Why Am I Craving Sugar So Much?

Speaker 1: (00:00)
Are you craving sugar?

Watch this video and I’ll tell you why you may be craving sweets and what you can do about it.

Hi, it’s Ivana. Please subscribe and hit that bell.

If you want to cut down on your sugar cravings, you need to know what causes them.

I’m an Online Nutrition Coach and yes I have a sweet tooth!

But I’ve learned to manage it and I’m going to give you some tips so that you can learn to manage your sugar cravings.

I want you to stick around to the end of this video because I’m also going to take a look at sugar addiction and what the science actually says about it.

Blood Sugar Fluctuations

The first thing I’m going to talk about is blood sugar fluctuations.

When we eat, the hormone insulin is released in response to that food.

Now foods that are simple sugars or refined carbohydrates, so things like bagels, crackers, white bread, they produce a higher insulin response. When your insulin response is greater than you’re going to find post-meal, you’re going to drop in blood sugar. That can produce cravings later on.

A lot of sugar cravings come from eating too much sugar in the first place. Or things that you might not see as sugar, but your body treats has sugars.

That’s the refined carbs, white rice, white bread, crackers, chips, that sort of thing. If it’s a refined carb, your body pretty much treats it like sugar.

Before we get too far, let me know the foods that you crave.

Are you craving sugar?

You’re Dieting

Reason number two, you’re dieting.

Anytime you severely restrict your calories, the hormone ghrelin increases. This is considered the hunger hormone.

I remember it because it sounds like gremlin, so it makes you eat like a gremlin. That’s how I always remember.

Ghrelin gets released when your calorie intake is very low because your body doesn’t want to starve. It makes you feel very hungry so that hopefully you’ll consume those calories.

The opposing hormone is called leptin.

So leptin levels, you want those to be increased in order to be full more often.

The solution to this is don’t diet.

But if you wanna lose weight, you do have to produce at calorie deficit.

You do need to reduce your calories, but you don’t want to do it too drastically. If you’re eating 3000 calories, you don’t want to drop it down to 1500. If you’re eating 2000 and you don’t want to drop it down to something ridiculous, like 800 calories, like some diet plans recommend that you do.

Do it gradually. About 250 to 500 calories is reasonable. And then you’re going to have a steady decrease in your weight, but you’re not going to get that massive increase in ghrelin.

You’re Not Sleeping Enough

Reason number three, you’re not sleeping enough. So grelin doesn’t just increase when you’re dieting.

It also increases when you’re not sleeping enough.

If you’re sleep deprived, you’re going to have an increase in ghrelin. This makes you feel more hungry.

We also know that if you’re really tired, then you can’t be bothered to make a proper meal. You’re just going to grab a take away. You’ll want to rely on fast food.

You can’t be bothered to work out probably. And all those things come together.

Sleep really is important. I’ve created an entire video about sleep. So if you’re interested in that, I’m going to link it up below and at the end of this video. Sleep is really important for avoiding sugar cravings. ‘

Not Getting Enough Protein Or Fibre

Number four, not getting enough protein and fibre. So both of those things help stabilize your blood sugar levels.

Ghrelin also decreases when you have protein as part of your meal.

So that’s a really important way of decreasing your ghrelin levels. You decrease your appetite after a meal.

In terms of the actual insulin response to a meal, protein has kind of a moderate effect. Carbs have the highest effect and fat has a negligible effect on your blood sugar levels. So if you reduce your carb intake and increase slightly your protein and your fat levels, you’re going to see a reduction in cravings.

This is why low carb diets tend to reduce cravings for sugar.

Craving Sugar Out Of Habit

And the last one is habit. Unfortunately, as humans, we are creatures of habit and we tend to do things over and over and over and over again. You’ll have an emotional response, if you’re stressed. When you’re feeling anxious. People will be reaching for food in those instances. And I mean, I did it myself like for a long time, I thought that that tub of ice cream was the solution to my problem.

And even if you, you know that it’s not actually gonna help you with anything, it’s not going to do anything at the time.

It feels really, really good. It’s delicious, it’s sweet, it’s comforting.

You’re going to get a little bit of an endorphin hit from all those carbs, kind of spiking your blood sugar up, right? So if we’re in the habit of enjoying that process, then it’s really difficult to avoid sugar cravings. Now what you have to do, and this is really tricky and takes time. I work with a lot of my clients just to overcome these habits that they’ve built up over years and years and sometimes decades.

What To Do When You’re Craving Sugar

You need to come up with positive alternatives to food when you’re experiencing emotional issues. If your habit, is to sit down in front of the TV and eat a bag of chips, when you’re stressed from work…you need to come up with another habit that’s going to be a little bit more useful.

Maybe you can go straight to the gym and try to work off some of that frustration.

What Is Sugar Addiction?

What about sugar addiction?

This is the idea that sugar is just as powerful to your brain as heroin or cocaine or any other illicit drug that has a very powerful physiological response.

Now, the science is not really clear when it comes to that. I do have a link below if you want to have a look in terms of how they judge addiction and whether or not sugar meets the criteria.

We know that the addiction to these types of foods, whether you actually call it addiction, is very powerful, but a lot of that is coming from psychological stuff. And let’s not discount psychology when it comes to our eating habits because it can be the most powerful thing.

I talked a lot about the kind of physiological reasons why their sugar cravings, but then the last one of course was habit.

That is a psychological reason and sugar addiction may not really be a thing. It’s not equivalent to being addicted to cocaine.

What’s probably happening is that we have a strong feeling about hyper palatable foods. So these are the kinds of foods, the highly processed foods that contain both sugar and fat together.

The donut is a perfect example.

There’s other things that you might not consider sugar. French fries and chips that might be your favourite for instance.

Ice cream, those kinds of things that are both sweet and creamy and there’s a great feeling when you’re eating them.

‘They just taste good. They’re designed to taste good.

We probably have very, very strong feelings about those things and we want to eat them as much as possible. Breaking that habit is a psychological thing.

Why It’s Unlikely That Sugar Is A True Addiction

Here’s the major argument against the theory of sugar as an addiction in the same way as other drugs:

When you’re craving sugar, do you run to the cupboard and just grab some pure white sugar and then dump it down your throat?

You’re not really drawn to just that sugar. You probably want something that has some psychological associations for you or something that just tastes really good.

Pure sugar itself for most people doesn’t really taste that good. It needs to be combined with something, so chances are sugar addiction in that way isn’t real. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a powerful force.

It doesn’t mean that your feelings for wanting a food so badly are not real.

All of these things are very powerful.

The reason that I don’t particularly like the idea of sugar as an addiction is because it makes people feel powerless against it. And as you seen throughout this video, those five things that I mentioned, if you adjust those things, then you’ll be able to control your sugar cravings.

You do have control when you’re craving sugar.

Ivana Chapman


Supplements For Building Muscle Over 35

Are you trying to build muscle over 35 and you’re wondering if some supplements might help?

Today I’m going to talk to you about five supplements that may or may not be useful for muscle building.

My name is Ivana Chapman.

I’m an online fitness and nutrition coach and a certified strength and conditioning specialist.

Make sure you stick around until the end because I’m going to tell you how to figure out which supplements are useful for you.

So let’s start by defining it.

A dietary supplement is a product that’s taken orally that contains one or more ingredients that are intended to supplement one’s diet and are not considered food.

Protein Powder Supplements

So the first supplement that I’m going to talk to you about is protein powder.

Now, I personally don’t consider protein powder a supplement.

I just consider it a food.

This is what I use here. It’s not advertising for anybody, but it just happens to be a really simple kind.

I use whey protein isolate. But when you think about it way, whether it’s protein isolate or protein concentrate, whatever you’re using just comes from milk and milk is already a whole food product.

We don’t consider this a supplement, we just consider it a food. Whey is just a component of milk. So in my eyes it’s not really a supplement, but some people do consider it a supplement. I use protein powder.

So I guess that gives you a fairly good clue that that might be a good muscle building supplement.

Reaching Your Protein Goal With Protein Supplements

The idea is that you get a little bit more protein than you normally would through just your food. And using a protein powder just means that you have a quick and easy method of delivering that protein to your body whenever you need it.

For me, I normally will put a scoop in one of these shakers, mix it with water, shake it up after my workout generally or any time I need between meals if I’m trying to fit in a little bit more protein. This is a really easy way of getting in protein, which your body needs to build muscle.

Protein Goal

I generally recommend 0.8 to one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. Now that will vary a little bit from person to person, but that would be the maximum that I would recommend for anybody. If you’re struggling to get that amount of protein, protein powder can make it really easy to add in a little bit more. If I look at this one here, 31 grams of protein and that’s just one skip. I’ll drink about this much liquid with it and I get 31 grams of protein.

You pretty much need a whole chicken breast for that amount of protein. And there are a few things that are going to give you that much vegetarian sources or even worse in terms of obtaining the amount of that you need without getting excessively bloated or without adding a lot of carbs.

This is a really easy way of adding protein to your diet, which you absolutely need for building muscle.


The next supplement I’m going to talk to you about is creatine.

I’ve actually got some creatine over here, so it just comes in powder form and you take it by the scoop. I just put it into whatever liquid you forgot that sexually, not mine, I’m not using it at the moment, but my husband is. So this is probably the most well-researched supplement, particularly in sports science. It’s a known egogenic aid for athletes.

Research On Creatine

But the surprising thing about creatine is that it’s been researched in all populations from infants all the way through to the elderly. And there are benefits along each of those stages. They’ve actually even tested it with pregnant patients for particular issues as well.

It’s very well researched.

Creatine is known to increase muscle recovery and muscle growth, particularly recovery from intense exercise and being able to build muscle. And that’s what we were talking about. The interesting thing about creatine for those of us who are over 35 is that it helps you maintain muscle and they’ve tell us, tested this up to the elderly. So even in elderly populations when they’re not doing any training, it helps them to retain muscle.

And if you’re watching my videos you know that building and maintaining muscle as you get older is really important.

Creatine can help you do that.

These studies on creatine actually show that it is safe for both short term and longterm use up to five years, believe it or not, in healthy populations. Including as I mentioned, infants and the elderly. So in terms of supplements, this one has been shown to be very safe and it is effective for muscle building.

BCAA Supplements

And now we’re going to move on to BCAAs.

These are branch chain amino acids.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. It’s become kind of popular to see people pretty much with one of these like during their workouts they’ve got like a blue liquid in there and it tastes like raspberry or something. That’s probably BCAAs because it’s been popular to take that. In recent years.

There is no evidence that it’s actually useful as long as your protein intake is adequate, then you don’t get any additional benefits from having the intro workout BCAs that you’ll see people having absolutely no need for it.

It’s just an additional cost that you don’t really need. If you just have your protein shake after your workout and you’re getting a lot of protein throughout the day, then you don’t really need those BCAAs.

The type of amino acids, the BCAAs are not any more effective than regular proteins. In fact, there’s other ones, the other amino acids that are more useful, uh, in terms of recovering your muscle after a workout session. So you can probably skip the BCAAs.

Beta-Alanine Supplements

So let’s move on to beta alanine.

Now, this is an amino acid and this particular amino acid increases the storage of carnosine in skeletal muscle.

Carnosine is responsible for producing force within the muscle. Taking oral carnosine as a supplement isn’t really useful because it’s all absorbed in the gut before it ever gets to the skeletal muscle. So one way around that is taking beta alanine in order to increase the carnosine content of muscle and producing greater strength there and then as a result further growth.

So this one does seem to be effective for producing muscle building results. It is one that has, is considered useful, particularly for athletes who are trying to increase their carnosine levels.

HMB Supplements

And the last one I’m going to talk about is HMB.

This is a natural chemical compound. It’s a metabolite that’s derived from the amino acid leucine.

HMB has been shown to improve muscle recovery, strength and power. Also hypertrophy, which is what we’re talking about here, muscle growth. Um, I’m including links to the ISS position stance about each of these supplements. So if you’re interested in getting a bit more information about dosage and that sort of thing, you can have a look there. Um, has been shown to be effective. Haven’t tried it myself, but as far as the collection of things that you could potentially take for muscle building, this one could be there too.

Cautions When Using Supplements

Now I’m going to throw in some big cautions cautions. Make sure that before you consider taking any supplements, go see your doctor.

Make sure that you’re healthy. If you’re on any medications, they may interact with these supplements. So you also need to be aware of that.

The other important thing is that you’re actually doing the work first. You need to be doing proper weight training and you’re not going to get any results with any natural supplements if you don’t do the training. So you need to be pushing yourself relatively hard in the gym. It needs to be frequent and it needs to be consistent in order for it to be worth it to take these supplements in the first place.

Who Doesn’t Need Supplements?

There is no point for someone who’s a complete beginner who just wants to put on some mass to buy a bunch of supplements and then think that that’s going to get them results.I actually recommend most people start off and do a two to three years of proper training. That means the right frequency, intensity and volume in terms of your weight training.

See where that gets you. Then when you’re ready to take it to the next level, start adding maybe one supplement and then another supplement if necessary. You want to monitor how your body responds to these things. There’s no point in just throwing them all in together because you’ll be forced to take those things forever.

Protein powder perhaps is an exception. I recommend if people are having hard time getting enough protein. It’s just a simple convenient way of getting an extra protein. So that’s maybe excluded slightly from the supplement side there. But make sure that you’re ready to take supplements and then you actually are at the point where you need them.

The Cost Of Supplements

The other thing that you want to consider is the cost. My husband and I don’t really take anything besides our protein powders. He started with creatine recently. But even that can add up over time. So you don’t want to spend a fortune on supplements.

You need to focus on having good food. The base of your nutrition needs to be solid before you add supplements to it. Cause if you’re the kind of person who just thinks you’re going to have a crappy diet. Just adding supplements isn’t going to build muscle. You need to make sure that your nutrition is already in a good place.

Then you’re ready to take it to the next level.

What Supplements Have You Used?

Have you used any of these supplements?

What did you think? For myself, as I said, I just use the protein powder. And in the past I haven’t used creatine in my karate competition years. I found that it helped to build and maintain my muscle a little bit better.

If you are looking to take it to the next level. When you’ve been struggling for a little while, some of these supplements can help. But remember that none of them are necessary for building muscle. You need to have the right amount of calories and protein. And you do the right training.

You can build muscle without any supplementation whatsoever.

Ivana Chapman


My Vacation Plans At An All Inclusive

Hi guys, this is Ivana.

Today I’m going to do something a little bit different on my channel.

I’m gonna just going to talk about my vacation plans at an all inclusive, which is something that’s coming up very soon.

My family, my husband and my son and I are heading to an all inclusive in Costa Rica, so we’re very much looking forward to that.

I often as a fitness and nutrition coach get asked by my clients or just people I know what I do on vacation to stay in shape.

I always find that the question quite interesting and if you’re curious what someone who makes their living in fitness and nutrition eats and does on an all inclusive vacation? Well you’ve come to the right place of course.

Our Vacation Plans

My husband and I, even before our son was born, had been going to all inclusives regularly.

We liked the tropical hot weather and since our son was four and a half months old, he’s also been going on vacation. So we did one to two all inclusives a year. It’s a good way to feed my husband who has a large appetite.

We just like being able to pick and choose the food that we’re eating. We also like the range of activities that the resorts.

I’m going to go through and talk to you about how we normally do it and we’ll planning for this vacation.

My Vacation Plans For Exercise & Food

I’m going to talk about two things.

The first side is going to be the physical activity and exercise side.

And the second is going to be the nutrition aspect of the vacation.

My Vacation Plans For Exercise

In terms of exercise, you might be surprised to hear that we don’t really go to the gym now, even though when we’re at home, we tend to work out.

We’ll do maybe four or five days in the gym, sometimes six, depending on our schedules.

When we’re on vacation, we just want to spend as much time outdoors as possible.

We’re just out there being as active as we possibly can.

We’re in the water with our son splashing around.

Fun Activities In The Sun

We’ll do whatever water sports are involved.

We’re going to walk and we might take a tour or two just to see things and walking on the beach back and forth and back and forth and chasing a five-year-old.

Honestly, it burns quite a few calories, so we don’t really bother with the gym. We give ourselves a week off from weight training and we just do the regular physical activity stuff.

Using The Gym At All Inclusive Resorts

The only time that we’ve ever used the gyms at a resort is when it’s been raining and there was nothing else to do.

And I think that was also when our son was very young, so he had to sleep.

So one of us would watch him while he was sleeping and then we’d trade off to go to the gym, but only if it was raining because if it was a nice outside or outside, we’re on the beach or we’re by the pool and that’s just the way we prefer it.

I find that my physical activity is much than my energy expenditure is much greater than it would be at home. Often I spend a lot of time prepping videos and scripting videos.

I talk to clients online.

So I spend a lot of my time in front of the computer.

Like a lot of you do. You’re probably sitting at a desk for many hours a day.

A lot of times we’re quite sedentary. So on vacation you might find that it’s actually easier to burn more calories.

Unless of course you’re one of those people who just lies on the beach with the book. And doesn’t come up unless they’re trying to get more food.

In that case it might be a little different for you.

You might want to build in some physical activity. But for us, we love to be active in the outdoors and that pretty much covers all our exercise.

Food & Drink

Now for the food!

I really enjoy food at all inclusives. Buffets, buffets, buffets.

My Vacation Plans – Drinks

Now I’m not much of a drinker. My husband and I tend to have like a couple of beers here and there.

Maybe I’ll try a little fruity drink, but it’s pretty rare for us to have those, those types of drinks. So that’s where a lot of people add tons of calories. If they’re sipping those sugary drinks all the time, you may have like 400 calories in a small glass and yes, they may re really cute and they have little Barillas in them, but they are full of sugar and it’s so easy to drink up those calories.

So that’s one minefield that we kind of avoid. Um, I will have some, like I’ll have a couple of beers here and there, maybe wine depending on my mood. Um, my plan is, yeah, just to have a couple of beers here and there.

Choosing The Right Food

In terms of the food, well, I have to be a bit strategic with this because there are a lot of enjoyable things at these resorts.

I’ve even seen a video from the resort we’re staying at where there’s a chocolate fountain and fruit.

That just looks delicious and there is no way that I’m going to avoid a chocolate fountain. So I always try to leave some room for those types of traits. In the tropics there’s a lot of fruit around so that can be quite filling and that can keep you full with low calories.

For me, that’s actually a good option.

I always try to get my protein in first too.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

In the morning they often have eggs, so I’ll select eggs. Whatever proteins are available in the morning.

A lot of places will have fish as well.

And same thing for lunch. There’s always a base of the protein, whether it’s chicken or fish. I

don’t eat red meat myself, but my husband and my son will have some sort of red meat probably in one meal of the day at least.

In the evening I tend to do the same thing. Whatever seafood is available. When you are in these kind of tropical places, you want to take advantage. Try the local specialties so you there might be different spices and that type of thing. I have to be a little careful cause I do have a sensitive stomach but I do try the local stuff.

Occasionally I’ll have the odd fried thing even though that’s something that definitely doesn’t agree with my stomach. But I like to experiment a little bit. I just have to be careful.

What Do YOU Do On Vacation?

Comment below what you do on vacation.

Do you get to the gym first thing in the morning and then spend the rest of your day outside?

A lot of people do that. ‘

I advise my clients who really want to work out during their trips that they can do that. Do you just go full on at the buffet and just everything you want and all times. For me it’s really about having small amounts of the things that I want to try and not going overboard. You will see a pancake again, you’re probably going to see the same stuff at the buffet again for another day. So there’s no reason why you have to eat all the things that day.

I hope you enjoyed my summary of what I plan to do on my vacation in Costa Rica.

Ivana Chapman


Mobility Drills To Keep You Flexible As You Get Older

Mobility Drills

Watch this video and I’ll show you ten mobility drills you can use to loosen up your entire body.

Do you want to stay flexible and supple as you get older?

Hi, this is Ivana helping you get fit, healthy and strong at any age.

Part of what makes people feel older is the stiffness and tightness around the joints. Nobody wants that.

I’m a certified strength and conditioning specialist and I work primarily with people over 35 who are committed to getting the most out of their lives to feeling strong and healthy.

Today I’m sharing a sequence of mobility drills that will help you feel loose and flexible and just generally awesome.

Standing Side Rotations

We’re starting off with standing side rotations just to get the whole body loosened up.

You’re twisting from side to side gently at first, so the midsection is getting warmed up, your arms, so there’s send up and take a look at the feet there.

I’m also twisting on the balls of the feet and now we’re moving into hip rotations just on the spot and trying to rotate the ball and socket joint that is the hip and if you’re comfortable then standing can be okay. Just make sure that you’re getting good rotations as you move around.

If it’s a little bit tricky to do this in a standing position, you can also do this up against the wall. You want to support yourself with your arms and then get the rotation there.

It’s actually a good one to try a good variation. You might find a little bit more rotation with the hip with this one, and of course make sure that you’re doing both sides. Turning in and then out.

Body Twists Mobility Drills

Now you’re going to move on to the floor to do some body twists.

When your right leg is in front, your left hand is going to be out there in front and you’re twisting your body over, so get a good reach there, stretching in each direction.


This will also help loosen up your hips so you’re alternating legs here.

Both sides are getting loosened up and then you’re going to get the shoulders in there as well. Lots of rotation and just keep switching from side to side.

Inchworms Mobility Drills

Now the next mobility drill can be quite interesting.

They’re called inchworms and you’re going to be scanning and then walking your hands towards the front right into a pushup position, so going to feel this and your hamstrings at the backs of your legs.

You’re going to feel the shoulders getting warmed up.

You can see they’re moving around there. I’m going forward and back. Your lower back is going to get loosened up as well. Make sure to hold your stomach very tight as you go forward.

Don’t dip down or allow your hips to go too far down. Just keep walking forward and back.

Split Squat Reaches

Now we’re going to move on into something that’s a little bit more intense.

This is the split squat reaches, so you’re holding your arms in the air.

You’ve got one leg in front of the other. Try to be about hip width apart for this and you’re just coming down, dropping the knee slowly towards the ground. Get the full range of motion on this.

You should feel because your arms are up. Try to feel the hip flexors a little bit more being stretched out as you come down. You’re going to do this from both sides of course, so set yourself up and both positions so that you can stretch out the hip flexors. Keep the arms up.

Yeah, the full range of motion all the way down.

Lying Leg Twists Mobility Drill

Now you’re going to get down on the ground, lie on your back, arms out to your sides, and just do a twist with the leg across.

Try to keep that leg fairly straight. You can have a bit of a bend in it, but you’re twisting at your spine and then slowly over to the other side as well.

The first few movements, just try to do it slowly. Feel the spine relax and then you can speed this up eventually if you like, twisting a little bit quicker and going from side to side.

Primarily focusing on mobilizing the spine, but you’re going to feel a little bit of the glutes as you come over. And also the arms are going to be stretching out at the top there as well.

Alternating Arm Swings

Now we’re moving on to alternating arm swings.

Just get the range of motion on the shoulders, whatever feels comfortable for you all the way up and all the way down. I want to show you this from slightly different angle just so you can see what the shoulders are doing in during this exercise. Smooth and steady.

Pendular Shoulder Circles

And now you’re going to bend over and do the pendular shoulder circles.

You’re just letting the weight of the arm take you through this motion. You’re going to do this in both directions. Of course, these are often used for shoulder rehab. When someone’s had a shoulder tear or just recovery from a shoulder. Bursitis and that type of thing to get the range of motion back. And it helps.

You’re in a position where you’re distracting the shoulder, you’re allowing that ball and socket joint to have the weight and just get a good range of motion.

Make sure you do this with both arms in both directions.

Raises Onto Toes

Now here’s one that seems really simple.

At first you’re just going to do raises onto toes and sometimes this requires a bit more coordination that you might think, but we’re just gonna warm up the ankle here with this exercise.

Get it really feeling mobile.

Once you’re ready, you can reach your arms up as well. Get a good rotation with the arms up towards the ceiling force. You’ll have to get your balance there as well. So just keep moving up at the same time where you’re reaching up onto your toes. Get a good stretch there.

Deep Squat

For the last exercise you’re just going to move into a deep squat position.

Go in there gently, whatever is your comfortable position for you.

You want to push the knees out to the side as much as you can. Sit down as low as you possibly can. Then work it a little bit from side to side.

Loosen those hips.

I understand not everyone can come down quite this low. Just try to push against it. Open up the adductors and get the hips really loosened up.

Are you feeling a bit more loosened up from these mobility drills?

I hope so.

Let me know in the comments.

What area of your body tends to get stiff and tight?

Maybe we can focus specifically on that area in another video.

Ivana Chapman


Travel Workout Using Only Your Bodyweight

Are you looking for a simple workout to fit in when you’re traveling?

Watch this video and I’ll share a full body workout you can do in your hotel room.

Hi, it’s Ivana helping you get fit, healthy and strong at any age.

I’m an Online Coach working with busy professionals, many of whom have to travel on a regular basis.

They want to do their exercise when they’re on the go.

The Travel Workout Set-Up

I’m going to be showing you this workout in my living room.

And the main thing is it’s short, only about 30 minutes.

Of course, if you have a bit more time, you can just add a couple more sets if it makes sense for you.

It doesn’t require much space.

We’re going to do this in a small area just in case you only have really a limited amount of space when you’re traveling. There’s also no jumping so you don’t disturb the people below you in the hotel.

Stick around to the end because I’m going to share some tips for fitting in your workouts when you’re on the go.

Remember that you’re only going to be using your body weight because I’m assuming you have no equipment, so the rep ranges are going to be a little higher than what you’re probably used to.

If you’re like most people in the gym, you’re doing maybe eight to 10 something like that, and these are going to be higher rep ranges because you’re not going to be able to get the load that you normally would when you have dumbbells or barbells.

It’s going to be a bit of a change from your usual training, hopefully, and that’s actually great because when you’re traveling you can get a little bit more training stimulus and your body’s more likely to change.

When you have something that’s a little bit different from your usual training you get results.

Travel Workout – Alternating Back Lunges

you’re going to start off with alternating back lunges. The starting position is about hip width apart, so be careful that you’re not going too narrow and you’re taking your time. Stepping back alternating from side to side.

I just get my hands down at the sides there, but if you’re more comfortable, you can keep them up. And we’re going for high repetitions on this one. I’m going to show you this from the other side as well, so it’s okay to have a little bit of a forward lean on this. It emphasizes the glutes a little bit more.

Make sure you keep your abs tight and there’s an arch in your lower back.

Travel Workout – Side Plank Lift

The next one is the side plank lift, so you’re just going to get down on the floor, on your side. One foot is in front of the other, so the top leg should be in front, and then you’re going to be on your forearm. Keep the other arm up in the air and just do a nice lift. So your body comes up into an alignment.

You’re going to be your obliques with this one as well as your glutes on the side underneath.

Travel Workout – Bodyweight Squat

And now we’re going into body weight squat. So you want your legs wider than hip width. You want to turn your toes slightly outward. Whatever feels natural for you. We want to go into quite a deep squat. Bring your hands together just to keep under control. You’re going to drop down as low as you can while still keeping your abs tight and you want to have an arch in your lower back.

I’m going to show you this also from the side so that you have a better view of this so you can slightly lean yourself forward.

You don’t necessarily need to be upright. It actually works a lot better if you lean slightly forward, you’re going to hit the glutes a little bit better. Just make sure you keep your core tight, your chest up so you’re not collapsing your upper body.

Tavel Workout – Push-Ups

Now you’re going to get onto the ground for pushups.

Try to make sure that your hands are directly down from your shoulders and you’re fairly wide so that you can drop your chest right down in the middle. Keep your body in line as tight. Watch that you’re not lifting your head too much or bringing it down so you’re tucking it. Make sure that your neck is in line as well so you don’t put stress under it.

Push-Ups On Knees

If you find it too challenging to do a full pushup, then you can always do these on your knees. I’m just putting a pillow here for comfort underneath my knees. The positioning is the same. You want to make sure that you hold your body tight throughout the movement and you want to come down as low as you can go. These can actually be very challenging if you do them correctly.


Now you’re going to turn over onto your back for bridges. You want to make sure that your feet are hip with the part.

Just rest your arms down at your sides. You’re coming up squeezing the glutes, pushing the hips up, and you can see as I come up that the alignment is quite straight.

You don’t want to push into your lower back. That’s a common mistake. Make sure that you’re coming up tight hold, squeeze the glutes actively and then come back down again. For this one, you’re going to have to do quite high reps. You need to get an effect because you’re not loading it with any sort of weight.

The other thing that you can do though, if you want to make this a bit more challenging, is cross your arms in front of your chest so there’s a little bit less stability and you just keep working the same position. Push through your heels as you come up to help activate the glutes.

Travel Workout – Superman

Now you’re going to turn it over onto your stomach. For Superman, there’s a lot different variations of this exercise. This particular one I’m doing is just arms down alongside the body. You’re trying to keep your knee straight and lift as well, so you’re lifting your legs, squeezing the glutes. This is a great back exercise and a little bit of fluid activation here.

Take a look at my neck position there. I’m trying to come up in alignment as well so my head’s not too far up or too far down and you’re just squeezing and holding at the top one, two, three and then release back down.

Single Leg Squat

For our final exercise, the single leg squat, you’re going to stand back up. You want to have some kind of chair behind you.

You can even use the edge of a sofa if that’s about the right height for you. You’re lifting one leg in the air trying to maintain an arch in your lower back as you come down. And really with good control, just lightly touching. You’re not actually taking the weight. Just slightly touching down and then coming back up and you want to make sure that you do this on both legs as well.

Hopefully you enjoyed that workout. Please do comment below.

How often do you travel and have you been able to do workouts when you travel?

Three Tips For Your Travel Workout

And now my three tips for working out:

  1. Get it in early. It becomes very difficult if you try to leave the workout to the end of the day. Meetings run long, you might be tired by the end of the day. So if you can fit it in before you get your day started, that’s ideal.
  2. Keep it short. I’ve already done that with this particular program. It’s simple, it’s easy, and it gets you energized for the day. Don’t overcomplicate things when you get back home to the full gym. Then you can make things a little bit more interesting for yourself. But keep this simple.
  3. Include flexibility and mobility exercises. They are helpful for getting rid of all that stiffness that’s associated with sitting for long periods of time during travel.

So I’m actually gonna have a video coming up about mobility so you can check that out. In the meantime, just do whatever stretches that you’re used to. Try to keep yourself loose when you’re traveling so you feel a little bit better.

Ivana Chapman


Is Skipping Breakfast Bad For Me?

Are you skipping breakfast and wondering what effect it might be having on you? or are you thinking about skipping breakfast and wondering if it’s a good idea? Watch this video and I’ll take you through the benefits and drawbacks of having breakfast.

It’s Ivana helping you get fit, healthy and strong.

If you’re new, please do subscribe and hit that bell so you’ll be notified whenever this new video every week.

Today we’re going to talk about breakfast.

Is Breakfast The Most Important Meal Of The Day?

I’m an online nutrition coach specializing in fad free nutrition advice. Evidence-based, logical, practical information that can help you change your relationship with food permanently.

As with all my nutrition advice, it’s all very individualized, so there is no perfect diet that works for everyone. Certain things work for certain people and they don’t work for others. So today I’m going to help you find out whether breakfast is right for you and make sure you watch to the end because I’ll tell you that specific advice I give to my online coaching clients about breakfast.

Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?

Kind of hard to say.

The body of research does tell us that people who eat breakfast are more likely to be of a healthy weight. They are able to maintain their weight loss over time more than people who skip breakfast. But that doesn’t mean that just skipping breakfast will automatically mean that you’re destined to be overweight.

If you make a plan that allows you to maintain the same amount of calories over the course of the day as someone who eats breakfast, then it won’t make any difference whether you eat that breakfast or not.

Weight Loss Requires A Calorie Deficit

Weight loss and weight maintenance really comes down to how many calories you eat over the course of the day. So if you’re looking to lose weight, you need to produce a calorie deficit. How you produce that calorie deficit doesn’t really matter whether you have breakfast or not. What matters is the entire day’s worth of calories.

But here’s where it gets very interesting. You need to ask yourself a few questions, know if breakfast is right for you.

How Does Eating In The Morning Affect YOU?

How does eating in the morning affect you?

That’s the first one.

So if you’re the kind of person, if you skip breakfast, you feel totally fine, you’re energized, you’re able to focus, you feel great. Later on in the day, you might have a balanced lunch and then you have a decent dinner. You maintain your weight, you feel good, energized and great. That means you don’t really need breakfast to you.

On the other hand, if you’re one of these people who skips breakfast and then you’re famished by about 10 o’clock and you have a few mungus muffin or some cookies, anything to try to get your energy levels up. If you were to feel really tired by mid day and you’re really struggling to get through the day,

Skipping breakfast isn’t a great idea for you.

So as I said at the beginning, it’s very individual.

Not everybody experiences the same effect when they are skipping breakfast.

I want to throw in a little bit of a caution here too though. If you eat too many carbs in the morning, you may actually have cravings for carbs later on in the day. So what you have for breakfast if you are having breakfast, makes a big difference. I’m going to go into that a little bit later when I talk about my, the advice that I give for my clients.

How Skipping Breakfast Can Affect The Rest Of Your Day

But bear in mind that what you eat first thing in the morning may very well affect your behaviour later in the day.

You may have a big insulin surge and then your blood sugar levels will drop and all of a sudden you’ll be very hungry. You might be tired, you might feel lightheaded, and then you’re going to want more food.

And if you’re trying to lose weight or if you’re just trying to feel good, that’s not great for you.

Do You Need Carbs In The Morning?

Bear in mind that having a lot of carbs in the morning isn’t necessarily a healthy choice. It’s actually a bit of a myth that we need a lot of carbs to kind of get our energy levels up in the morning.

We don’t.

Some people need a little bit more carbs in the morning, particularly people who are slim and very sensitive to insulin. If you know that you’re a little on the overweight side, you’re carrying some extra weight, then you’re less likely to be sensitive to insulin.

You need to be a bit more careful with your carbs, particularly in the morning because they affect your, what you’re doing for the rest of the day.

Just skipping breakfast though, doesn’t automatically mean that you’re going to reduce your calories, especially if, like I mentioned before, it’s affecting your behavior and you end up over consuming calories later in the day.

Intermittent Fasting (Skipping Breakfast Strategically)

So what about intermittent fasting?

Well, this is a planned dietary approach where you’re having a longer period without eating. So it generally means that you’re skipping breakfast and not eating until noon.

I have an article about intermittent fasting if that’s something that you’re interested in. I go through all the types who it benefits, who it’s not so good for.

The difference with intermittent fasting tends to be that it’s more planned. It’s not someone just kind of skipping breakfast cause they’re in a rush and then grabbing a donut later on. It’s more strategic and intermittent.

Intermittent fasters tend to make sure that they’re having enough protein over the course of the day. They make sure they’re getting enough vegetables and fiber. As long as you’re doing that, then intermittent fasting can certainly be helpful.

Is Skipping Breakfast Enough?

I’ve actually had a client who inadvertently found herself in intermittent fasting, but it didn’t help her lose weight. She was missing breakfast because she was just so busy, but later on in the day she consumed more calories so it didn’t really help.

Essentially it comes down to what I started with at the beginning of the video.

Skipping Breakfast And Weight Loss

What you eat over the course of the day, affects your weight loss and your health. The total number of calories is what’s important. Whether or not you have breakfast or don’t doesn’t matter in terms of your success with weight loss.

There isn’t really any good evidence that you’re going to have health issues just because you’re missing breakfast.

If you’re eating well for the rest of the day. If you feel good and you’re energetic. You’re at a healthy weight. then just the absence of breakfast is not going to cause you a health issue.

Treat Breakfast Like Any Other Meal

And now I’m going to share that tip that I give my online coaching clients about breakfast and it is treat breakfast like any other meal. Most of the breakfast choices that we have, let’s say eggs, toast, waffles, pancakes, muffins, danishes sausages.

Now based on those traditional breakfast foods, not a lot of them are great options and a lot of them are overly processed, refined carbs, which we want to limit in our diets. So don’t feel that you need to stick to traditional breakfast foods. These things are cultural anyway. If you’re watching this from a different country, you might, you might tell me that this is not what you have for breakfast.

I know in some Asian countries they have fish and rice for instance, so it’s all a cultural thing rather than a physical necessity in the morning.

What Should Your Breakfast Contain?

Treat breakfast like any other meal. That really means make sure to have your protein at least 25 grams for most people, a moderate amount of fat to increase your satiety so that you feel full afterwards.

You want to have some fiber because over the course of the day you need to have a certain amount of fiber and you want to have some of that in the morning if you possibly can, just to get it out of the way and then include the right amount of carbs for you.

Is Skipping Breakfast Right For YOU?

If you’re highly active, very lean, trying to put on muscle, you would probably want to have more carbs. If you’re not that active and you’re looking to lose some weight, then you want to have fewer carbs in general. So that’s how I plan every meal and that’s how I tell my clients to plan their meals. So it doesn’t have so much to do with what time of day it is. Let me know in the comments what you like to have for breakfast. It might seem strange but I have often had leftovers from the night before so whatever that meal was that I had that night, so maybe chicken breast and sweet potato and some vegetables and I’ve often had that for breakfast the next day because it’s quick, it’s easy and you get used to these things.

Eventually it seems strange at first to eat those types of food in the morning and if you treat it like any other meal, your realized that it’s just getting used to this stuff. It’s just about changing your habits.

Making An Egg Scramble For Breakfast

The other thing that I often suggest to my clients is just to take whatever leftovers you have, whatever protein and veggies and then throw that into an egg scramble and that’s a great breakfast option.

A lot of people enjoy that.

You can have so many different flavors and it is really quick and easy in the morning. I’m going to show you really quickly how to do this egg scramble for yourself and the first thing you’re going to do is just put a bit of oil on there on the frying pan. I’m using coconut oil here because I like the taste and uh, it handles a pretty high temperature, but you can use olive oil if you like, or butter or anything like that.

So you’re just going to wait for that to heat up a little bit. I’m going to show you what I’ve got here in my fridge.

Using Leftovers For Your Egg Scramble

These are leftovers from the night before. This is a, I’ve got some roasted zucchini and broccoli and we’re going to put that out there ready. And then I’ve also got a little bit of a, it’s chicken breast and then there was some lentil pastor there as well. So it’s higher in protein as well. So that’s the protein section of it that I want to add on. And then of course I’ve got the eggs. So that’s the main part of our egg scramble here. I’m just going to put those out while the oil heats up. Just want to make sure that it’s at the right temperature. I’m just somehow managed to crack that egg correctly.

The Right Amount Of Eggs For An Egg Scramble

In this case, I’m going to have two eggs and I’m going to add on an extra egg white. But I mean you can do whatever you want. If you want to have three eggs in there, you can. You can add extra egg whites depending on how much protein you want compared to fat in your egg scramble.

I might’ve let the eggs get a little bit ahead of themselves. Normally you just want them a little bit lightly done and then you’re going to throw in the vegetables and the additional protein that you want to add on and then you’re going to mix it up trying to get everything together. As I said, I probably, because I was filming I, I let them get a little bit too cooked.

Normally you want this to blend a little bit more evenly, but that’s really all it is. Just enough to heat up all the vegetables and the protein and everything comes together.

I hope I’ve helped you determine if breakfast is good for you. Make the decision that makes sense for your needs.

Ivana Chapman


Leg Building Exercises To Improve Your Skiing

Do you want to strengthen your legs for skiing?

Watch this video and I’ll show you five exercises you can do to make the most out of your time on the slopes.

This is Ivana helping you get fit, healthy and strong.

If you want to get better at skiing, then strengthening your legs can really help.

I’m a certified strength and conditioning specialist.

I’ve worked with skiers, both competitive and recreational to strengthen their legs for skiing.

I’ve also been skiing myself pretty much since I’ve always a kid, but I’ve only really worked on improving my skills in the last few years.

You’ll see clips of me skiing in this video.

Building Strength For Downhill Skiing

Now downhill skiing can be a tough sport. You need muscular strength and endurance. It challenges your balance and stability and you need to be able to generate enough force against the hills so you can push off and if you become unstable you need to be able to correct yourself.

You need a lot of core strength as well.

Although we are going to focus on the legs in this video.

Stick around until the end because I’ll show you how to put the whole routine together. The sets and reps that you need for this workout.

Bilateral Exercises For Skiing

When we think of weight training exercises for skiing, you want to do some exercises where your legs are together. Because if you think about skiing, you are trying to keep your legs together most of the time trying to be parallel. Bilateral exercises where both legs are working together.

Then you also want to do exercises where one leg is working at a time because even though the legs are often together, they’re going to be doing the work separately. So sometimes one leg will push off and the other one will have to restrict the movement.

You’re working with pushing from edge to edge.

Unilateral Exercises For Skiing

So generally you’re doing unilateral work, working one leg at a time. So most of the exercises I’m going to give you now are unilateral.

VMO Step-Up For Skiing

The first exercise is the VMO step up.

Vastus Medialis Oblique

The VMO is short for the vastus medialis oblique and it’s one of the quad muscles. It’s actually the inner quad muscle, the one that’s closest to the midline of your body, and it tends to be weakened a lot of people.

In order to balance out the quad muscles, we want to work the VMO a little bit harder and that makes it less likely for you to experience stress on the outside of the knees during skiing or any other activity where you’re putting your legs under a lot of stress.

Now this exercise is a lot tougher than it looks. You want to elevate the top leg. You can either use a small riser like I’m doing here. Or you can put a little weight plate underneath. You’re going to make sure that the bottom leg is pushed out in front.

So the heel of that bottom leg is going to be approximately at the level of the toe of the leg that’s on top of the step. And you want to do this in a slow and controlled motion, hold at the top and make sure that you’re extending so you can feel the quad and particularly the VMO on the inside of your quad contracting. And it does start to burn after a while.

Cyclist Squat For Skiing

The next exercise is the cyclist squat.

Squats in general can be very useful. This one is particularly really, really great for skiing. You’re also focusing on the VMO, the inner quad muscle in this particular exercise. And you do that by elevating your heels and that also allows you to get a great range of motion on that. You can see that I’m trying to go all the way down and then pushing back up.

And this one will also burn quite a lot, especially if you do slightly higher reps.

Single Leg Squat To Bench

Now we have the single leg squat to bench. Now this really challenges your stability. A lot of people find this very hard at the beginning. Some people can’t do it at all.

You can adjust the height of the step or the bench that you’re actually coming down to. So obviously the lower you go, the harder it is. So you can start yourself off at a relatively high level. You can even put a a pillow or something on top of the bench so you don’t have to come down quite as low, but you’re, you are aiming towards the bench, you’re coming down with as much control as possible. There are a couple of hand positions here so you can either just keep your hands out, it can be a little bit wildly.

That way you can keep your arms together so you kind of keep them under control.

The hardest position is crossing your arms in front. So if you have your arms crossed, it makes it a little bit more tricky to be able to do that single leg squat. However you might need that challenge. If you’re very strong in your legs.

How This Exercise Applies To Skiing

Now think about how important this sort of exercise is for skiing. You’re often on that one leg really going deep if you want to push off hard. So it is a really key exercise and if you’re able to do it, you’re going to find it a lot easier to recover. If for some reason a leg comes out or you get your leg, you get the ski trapped somewhere and you need to pull out with jugs just standing on one leg.

Stability Ball Hamstring Rolls

The next exercise is the stability ball hamstring roll. The hamstrings tend to be weaker than the quad, so we want to strengthen the hamstrings in order to prevent a muscular imbalance. The hamstrings are also responsible for preventing an injury to the ACL, so that’s the anterior cruciate ligament, which is the most common injury in skiing.

If you’re strengthening your hamstrings, you’re actually helping to prevent that particular injury. Specific to skiing, but in general it’s very, very important as well.

What you’re going to do with this hamstring roll, you want to make sure that your calves are up on the ball, you’re going to squeeze your glutes, that’s your butt, and you’re going to lift up first and then roll in and then slowly roll out and then try to keep this whole movement under control. In an out and then when you’re finished, just controlled lowering back down.

Single Leg Stability Ball Roll

If this becomes too easy for you because eventually it will, then you can try it with a single leg.

So you’ve turned this into a unilateral exercise and this one can be very, very challenging. It’s the same kind of movement.

You want to make sure that your hips are square, you take the time to lift first with the hips off the ground, and then you roll in and roll back out again. So you’re rolling in and out and the calves and the hamstring are getting a workout there.

Bulgarian Split Squat For Skiing

Our final exercise is the Bulgarian split squat. Now this is one of those killer exercises for the legs that a lot of people, including myself, sometimes dread, but it is a very important exercise. It will work the quads, but it will also work the glutes. You really need to have strong glutes in order to maintain stability.

That’s what a lot of people are missing. So we’re going to do the Bulgarian split squat in order to work on glute strength and stability on one leg, which we know is very important for skiing.

Set Up For The Bulgarian Split Squat

You’re going to set yourself up not too far away from the bench. You want to be able to drop down low enough so the knee comes pretty much towards the ground.

Don’t go down too quickly. I want you to come down very slowly and then back up. And if you do a slight forward lean, then you’ll find that you’ll be able to feel the glutes a little bit more. If you stay too upright, you’re gonna feel the quads a little bit more. So a slight forward lean in order to emphasize the glutes on the Bulgarian split squat is what we’re looking for. And you want to do this of course on both legs as well.

As promised, here is the whole program:


I’ve put it all together with all five exercises and the recommended sets and reps for each exercise.

Try to take about 30 seconds to a minute and a half between each set.

And then you also want to take probably about two minutes between each exercise.

Once you go through these exercises, you’ll see how they directly relate to the type of strength and the positioning that you need for skiing. They’re going to build all the elements that you need to become a better skier. You will have your legs in the kind of condition that will handle the stresses of skiing.

How To Use This Program To Prepare For Skiing

Ideally, you’re going to be doing this six to eight weeks before ski season starts. So we’re a little late right now and that’s totally fine. Even if you do these exercises in between whatever skiing you’re doing at the moment. Try maybe one to two times per week. Incorporate these to try to build your leg strength as you go.

Let me know in the comments which of these exercises you found the most challenging.

Ivana Chapman


Dynamic Warm-Up Routine Ideas

Do you want a safe and effective way to get prepared for your workout?

Watch this video and I’ll take you through a dynamic workout routine to help you prevent injured.

This is Ivana helping you get fit, healthy and strong.

I’m an online fitness coach and a certified strength and conditioning specialist.

I want to make sure that you’re properly warmed up for your weight training session.

Now the best thing to do is to start off with a five to 15 minute dynamic warm up routine, so that means that you warm up your body gradually trying to get as light sweat going on and feeling loose and mobile in every direction. Research shows that doing static stretching before a workout can actually increase your risk of injury, so you don’t want to be stretching any cold muscles and before you do a workout where you’re going to be lifting relatively heavy weights, it’s a good idea to warm everything up.

10 Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises

Today, I’m going to take you through 10 dynamic warm-up exercises that you’re going to do as part of your dynamic warmup. They’ll give you a full body warmup to prepare you for your weight training session.

Stick around until the end because I’ll show you an arms only warm up that you can do if you’re just training the upper body.

Let’s head to the gym to get started. We’re going to start with the knees up so you’re just kind of walking from side to side. Lifting the knees up, gentle. This is a good one for a lot of people that start with, it’s fairly easy.

Just gets you loosened up. Then you’re going to try to lift the knee up towards your chest. Just take a second, pull it up gently towards the chest and keep working into a knee tuck. You want to continue with these, so try not to stop, just rotate and then go back.

Hip Rotations Out

The next one is going to be hip rotations out, so you start from the inside and kind of roll the hips inside to out. Again, we’re trying to work continuously, get a good range. On this and now you’re going to try to do the opposite direction. So rolling.

Hip Rotations In

This is the hip rotations in and you’re going to try, this one is a little bit trickier, but focus on rotating the ball and socket joint that is the hip. Then you’re gonna do the foot touch inward and just whatever your range of motion is, touch the foot in. You’ll feel a little bit of a pull in the glute.

Hip Rotations In With Optional Pull

If this one is okay for you, you can do the optional hold. So you’re trying to hold your balance just for a second and do a little bit of a pull. Get an additional stretch of the glutes there.

So for some people, this works. I really like it, but not everyone can hold their balance that way and it not everyone has the hip flexibility to do this either. So if you’re okay with the previous one, just stick to that and just keep walking back and forth with that.


Now are you going to move into the Frankenstein. And the Frankenstein movement is try not to bring the arms too high in front of you because it means that you’ll tend to throw the legs up a little bit too high. Most people don’t have the hamstring flexibility to get a lot of movement there, so be very careful, very gentle, especially at the beginning of your warmup.

Quad Stretch & Lean Forward

Then we’re going to do the quad stretch and lean forward, so this one definitely requires a bit more balance. Just that first part is the quad stretch, touch and hold. See if you can bend forward just a little bit to get a bit of a hip flexor stretch out of it as well, but if not, it’s okay.

Body Twist On Floor

Then you’re going to get down on the floor. This is why we call the body twist on the floor. You’re going to bring the left leg forward and the right arm up and then the office’s side, right arm, sorry, right leg and left arm and twisting over getting some rotation at the spine for this one.


Walking Lunge With Arm Overhead

Now you move into a walking lunge and the opposite arm goes overhead. You’re just going to keep walking. That will give you a little bit of a pull, maybe in the hip flexor on that side, just a little bit more of a stretch.

Walking Lunge With Reach Over

You’re going to continue now with the walking lunge, but you’re going to do a reach over with the opposite side. So if your right leg is in front, your left arm comes over top and you’ll feel a little bit of a pull maybe in the hip flexors but also in the obliques on this side that you’re reaching away from

You can bring your knee down at the back really to get a good range of motion on this or drop the back knee down and the do a nice reach over.

Arms Only Dynamic Warm-up

And now I’m going to show you that arms only warmup that I promised you starts with your arms going forward.

Elbows are bent.

Just keep your hands in fist gently and just rotating within the shoulder. Then you’re going backwards, say motion, kind of rotate wherever your range of motion is and then straighten the arms and go all the way forward.

Same thing as big a circle as you can do going forward. And then coming back as just keep rotating back. Just trying to get the range of motion on the shoulders now, palms together and then just pull out to the side gently. You’ll feel the stretch across your chest. If you’ve recently done a chest workout, you’ll definitely notice this one.

Diagonal Dynamic Warm-up

Then you’re going to bring the arms on the diagonal and trying to continue so you’ll do this on both arms.

Switching over on the diagonal on the other side and are you going to bring your arms up from the shoulders and just bend? These are in and outs. You’re bending and then going out to the side and then touching in front and just try to speed this up as you go along. This can be quite challenging after awhile. Discredit to try to speed it up and now we’re going to bend forward. Arch the back palms are together and then you’re just opening up. I’m showing you this one from the side

Upper Body Dynamic Warm-Up

Now you’re going to bring your palms up and do the same thing. Just get the shoulders open from the other position.

Try to keep your neck in neutral on this and now this is a tricky one so both arms are up, but you’re going to try to go forward with one arm and back with the other arm. So it’s what happens is a lot of people end up spinning the other way. I’ve just switched my arms there so the other arm up and then the other one goes forward and the other one goes back. Now we’re going to bend forward, bend at the elbows about 90 degrees and just do an external shoulder rotation. Again, warming up the shoulders from a different position and then arms just over big circles.

Working Your Range Of Motion For The Dynamic Warm-up

Use whatever your range of motion is. I want you to really work it. Open it up. Cross it over in front. Just keep going up and down.

That should be enough to get your upper body warmed up.

Hopefully by the time you’re through these exercises, you’re feeling pretty warmed up.

Special Instructions For A Dynamic Warm-up

Remember that you can repeat certain exercises if they feel better for you. The order is not particularly important as long as you do the more gentle exercises first, like the knees up before you do like a walking the lines with the reach over. So do it gradually to warm yourself out.

Please let me know in the comments, which are the exercises seem best for you, that kind of address the tight areas that you’ve got.

Ivana Chapman


TVA Exercises For A Strong Core

Do you want to build a strong midsection?

Watch this video and I’ll take you through five key TVA exercises for your core.

Hi, it’s Ivana, online coach helping you get fit, healthy and strong.

Most of us want a strong, tight core. Not only does it make your stomach area look better, but it improves their posture and helps to prevent injuries, particularly of the lower back. Now the abdominals, the abs are in layers and the TVA.

The Transverse Abdominus

The transverse abdominis is the inner most layer, so the deep layer.

On top of that, you have your internal obliques and then you have your external obliques, and then right at the top you’ve got the rectus abdominis, which is the six pack muscle. The function of the TVA is to stabilize the lower back and the pelvis before movement of the arms or legs occurs, so you can see how it’s really important for protecting your lower back.

I’m going to show you five key TVA exercises to help strengthen your transversus abdominus.

Make sure you stick around until the end because I’m going to show you how you can integrate these exercises into your workout program.

Stomach Vacuum – TVA Exercises

The first exercise is the stomach vacuum and this is one of those old school bodybuilding exercises that even our himself used to do when he was preparing for competitions. So they use this to train the abdominals and then also to help them learn how to suck in their stomachs onstage. It’s actually a great way to train the TVA and to build that mind muscle connection with the TVA. So I’m going to show it to you from the side. All I’m going to do is suck in and then try to hold, it’s an isometric hold for 10 to 30 seconds. So I’m going to show you a fairly short one first. First I breathe in and breathe out.

You just try to hold that. Pretty much as long as you can. 30 seconds is what you’re aiming for.

After a while it becomes easier to be able to pull that TVA. Think about pulling your belly button in right towards your spine just as far as you can go and that helps strengthen the TVA.

TVA Side Knee Drops – TVA Exercises

You’re going to be lying on your back with your knees bent and then the first thing you want to do is flatten your lower back so that you can feel the TBA contracting as you start the exercise. This should help stabilize your pelvis, so you want to do that before you start moving the knees out to the side and keep in mind that you want to be coming down very slowly and then up very slowly and focusing on the TVA.

It’s not just about moving your leg up and down because that’s not going to get you the work that you want.

Very slowly maintain the stable pelvis, contract the TVA, and then do the movement so the knees from side to side.

TVA Seated Squeeze – TVA Exercises

You’re going to do this one with your back against the wall, legs crossed in front. And the important thing about this one is that you’re pulling back, you’re starting a position is actually pulling back all the way with your TVA. I think about your belly button pulling towards your spine. And then from that position you’re going to do a little pulses.

You’re breathing out and at that same time you’re pulling in. You do a little pull each time. So I’ll show you what happens here. So the starting position, I’m going to breathe in first and then breathe out.

As far as it feels like I can go, and now I’m going to continue to breathe out for 10. Then breathe in and relax.

Each time you’re pulling and tightening the TVA even further.

It actually teaches you how to contract your TVA quickly and very sharply. So that’s the TVA to squeeze.

TVA Dead Bugs – TVA Exercises

You’re going to do this on your back. And the first thing you’re gonna do is just bring the knees up and then the arms are going to go straight up as well. So that’s your starting position. Sometimes you’ll see people do this with a stability ball as well holding it. We’re just going to do this just to make it simple.

Now to start off your flat in your back and activating the TVA.

You’re squeezing very, very hard trying to activate that TVA and now you’re going to move your right arm and your left leg. It doesn’t have to be all the way out. It can just be a little bit of a movement. And then back in here, it’s actually kind of hard to talk.

That’s why I gotta pause there in between. In order to keep your back pressed down and your TVA activated, it takes a lot of effort. You could do up and down just movements like this. In order to actually work the TVA with this exercise, you need to do it very slow and very controlled.

Keep pulling in with your belly button towards the floor so you’re kind of drawing in and then slow movement and then back up. Then switching over and back up.

Dead Bug Variations

If this is too difficult for you, it’s totally fine. If you just want to move the arms first, keeping the squeeze and the contraction and the TVA moving the arms. You can also try us.

There’s an even simpler version if you just want to go one leg at a time, just a sore leg lowering exercise from here, but pressing flat with the back the whole time and very slowly. The key thing about dead books and variations of that exercise is that you want to stay really, really tight. You want to hold the pelvis stable.

Move very slowly in both directions, so out very slowly and then back in slowly as well.

TVA Squat Against The Wall – TVA Exercises

The next exercise is the TVA squad against the wall, so it’s a simple squat. All you’re doing is sliding down and then up against the wall, but at the same time you want to activate your TDA and be pulling in the whole time. You’ll find this is not as simple as it first sounds.

So I’m going to come up just a little bit away from the wall with my feet and I’m going to breathe in and breathe out,

Squeezing the TVA, pulling the belly button in towards the spine.

And then as I do that, I’m going to move down down into the squat position and back up the whole time, still squeezing, pulling the TVA, really tightening up.

Let me show you again.

From here you squeeze.

You might not think that looks very hard, but if you’re trying to activate your TVA and pull it in throughout the movement, you will find it very challenging. You’re going to work up to 10 reps of those. All of these exercises made sense for you.

If you have any questions, please just leave a comment and I will try to help you out.

Now, in order to incorporate these exercises into your routine, you have three options:

  1. You can do the whole routine that I’ve given you every other day
  2. Pick one of those exercises and do one exercise per day
  3. Pick two or three exercises and then do two or three exercises every day

You can do any combination you want, but I just want to give you a few suggestions that makes sense.

Hope you enjoyed these TVA exercises and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Ivana Chapman


Build A Strong Back And Improve Your Posture With Weight Training

Are you looking to build your back muscles and improve your posture? Watch this video and I’ll take you through a weight training workout to help build a strong back

Hello. It’s Ivana helping you get fit, healthy and strong at any age.

I’m a certified strength and conditioning specialist and I’ve been a natural bodybuilder for over 25 years. I’m also an Online Coach helping people get fit, healthy and strong.

Building a strong back does it need to be complicated, but you do need to hit all aspects of the back, so it’s not just about the lats. There are other muscles in the back.

Even though the lats are the strong ones, we see them as the largest muscle in the back.

You also have your upper and your lower traps that you want to take care of, and there’s also the rhomboids, which are between your shoulder blades. Although they’re retracting the shoulders back, they retract the scapula back.

That gives you really good posture and it’s part of the appearance of the strong upper back.


You also have the rear delts in there. That’s the back end of your shoulders and that’s going to give you that nice V taper look as well when you’re looking from behind.

Stick around to the end of the video where I’m going to summarize the entire workout plan for you.

Chin-up Exercise

We’re going to start off with the chin up.

This is a very challenging exercise, but it’s probably the best one for your back and it helps develop your strength throughout the lats.

You’re also going to get some bicep work here.

Ideally you’re coming all the way down to a dead hang. Then you’re pulling it up with your chin over top of the bar.

Chin-up With A Band

If a regular chin-up is too challenging for you, and it is for a lot of people, so don’t feel bad, one of the ways that you can still do a chin-up is with a band, so you’re using the band to support some of your weight in this video on using just a fairly small amount of assistance. I think the band is about 15 pounds of assistance, but you can get thicker ones that will give you a little bit more assistance, so you want to go through and use the same technique.

Assisted Chin-up Machine

The third option is the assisted chin-up, which is sometimes called the gravitron machine. If you happen to have this at your gym, that’s great to me, I don’t like this one as much because the position tends to change a little bit because you’re supported at the knees, but if it’s the only option you have, then certainly use the machine. Make sure that you set your weights up so that you only have the amount of assistance that you absolutely need for that rep range. The next exercise is reverse flys and I really liked this one for the area between the shoulder blades and for the rear delts at the back of your shoulders.

So try to keep this movement as slow and controlled as possible using the right weight for you.

Straight Arm Pushdown

And now we come to the straight arm pushed down, sometimes called the pull down. The key of with this exercise is to bend over slightly so that you’ve got enough range of motion on the left.

Make sure that you’re maintaining your lumbar spine in a neutral position. So that’s a little bit of a curve in your back. And then keep your elbow straight throughout the movement. And don’t bend your wrist.

It’s a controlled motion down and then back up again.

Seated Row Exercise

And now we’re onto the seated row. You’re gonna make sure that your knees are a little bit bent, your lower back is arched slightly and your chest is lifted up.

You want to keep this slow and controlled.

We’re going for the narrow grip here. I’m using a D handle and then squeezing the shoulders together at the back.

Y Raise

The last exercise is the Y raise and this targets an area that a lot of people overlook – the lower traps.

In order to isolate the lower traps a little bit, we’re going to try to retract the scapula (the shoulder blades) back slightly before we do the lift of the arms in front.

And as you come up, you want to maintain a straight as possible for your elbow. So for most people, this is going to require quite a lightweight. This weight that I’m using here might even be a little bit on the heavy side for me. You want to keep it controlled up and then down as well.

Please let me know in the comments what you thought of that workout.

Was it challenging enough for you?

Do you think you’re going to be able to make progress?

Can you do a chin up?

And I also want to summarize the entire program for you. So those are the exercises that we’ve gone through and the reps and sets that I recommend for this particular program. Hopefully this works out for you.

Ivana Chapman


How To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions in 2020

Is this a year you’re going to make your dreams happen?

Watch this video and I’ll show you how you can stick to your new year’s resolutions this year.

Hi, it’s Ivana.

If you want to make sure that those resolutions are going to stick this year, I’ve got just the tips you need. I’m an online fitness and nutrition coach and I help people reach their fitness and health goals.

I’m going to do this video so you can achieve any goals that you’ve got in mind for 2020.

Make sure you watch to the end because I’m going to share my goals for 2020 and what I plan to do to make sure that I stick to them.

Keep Your New’s Year’s Resolutions by Prioritizing

My first tip is to prioritize. Now, this probably won’t be the year when you lose weight. Set a personal best in the deadlift. Write a book, run a marathon, learn a new language, learn a new musical instrument and visit 10 countries.

But it can be the year that you do one or two of those things. Maybe three last year I put off writing a book which has been on my resolution list over and over and over again because I didn’t think it was a priority.

Instead I redid my website (ivanachapman.com) and I started this YouTube channel, which I’m super excited about. I also worked on my Czech language skills cause that was really important to me. And I started learning piano, which has been on my list for a long time.

So it’s a few things. I could have had a few more on there, but I wouldn’t have gotten everything done if I didn’t prioritize.

Decide what really matters to you, what’s important.

What will make you happy? What’s gonna make you feel fulfilled if you finish it by the end of this year?

Make sure you choose something that really speaks to you.

Track Your Progress

The next one is track your progress.

You want to do a weekly and monthly check in with yourself about your progress on your particular goal.

If you don’t keep track, you’re not going know where you are. You’re going to feel that your motivation starts to wane. So look at it every week and every month.

Decide where you are, what you could be doing differently.

Can you improve or are you progressing at a good rate?

So evaluate, take a look at least every week and then every month.


Keep Your New Year’s Resolution By Rewarding Yourself

My next tip is reward yourself. Having an incentive can greatly increase your chances of reaching your goal. Just make sure that your reward is somehow in line with the goal that you have in mind. So don’t reward yourself with an all you can eat buffet. As soon as you lose your first pound, if weight loss is your goal, uh, maybe you a few are striving for weight loss and you lose let’s say five or 10 pounds, maybe you can buy yourself some new workout clothes to make that experience a little bit more enjoyable or wireless headset or something, something that sense and helps promote your steps towards that goal.

Be Accountable To Someone

My next tip for making your new year’s resolution stick is to be accountable to someone. Make that goal public. Tell your family, tell your friends, and now it’s an on Facebook, whatever it takes to solidify that goal, get it out there and make you have a stronger commitment to it. It’s also important to have either an accountability partner or a coach, someone who can really be there in that journey with you. When things get tough, they’re going to help push you along and they’re going to track and monitor your progress as well. So make sure that you have someone guiding you through and holding you accountable.

Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions By Finding A Strong Reason

Now here’s one that a lot of people miss and that’s find a strong reason. Although it’s great to just want to lose weight for the sake of your health or to look a little bit better. It’s not really that strong a reason, so you need to find something very specific to you that’s going to turn off the notch, kind of increase the intensity of why you want to achieve this school.

Maybe there’s someone you want to impress. Maybe you want to be a great role model for your children.

I’ll tell you what happened with me in terms of learning Czech, which is the language of the country where I was born (the Czech Republic). I had stopped speaking it when I was four years old when I went to school and I was only speaking English because I’m here in Canada. And I decided when I would knew I was going to have a child that I wanted to speak that language with my child. So I started learning check again using some apps on the computer and trying to get back to that language again. And my main motivator was so that I could speak with my child pretty much five years along the line. And we’re a little bit further down now. I now know that I can speak that language a lot better and I’m also still trying to improve.

Now my son is pretty much bilingual and he’s able to speak to my grandmother. So his great grandmother who doesn’t speak any English.

That for me is a really powerful reason for learning that language. That’s what’s kept me going through the language learning process.

Modify Your Goals As Needed

My last tip for keeping your resolutions this year is modify your goals as needed. Don’t feel that you need to stick to that commitment, even though it doesn’t make sense for you anymore. So the year is just an arbitrary marker. It doesn’t really mean anything. You can start your goal anytime. It doesn’t really matter if the goal that you’ve made for yourself at the start of the year no longer make sense for you, then modify it, change it completely. Go for something else that you’ve decided is more important. Remember that things can change at any point along the year. So don’t be afraid of starting new goals and achieving things throughout the year.

My New Year’s Resolutions For 2020

Now I’m going to share my new year’s resolutions this year so I can put them out there in a public place and people will know about them and that’s will solidify that goal for me. So I’ve got a couple of them.

The first one is that I’m going to work on French. I’m from Canada, but I only did a few years of French in school. I’m very much a beginner when it comes to French. My niece who is nine years old has been in French immersion for a few years. I would really like to be able to communicate with her in French.

That’s my reason for trying to pursue the language. Again, I’m really enjoying learning Czech as well, so I’m going to continue with that as I try to learn French.

The other goal I have is to improve my skiing and skating. So that’s something that I do with my son and with my husband. We really enjoy that as a family. I want to get a bit more skilled at those things. We’re going to go more often.

We’ve got some skis this year, so I’m really excited about that. That means there’s going to be a lot more skiing and we’re going to do a lot more skating.

Those are the goals I have for this year.

Please do share whatever your new year’s resolutions are. If you have any. And if you don’t, please tell me why you haven’t made any resolutions. And if it just doesn’t make sense for you, cause that’s okay too. Let me know in the comments below.

Ivana Chapman


McGill Big 3 Exercises For Your Core

McGill Big 3 Exercises For Your Core

Do you suffer from back pain or just want to build a stronger core?

Watch this video and I’ll take you through Dr. Stuart McGill’s Big three exercises for core strengthening.

Today I’m going to talk to you about McGill’s big three exercises.

Dr. Stuart McGill is a professor in spinal biomechanics at the university of Waterloo that’s right here in Ontario, Canada (where I also live!).


He’s basically the master of helping people recover from back pain.

He’s done a lot of research and he teaches clinicians. He knows what he’s talking about when it comes to spinal health.

Dr McGill has three exercises that he calls his big three that are important for spinal stability.

Those are the ones I’m going to share with you today, particularly important for people with lower back pain and make sure you watch the video all the way to the end because I’m going to show you how to incorporate these exercises into your routine and I’m going to explain the one very important instruction that Dr McGill insists on for all exercises.

McGill Big 3 – #1 Bird Dog

We’re going to start off with the bird dog exercise, which you’ve probably seen before, but this is a very specific version for McGill. He likes to do the isometric hold. It’s a very slow controlled movement with a hold. So you’re on your hands and knees here and about whatever’s comfortable, hip did stints for you.

First thing that you’re going to do is make sure that you’ve got an arch in your lumbar spine, maintaining that natural curve and you’re going to pull in, dry your abs up without rounding your back. So maintain the curve, tighten up with the apps and then move.

You’re holding for about 10 seconds at the top and then bring it back down. It’s very important that you avoid shifting from side to side. Everything is done with the control of the abdominals. When you’re finished, all your reps on one side, you switch and then come back down.

This is a great exercise for the core, the TVA, and the back. That’s everything that’s involved with stabilizing the spine.

McGill Big 3 – #2 Modified Curl Up

The next exercise is the modified curl up.

You’re going to start this on your back.

Place your hands underneath your lower back and you want to maintain that arch throughout the exercise.

The other important thing here is that you’re lifting your elbows up. Just to take the attention off there.

That’s your starting position with your upper body. One leg, in this case, one knee is going to be bent and the other leg is going to be straight. So it focuses and helps you brace on that side. What happens here is that you want to do that bracing action. You’re tightening up your abdominals before you make any movement. Think about when you’re in a plank position.

That’s the bracing action. So you brace and then lift the head up and then you’re holding there. So you do your accounts from here and then back down. Now it’s really important that you don’t start cranking your neck up or anything like that.

It’s a very gentle lift. You just want to lightly lift your head up, hold it there, and then back down. Remember also that your elbows are still up, your back is still arched and you’ve got one leg in front. When you’re done all the repetitions and holds on one side, you can switch over and do it on the other side. So left brace to begin and hold. One, two, three, four, five, six and then.

McGill Big 3 – #3 Side Plank

The last exercise is the side bridge or the side plank.

Now are you going to try? You’re going to come sideways and the important part of this one is that the top leg is going to come slightly in front of the bottom leg and that will set your position up. It’s a little bit more stable than what you often see, which is one foot over top of the other, so one over top of the other here in front of the other, and then you’re going to come down on your elbow and forearm really pressed in and then lift and you want to make sure that your spine is aligned.

You’ve got that little curve in the lower back and you’re pulling in your TVA. You can either put your hands here at the side. I like to do this one with the hands. Is that just to hold that position and the same thing. It’s a bracing of the abs so you can feel the obliques working primarily here. You’re going to get a little bit of glute work there as well. That’s your whole position and then you come down and then you’re going to come up and do this. So it would be 10 seconds on one side and then come back up for another rep of 10 seconds.

Then come back down. And then you do this six times on one side and switch over and do six reps on the other.

How To Fit The McGill Big 3 Into Your Workout Program

You’ll notice that if you go through the entire protocol that it can take a long time. So you can modify this, you can do one of these big three exercises per day, or you can just do a shorter amount. You can go straight up to the ten second you can modify the holds in general throughout the program and just do whatever works for you. It’s better to be doing these exercises some way and partially then not to be doing them at all.

And the one thing that Dr McGill absolutely insists on is the neutral lumber spine.

That means just maintaining that curve in your lower back while you’re performing these exercises. So to be honest, despite the fact that McGill is such an expert, the idea is somewhat controversial and a lot of people think it’s perfectly safe to be able to flatten the back.

Just kind of flatten this, this way to train the TVA and it’s okay to do some exercises that way.

His expertise is with back pain patients particularly. Perhaps for someone with a healthy spine, it’s not an issue.

I’ve actually found that with beginners, flattening the lumbar spine helps them to learn how to activate the transfers of dominance. And I think that’s the key because we need to learn to activate the TVA first and then we can use it in all positions. Because remember the role of the TVA is to stabilize the pelvis and the lower back before you, before there’s movement of the arms or legs. So you really want to make sure that you know how to activate that TVA one way or the other. So let me know in the comments if you’ve used these exercises before, what your experience was.

Ivana Chapman



Mindful Eating Meditation To Control Appetite

Are you looking to manage your appetite and improve your relationship with food?

Watch this video and I’ll show you a simple mindful eating meditation to control your appetite.

Hello, it’s Ivana helping you get fit, healthy and strong at any age.

I’m an Online Nutrition Coach specializing in helping people change their relationship with food.

An Introduction To The Mindful Eating Meditation

If you’re drawn to mindful eating, it might be because you’re aware that sometimes you just don’t notice what you’re eating and it might be helpful to pay for their attention to it and for most people it’s actually true.

We do need to pay more attention to how much we’re eating to why we’re eating. All those things that encompass a mindful eating practice. I’ve been a coach for 20 years and mindful eating is one of those things that I work with my clients on to help build their relationship with food and make it a more positive one.

There are a lot of scripts out there for different mindfulness meditations. I find some of them a little bit too cheesy for my taste, so I’m going to keep this one really simple and basic to get you started.

I want you to choose a piece of fruit to keep things simple.

Either an apple. There’s a traditional raisin meditation as well that’s often done.

That can be quite interesting, but just choose a piece of fruit and we’ll do the mindfulness meditation with fruit.

The Mindful Eating Meditation

Let’s begin.

So let’s start by bringing awareness to the moment. Just thinking about how you’re feeling in this moment.

Are you hungry?

Maybe you’re tired?

Are certain muscles feeling a little bit tight?

How are you doing?

Just as you get ready to eat the food and now we’re going to bring your attention to the food. And first we’re just going to look what is the color? What kind of shape, what’s the texture?

Is it smooth? Or rough? Take a look at the food in front of you and just observe.


And now we’re going to move on to touch.

What does this food feel like? What does it feel like when you put your fingers on it?

Is it smooth? Rough? Slimy? Sticky?

Just observe how it feels to touch this particular food.


Then we’ll move on to smell. So bring the food close to you.

What does it smell like?

Remind you of anything? Does it bring back any particular memories? Is this a pleasant smell for you? Are you enjoying the smell of this particular food? Is this something that makes you feel positive or is it a negative smell for you?


And now we’re gonna move on to taste. I want you to bring the food to your mouth just without chewing it so far.

Just move it around with your tongue, kind of explore the flavors, the textures, how does that food feel of when it’s in your mouth, when you bring it into different corners of your mouth?


And we’re going to move on to chewing. Take a bite.

Notice how this texture changes when you’re chewing. Then continue to chew. Maybe even count the number of times that you’re chewing and notice the flavour that you’re getting as you start to chew the food.


And then we move on to swallow. So I want you to follow the path of this food down your throat. Ask yourself how it feels. Is this a positive or negative experience for you? Are is something getting stuck in there?

How does this food feel as it’s going down your throat?

Is it a bit too sour? Perhaps a bit too tart? Does it feel unpleasant in any way?

Also, are there sharp edges or does it feel pleasant?


Mindfulness is just about observing things as they are, so you don’t need to change anything. You just need to observe how things feel, how they look, how they taste.

You’re just observing and paying attention to those things and that’s the essence of mindfulness and as you develop this practice, you’re going to get better at noticing these things.

Mindful Eating Meditation With Different Foods

You could try this particular exercise with different foods.

It doesn’t have to be fruit.

You can try it with different fruit, but then you can move on to larger objects. You can do this at any meal and just practice and see what kind of information you’re getting from the food. Learn to appreciate the food a little bit more by going through these practices on a regular basis. If you bring yourself back to mindfulness, you’re going to appreciate your food and slow things down a little bit.

Sometimes all it takes to control your appetite is just to have awareness.

Are you eating really, really quickly?

Just be aware of those things.

Are you chewing very quickly?

Are you taking the time to chew thoroughly?

How This Mindful Eating Meditation Can Help You Control Your Appetite

So managing your appetite is just having awareness.

Part of that is also noticing things that happened beforehand. So things like cravings.

Why are you experiencing this particular craving? Or is it because of an association?

Does a particular feeling bring on a craving for a particular food?

And  being aware of that is all part of mindfulness. If you practice these type of mindfulness meditations (like the one I just showed you), then you can increase your awareness over time. And that will help manage your appetite.

Ivana Chapman



How To Stop Yo Yo Dieting And Stay Lean

Have you been successful with dieting until you weren’t?

Watch this video and I’ll show you how to stop yoyo dieting and stay lean for good.

Hi, it’s Ivana. If you’re new, please subscribe and hit that bell. If you want to lose weight, you’ve probably tried a lot of different diets and things have gone well for a little while and then they just don’t anymore because you can’t sustain that particular diet.

I’ve been up and down and up and down and up and down with my weight and I’ve worked with a lot of clients in the past 20 years to help them overcome their yoyo dieting so that they can have sustainable weight loss.

That’s what I want to do for you today. I’m going to go through the process of ending yo yo dieting.

Don’t forget to watch to the end because I’m going to share my one special tip that really enables me to stay lean year round.

So if you’re ready to get off that diet train, hit that like button and let’s begin.

Change Your Terminology

There are a lot of words that have negative connotations, whether we like it or not.

The word diet is not particularly appealing to most people. They tend to have a negative view of that and I tend to not use it when I’m speaking with my clients about what they’re eating.

The term that I like is nutrition plan. So I mean it’s the same kind of thing and technically speaking it means the same thing, but diet just sounds so horrible, doesn’t it? And changing your terminology can make a big difference to how you perceive the process of weight loss. So it’s important to use the words that actually make sense for you. The other one that I prefer, a lot of people use junk food and I’m not a huge fan of that. Although occasionally it slips out.

It’s still, because it is so common.

Treat, Don’t Cheat

I like to call them treat foods. So a treat or a treat, food is a really positive thing. You want something that makes you feel good, something that you really enjoy. It’s a treat.

That’s not a bad thing. It’s a treat.

So it’s not junk food. It’s a treat food.

And the last one that I think is quite important is cheat. A lot of people have used this cheat meal system.

I used it for a while myself when I was going through a clean eating phase and when I was following that particular system. But I find that that’s actually not that helpful. Most people will say,

“Oh this is a cheat meal.”

And then it has a really negative connotation to it because you don’t cheat on a test, you don’t want to cheat on your spouse, you don’t want to cheat, right?

It’s a bad thing.

Anything that encourages a negative relationship with food is something that you want to avoid.

Let’s talk nutrition plan, let’s talk about treat foods and let’s just talk about treating ourselves cause those are all positive things.

That’s a key part of weight loss and getting off that yoyo dieting cycle.

Change Your Mindset To Stop Yo Yo Dieting

The next one is change your mindset.

We’ve already tried to take away the idea of diet and that means also the concept of going on and off a diet.

What you’re taking in on a regular basis. The type of food and the amount of food that is your nutrition plan. That’s your nutrition and that’s what you’re eating.

And you don’t want to think of that as something that you go on, that you start and that you stop. It’s not a fixed time. Everything that you eat, whether it’s this week, next week, next month, during Christmas holidays, when you go on vacation, all those things count.

Ending yo yo dieting means that you don’t discount those other times.

Those are things that you’re eating. You don’t want it to be a short fixed time. You want to think of everything you eat as a balanced whole piece of your life puzzle.

It’s not something that you go on and go off. Just think of every little bit, making a difference. And that’s actually more positive because you know that you can make a change with the next meal. You don’t have to wait until Monday to start that diet. All you have to do is eat a little better with your next meal, eat a little less with your next meal. And that’s all it takes to get you moving in the right direction. And that should make you feel positive about progress and then you’re no longer on that diet mentality.

Don’t Rely On Exercise

As much as I totally believe in exercise and I think it’s an important part of being fit and healthy and feeling good and developing a great shape and just feeling awesome.

It’s really not the key to weight loss. You need to focus more of your efforts on nutrition because in terms of the calories that you can actually expand through exercise, they’re quite limited and you need to make sure that you’re paying close attention to what you’re taking in calorie wise instead, this is going to make a much bigger difference.

People often say it’s 80% diet and then 20% exercise. In some cases it can be 90% guide and 10% exercise.

If you don’t have a lot of time to exercise, then you really need to focus on that. If you’re a very busy person, nutrition is always the side that you should focus on. A lot of times what will happen to, if people can’t exercise for some reason they decide that they’re just going to ditch their whole nutrition plan and they’re not going to do that anymore and then it actually becomes worse.

So in order to stop yo yo dieting, you need to not rely on exercise.

You need to focus on the nutrition side.

Appreciate Your Food To End Yo Yo Dieting

Food is delicious and tasty and wonderful. It’s a part of the social fabric of our existence. We eat alone, we eat with others and hopefully we appreciate all that we have. When it comes to food, it’s really important to have a positive relationship with food and part of that comes from not seeing food as the enemy.

Food is not the enemy. We need it for energy, we need it to feel strong, we need it to feel good, but you also need to realize which foods are going to do that for you and which are not.

I’ve created an entire video about mindful eating.

It’s all about appreciating food, the smells, the tastes. All those things that are part of food.

Remember that food is an important part of life.

A lot of stuff revolves around food. Food cannot be the enemy.

Food is a partner in a positive relationship. Try to think of it that way and you’ll be able to end the dieting process.

Create Helpful “If/Then” Statements

This is a very powerful way of building habits that are positive and breaking bad habits.

You’re looking at a situation and you’re creating a related if then statement that’s going to be helpful for you.

f I’m coming back from the gym late, then I’m just going to have a protein shake before I go to bed.

If I don’t have time to repair food, then I’ll go to a grocery store (or a place that you know where there’s an appropriate meal) that you have prepared.

If I’m not feeling like working out, then I’m going to adjust my calorie intake accordingly so that it makes sense and that I don’t get off track.

Make these very personal for yourself, something that can help you get through bad habits that you have and can help you establish positive habits.

If you have these things, you don’t have to worry, you don’t have to think about extra things.

You’ve got structure.

You can stop yo yo dieting if you have a reasonable plan to follow.

If it’s Tuesday night, then I go to the gym and do weights for 45 minutes.

If it’s Friday night and I’m going out with friends, I’m going to skip the bread, but I’m going to have a small dessert.

Those positive “if/then” statements can really help you overcome limitations to weight loss and they can prepare you for a positive lifestyle. That makes sense.

Get Support To Avoid Yo Yo Dieting

The next one is get support. Everybody is fine at the beginning when they changed their lifestyles, when they start exercising.

Think about the beginning of the year for instance, everybody is so gung ho, the gyms are packed.

Everybody’s having a salad instead of fries.

It’s all these things that people are okay with.

At the start of the process and then somewhere along the line something comes up and all of a sudden you can’t follow that anymore. And that’s when you need help from others. That’s really when it counts.

When you hit an obstacle, you need someone to help you through.

How Online Coaching Can Help

This is one of the things that I do for my clients.

It’s one of the key things.

I mean there is information for nutrition and fitness out there. It’s actually not that hard to get. Having someone to support you through that process is really key. Because you will be committed for a certain period of time and then you won’t. And that’s just the way it goes.

Life is up and down and up and all around and you’re going to face challenges and you’re going to need someone to help you overcome those challenges. You’re going to have to figure out a way of managing your lifestyle and still being able to follow whatever nutrition plan you have for yourself.

Make sure that you’ve got either like a support buddy or a professional coach like myself who can help you along the way because getting support will really help you stay consistent. And my final tip, this is the one that’s super secret one that actually gets me now after all these years, it lets me stay lean year-round.

Don’t Restrict Yourself

And that means giving up fad diets going on and off, diets, things we talked about earlier in the video. Uh, it just means that you don’t keep yourself from something that’s really in terms of food, something that’s really important.

So I love chocolate, but I have gone through phases where I have given up chocolate and just said, I’m just not going to have it ever anymore.

I’m never going to have chocolate. Like I think about it now. It just sounds so ridiculous to me because obviously I’m going to have chocolate now. I have it almost every day. Um, and not, not as large quantities, but I have it almost every day.

Your brain starts to focus on those things that you tell yourself you can’t have.

If I tell you don’t think about an elephant, what are you thinking about?

Probably an elephant right now, right?

If people are following a very restrictive diet then they develop an obsession with certain foods. The ones that they’re missing out on. If you really love fries and you’re not allowing yourself to have those once in a while, then you’re going to feel miserable and you’re going to be focused more on those fries than you would be otherwise.

How I Ended My Own Yo Yo Dieting Cycle

What’s happened for me now is that when I allow my self more treats, say it’s my birthday or it’s a special occasion, I’m like, Oh, I’m going to have whatever I want now. And all of a sudden I’m almost at a loss because I kind of allow myself to have whatever I want on a regular basis anyway. So it’s not really a big deal for me anymore. Whereas before I would be like, Oh no, no, no, no chocolate for like two months and that kind of thing.

As soon as I got to that point, I would just eat all the chocolate that was available everywhere. And just go out and get more and that would be it. So restricting yourself actually makes things worse.

Don’t restrict yourself.

What Really Matters For Getting Lean

What really matters when it comes to long-term weight loss success is sustainability.

And that means how well you can stick to whatever nutrition plan you make for yourself.

Please let me know in the comments what type of nutrition plan that you’re currently following and whether it works for you and you think you can keep it up. It’s okay if it’s a fad type diet like Quito or something like that, it’s totally fine. As long as you really enjoy fat and you know that you can sustain yourself on that particular plan, that’s totally fine. More power to you.

It wouldn’t work for me. I need to have my chocolate and I need to have my carbs and that’s my particular choice. But there are so many different ways of losing weight. There are so many different ways that you can eat and still be lean and strong and healthy. Don’t feel that you’re restricted by that.

You don’t have to follow any particular plan as long as it works for you and it’s sustainable.

Ivana Chapman


How To Develop A Growth Mindset For Weight Loss

Are you struggling with weight loss and think it might be down to your mindset?

Watch this video and I’ll show you how you can use the growth mindset to help you lose weight.

It’s Ivana. I’m an Online Coach specializing in helping people change their lives through exercise, proper nutrition and the right psychological strategies.

If you’re new here, please subscribe and hit the bell to be notified. You know you want to lose weight, but you think your mindset might be a problem. Spoiler alert, it probably is. In this video I’m going to show you how you can use a growth mindset to help you lose weight and keep it off for good and stick around until the end where I’ll show you how you can influence others like your spouse or your kids to develop a growth mindset as well.

The concept of a growth mindset comes from a book by Carole Dweck.

She’s a PhD, a Stanford psychologist, and this book came out in 2006 now, Dr Dweck was studying students’ attitudes towards failure and that’s where her whole idea of growth mindset versus fixed mindset came from.


Growth Mindset

So let’s go briefly through the differences. In a growth mindset, a person believes that their ability is down to hard work and dedication so they can push themselves and they’ll do better.

Fixed Mindset

In a fixed mindset, a person believes that all their abilities aren’t innate and they can’t really do a lot about it. Dr Dweck was looking at students and their attitudes towards exams and their attitudes toward failing exams or doing well or not doing well at those particular exams.

Some of the students believe that if they worked really hard and they studied very hard, then that was the reason for how well they did at their test. And others believe that they just are either smart or they’re not smart, so they failed the test because they’re just not good at that particular subject.

Let me know in the comments which of those mindsets you tend to gravitate to.

And keep in mind that it’s also possible to exhibit a growth mindset in some areas and then have a fixed mindset in other areas.

You might believe for intelligence that that’s a fixed thing, but then athletic ability, you might think that you can increase that over time. So here’s how we can use that growth mindset to succeed at weight loss longterm.

Don’t Label Yourself In A Negative Way

Many people, maybe they’ve grown up and they’ve always been overweight. They see themselves that way.

“I’m an overweight person.”

That’s just my identity and that really shouldn’t be part of your identity. That is something that is changeable and you do have control over that, through your nutrition, through your exercise, through your habits and behavior

. You can affect those things. So you need to take away all those negative habits.

When it comes to exercise, a lot of people say “I’m just not the gym type” or “I’m not coordinated.”

Sending yourself those messages doesn’t really help. Probably you feel that way because you haven’t developed those skills adequately. And all it takes is practice. So if you look at it from a growth mindset, you can work on all of these things. You can improve your control around food. You can prove your relationship with food in general. That is something that can be developed over time with the right guidance. I have some videos about mindful eating.

That’s one way of dealing with that and with exercise. You take yourself from the beginning, you learn basic weight training exercises, and then you get more coordinated. Then you get stronger, you get fit, or you feel better. You need to believe that you can change these things.

Also, if you’ve been successful with weight loss before and then you just put that weight back on, this is so common, right? It happens to most people at some point. Don’t feel like a failure because of that. If you label yourself a failure or I’m just not good at this weight loss thing, or I’m just not good at dieting, I’m just not good at any of those things, you’re not going to believe that you can change it. You can change all those things. So developing a growth mindset is about believing that you can change all those negative things and turn them into positive.

Embrace Challenges

A very important part of the growth mindset is to embrace challenges. Anyone who has a growth mindset is more likely to embrace challenges. People with fixed mindsets tend to shy away from those things. They tend to just stay in their comfort zone.

It’s important to realize that weight loss is a challenge. Changing your nutrition, changing what you’re eating on a day to day basis.

When you’re so busy and you have certain cravings, it’s a challenge, but you need to embrace, embrace that challenge. Otherwise you’re not going to be successful at it. You need to embrace the challenge of exercise. If you get up in the morning, say, ah, I don’t want to exercise, it’s just awful. You need to see the positivity. You need to embrace the challenge of building your strength, the challenge of building your fitness. It doesn’t mean that you have to run a marathon. It doesn’t mean that you have to take on any particular challenge, um, try to increase your bench or anything like that. But you need to appreciate the struggle, the struggle in the nutrition side, the struggle at the gym.

You need to appreciate that as part of the process and a lot of people learn to love that struggle because it makes them feel strong and empowered because they know they’ve overcome that challenge and that is a key part of a growth mindset.

Deal Positively With Obstacles

Now we’re all going to have obstacles from time to time. It is never a linear upward journey. Trust me, you will get sick. Someone in your household will get sick, you may get injured. You may just go through a period where there’s tons of parties and all of a sudden you kind of spiral out of control with your nutrition side, so these obstacles, they’re always going to be there. That is what life is all about. Obstacles and overcoming these obstacles is really an important part of the growth mindset. Another key part of the growth mindset is seeing your effort as worthwhile. It takes a lot of small actions, a lot of small decisions in order to add up to longterm weight loss. It’s not just substituting a salad for fries one time. You need to do a lot of these things on a regular basis.

You don’t just work out one day and you get like totally fit, right? If you’re consistent then those things will pay off. If you believe that those efforts are worthwhile, then you’re more likely to continue. You’re more likely to be consistent.

Deal With Criticism Positively

A key part of what the growth mindset is is being able to take on board negative criticism and deal with it and use it to move you forward in the positive direction. None of us is perfect and if someone tells you, okay, and here’s how you can improve, and you just take that as an attack and you just fight back against that and you’re not willing to accept that feedback, then you’re going to have a hard time moving forward and growing.

Be Inspired By The Success Of Others

If it’s someone in your own life or someone you see on social media, if you look at that person and think, wow, that’s great, they did it and I can do it too. That’s awesome. Then not to growth mindset and that is going to push you forward. That’s going to make you try a little bit harder, achieve the same thing that that person is doing.

If you look at a person, let’s say on social media and you say, Oh yeah, that’s great for him, or that’s great for her.

They probably have a personal trainer. Maybe don’t have three kids. They probably don’t have to work 60 hour weeks, blah, blah, blah.

All those excuses. Then you’re not really helping yourself. You’re just in a fixed mindset because you believe that your situation is unchangeable. There’s nothing you can do about it and that’s not going to get you any results.

So be inspired by the success of others. Don’t be threatened.

Developing A Growth Mindset In Others

And now I’m going to share my sneaky bonus tip for getting others to develop a growth mindset and I’m going to use the example of children. I have a five year old son and a lot of people want to tell their kids, “Oh, you’re so smart.”

But that’s not really encouraging a growth mindset because if kids believe that they’re smart, then they’re not going to try to challenge themselves. If a kid is just trying to hold onto that, “I’m smart, I’m smart”, they’re not going to want to make any mistakes.

It’s really important that they know that it’s the effort that really matters. So for my son, we’re working on math problems and he does really well at it, then I tell him it’s because, Oh wow, you worked really hard or you thought really carefully about that and that’s why you got the solution that’s developing a growth mindset in him.

If I just tell him, Oh you got that cause you were so smart, what can he do about that?

Nothing. Cause it can’t really change how smart he innately is. He can only change his effort. So that’s how you can develop a growth mindset in others.

You have to praise them appropriately.

Give them the right kind of praise.

Don’t tell them that they’re smart. Tell them that they’re working really hard or that they’re really focused or anything else that’s positive that would get a result in that particular area. So praise appropriately.

Please remember that a growth mindset means success in all areas of your life, not just weight loss. So you can use this for any area that you want to get a little bit better at. If you feel like you’re weak in a certain area. If you want to be more committed, for instance, then you need to believe that you can develop more commitment.

Start small, work your way up to develop that growth mindset.

Ivana Chapman


Mindful Eating Tips To Change Your Relationship With Food

Are you unhappy with your relationship with food and what to find an evidence based way of changing it?

Watch this video and I’ll share five mindful eating tips to transform your relationship with food.

Hi, this is Ivana helping you get fit, healthy and strong.

Today I’m going to talk to you about mindful eating.

As a coach of about 20 years, I have to say that mindful eating is one of the most effective strategies that I’ve used with my clients to help them overcome a negative relationship with food.

These mindful eating tips can help you understand how and why you eat.

They bring awareness to the whole process of eating, brings awareness to the food and that’s really key. I

f you are looking for lifelong weight loss, you need to have a positive relationship with food.

I’m going to share five mindful eating tips that will help you work on mindful eating and build that relationship with food, something that will serve you for your entire life and make sure you stick around to the end because I’m going to share the one tip that I often struggle with, but I’m still working on it.

Take A Moment To Pause Before You Eat

This is a habit that not enough people have. We normally just put down the food and we start shoveling away.

When you’re talking about mindful eating, you want to be aware.

The first thing just before you’re about to eat your food, just take a moment to pause and ask yourself a few questions. So why am I eating this particular food at this time? I might actually hungry. Am I eating on a schedule? Is it just lunchtime? And that’s why I’m eating?

Is this the food that I really feel is going to benefit me? Is this food going to make me feel good? Do I like this food? Am I enjoying this food? Why am I eating this particular food at this time?

Just take a moment and it only has to be a few seconds to just run those questions through your mind when you sit down to eat.

Appreciating All Five Senses Is Part of Mindful Eating

My next mindful eating tip is appreciate all five senses. So often with food we just think about taste and that’s the only thing, but there’s so much going on. The first thing that you actually want to notice is sight.


What does your food look like?

Sight (Vision)

Take a look at the color, the texture.

Is it appealing to you?


Then you’re going to move on and maybe there’s a smell and so you can bring it up to your nose. Smell, see what it is. Is it appealing to you?

Sound is not quite as obvious. Obviously unless you’ve got a sizzling skillet of something, then your food itself probably won’t make a sound. But when you actually take it in and start chewing it, what does it sound like?

Is it crunchy or is it very quiet?

What’s the sound that you hear when you’re consuming that food?


Then we’re going to move on to touch.

So you may be touching the food if it’s, you know, if it’s an apple or a sandwich.

You may be touching it and you can actually feel what it’s like. But even if you’ve got something on a fork, what does it feel to hold the utensil if you’re holding the fork, what does that feel like? Is it heavy?

This sounds kind of silly, but those are things that we don’t notice.

This is what mindfulness is all about. It’s bringing awareness to things that we don’t normally notice.


And the last one of those senses, of course, is taste. And this is when you can really start to appreciate the food. Take some time. We often just eat and maybe we chew a little bit and then we shovel the food down.

Mindful eating is about taking your time to appreciate that taste.

Is it sweet? Is it salty? Can you notice certain herb herbs and spices?

How does that food taste to you? Is it really appealing? Why is it appealing? Do you enjoy the texture?

There’s a lot of things to be aware of as part of mindful eating.

Pay Attention To Your Chewing

Chewing is actually the start of the digestive process.

You’re mixing saliva with the food and it becomes something that’s called a bolus. And then that bowl is traveling down through your digestive tract. So you need to pay some attention to the chewing process.

I’ve heard some people say, “If you want to eat really well, then you want to chew 20 or 30 times for each bite of food.”

I haven’t got time for that. I don’t know about you.

Once in a while if you’re practicing mindful eating, that’s what you want to try to do.

Try to count your chews.

You can check also what side of the mouth you’re chewing on. You might notice that one side compared to the other.

Your dentist probably knows based on how you’re wearing down. So most of us don’t chew equally on either side. So it’s something to notice when you’re trying to practice mindful eating. What side are you chewing on? How many times are you normally chewing a fork full of food? How long is it taking you to eat that food?

Most of us will find that we are pretty fast and probably a little quicker than we should be. If something’s very, if it’s a very large portion, you probably want to chew that a little bit more thoroughly. It might take those 20 bites to get through it. Normally five to 10 bites is kind of reasonable in order for us to get through life without having to do that.

But if you’re doing it as an exercise, if one day you decide you’re going to do a mindful eating exercise, then sit and try to chew 30 times for a fork full of food and it will take you a while and you’ll realize that most of the time you’re rushing, you’re eating.

Chewing is really important.

Put Down Your Utensils Or Food

It depends on what you’re eating. Of course, if you’re just eating some fruit and you’re holding it with your hand, just um, put that fruit down. So if you’ve got an Apple, you chew, chew, and then you put it down for a little while and just focus on your chewing for a little while. If you’ve got a plate full of food, then just put down that fork for a little while and just, you know, breathe, pause for 10 to 15 seconds.

Slowing down the eating process is really important.

Not only for your digestion, but just for your awareness of the food. You’re likely to consume a lot more food than you should if you’re not taking the time to eat it correctly. So put down the food, put down those utensils a little bit in between. That gives you some time to be mindful of what you’re doing and to consider how much you’re eating, how full you’re getting. Is it time to stop?

This is a really important part of mindful eating.

Avoid Distractions

And now we’ve come to my last tip, which is the one I told you that I actually have a hard time with and it is avoid distractions. So this means no eating in front of the TV, no eating in front of the computer, no eating while holding your phone. None of those things. And I’m not saying that you should never do that.

Okay? Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t mean that you should never eat in front of the TV.

It doesn’t mean you should never eat it while you’re on Facebook or YouTube or anything like that. It’s totally fine to do that occasionally, but when you’re practicing mindful eating, you want to be away from those distractions. So you want to be eating at least some of your meals, not in front of those distractions. If you’re eating all your meals and are constantly distracted, you’re going to find that you’re not aware of how much food you’re eating. You’re probably not enjoying your food as much as you could.

Have you ever noticed how much you enjoy an evening out with friends where you’re eating and really enjoying that meal and just chatting and really appreciating that food? It’s a big difference from just sitting in front of your computer and just one after the other one fork full after the other, so try to appreciate your food a little bit more by paying more attention to it.

Mindful eating is not about perfection.

It doesn’t mean that every time that you eat a bite of food, you have to be completely mindful.

This is a practice, so it’s something that you do occasionally to help teach you something about how you eat and why you eat and you don’t have to do it every time. It’s not about perfection. Don’t feel guilty because occasionally you have to eat on the run, you have to eat on the subway, you have to eat in the car, although be very, very careful there.

Don’t feel guilty about it.

Your Mindful Eating Practice

Just realize that you’re doing it and try to cut down on those habits because in general you want to have a positive relationship with food and that means appreciating that food on a daily basis. Please let me know in the comments what you can do, which of these tips you can use to make yourself a bit more mindful when you’re eating.

For me, it’s definitely not having distractions and I have been working on that, trying to eat more meals, not in front of the computer, not while I’m doing work, just so I can appreciate my meals a little bit more. I most enjoy the meals that I have with my family because we sit there, we talk, and we do appreciate the food that we’re eating as well. I hope you enjoyed those mindful eating tips today.

Ivana Chapman



Flatten Your Stomach Without Crunches

Do you want to flatten your stomach, but without doing crunches?

Or all those typical things that people do at the gym that don’t actually work?

Watch this video and I’ll tell you what it really takes to flatten your stomach.

Welcome to my channel!

I’m all about getting you fit healthy and strong and yes, a flat stomach is part of that.

A lot of people have that as their goal and I’ve been helping people do that for about 20 years now.

I’ve got some great tips coming for you.

At the very end I’m going to tell you why crunches can actually be a really bad idea and they can actually be dangerous for you.

I’m going to break this down into three simple tips. They are simple but unfortunately they’re not easy.

Lose Belly Fat To Flatten Your Stomach

I actually created an entire video about losing belly fat and I definitely recommend that you check that out.

Losing belly fat. Just in the simplest terms, you need to manage your calorie intake and calorie expenditure. So you need to be in a calorie deficit. So a lot of people think they’re in a calorie deficit, they think that they’re not eating that much or whatever.

By definition, if you’re not losing fat, then you’re not in a calorie deficit.

So you need to either increase your energy expenditure or decrease your calorie intake.

In some cases, modifying your macros may also make a difference. And that’s might be another factor that you need to consider. But producing a calorie deficit will reduce your belly fat, and that’s the first thing.

You’re losing fat all over anyway. For a lot of people, the last place to go will be the stomach.

You’re going to have to lose a certain amount of body fat before you starting to flatten things down around the midsection.

Simple but not easy.

Flatten Your Stomach With TVA Exercises

As opposed to crunches, which are primarily working the rectus abdominous TVA exercises, that’s the transversus abdominis. So it’s often thought of as the lower abdominals, but it’s not really just in the lower abdominals. It’s actually all the way around and it’s the inner abdominal.

Your abdominals are in layers, so you’ve got them underneath the rectus, the six pack muscle, the rectus abdominis is actually on the outside, but inside at the very inner part is the TVA or sometimes called the TA depending on um, your terminology. And that’s actually, it’s a big wide muscle. We often feel it just coming in.

You touch where your hipbones are and come in a little bit, but it actually is right under and it’s larger than most people think it is as well. And it, it wraps right around.

It helps to support your back.

A lot of people have weak TVA muscles.

That means that their stomach is kind of bulging out at the bottom, even though even if they are quite slim and don’t have a lot of fat, they’re bulging out at the bottom.

TVA muscles can actually help pull things in. Knowing to activate those when you’re either sitting or standing can help tighten things up and improve the appearance.

It’s going to flatten your stomach.

I’m going to go through a few of those exercises, the ones that are really important.

TVA Exercises To Flatten Your Stomach

The important thing when you’re doing TVA exercises is that you first need to learn how to activate that TVA.

TVA Contractions

Normally it’s easiest for people if they’re lying down on their back. And then you’re going to have your knees bent. And the first thing you’re going to do, cause you’ve got a natural arch, your lumber lumber arch here.

That should normally be in there. What you’re gonna do is just place your hands under there and then flatten. Press down with that arch onto your fingers. So then you’re squeezing. And by doing that movement, you should be able to start to feel the TVA in there. So you’re pressing down, but really you can feel the contraction on the other side.

Normally I have clients find it where the hipbones are and then just coming in a couple of maybe an inch or two in.

Then you just press down very hard. The one on the outside that would be rectus. It’s coming all the way.

Your rectus abdominis is outside and your TVA is very deep underneath.

It’s just a subtle movement. So as you pressed flat, then you should feel that area of contract underneath your fingers. And then you release and you go back into a natural arch position.

You look underneath my back there, I’m going back to a regular arch. And then we’re going to do another contraction. So to flatten your back and hold for one, two, three, and then release. So this one, when you’re starting out, you can just do three sets of 10 and you’re going to be doing it. Hold each of those for three seconds.

One, two, three, feel that squeeze and then relax it back. You have that lumber curve again.

And then press down one, two, three, and then relax. That’s the TVA contraction.


Now once you’ve learned to activate the TVA correctly, we’re going to move on to the next movement.

You’re in the same position. To start off, you want to flatten that arch to activate the TVA, and now you’re gonna lift one foot and then bring it back down again.

And then you’re going to lift the opposite side and bring it down again.

Initially you’re probably only to be able to do one lift and come back down before you feel like you have to release. And then let go of that. Let go of the TV at the front. Eventually it’d be able to do more in a row. So we’re going to start this. Maybe you start with five and that’s okay.

Press flat first and then do a March left. So your squeeze and keeping the back flat during that, and then switch, same kind of thing, and then back down and left. And it keeps switching from slide to slide. Just gently and always focusing on maintaining the contraction here at the bottom of the TVA.

TVA Foot Slides

The next exercise is going to start from the same position, flattening the back first to activate the TVA, and then you’re gonna move the foot. Just slide across the floor, just slightly off, off, up off the floor, and then back.

And then you want to maintain your contraction. You can actually have a rest here in between. And then squeeze again, tract, and then out with the other foot and back. So it was just a foot slide. You don’t need to do a big lift or anything like that. Just keep it along the floor, gentle. And then back. So those are the TVA foot slides.

TVA Seated Squeezes

And now we’re going to go into the TVA seated squeeze.

I’m going to show you this from a couple of positions.

You can have your legs crossed here. And the first thing that’s going to happen is that you’re going to breathe in and out. As you breathe out, you pull your stomach all the way in as far as you can possibly go. Then you’re gonna breathe out and pull it even further in.

You do the silly little breathing.

I’m going to show you this one from the side, but just sit however you’re comfortable. If you can’t do cross-legged, that’s fine. You can do this with your legs straight out in front as well. Whatever’s comfortable. So from the side here for a sun reigning in and out.

I’ve just done 10 there and that’s pretty challenging. You could work your way up to about 30, but the whole is that you want to squeeze even tighter each time that you squeeze out.

Sometimes I call this a pull. Pull, pull, pull. Just keep pulling it until you feel the inner abdominals or the lower abdominals, the TVA contracting as you do this exercise.

TVA Wall Squeeze

Now this last exercise is just a variation of the one that we did in the seated position. And you need to be up against the wall. You’re going to bring yourself just a little bit more than 90 degrees and you’re going to do exactly the same thing that you did on the floor. So what you’re gonna do is breathe in, breathe out.

You’re drawing your stomach in as far as you possibly can, focusing on the lower abdominals, keeping your back flat against the wall as well. So think about that when you did the TVA on the floor.

It’s the same kind of thing here.

You’ve breathed out as far as you can, and now you’re going to do the same kind of breath. So this is a progression from the seed of the one that’s a little bit harder. Sometimes it’s good to try it from different positions just so you can get the feel of it.

Eventually you want to be able to do the contraction in any position.

So as you’re moving around, you can feel that contraction. That’s really what it’s about.

Developing the functional strength and the abdominals and really tightening up that TVA to keep the stomach flat.

Why TVA Exercises Are Important To Flatten Your Stomach

It’s really important to do those TVA exercises on a regular basis so that you can keep that area strong.

You’ll keep your stomach feeling flat.

Reduce Digestive Bloating To Flatten Your Stomach

I actually already created an entire video about reducing stomach bloating.

Have Smaller Meals

To simplify, number one was have smaller meals so that you don’t have as much in your stomach at the time. It makes it easier for your digestive system to cope with the food that you’re eating.

Reduce Gas-Producing Food

Number two was reduce gas producing food. So those are the typical things like beans, cruciferous vegetables, like the broccoli and cauliflower and that type of thing.

Things containing fructose can be a problem for some people.

So that may be some fruit for sure, but some vegetables as well. So asparagus and zucchini, those are some vegetables that also have fruit toast, which may cause bloating as well. The one thing I didn’t mention was that raw vegetables can actually be much more difficult to digest than cooked vegetables. So a lot of people think that if they’re eating, they’re eating salads and they’re doing themselves a great thing, and then all of a sudden they’re like blown it out to here. Right?

I have a hard time because I have digestive issues. I have a hard time dealing with raw vegetables so I can have it only have small amounts of raw vegetables. Otherwise it becomes very difficult. Uh, when the food is broken down to a certain extent by cooking, whether you’re roasting it or baking or steaming, then it actually helps your body to absorb those nutrients as well.

So you can reduce your bloating and that’ll keep your stomach a little bit flatter.

Don’t Drink Liquids With Your Meals

And the third thing, not drinking liquids with your meals, because again, you’re going to have a larger amount of stuff in your stomach, right? So you want to keep it small meals and try not to drink water with your meals. Have them have it apart. So if you’re, you’re going to drink your liquids, then have it at least like an hour, half an hour before or an hour after your meals. And that will help reduce your stomach bloating. So I’ve just given you a three simple tips, simple but not easy for flattening your stomach. And if you follow all those through, your stomach will get flatter. It just takes a little bit patience and some time to achieve it.

Why Are Crunches A Bad Idea To Flatten Your Stomach?

And now what you’ve been waiting for, why are crunches such a bad idea?

I don’t want to say that they’re a bad idea for everybody because if you are a strong person, an athlete, a physique competitor, a bodybuilder or something like that. Crunches may actually be at useful thing.

They do help to define the rectus abdominis. That’s the six pack muscle. And you want to be doing them, preferably in lower rep ranges, just like you would do with any other muscle group.

But the reason that they’re not a great choice for most people is that number one, people don’t use great technique.

What Mistakes Are Made With Crunches?

They’re jamming their neck up and down. You make your neck really sore. A lot of people don’t do enough back work. So they’re not doing, say, Superman exercises or bird dogs to strengthen the back muscles as well.

They’re doing a lot of work forward. And if you think about what we do in our daily lives, we’re often forward anyways. So we’re sitting, we’re at our computers, we’re all hunched toward this way.

If people are just doing crunches and maybe they’re doing just cardio and crunches and that’s (I’ve seen that a lot at the gym) it’s actually quite common. and That’s probably one of the worst things to do.

You’re not strengthening your back, you’re only making things worse or you’re putting a lot of stress on your back probably by doing crunches with poor technique and also short range of motions.

For most people, crunches are not necessary and you don’t need to do them to have a flat stomach.

Hopefully you learned a little bit about flattening your stomach today.

Ivana Chapman


How To Stop Binge Eating And Lose Weight For Good

Is your binge eating, getting in the way of your health, happiness, and weight loss?

I’ll show you how to reduce your binge eating and lose that weight for good.

Today we’re going to be talking about binge eating, which can be a serious problem for some people.

Now we all have times when we experience overeating. So you might be at a holiday event and you’re grabbing a second plate or you’re having a whole bag of popcorn when you hit the movies. Or sometimes you just that tub of Ben and Jerry’s, you know, you finish the entire thing and that kind of occasional overeating, yes, it’s going to affect your weight loss, but binge eating on a regular basis can actually be a very serious disorder.

Binge Eating Is A Mental Disorder

Binge eating disorder has been classified since 2013 in the diagnostic and statistical manual for mental disorders.

It falls along the same lines as anorexia and bulimia. If you’re a frequently binge eating and you feel guilt about that and it affects the quality of her life, then that actually becomes an eating disorder.

Whether or not you fall into that category, I’m not sure, but I want to help you deal with binge eating even if you’re doing it just occasionally and it’s not technically a mental disorder as far as you’re concerned.

If you do need help, I’m going to include a link below for eating disorders both in the U S and Canada because if you need professional help, then you’re probably not going to get the answer on YouTube.

Please speak to someone specifically about that today.

I’m going to talk on an a more general basis, the kind of stuff that most of us experience, the binge eating and overeating that almost everybody experiences at some point or another and how you can deal with that.

I’m going to break it down into five simple ways that you can help overcome binge eating and overeating and stick around to the end because number five is the one I consider absolutely essential for overcoming binge eating long term.

Avoid Restrictive Diets

I am not a huge fan of fad diets, not that they don’t have a place at certain points and there are medical conditions for which certain diets may be appropriate.

However, in general, restrictive diets where you’re eliminating certain food groups or where you’re just not allowed to eat things for no particular reason, or you have to eat something like say celery, and that’s supposed to be the basis of your diet.

Those diets don’t really develop a healthy relationship with food. You’re going to find that you’re always missing something. You’re probably craving certain things. That’s going to lead you to overeat at some point because your willpower only works for a certain period of time and then you give up.

You see that pizza and you want that pizza or you want that ice cream.

The Diet That Caused Binge Eating

I actually went through a period where after I’d had it, years of digestive issues, I was going through a diet that had been given to me by, it was a naturopathic practitioner. A very typical one at that. It was no wheat, no dairy, no sugar, except that I was allowed to have fruit for some reason.

I followed this diet for about four and a half months and it was very, very, very restrictive and challenging to follow. I became almost obsessed with food and I would have dreams about food.

So I’d be dreaming that I’d be at a buffet. Then all of a sudden in my dream I’d be scared that, Oh my God, I just ate something that had a little bit of gluten in it.

And what’s that going to do?

For that purpose, I wasn’t doing it for weight loss. And though for this, I’m kinda trying to focus this video for weight loss, but I was doing that in order to try to heal a digestive condition.

My motivation was very strong.

However, it’s still not possible and it’s usually not necessary to have such an excessively restrictive diet. And that’s one of the reasons why people end up overeating and binge eating because they just can’t maintain it. So avoid restrictive diets.

Give Up Your All-Or-Nothing-Mentality

This was a really big one for me for a long time. And I have a couple of clients, they know who they are, who this is a problem for also. It’s also a big thing. So they’re okay as long as they’re following the plan.

I was okay following a very strict plan and then after a while it’d be like, Oh no, it’s not important anymore.

So if I have chocolate that one time, then it all spirals and then all of a sudden I have chocolate and ice cream and all the other things that I really love to eat and that I had restricted myself from eating. And in some cases people will also give up exercising.

They think it’s okay if they’re following the right nutrition plan day to day, like they’re following some sort of restrictive, perhaps it’s clean eating or something like that.

Changing Your Lifestyle

So they’re following your restrictive plan. Then they’re exercising and they have to be doing everything or they’re going to do nothing.

Rather than just incorporating small changes into your life, you’re deciding that it’s only working.

If it’s 100%, like if you’re fully committed, then that’s the only way it’s going to work.

A lot of people avoid getting coaching. For instance, I’ve had people contact me and say, well, I’d like to get coaching but I’m going on holiday in next month. I don’t think that there’s any point. Because you know, it’s all going to go awry in, in a month because I’m going on vacation.

So that’s not really how it works. In order to manage your lifestyle appropriately and have longterm success with weight loss, you need to allow treats into your day. You need to have some chocolate once in awhile.

If that’s your thing, you need to have some French fries once in a while if that’s your thing.

Otherwise it’s just not going to work.

Yes, you can lose, you know, 10 pounds by following a very restrictive plan, but how long are you going to be able to keep that up? You can’t just be all in all the time.

Things will happen in your life.

You might get sick, you might get injured, your kids might get sick. You know, some of you might have a death in your family, something will happen and then you’re going to get thrown off. But that doesn’t mean you throw out the exercise.

It doesn’t mean that you just start eating junk all day long and that’s what your new decision is. You can have a more, for lack of a better word, moderate way of managing your lifestyle that will allow you to lose weight.

So you need to give up that all or nothing mentality.

Work On Building Your Self Esteem And Your Confidence

It’s actually shown that people who engage in binge eating and overeating behaviors tend to have lower self esteem. So building your self esteem is a really key thing and it can be very hard.

A lot of us have things that go back in many, many years.

People who criticized us and we’ve taken that on board.

You need to build your confidence first from your strengths.

What are you really good at?

Are you really strong at the gym?

Are you a really good singer?

A great mom or a great dad?

Are you really good at negotiating meetings?

What Are Your Strengths?

You need to focus on those things. Start to build your self esteem and how you feel about yourself. Confidence and just feeling like you have the ability to deal with challenges is going to go a long way.

A lot of people will overeat or binge eat when they’re in stressful situations. Or when they feel like maybe someone’s let them down or they’ve had a really tough time. Maybe someone’s criticized them and that’s why they go to overeat.

If you build your confidence gradually over time, then other people’s feelings about you are not going to make such a difference. You need to feel strong in yourself.

My purpose in terms of my entire business as a coach is to make people feel fit, healthy and strong.

But strength is not just physical strength.

Strength is also mental strength.

So you need to know that you’re a good strong person, that you can handle whatever life throws at you. And if you feel that you’re a confident person, you have high self esteem, you’re going to be less likely to overeat or binge eat.

Find Ways To Deal With Negative Feelings To Avoid Binge Eating

Not food.

Of course, a lot of us use food to deal with negative feelings.

A lot of us suffer from emotional eating.

If we get stressed or anxious, then we turn to food.

I have done this many times and I did experience binge eating in the past in my twenties I had a period of several years where I experienced binge eating and every time I had difficult feelings, I would have binge eating episodes. Exercise is one of those things that can help you deal with negative feelings, but it doesn’t work in all circumstances.

It does work for me now where I’m in a more confident, secure place and if I just feel tense or anxious or irritated about something, I can go to the gym and kind of work that off and I feel better afterwards and it can release a lot of tension.

My Experience With Binge Eating

However, at the time that I was experiencing binge-eating I, I was exercising a lot. I was exercising quite regularly. So it, it didn’t help me in that way. Like part of it was my frustration with not being able to exercise the way that I wanted to because I had digestive issues. I started to feel depressed about that and then I would have binge-eating episodes as a result. The exercise that I was doing wasn’t enough to kind of get me through it.

There are other things that can help you manage your negative feelings.

So mindfulness, meditation, some people like yoga. Those kinds of things can be useful for helping you find out what’s going on underneath. It’s also important not to wallow too much in those things.

You need to take action.

In a lot of cases, it’s best to get support from others. Especially if you do think that you have a disorder that is significant and medical, so you definitely want to deal with that and get some professional help for that.

But if you, if you just need a little support, then it’s a good idea to join. Just a simple support groups. Sometimes just a fitness and nutrition group.

My clients have a private Facebook group, and I have people supporting each other through that group because we all have similar challenges.

If you just need to talk to a friend. Make sure you reach out to someone and say, “Hey, I’m just, you know, I’m having a rough time.”

Try to reach out to others because if you fall into yourself, you’re actually more likely to be binge eating and overeating.

So reach out for help when you need it.

Let Go Of The Guilt About Binge Eating

Guilt really doesn’t help you at all if you’re feeling guilty about overeating or about anything else, it’s only gonna make things worse.

If you feel guilty, you feel bad about yourself, you feel bad in general, and that’s only going to lead you to probably more overeating and binge eating. And a lot my clients have told me that they fall into this cycle when they don’t follow the plan that they’ve set out for themselves. Something happens and throws them off track.

All of a sudden they’re like, they feel really bad about it. Then those bad feelings lead them to more overeating and, and it just gets worse and worse.

Guilt is one of those things that we all have at some point, but it’s really not valuable to you unless it’s going to push you to positive action. And it generally doesn’t.

Most people who feel guilty just feel bad. They feel anxious, they feel down, and that only leads you to a different bad place. So give up that guilt and then you’ll be able to overcome your binge eating and overeating.

I really hope that I’ve said something today that’s connected with you.

Ivana Chapman

Help With Eating Disorders (Canada)


Help With Eating Disorders (US)