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Tag: Deliberate Movement

Gil Hedley, Ph.D., of gives a lesson on the importance of movement and stretching to maintain the sliding properties of tissues in the body, as well as the value of bodywork modalities.

If this video doesn’t inspire you to stretch and move more, then I don’t know what will… Enjoy!

Happy training!  And don’t forget to download your free copy of “The 12 Keys to Fat Loss”

Andrew Burchell, Dipl.Ex.Sci

Advanced Health & Fitness Specialist

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On Tuesday, April 12th and Wednesday April 13th, ‘Exercise Strategies for Saving your Spine’ was presented at the Vancouver General Hospital Fitness & Wellness Centre.  During this 1 hour practical seminar (presented by StayFitAnywhere’s Advanced Health & Fitness Specialist, Andrew Burchell), statistics on back pain and some ideas on the root causes of back pain were discussed in the first section of the workshop.  During the second section of the workshop, practical ‘spine saving’ exercises were demonstrated by Andrew and practiced by the participants.  Here is a quick review of what was covered during the info session:

Low Back Injuries:

• 80% of people will experience low back pain sometime in their lives

• The most common cause of low-back pain is muscle strain

• Spine disorders are the most prevalent cause of chronic disability in persons less than 45 years old.

• Second only to childbirth in accounting for hospital stays for patients under 65 years old.

• Annual prevalence of low-back disorders in US is 15% at any given time

• In 1992, costs associated with low back estimate from $20 to $50 Billion

• Association between strenuous work/lifting and the severity of spine disorders

• Example:  workers performing heavy lifts from twisted position have 6 times the risk of acute lumbar disc problems compared to workers that perform lighter work

StayFitAnywhere’s thoughts on the root causes of low back pain:

We are primates designed to protect ourselves to survive

• We are becoming more and more sedentary, causing diminished physical capabilities

• Lack of use, training, and education of our own bodies will inevitably lead to some form of physical condition or dysfunction

• Poor posture, body mechanics, and movement skills can increase the risk for injury

• Every body is different, and therefore, has different musculoskeletal imbalances

• A strong, well-balanced body is more resistant to injury (eg. balance of strength & flexibility in your muscles)

• There are 12 components to physical fitness… how many of them do you train?

• The body is inter-connected!  You are only as strong as your weakest link.  Generally, strong & coordinated muscles in all areas, not just the core, will help lessen the risk for back injury

Foundational ‘Spine Saving’ Exercises:


• Setting your ‘Perfect Posture’:


• Contracting all areas of the abdominal wall to create a rigidity that is stronger than the sum of its parts.  If you are lifting a maximum load, it is critical that you have a lot of rigidity!

Proprioceptive ‘Wake-Ups’:

• Getting the muscle-system fired up before you perform a heavy lift

Anterior Exercises:

• Isometric crunch + Deep Breathing

• Supine ‘Knee Pushing’

Posterior Exercises:

• Hip Hinging

• 4-Point Superman

Side Exercises:

• Side Bridging & Progressions

Happy training!  And don’t forget to download your free copy of

“The 12 Keys to Fat Loss”

Andrew Burchell, Dipl.Ex.Sci

Advanced Health & Fitness Specialist

Follow us on Twitter

• Stretching is very dependent on individuals and adaptations may be required to produce the best results
• 3 stretches in one flowing yoga inspired movement
• Breathe out as you sink into each stretch
• Breathe in as you back out of/transition from stretch
• Experiment with different hand positions to feel the stretch in different locations
• Great for anyone who spends a majority of their day sitting
• Great for athletes of all levels
• Great supplementary exercise for improving hip mobility

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me!
Josh Neumann, BHK, PTS, TSCC-1
Monday and Thursday #FitTips at

In Andrew’s post below he states that he “did not chose this path, it chose me!” and I have to agree with him that the career path I am headed down found me.  I also grew up playing sports, creating new sports (none of them ever really caught on in the mainstream), loving PE class, and just generally being active.  I loved being a kid and being physically active because it was fun and I enjoyed it, it never felt like a chore to me, my mom and dad never had to ask me to “go out and play.”  I was always creating and playing games; I specifically remember playing a hybrid baseball/football game in my basement with a good friend of mine.  It was a one on one game with a batter and pitcher/fielder.  If you hit the right side of the back wall it was a triple, if you hit the back wall along the staircase it was a homerun, if you hit a groundball you had to run it out, and if you hit either of the sidewalls it was an automatic out.  The fun and dangerous part of the game was that the fielder had to tackle the batter to get the out.  Luckily neither of us ever got seriously injured during this game and the many others that we created and it was this very same friend of mine that I went on to dominate our local hockey and soccer leagues with… I guess all the fun I was having while I was creating and playing games taught me a thing or two about sports and movement.

As I got older the games I was playing became more structured but not less fun.  It was my amazing experiences with athletics during my youth that made it a simple choice to pursue a degree in the School of Human Kinetics at the University of British Columbia.  When I first arrived at UBC I wasn’t sure exactly what stream of Human Kinetics I wanted to pursue, I knew I wanted to be involved in athletics and performance, I knew I wanted to be involved in management, and I knew I wanted to be involved with teaching.  So I took classes that covered all of my bases and bounced from stream to stream until I graduated with a degree that was tailor made to suit my interests.

I was ready to enter the health and fitness industry… or so I thought.  I started working at a big health club.  I watched managers manage.  I watched sales people sell.  I watched trainers train.  I watched members workout.  I learned a ton but wasn’t in love with the idea of a traditional health club, after all the roundabout reason I got into the industry wasn’t because I was a gym rat it was because I was an athlete and I loved to move.  What I saw during my time training in a big health club is that too many people are unhappy with the look of their body and too many people are unhappy with the performance of their body.  This revelation wasn’t just true in a health club I could see and hear it everywhere I went often times directly and even indirectly (advertisements for makeup, diet plans, skin rejuvenation, and the list goes on and on and on).

This idea that most people are unhappy with their one and only body was something that just didn’t sit very well with me.  I continued to watch and learn from all of those that surrounded me and I started connecting the dots back to my childhood.  When I was a kid I was always moving, movement was play, play was fun!  I needed to make the idea of teaching movement the focus of what I did because if people relearned to move the way they did when they were kids then maybe they would discover what I had discovered that movement is play, and play is fun!  Everyone likes to have fun and what is the by product of fun: happiness.  I use my experiences and knowledge I have gained regarding the human body to teach others how to move their body and achieve things they never thought possible with the end result of individuals being happy with the way their body looks and performs.

So there is the complex answer to the question of why I do what I do and here is the simple reason I do what I do because it makes me happy to make others happy.

Live to Move, Move to Live!

Josh Neumann, BHK, PTS, TSCC-1

Monday and Thursday #FitTip at

The Labour Day long weekend is over and it brings the unofficial end to summer; meaning summer vacations are over, and it is time to go back to school/work. We at StayFitAnywhere would like to introduce our newest fitness solution, The Building Blocks Program, to help get you back or introduce you to a consistent and effective method of exercise. Our Building Blocks Program focuses on teaching individuals essential movement patterns that will get you the results you are looking for. If you are looking to release fat, improve athletic performance, learn how to use a Kettlebell or simply stay fit while remaining injury free the Building Blocks Program can be tailored to your exact needs. Exercisers of all levels will benefit from this 6 week program that includes 12 Training Sessions (6 One on One Personal Training Sessions and 6 Online Personal Training Sessions) for $480, sign up before the end of September and we will pay the HST.

We are firm believers in teaching our clients mobility and stability first and foremost, and as our clients succeed at these two aspects of our program they begin to see gains in strength they have never seen before. If you have trained with us in the past you already know this and we would like to give you the opportunity to share this experience with your family and friends so we are offering a fantastic referral bonus. Refer a family member or friend to enrol in our Building Blocks Program and you will be entitled to 20minutes of Train the Trainer! This is your chance to make us train as hard as we make you train, we know you have wanted a shot at us, go ahead and take it!

For those looking for Group Training to kick start their fall fitness programs we have a special offer running through, visit their website and sign up to find out about the daily deal. I will keep you posted for the exact date SwarmJam will be running a special StayFitAnywhere Group Training discounted package. The more people that sign up the more you save, be sure to tell all your family and friends and get a great deal on fall fitness!

There are lots of ways to keep up to date on everything StayFitAnywhere!
SFA Blog to read articles on health, fitness, nutrition, sports and other related topics.
SFA Press Monthly Newsletter – Go to to sign up.
Tweets for weekly #FitTips.
Facebook – to view pictures and videos from SFA events.
Live to Move, Move to Live!
Josh Neumann, BHK, PTS, TSCC-1
Monday and Thursday #FitTip at

My favourite sport far and away is basketball.  Although my first sport was actually hockey (beginning at age 5), I began playing basketball at the age of 11 and quickly fell in love with the quick & explosive full bodied movements that it fostered.

The other great perks that the sport provided was that it was very inexpensive, required little equipment and could be played with little pre-planning- ie. no rink time had to be arranged, and courts were plentiful and accessible.  This allowed me to play frequently and at almost any time I desired.

My entire teenage years were consumed with playing basketball and although I didn’t realize it at the time, it provided me with a strong body and athletic foundation that I still carry with me to this day.  The countless hours that I spent playing also gave me an outlet to expend the incredible amount of energy that I had (and as most teenagers do).  And as I was constantly spending every spare moment I had on the court, it also kept me out of trouble ;-)

The important skills and physical development that basketball provided were many:

-hand eye coordination, agility, balance, strength, power, speed, reaction time, cardiovascular endurance, good bodily coordination, and a good foundation of movement skills.

In addition, the mechanical stress that was placed on my body provided a good foundation for my bones.  The teenage years are a critical time of peak bone growth, and doing resistance training or explosive jumping & running sports can add more bone in the ‘bone bank’ by up to 20 years!  This is another reason why it is so important for children and youth to be involved in physical activity- it can have a major positive impact on future bone health!

Basketball has provided me with 20 years of fun, exercise, competition, teamwork, teammates (that have become good friends), and good disciplined work habits.  I still love to play it and still have much to thank for it.

Happy Ballin’ :)

Andrew Burchell

Advanced Health & Fitness Specialist

I came across an article in the Vancouver Sun Health Section yesterday titled “Shoes your butt will love” and sadly the article was promoting the benefits of toning sneakers, more specifically Reebok Easy Tone.  The name of the shoe itself should be a warning light, easy and tone do not belong together, it takes hard work and tension in your body to create tone.  The name of this shoe is just another way marketing perpetrates the myth that it is EASY to get into shape and marketing gurus use the idea that individuals are looking for a quick way to solve their health and fitness issues when this is simply not the case for a majority of the population. 

The article states that the shoes “force you to engage your glutes, thighs and calves while providing a comfortable, shock-absorbing padding for your foot and knee” and “increases engagement of the abdominal muscles.”  These statements were backed up with the following numbers from a Physical Therapist “because the shoes cause that slight instability they can increase muscle activation BY UP TO (bolded by me) 14% in your calves, 29% in your quads and 16 to 28% in your glutes and hamstrings.”  I thought these were pretty impressive statements so I wanted to find out more about these shoes.  I did a quick search to find out if any of these claims were backed by a published peer-reviewed academic journal article and I found nothing.  What I did find was a great article in the New York times that reviewed these vary same shoes and within the article I found some great information that I would like to share.

But the claim that the shoes offer muscle toning is backed by a single study involving just five people, not published in a peer-reviewed academic journal. In that study, done at the University of Delaware , five women walked on a treadmill for 500 steps wearing either the EasyTone or another Reebok walking shoe, and while barefoot. Using sensors that measure muscle activity, the researchers showed that wearing the EasyTone worked gluteal muscles an average of 28 percent more than regular walking shoes. Hamstring and calf muscles worked 11 percent harder.

After finding the above statement I stopped my search for credible research.  Further along in the NY Time article I found the following…

The shoes are designed only for walking, and because of the instability design, wearers are discouraged from running, jumping and engaging in other athletic activities while wearing them. So the real effect may come from simple awareness that they are wearing a muscle-activating shoe, causing them to walk more briskly and with purpose.

NOTE:  I visited the Reebok website to find out more information about the shoe and I found a collection of exercises that involves all of the discouraged uses of the shoes.  Again look out for marketing, the road to health and fitness is not found through a quick fix.

So there is the answer, by simply wearing these shoes a person is more likely to walk more briskly and with purpose.  Any movement done with conscientious and deliberate thought including washing dishes, chopping vegetables, swinging Kettlebells, lifting weights, and walking briskly will cause an increase in muscle activation of the muscles required to perform the movement.  By simply thinking of a movement your nervous system activates your brain to run the motor program necessary for creating the movement, thus preparing your muscles to move.  So if you want to get better muscles activation when exercising and moving you don’t need any gimmick all you need is your thoughts!

Contact me at to learn more about conscious movement and personal training.


Move to Live, Live to Move,

Josh Neumann, BHK, PTS, TSCC-1

Monday and Thursday #FitTip at

More and more I find myself watching individuals move and noticing how they are using their body.  I have come to the conclusion that although every person has pretty much an identical physical make-up, each person uses their body very very differently, and no 2 individuals are the same. There are 600 muscles in the human body and it is very interesting to watch how some people are very dominant with certain muscles and much less so in others.  So what does this mean?

When certain movements are performed, there can be certain muscles that act as primary movers as well as synergistic movers (groups of muscles that work together to cause the same movement).  For example, in a push-up, the primary muscle would be the chest, while the main synergists would be the shoulders and triceps.  A very common imbalance with a push-up with many individuals is that while performing the push-up, they are using their body in certain way where the chest is not the primary mover.  Rather, the shoulders and musculature of the arm become the primary movers and the chest and musculature of the upper back become the  synergistic muscles.  And what does this mean?  Imbalanced and inefficient movement!  The chest has the potential to be a big, powerful muscle- just look at the breast muscle of a bird.  Yet, when most people perform push-ups, they are not firing the chest muscles to the potential that they could be.  The other possible danger with imbalanced musculature is joint wear.  Anytime there are imbalanced forces acting around a joint, the joint will wear down prematurely and can lead to arthritis.

So what’s the answer?  Corrective exercise!  This type of training focuses on first addressing imbalances (through an assessment) and identifying the necessary exercises/stretches to correct them.  The next phase is to screen a series of movements (again through an assessment) and retrain the body so that the primary and synergistic muscles are working in an optimally sequential fashion.

Here are other imbalances that I commonly see:

-Over dominance of the quadriceps vs hamstrings.  Most people are very quadricep dominant and have a poor understanding of how to engage the hamstrings while engaging in lower body movements such as squats and lunges.

-Over dominance of upper back musculature vs mid back musculature.  The fact that most people have desk jobs these days puts our bodies into a poor postural position.  The result is that our upper backs are very tight, our shoulders are rounded forward (internally rotated) and our mid-back (mid/lower traps are weak).

The benefits of rebalancing your body through corrective exercise are many:  improved posture, improved biomechanics, reduced injury risk, reduced pain, reduced muscle tightness/pain, improved joint health, and increased bodily energy.  If you are interested in re-balancing your body through corrective exercise, or want to know more, don’t hesitate to contact me.  Having a Stayfitanywhere trainer perform an assessment for you can help easily determine what your imbalances are and steps can then be taken to address them.

Happy (Corrective) Training! :)

Andrew Burchell

Advanced Health & Fitness Specialist

A friend of mine Cam Beals posted the following comment on my facebook page the other day: “Hey buddy, heard your StayFitAnywhere ad on the PeakFM today, nice work. If you have any customers that want to work on their stabilizers, legs and traps by using a wheel barrow I can set that up.” If you didn’t get a chance to hear our ad on the radio I have made a video with the ad in the background and you can see it below.

Now back to the wheel barrow, Cam is the owner of University Landscapers ( and he is an incredibly hard worker and he expects the same effort he puts in from his employees (much like we expect all of our clients to put in hard work). Cam and his team spend hours shoveling, digging, wheel barrowing, constructing and labouring while they perform installations like rock work and water features. Cam may have been just slightly off with his terminology and anatomy in regards to wheel barrow work (training) but he is certainly right that working with a wheel barrow is an incredible way to train your body.
Below is the breakdown of wheel barrow work in primal movement pattern terms.
1. Loading the wheel barrow (shovel into material) – For the most part shoveling is performed in a split stance position and to get a real good load on your shovel you need to bend down deep (Lunge) while you thrust your shovel (push) into the material.
2. Loading the wheel barrow (shovel to wheel barrow) – The shovel must be brought from the material (pull) and thrown or placed into the wheel barrow (rotation).
3. Lifting the wheel barrow – Bend down to grasp the handles and stand tall (Deadlift).
4. Moving the wheel barrow – While holding the handles you need to walk the wheel barrow to the dump site (gait).
5. Emptying the wheel barrow – Get underneath the handles and use your legs to tip the wheel barrow up on to its end allowing the material to come out (squat and another push)
6. Work (Training) variables – Deadlines (speed), Size of the job (volume and reps), and Terrain and weather (stability)
There are many ways to achieve physical fitness and working with a wheel barrow is definitely one of them, and wheel barrowing allows you to stayfitanywhere. If you would like to set up a workout with Cam and his crew please feel free to contact me, he is looking for a few extra pairs of hands.
Josh Neumann, BHK, PTS, TSCC-1
Monday and Thursday #FitTip at