Category Archives: FitnessLab

Shawna Hamilton’s den of physical fitness. A place to get helpful advice on getting in shape, working out, staying fit and keeping yourself alive and well.

Men’s Health : A Decade by Decade Primer

Shawna and her best Man Magnus

You want to live a long and happy life? Live right by the decade you are in!

Happy Father’s Day to each and every one of you!

I sincerely hope that you enjoyed a wonderful day that was all about YOU!

How appropriate to reach out to you now with a new post this month, because not only is June representative of Father’s Day, it just so happens to be Men’s Health Month too! All the more reason to devote some time to reach out to all of you at HeadsUp Dad!

There’s an expression that says: “You are only as old as the Man you feel”. Wouldn’t you agree that a man’s quality of life is determined by how healthy he feels? At least that was the comment I received recently from both my father and my brother. They went on further to say that ultimate health to them does not mean resembling “The Rock” or simply exuding a fantastic physical shape, but that health is far more all encompassing than that. Feeling vital and virile is about a lot of things—maintaining a healthy body weight, eating right, supplementing smartly, being active with lots of stamina and putting in a good performance. Being fully engaged at work while also having the energy left over at the end of the day to make a meaningful contribution to your family life and certainly to exude a sense of self confidence through good times and bad. Wow—that’s not a lot to expect is it? Is it? How insightful. It got me thinking. We expect a lot out of you guys, not just in your youth, but throughout your whole life, so are you going to be man enough from here to eternity or what?

Kidding aside, the more I thought more about it, the more it occurred to me that life happens in fairly broad stages—doesn’t it? Decade by decade, your life, the demands placed on you and your own personal needs evolve.The roaring twenties so to speak, the thriving thirties, the “making it all happen” forties and the disease fighting fifties and so on. In order to sustain a long and healthy life, it might be worth at taking a look at what is really ideal for a man to concentrate on within each decade, so you can be your best and perform at optimum health, no matter what your age. Ready?

The Roaring Twenties:
For you guys in your twenties, savor the decade! You’re most likely very active, busy and full of energy, so feed the need. This is the time when you can generally out eat your older brethren and not see an ounce of evidence! You can afford slightly higher calorie/fat foods like nuts/seeds, cheeses, dried fruit and egg yolks with the exception of highly processed and deep fried foods of course. More calories doesn’t mean poor calories. You will also need more lean protein like chicken, lean meat, seafood, eggs and beans. And seeing as heart disease begins early, I would encourage eating fatty fish like salmon at least once or twice a week! Its a terrific source of Omega 3’s (Essential Fatty Acids) that are good for the brain, your heart and the prostate.


Thriving in your thirties:
Now that real life comes along in the thirties, a home, career and family probably eat up your daily agenda and you’re less likely to be throwing a football with your buddies in your not so spare time. So if you find that your activity has slowed down a little bit, remember that your appetite surely hasn’t! In order for you to keep your pant buttons from popping off, I suggest getting in the habit of eating more often. Instead of eating big, gorging meals a few times a day, consider about 4 or 5 healthy smaller ones. Less is really more.


Fab Forties
In your forties, you’re still feeling young and fantastic as you’re able to keep all of your plates in the air, but you also may notice that your health care practitioner is beginning to discuss your longevity and how to begin to pave the way to good heart health, strong bone density, hormonal health etc. Perhaps making a concerted effort to eat more soluble fiber is a good start such as peas, potatoes, apples and brown rice. Fiber acts like a sponge in the body and likes to soak up cholesterol. Your forties is the time to take heart disease seriously, especially of it runs in your family. So work your way up to 35mg/day of soluble fiber and consider adding Vitamin D to your daily supplement arsenal to encourage bone growth, strengthen immunity and improve circulation. Also, really try to work out hard with a well designed exercise program at least 3 times a week.


Fighting fifties:
Being in your fifties is about disease busting! Noshing on antioxidants such as colorful veggies and consuming plenty of blueberries, cranberries, strawberries and raspberries is a great way to add disease fighting antioxidants to your body. Be sure to cut down on sugar and fat and to remain as active as possible.


Six Oh! Oh My!
In your sixties and beyond, now your body really begins to tally the score. It takes a good look at how well you have taken care to preserve the temple in your earlier years. My best advice would be to wrap up all of the decades into one big healthy bow. Embrace active living, eat lean proteins daily to help counter losses in muscle mass, keep an antioxidant rich diet that is very low in fat and sugar and eat plenty of fiber every day.


As you can see, each life stage has its own nutritional emphasis. No matter what age group you are in, start now to make some healthy changes so you can cruise through each decade with strength and vigor.

As always, I’m here for you if you have questions. Your comments and concerns are always welcome—and I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time: eat well, stay fit.




Find your Whey to optimum muscle rejuvenation


Which Whey Protein is for me?

Which “Whey” Do I Go?

Just enough knowledge to choose the better protein for you!

Before I knew any better, nothing was worse than walking into my local nutrition house for protein powder, to be bombarded by a multitude of gargantuan, colorful plastic barrels— all promising variations on the same theme: muscle growth, faster recovery, great taste, improved energy and a leaner physique. Even some of the names sounded the same! Its enough choice to make your head spin. I’ve had clients tell me countless stories of walking in to these places, taking one look at the ominous stacks of tubs and barrels, turned around and walked right out. Certainly, the options can be intimidating.

While they all might look the same and many make similar promises…

Not all protein powders are created equal:

Protein is an absolute essential nutrient for great health and a strong body. I believe choosing a protein powder for your nutrition needs is like selecting a compatible wine with a good meal. Knowledge is power. Let me help you with the confusion, clarify the options and hopefully guide you towards the right protein for you and your fitness needs.

Always remember that the goal of choosing a good protein supplement is to maximize muscle protein synthesis and reducing muscle breakdown by ensuring adequate muscle tissue rejuvenation. So let’s look closely at our main options beginning with one that may surprise you!


Believe it or not, good ‘ol fashioned white milk is worth a mention. It contains a combination of whey which is fast acting and a greater percentage of casein which is slower acting, offering your body a pretty strong anabolic (muscle building) response. Both whey and casein are significant milk proteins. Milk also supplies a wholesome and healthy dose of carbohydrates which restore your muscle’s glycogen (or energy), some electrolytes, B vitamins and vitamin D which make milk a suitable protein to stimulate muscle growth! So if you’re in a pinch after a workout, grab a small carton! Simple and definitely cost effective!

Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC):

A very common form of protein. It’s comprised of approximately 65-70% total protein and around 35-30% lactose (a milk sugar) and lipids (fats). WPC’s are very widely used and are popular because of a generally lower cost and extra flavor from the added carbs and fats. Also, WPC’s generally digest quite quickly so they are a good choice when you want a scoop of protein before a workout. Quick energy, good calories and quickly digested.

Whey Protein Isolate (WPI):

This particular protein formula has about 90% total protein and very little lactose making it an excellent choice if you have a lactose sensitivity. I personally prefer WPI’s as I feel they offer a more effective result for improving muscle size and muscle integrity. WPI’s have a longer transit time in the gut, so this powder can almost act like a meal replacement if you needed it to. I always keep a dry scoop in a water bottle in my gym bag and I just add 250ml of water to it after my workout to immediately replenish protein sources. I also like it because it ties me over well until my next meal.

Whey Protein Hydrolysate:

A strong competitor and comparison to the whey protein isolate. If you are unsure, I would just cost compare at this point.

High Quality Protein provides for a solid foundation;

No matter whether you eat or drink it, good high quality protein is the “bricks” (foundation) to your “house” (your finely tuned bod) so please don’t neglect this vital macronutrient!

Vegetarian Options?

If you are a vegetarian or vegan, please let me know, as soy and hemp proteins are a whole other kettle of fish that I can write about too. I don’t want you to feel I neglected you!

Hopefully, I have been successful at elucidating some potentially confusing information for you. Don’t forget, if you are ever standing there, stuck and bewildered in the store, hop on line with your smart phone and send me an email via HeadsUpDad and I’ll try to get back to you right away!

Til next time… train hard, drink plenty of water and always refuel with a good quality protein!


Tips to help your kids to the head of the class

Greetings my favorite Dads!

I sincerely hope that you have each enjoyed a fabulous Holiday season and are looking forward to a happy and healthy New Year!

You guys are typically the first on my mind when it comes to the various materials I compile to discuss on my blogs, and I know that we have extensively looked into proper supplementation for you as vital, healthy men! But I’d like to change gears and help educate you on what I feel are the ideal nutrients for your growing child! There are four that I believe are critical, not only for their well being but for their academic performance too!

Learning takes energy. Today’s lifestyles are on the fast track. Your child hits the books in the classroom, attends extra curricular activities right afterwards and has nightly homework. Like you, this hectic schedule can make a daily proper diet rather restrictive and sometimes close to impossible. What we do know as health professionals in the field is that poor nutrition accompanied by a lack of essential vitamins and minerals can seriously impede your child’s performance and productivity.

Incorporating more of the following nutrients into your child’s daily meals and snacks will help propel your favorite student to the head of class and feeling extra confident in their chosen activities.


balance the mind and body by encouraging proper brain function, enhancing the immune system, supporting the nervous system and maintaining muscle tone. Whole grains, eggs and plenty of vegetables are great sources of B vitamins

help build flexibility and fight infection by enhancing our immune system and maintaining proper hormone production. Encourage your children to eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables such as pineapple, tomato, peppers, mangoes and cantaloupe

helps promote the development of healthy bones and teeth, aids thyroid function and improves circulation and immunity. Think of low fat dairy products, eggs, fish and some fortified cereals and beverages. Don’t forget green vegetables too and at least 20 minutes of daily sunshine exposure as much as possible especially in the Winter months!

we wouldn’t have healthy blood or muscle tissue without iron. Nor would we have adequate energy production or a strong immune system. Look for terrific iron sources in eggs, fish, liver, meat, poultry, green leafy vegetables, whole grains and enriched breads and cereals. Legumes and nuts and seeds are also good sources. Taking extra vitamin C with iron rich foods really increases its absorption. So offer a glass of OJ to wash down their iron rich meal or snack.

comprised of different amino acids, proteins are the basic elements of all of our bodily tissues. Hormones and enzymes are also composed of protein. We need good lean protein intake for muscle growth and repair. Nourish your child with low fat dairy products, lean meats, nut butters or low fat peanut butter, eggs and fish.

I am definitely not opposed to also supplementing your child’s diet with a high potency, high quality multivitamin and mineral designed especially for kids for extra assurance for good health. I am here for you guys and welcome any questions you may have in this area if you are in need of some more detailed information and direction.

Cheers to a tremendous 2011! Stay tuned, as there is a lot more expert advice on deck for you as you embark on your leanest and healthiest new year yet! I sincerely look forward to being a reliable and dependable confidante on your journey to improved health and fitness. Please reach out and say hello, I’d enjoy getting to know you better!

Until then, train hard, eat smart and be happy!


Cardiovascular Health and You: How to shop for your Heart!

First Time in the Grocery Cart

Hey favorite Dad of mine… I thought I might start this post with a bit of trivia…

Most men love their stats right? But I bet you didn’t know that just over 30% of all deaths in Canada are attributed to cardiovascular disease huh?

Ok, stop the depressing me Shawna!! (I know… I can hear you from here!) I have to tell you. I want to make sure that you have a solid grip on a great heart smart shopping list so that you can drive that cart around the supermarket with confidence and plan for heart pumping wellness for years to come!

In addition to the items presented here, there are a few very integral supplements that you should consider taking daily for even greater vitality and heart support. If you have any questions, post a comment here or just reach out for me directly and I’ll help guide you through the better choices! I’d love to hear from you!

In the meantime, be sure to feed your body all the goodness that your heart relies on.

A grocery list that is good for your Heart:

The following foods are selected because of their tremendous ability as well as being backed by sound research to keep cholesterol levels at bay, decrease blood pressure levels, minimize incidence of stroke, to reduce any hardening of the arteries and to improve overall heart function!

Happy Shopping!


At least 50 % of your daily servings of grains should be whole grains. Healthy, soluble fiber is a MUST to eat every day!

  • Whole grain bread

  • Quinoa

  • Brown rice (Good for you, good for the environment!)

  • Unsweetened steel cut oats (never instant!)
    For an added heart boosting punch; combine your oats with ground flaxseeds and antioxidant-loaded berries!


Jammed packed with powerful antioxidants, fiber, minerals and vitamins! The darker, greener and “leafier” the better. Kale, spinach and swiss chard are great choices and are full of magnesium! As well, consider carrots, squash and sweet potatoes, for beta carotene and antioxidant power. And don’t forget red grapes, apples, strawberries, and bell peppers too!


  • Rainbow trout, salmon

  • Pork tenderloin (much less fat than beef)

  • Lentils. Lentils are inexpensive and easily used for stews, salads and soups! If you buy them in a can, be sure to rinse twice with water first to let out the majority of the sodium!


Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), it’s worth the price because the least pressed olives contain a greater level of antioxidants which are responsible for lessening cell damage in the body. Walnuts and flaxseeds respectively, are ideal for reducing cholesterol and deliver a bonanza of fibre!


Low fat 0% yogurt and skim milk are full of important proteins and vitamin D


Low fat popcorn and dark Chocolate (70% cocoa) did you know that compounds in dark chocolate have been linked to decreasing blood pressure and inflammation?


100% Orange Juice and green or white Tea are great examples of antioxidant heaven!


  • Chili peppers

  • Curry powder/Turmeric

  • Oregano

Interested in learning more about your health at the present? Unsure which body systems need more attention than others? Post a comment here or Email Me. I am happy to offer you a free personalized health screening questionnaire that is not only accurate, but quick and easy. We can discuss the results together once completed.

Did I mention FREE?

Just for you, oh dads of mine!


Stay well and let’s chant together shall we??? Train hard, eat smart, and be happy!

Oh, you know me so well!

Eat Often—Lose Weight!

Eat More, lose weight at

show it in, in messy fist-fulls, originally uploaded by mufftycub.

Eat often and watch the pounds drop off…

Sound too good to be true?

Hi guys!

I hope you’ve missed me! This busy trainer of yours has been flying by the seat of her pants! That’s not to say that I have not been thinking of you, because part of my daily grind has involved compiling amazingly informative health and fitness info for your reading pleasure!

I suppose the title of my article might have you a bit confused, as eating more and weighing less sounds rather paradoxical doesn’t it?

However, it’s the truth. Eating 5-6 “mini-meals” a day boosts your metabolism and keeps your body operating on all six cylinders, all day long! What comes with a well fueled engine? That’s right, power and energy. You have to think of your body as a machine. Fuel it, move it and watch it burn rubber! No proverbial gas in the tank? And your buddy will be pushing you around all day in neutral, and that’s no way to treat a pal.

Here is some food for thought:

Skipping meals now = overeating later. Always and forever.

It’s a scientifically proven fact. If you skip breakfast and wait for a hunger signal, you’ll be far more likely to “binge” due to fallen blood sugar levels, and you are guaranteed to make poor food choices as your body and brain are dying to “feed the need.” And I bet my entire nonexistent retirement fund on the fact that you will likely choose fat and/or sugar. Ewwy gooey meat lovers pizza and pop anyone?

Choosing smaller, frequent meals will alleviate this problem altogether and keep you not only svelte but brain happy and productive too! Because spreading your calories throughout the day will better control your appetite and increase your diet success! Think of an average 2000 calorie per day diet plan. That’s three ‘square’ meals a day plus two snacks. Consider your meal times to consist of 500-600 calories each and snacks to consist of about 100-200 calories each. I’m not suggesting you calorie count per se, just be mindful of the lesser amount of calories that should be going into a healthier meal selection. If you are interested, I can write some about various tips for eating/dining out. Give me a shout out for any information that you’d like to see covered! For now, I thought I would offer you some 100 calorie, easy to pack, snack options for you:

• 1 mini whole wheat pita with 1 tbsp of hummus
• 1 medium apple with a tsp of unsalted peanut butter or almond butter
• A handful of raisins and a small piece of fruit
• ½ cup of fat free yogurt with some rolled oats mixed in
• 1 cup of grapes

I welcome any questions. I’m here if you need me.

In the meantime, please don’t skip breakfast, eat smaller meals and snacks more frequently, take the supplements we talked about a few weeks ago, train hard and love your life!

I’ll be back in no time!

3 Fat traps to avoid on the job…

fat-traps to avoid on the job

Don't try this at work...

You may not believe it, but your job may be weighing you down.

Learn how to master these Fat Traps and you will thank yourself for it.

Hello Handsome!

I hope this post finds you and all of my favorite dads well and happy!

Maybe you guys have noticed that my previous posts all had something to do with acquiring fitness, debunking some common fitness myths, optimizing your health with vitamins and the better choices to optimize physical performance and endurance etc. But—what if I were to tell you that with all of your effort and positive results, the place where you easily spend 40 or more hours a week can potentially sabotage your mission to better health!  It’s a drag, but it’s the truth!

There are definitely some typical, every day habits that have become synonymous with the workplace, and I like to refer to them as “fat traps” because unless you are aware of them, the stubborn “final few” will always be hard to lose. So let’s break it down!

FAT TRAP #1: “The Java Jaunt”

We have to admit, that we live in a world of designer coffee! These snazzy coffees, not only cost us the equivalent of a small mortgage, but they hold the same value in calories too! Each drink packs 300-500 calories which adds up! Think of it this way, just 200 extra calories a day = 1400 extra calories a week and 5600 extra calories per month which is a gain of 1.5lbs. And that’s just from the coffee run let alone any other indulgences you may entertain. Note to self, switch to skim milk, downsize your cup, and skip the sugar and syrups! These efforts will go a long way. Coffee isn’t a bad thing per se, but you don’t need to dress it up!

FAT TRAP #2: “The Midday Snack Attack, aka Desk Dining”

Dining at a table for one most definitely instigates unconscious eating. Your mind is busy doing other things and you’re never really aware of how much you are actually eating. With deadlines, calls, emails, texts, a boss in a foul mood, all occurring while you are at your desk working, can spike your stress level. When that happens, access cortisol is released, the nasty hormone that makes you crave the wrong food and tells your brain to eat more! No matter what, eating at your desk can be bad news. What to do? Pack your lunch and try and eat it elsewhere and calmly, away from stress and distractions.

FAT TRAP #3: “The Food Court Nightmare”

Why is it that virtually every office tower is inundated with a vast array of fast food? I’ll make this fat trap easy and self explanatory. A Big Mac = 580 calories, A Whopper = 670 calories, A Taco Salad with the shell = 790 calories, French Fries = 500 calories and I haven’t even stated the fat content of each option! Guys, stay away! Subway, Freshii and Cultures are great in a pinch. Avoid all soda and drink lots of water with your meal! Your belt loops will thank you!

Stay in control by packing your lunch as often as you can. If there is a supermarket nearby, head there for a fresh salad, sandwich or homemade soup! Practice these fat trap tips, and you’re weight loss efforts will skyrocket! I look forward to reaching out to you next time with even more helpful health and fitness info!

In the meantime, train hard, eat smart and be happy!