fiber and water doesn’t work

Many clients come to us complaining of digestive issues, particularly constipation. The most common recommendations given to overcome constipation is to increase fiber and water intake. However, this often does not take care of the problem. In fact, it can raise another set of issues; gas and bloating.

Constipation occurs primarily because of decreased peristalsis; the muscular contractions of the intestines that promotes movement of food through the GI tract.

Common issues with peristalsis

  • decreased bulk in stool (lack of magnesium and fiber)
  • sympathetic nervous system overload (fight-or-flight response)

For optimal colon health and regular bowel movement, you will need to address the balance sympathetic and parasympathetic drive, exercise, gut flora and magnesium levels.

  1. Sympathetic nervous system overdrive

    There are two major parts of the nervous system. The parasympathetic, which is activated when we relax, is known as the “rest and digest” part of our nervous system.  It stimulates blood flow to the digestive system, brain, extremities and sexual organs. The other part, the sympathetic nervous system, is responsible for the “fight or flight” response. It is activated when our body perceives stress. It reduces blood flow to the extremities, brain and digestive organs in preparation for a perceived survival situation. Sympathetic overdrive will reduce blood flow to the digestive system, reducing peristalsis. Slow, controlled breathing and Acupuncture are effective ways for “resetting” the nervous system and reducing stress. Book an appointment with our therapists to learn more about how acupuncture can help.

  2. Exercise

    Having optimal abdominal tone (namely the transverse abdominus, the body natural girdle) will provide support for the colon, liver, stomach to function optimally. This will prevent drooping of the organs abnormal pressure on the digestive tract and other organs. Book a complimentary consultations with our Exercise Coaches to see how we can improve your abdominal tone.

  3. Probiotics

    Gut flora or probiotics are the beneficial bacteria in human intestines, required to make various vitamins, and interfere with pathogenic bacteria. It also helps produce organic acids that help to stimulate peristalsis and to keep the pH of the intestines in check.

  4. Magnesium

    Magnesium helps peristalsis by allowing relaxation of the smooth muscle tissue in the intestines. In chronic long-term constipation, you may need to start with as much as 800 mg of magnesium per day in divided doses to get the intestines moving. A well-absorbed form of magnesium is crucial; amino acid chelated forms like magnesium taurate, citrate, malate and glycinate are some of the best supplemental forms of magnesium. Read more about magnesium here.

Healthy bowel movements are at least twice a day. If you are not on the regular and would like to change that, book an appointment with our Biosignature Practitioners and get down to the cause of the issue with our Naturopathic Doctors by running appropriate lab tests.

 

Did these tips work for you? What do you do for digestive distress? Share with us below!

How to improve your squat

There is no question that in order to perform a squat, you need healthy ankles, knees and hips. Muscle imbalances can develop in the majority of the sedentary population who sits on a chair all day. This can affect your ability to perform a safe and effective squat.

As mentioned in our previous article, when one segment is locked short and tight, the neighbouring segments will compensate by becoming long and weak. If your hip flexors are locked short, it will cause excessive flexion in the lumbar spine, pulling your torso forward. Squatting with tight psoas resembles something closer to a Good Morning knee bend complex, creating excessive strain on the lower back and knees overtime.

Limitation anywhere in the body can contribute to the problem. Overactive soleus (calf muscles), hamstrings, underactive glutes, erector spinae muscle can also contribute to the problem.

Squats, when done properly, can strengthen your adductors, hamstrings, glutes and core muscles. Here are some ways you can improve your squat and get the most bang out of your buck.

  1. Perform split squats. 

    These are the king of all lower body exercises. It strengthens your gluteus medius and vastus medialis in the front leg and lengthen the hip flexors on the back leg. Split squats will improve your overall squat, but squats will not improve your split squats. Do them.

  1. Fire your glutes. 

    Some of my favourite glute exercises are the 45’ back extension. Read more here about how to perform back extensions.

  1. Stretch your hamstrings. 

    Most of the sedentary population dip their butts at the bottom of the squat and they often associate that with weak lower back muscles. This is not always the case–it can be caused by short, overactive hamstrings. If you suffer from posterior pelvic tilt, also known as the no-ass syndrome, you might want to read this article.

  1. Improve ankle mobility. 

    Perform seated calf raise with a 2210 tempo. By holding 2 seconds at the bottom, you can promote remodelling of the tight tissue holding you back from ankle flexion. Don’t know what the tempo means? Read about it here.

 

There you have it. Four simple ways to improve your squats, but first, do your split squats. Don’t know where to start or how to stretch? Book a complimentary session with a KX Exercise Coach to help you improve your flexibility and strength.

 

Train smarter, not harder.

The perfect roast beef recipe

Roast beef is an easy, convenient meal prep. Roast beef is great with vegetables or in salads. Our secret to roasting the perfect beef is to cut slits in the meat and insert cloves of unpeeled garlic. The garlic penetrates deep into the roast. The vegetables create a roasting rack, keeping the bottom of the roast nice and dry. We like to keep vegetable scraps from the ends of cauliflower, kale, leeks, carrots, onions and celery to create robust flavours.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg grassfed beef top sirloin
  • aromatics: onions, carrots, celery stalks
  • bulb garlic
  • 1 small bunch of fresh herbs: thyme, rosemary, bay or sage, or a mixture
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

To prepare your beef:

  1. Take your beef out of the fridge 30 minutes before it goes into the oven. Preheat your oven to 475°F. There’s no need to peel the vegetables – just give them a wash and roughly chop them. Break the garlic bulb into cloves, leaving them unpeeled.
  2. Pile all the vegetables, garlic and herbs into the middle of a large roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil. Drizzle the beef with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper, rubbing it all over the meat. Place the beef on top of the vegetables.

To cook your beef:

  1. Place the roasting tray in the preheated oven. Turn the heat down immediately to 400°F and cook for 4-5 hours for medium beef.
  2. When the beef is cooked to your liking, let the beef rest for 30 minutes before slicing into thin pieces.

Make sure you rest the meat for at last half an hour and slice it thinly. The cooking time will depend on the size and leanness of the cut.

Did you like this recipe? Find our easy roast chicken recipe here or opt in to our mailing list to get the most recent recipes.

Posterior pelvic tilt – the “no ass syndrome”

The general sitting population suffers from the  “no ass syndrome” (NAS). The NAS is unflatteringly but commonly paired with thoracic flexion (slouching of the upper back). This position increases the risk of herniation during lifting heavy (as well as light) objects.

How do we go about fixing this?

As usual, we assess and determine which muscles are locked long and weak and short and tight. We’ve written about structural balance here. The most commonly tight muscles in posterior pelvic tilt are the external obliques, rectus abdominis, glutes and hamstrings. Most importantly, the hamstrings insert above the pelvis and below the knee. The tension in the hamstring between the glutes and the calves, contributes to the “back sway” appearance.

How to fix posterior pelvic tilt, “no ass syndrome”

The hip flexors, notably the psoas and rectus femoris, tensor fasciae latae, spinal erectors will need to be strengthened and activated. Here are some exercises to lengthen and strengthen the corresponding muscles.

Piriformis stretching –  tight piriformis associated with posterior pelvic tilt can elicit sciatica-like symptoms.
Hamstring stretching – tight hamstrings are responsible for pulling the hips posterior.
Quadricep strengthening – strengthening the quadriceps will reinforce anterior pelvic tilt
Lower back strengthening with back extension and side planks. Read more about it at how to overcome low back pain here.
Thoracic spine mobilization – using foam roller. NAS is commonly paired with thoracic flexion. Mobilizing the thoracic spine will help take the thoracic spine out of flexion.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, get a professional functional movement assessment and appropriate Chiropractic treatment. Performing exercises which induce pain will only make the injury worse.

Train smarter, not harder.

Why you aren’t feeling healthy?

If your blood work says you’re healthy, why aren’t you feeling healthy?

Why everyone needs a micronutrient test

We’ve all been to our doctor for our yearly blood workup. For the most part our MD sends us home with a clean bill of health telling us that “everything came back clear, come back in a year”. But if your blood work says you’re healthy, why aren’t you feeling healthy?

Maybe you’re in constant pain, exhausted, feeling depressed, experiencing large amounts of stress, not sleeping well, having trouble losing weight? Each of these “problems” can arise without presenting “answers” in conventional blood analysis.

This is why we run a specialized test called a Micronutrient Analysis or Comprehensive Nutritional Panel. This test identifies deficiencies that cannot be identified using conventional lab panels and these results help identify the root causes of why you’re feeling unwell.

Why should you take this test?

1. Baseline measure

  • Wouldn’t you like to know if your body has the appropriate amount of nutrients in order to function optimally, treat your health issues, and/or prevent development of disease?

2. Customized supplementation strategy

  • Take out the guesswork! Do you want to know which key nutrients you should be supplementing with?
  • Or if you’ve already been supplementing, wouldn’t you like to know if you’re absorbing the supplements you’ve been ingesting?
  • Or if you’ve been taking medications, it’s critical to know what nutrients have been compromised. Most medications deplete specific nutrients. For example, Statin (cholesterol lowering) medications deplete Coenzyme Q10, Proton Pump Inhibitors (heartburn medications) deplete Vitamin B12 and iron, oral contraceptives deplete all B vitamins, Magnesium, and many more.

3. To identify the cause of an underlying health issue

  • Certain high risk groups are more susceptible to vitamin, mineral and antioxidant deficiencies that can affect treatment outcomes and overall health
  • Gain insight into generalized complaints with no apparent disease source

Dr. Natalie Bozinovski MSc. ND.

At KX Yorkville, our Naturopathic Doctor conducts Micronutrient Testing to determine over 30 nutrients and functions. Book a consultation today and learn how nutrient repletion will help you reach your optimal body composition and health. Stop wasting money on guessing which supplements you are deficient in and get tested.

Get in touch with us!

Or, schedule a free session with a personal trainer! Results guaranteed.