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BMI: Is it Important?

BMI, or body mass index, is a calculation based on the height and weight of a person that is supposed to be a general measure of overall health and body composition. For many years this was the standard to determine whether a person was within an acceptable weight range for their height to deem them “healthy”, overweight or obese.

Over the past few years, there has been many speaking out against the use of this measure within the health and fitness industry. This is because the calculation does not take into account any factors other than height and weight. It is an inaccurate measure of body fat content and does not take into account factors like muscle mass, bone density, overall body composition, racial and differences between sexes.

Traditionally BMI has been used as a tool to predict the risk of disease and mortality by measuring a correlation between obesity and things like heart disease, stroke, heart failure and diabetes. However, there have been a number of studies that have indicated that some people considered “obese” on the BMI scale, in fact, have a lower cardiovascular risk and an improved metabolic profile compared to some individuals with a “normal BMI” who are more metabolically unhealthy and at a higher risk for disease than their obese counterparts.

It doesn’t take a scientist to understand why BMI might not give an accurate or useful body composition profile. Consider an athlete, someone who competes as either a bodybuilder or something like an MMA fighter. These athletes are not only muscular, but typically quite lean. Not to mention their fitness levels are often well above the average Joe. Someone with this body type who is 5’10” and 190 lbs would have a BMI of 27.3. This BMI would put this individual in the category of overweight, yet no one looking at this athlete would think that could be possible. The calculation wrongly assumes lower muscle mass and high relative fat content.

BMI also does not consider localized body fat, which is potentially more dangerous than overall fat as it relates to body composition. Abdominal fat has been found to have severe health risks including cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and higher mortality rates. Additionally, thinner people might also have an excess of visceral fat, which is linked to higher risk of disease when compared to lean muscle mass.

Unfortunately, despite its obvious flaws in accurately capturing the overall fat content and health of an individual, BMI is sort of all we have. There are more efficient and accurate methods to measure body fat percentage, but these come with a hefty price tag that is simply not practical for most people. Measuring height and weight is convenient and practical during a quick doctor’s visit. Until there is a better method available, BMI will continue to be used by healthcare professionals, but it should come with a disclaimer that the results should be taken with a grain of salt.

SVPT Fitness & Athletics


SVPT is proud to present #MYFIT – a celebration of our clients who live a fit and balanced lifestyle.
#MYFIT is not about a 6 pack or a bikini body, it’s about showing that fitness comes in ALL SHAPES AND SIZES, and truly is training to live a more full life. It’s not about young and skinny, it’s about showing that fitness can be a part of ANYONE’S life, regardless of age.
#MYFIT celebrates clients who challenge themselves physically and mentally to move better, perform better and live better. #thesvptway
We are grateful to long time client, Jackie, for sharing her #MYFIT story:
“I have been going to a gym of some sorts since I was old enough to get a membership. And for many years I had my own home gym. While I remained committed to my workout routine, I never really saw results. A minor car accident 9 years ago led to a nagging back injury. Physio and massage helped provide relief in the short term, but I couldn’t get rid of the ache. Regular massage therapy became my crutch. One day I decided I needed to make a big change to the way I was doing things. I became an SVPT client 3 years ago.
SVPT trainer, Cam has taught me how to work out correctly and efficiently. I have surprised myself with how much weight I can now lift, push or carry. The progress I have seen with my endurance and strength has been empowering.
I know now what #MYFIT means to me.
It means focusing on my muscle and strength, not the weight on the scale. And making my back healthy, strong and pain-free.
It means moving freely, easily and without limitation.
It means setting a goal I never imagined I would set, doing something I didn’t think I could do….I completed the Melissa’s Road Race 5K in Banff this past September, setting my own personal best of 31min20sec.
It means not working out alone in a big box gym or in my basement; rather being part of a community of like-minded, supportive and fun people.
And it means turning 50 in a few months feeling the fittest I have ever been.”

Denyse's #MYFIT Story- Edmonton Fitness


SVPT is proud to present #MYFIT – a celebration of our clients who live a fit and balanced lifestyle.
#MYFIT is not about a 6 pack or a bikini body, it’s about showing that fitness comes in ALL SHAPES AND SIZES, and truly is training to live a more full life. It’s not about young and skinny, it’s about showing that fitness can be a part of ANYONE’S life, regardless of age.
#MYFIT celebrates clients who challenge themselves physically and mentally to move better, perform better and live better. #thesvptway
We are grateful to client, Denyse, for sharing her #MYFIT story:
“#MYFIT has been a journey of overcoming obstacles and redefining the way I think about my body and my identity. After sustaining several injuries from long-distance running, I began to look into alternative ways to maintain an active lifestyle. I soon realized I needed to go beyond “just running” to perform more optimally; a balanced approach of building strength, endurance, and better body mechanics would allow me to pursue the activities I loved and my goals of a healthy body without perennial injury.
There was one problem however- finding an approach for lifting weights wasn’t easy. I was born without much of my left hand in a condition known as symbrachydactyly. I knew how to use resistance machines but wanted to make the progressions that dumbbell and barbell exercises could afford me.
The journey to find prosthetics that could work for me in a way that was pain-free, and most of all safe, is one I’m still on. As in all things, I found being my own advocate, doing the research, and not taking bad solutions for an answer allowed me work through many sub-par prosthetics to find options that work for me. I’ve never let my limb difference define or limit me, but I now have the tools I need to do deadlifts, overhead presses, complex dumbbell movements—all exercises I’d once been unsure if I’d be able to figure out how to do.
Lately, #MYFIT has been about setting goals, achieving them, and showing myself what I’m capable of in the process. Everyone has challenges in pursuing their fitness goals—I encourage everyone to embrace those unique challenges, be brave enough to find solutions, and love themselves throughout the whole experience. You’re worth the time and effort of doing so.”

To Stretch or To Not Stretch?

There are so many questions and confusion when it comes to stretching. Do we do it? If so, how often and when? Will we die if we don’t?

When it comes to stretching, the opinions are divisive. Some say there’s nothing beneficial about stretching before or after exercise, some say it’s actually a risk to stretch before activities, and others swear that you’ll explode if you don’t stretch before jumping into a workout. So, who is right?

There are a few different ways to stretch. That’s right, not all stretching is the same!

Static stretching is what most people think of first. This involves a stretch that is held for a longer period of time, while holding the same (static) position. Another type of stretching is dynamic stretching. This involves using movement and momentum to propel the muscle into an extended range of motion. There is also Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching. This type of stretching can be used to increase mobility by opening a new range of motion that was not available prior to the stretching. It uses a sequence of contracting and relaxing muscles to basically trick your brain into allowing a greater range of motion.

It seems that there is research to support any argument about stretching, largely because the research is inconclusive at best. There is a consensus that there may be benefits to stretching before exercise, provided that the stretching is not deep, static stretching. There is little evidence to support the idea that not stretching before exercise is detrimental, and you certainly won’t explode. That said, stretching is completely different from warming up before exercise. Stretching is not a warm up, and should not be used as a warm up. Stretching can help prepare the muscles for the stretch they might encounter in the activity you’re about to do, but that won’t prepare your muscles to do the WORK that the exercise demands.

For the average Joe stretching before exercise is neither definitively beneficial nor harmful. More elite athletes, on the other hand, do need to weigh the evidence that there is a temporary reduction in the ability to produce force following a stretching session. This means those in power sports, or sports that do not require a special flexibility or range of motion are better off to skip the pre-game stretch for maximum performance, unless its followed by some type of movement or other explosive type of warm up before heading into practice or game performance.

Stretching post-exercise has largely the same results in terms of studies as pre-exercise stretching. Although there is a marginal increase in reports of less muscle soreness when post-exercise stretching is completed.

It is important to note that the trials that have been completed have centred around static stretching and have not explored other kinds of stretching. It is also important to note that there are no studies that have looked at the chronic effect of stretching, as all have focused on the acute effects of stretching.

So, what does that all mean? More or less, stretch if it makes you feel good, and don’t feel guilty if you don’t. At the very least, getting your stretch on won’t hurt!

SVPT Fitness & Athletics

Trevor’s #MYFIT Story

SVPT is proud to present #MYFIT – a celebration of our clients who live a fit and balanced lifestyle.
#MYFIT is not about a 6 pack or a bikini body, it’s about showing that fitness comes in ALL SHAPES AND SIZES, and truly is training to live a more full life. It’s not about young and skinny, it’s about showing that fitness can be a part of ANYONE’S life, regardless of age.
#MYFIT celebrates clients who challenge themselves physically and mentally to move better, perform better and live better. #thesvptway
We are grateful to SVPT Trainer, Trevor, for sharing his #MYFIT story:

“I’ve always been very active person and in the past exercise was all about short term success. I played high level fastball and wanted to be in shape and at my best for the sport, I would constantly ignore injuries because I wanted to be on the field competing regardless of what my body was telling me. I used to only do workouts for aesthetic purposes instead of working on what would actually benefit me because I felt pressure to look a certain way. I would go to the gym to be social because it was the cool thing to do, not because I was serious about improving my quality of life. I was very short sighted about why exercise was a part of my life, but as time went on that shifted.

#MYFIT now is about thinking long term and seeing exercise as part of the bigger picture. I stay active now so that when I’m older nothing holds me back from living my life. I want to be able to stay active with my wife and not be limited to what we can see and do as we grow old together. I want to be able to play sports with my future children the way I am able to play hockey with my Dad (10 years and counting). I want to be like my Grandma at 85 years old still curling and golfing and being active in the community because she has committed to being fit and healthy her whole life. #MYFIT now is about staying mentally and physically healthy so that as the years go by I can live a life full of health and happiness with nothing holding me back!”

Exercising vs. Training

As summer winds down, and we approach ‘fall back to fitness’, many will be seeking the fitness routine they had before summer shenanigans. So as you get back into your routine, ask yourself – are you training or are you just exercising?

Exercise and training might often be used as synonymous terms, but there are a few important distinctions between the two. Exercise can best be thought of as physical activity that serves an immediate purpose and effect. It is done for its own sake, whether that is during the workout or immediately after. This “effect” or “purpose” can include burning calories, getting a pump on, getting sweaty, or as a way to blow off steam & de-stress. Training, on the other hand, is utilizing physical activity to achieve a definite performance objective, which is often long-term. The difference between exercise and training is a question of intention.

Training is a process designed to achieve a specific result. It is a pre-determined progression of activity designed to satisfy a long-term performance goal. Training is less about the workouts individually than it is about the process of utilizing the workouts to reach the ultimate training goal, or the cumulative effect of the individual workouts. The results are reached by progressing week after week, tracking progress and adjusting as needed. Training is about long-term improvement for a specific purpose, which often means displacing the immediate feeling of having achieved a goal until that goal is realized down the line.

The primary goal of exercise is, generally, to keep you healthy. Exercising can produce immediate results, and results over the long term even; however, training is deciding on a goal and using physical activity to achieve that goal. Long-term results from consistent exercise are a welcome by-product but are not the outcome of intentional physical activity. Any program that features exposure at random to various types of physical stress cannot produce a specific physical adaptation. Past a certain point the adaptation that occurs naturally with exercise will stop, a point that occurs relatively quickly.

Should we all be training? Not necessarily. It’s more about your specific goals. If the goal is to maintain health, exercising might be sufficient, and the most important thing would then be to choose exercise options that motivate you to continue and be consistent. Jumping from program to program or choosing random workouts can be a great way to exercise without getting bored. For those who have specific goals, a long-term training program with trackable results is more appropriate.

SVPT Fitness & Athletics

Lee’s #MYFIT Story

SVPT is proud to present #MYFIT – a celebration of our clients who live a fit and balanced lifestyle.
#MYFIT is not about a 6 pack or a bikini body, it’s about showing that fitness comes in ALL SHAPES AND SIZES, and truly is training to live a more full life. It’s not about young and skinny, it’s about showing that fitness can be a part of ANYONE’S life, regardless of age.
#MYFIT celebrates clients who challenge themselves physically and mentally to move better, perform better and live better. #thesvptway
We are grateful to long time SVPT client, Lee, for sharing his #MYFIT story:

“In late 2015 I committed to hiking the West Coast trail, a hike I had always wanted to do. I really wanted the experience to be a good one so I did a lot of planning and research. My wife suggested that although I was in fairly good shape, I might want to do some intensive training to prepare physically for the hike. She did some research and in early 2016 I started attending SVPT.

In July 2016 I completed the West Coast trail and it was everything I hoped it would be and more. Physically preparing for the ladders, the tricky footing and the various demands of the trail gave me the confidence and ability to make the most of the experience.

Since that time I’ve continued to attend SVPT to prepare for my retirement. It is important to me to be healthy and fit as I have so much that I want to do in the future. On June 30th of this year I retired after 37 years of policing. After a career that was often stressful and included an administrative desk job for the last ten years, continuing to see Shawn weekly is a priority for me. The benefits, both physically and mentally, are well worth the work.

There are so many opportunities ahead, and maintaining my physical fitness is an integral part of being able to enjoy every experience, from athletic pursuits to travel to grandchildren (hopefully!).”

Thank you Shawn and Shara

Steady State or Interval Cardio?

There are two types of cardio people: those who choose aerobic exercise (i.e. running, jogging) and those who choose anaerobic exercise (i.e. HIIT, intervals). Although both are technically cardio, doing just one type is not enough and a well-rounded program will include both types.

Generally, exercise done in short bursts up to two minutes in duration will utilize the anaerobic system primarily. This includes any short burst of activity that can only be maintained for about two minutes, usually referred to as intervals. Exercise for an extended period of time at a slow or moderate pace, will utilize the aerobic system primarily, and is often referred to as “steady-state cardio”.

Those who prefer aerobic exercise (aka runners and cyclists) tend to neglect interval training, while those who prefer interval training (aka metconners) tend to neglect doing steady-state cardio. If cardio is cardio, why should it matter if I prefer hard and fast or long and slow?

Whether you should focus on anaerobic or aerobic exercises is entirely dependent on what your goals are. Ideally, you’re doing a mix of both in a balanced program. Aerobic exercise will help build endurance and increase cardiovascular health overall, while interval training will enhance muscle strength, power, size and speed.   Aerobic exercise helps build a bigger window in which you can perform intervals, or a aerobic base.  Without an aerobic base, you won’t be able to do a lot of intervals.

While each type of exercise will build and produce different results and develop different skills, the two types of training can function together to make you faster, stronger, and healthier overall. Training exclusively by one type of exercise will limit the progress you can make, and actually increases your chance of injury. Incorporating anaerobic training into an exercise plan that is mostly aerobic will lead to increased speed, power output, economy, increase VO2 max and decrease the chance of injury.

The way to improve cardio performance is to train at and above your threshold. This means to improve aerobic capacity (read: become a better runner) you need to incorporate training intervals that mean you’re working near your current aerobic threshold. On the flip side, those who only train using intervals will not increase their steady state endurance. What this means is that the metconner who also does steady-state cardio training will be able to work harder for longer (read: get more done in each interval).

Both interval and aerobic exercise should be incorporated into a balanced exercise plan. This balance will allow the two systems to complement one another and will maximize results and increase overall health, while minimizing the chance of injury.



Turkey Taco Salad

Serves 4 (1 ½ cup Per serving)


  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • ½ Tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. cayenne (optional)
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
  • 1 can black beans, low sodium, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, quartered and sliced
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 4 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 lime juice and zest
  • 1 tsp. olive oil


  1. Heat oil in a pan on medium high heat.
  2. Add turkey along with salt, pepper, chilli powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne. Allow to cook until no longer pink.
  3. While the turkey is cooking, combine lettuce, black beans, corn, tomatoes and mix well. Place into 4 bowls, garnish with ¼ avocado and ¼ cup cilantro.
  4. Combine lime juice, zest and olive oil in a bowl and mix well. Drizzle over the salad.
  5. Add 1 oz. cheese per bowl and top with cooked turkey.
  6. Serve and Enjoy!


Nutritional analysis per serving: 325 calories, 16 g fat, 25 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate (14 g available carbohydrate), 9 g fibre, 119 mg sodium

Created by Revive Wellness Inc.

Now try the SVPT ‘Move of the Month’ on their blog!



Training Through Injury

So, you’re injured. Now what?

While it’s true that the first priority should be recovery, this doesn’t mean that you should stop training altogether. Sometimes injuries are caused by overuse or overtraining, which means you might need to back off on your training. In this case, your body isn’t able to recover properly resulting in a chronic injury. If the injury is acute, that is caused by one incident, this means that the affected area should rested, but you can continue to train around the injury.

If you’ve injured yourself, talk with a physician or physiotherapist first. Get your injury diagnosed by a professional who is qualified to advise you whether or not you can continue training. Don’t Google your injury and self-diagnose. Having a proper diagnosis will mean that a trainer will have a better idea of the course of action to take post-injury and will also inform how the injury should be rehabilitated. Better yet, having your trainer and physiotherapist working together will ensure a more complete approach to recovery. Knowledge is power – take the initiative and be active in your own recovery by getting assessed properly right away.

If you choose to work around an injury and continue to train during your recovery, then truly work around the injury. Don’t do things that “sort-of hurt” or get better after a warm up set. If there truly is pain during the first movement, you’re doing more damage than you are helping yourself. Adrenaline and endorphins can make you feel better when you’re actually doing damage. If you’re hurting, you’re not healing. Bottom line: if it hurts, stop.

Be careful not to allow this to create other injuries from compensating or only training one way. It’s fine to train one side when the other is injured but be aware of compensating patterns and how the movement will affect other areas. For example, if you have injured one shoulder, you can train the other but be aware of how this constant unilateral training will affect the neck and back on both sides of the body.

Injury recovery can be separated into two aspects: physical and mental. The physical component of recovery is the physical healing of the injured tissue. Whether you’ve suffered a strain, sprain, dislocation or fracture, the injured tissue needs to heal, meaning it must be rested. The mental component of recovery is training the brain. When we are injured, our brain flags whatever movement resulted in the injury, and usually also flags movements that resulted in pain after the injury. What this means for many people is that the movement triggers a feeling of pain long after the injury has healed. The brain needs to be retrained to learn that these movements are safe again. Typically, this can be done by completing the movement under control, slowly, under different types of load and through the full range of motion repetitively. This process involves learning to differentiate between pain and discomfort. You can train through discomfort, but never train through pain.

At the end of the day, recovery is almost always an active process whether you’re training your body or your mind. Don’t let an injury get in the way of your goals, just adjust your course of action.