You have chosen the gym that is right for you and are suddenly faced with another decision. You know that muscle building is going to be an important part of your workouts but you are confused as to whether you should work on the weight machines or give the free weights a try. You have heard that each builds muscle differently, but are unsure as to which is better for you. It is true, both free weights and machines have many benefits. Which of them is right for you depends on your goals.
The benefits of weight machines • Machines help decrease the chance of injury. If you are new at strength training, the machines will compensate for your lack of experience. You will learn how to perform exercises correctly with the appropriate range of motion.
• Machines help people learn which motions are required to work specific muscle groups. The machines isolate specific muscle groups and often have pictures and explanations on them.
• Machines can speed up your workout. Changing the pin on a machine is easier than changing the plates on a barbell. (Some machines also require you to move the seat to the appropriate height.)
• Machines allow you to continue your workouts even when you are injured. Machines create support for the injured area, allowing you to work other muscle groups.
• Machines are easier to master and are often less intimidating. Often, only a few sessions with a trainer can get you started on a program using weight machines; however, careful instruction and training is necessary to become confident when lifting free weights.
The benefits of free weights • Free weights allow you to coordinate many muscle groups with each exercise, improving your posture and balance. For example: When working your biceps with a machine, you strengthen only the biceps muscle. The machine will help you isolate the biceps muscle but will also support your body and your arm while you perform the exercise. However, if your biceps are done standing with free weights you are required to use many accessory muscles.
Page 1 of 2 – Discover the health benefits of working out using free weights on page 2.
Your abdominal muscles and spinal muscles help support you so that you are stable while performing the exercise, your triceps are required to keep your arm stable, etc.
• The use of free weights develops "functional strength" the type of strength that is utilized in everyday life. This is because everyday motions such as taking out the garbage or doing the laundry require the coordination of many muscle groups.
• Research has shown us that free weights promote quicker strength gains because they recruit more muscle groups than machines.
• Free weights are considerably less expensive than most of the machines on the market and can easily be used at home or when travelling. You can perform a complete strength training routine with a few dumbbells and a little imagination.
Novice exercisers, the elderly and people with injuries are often most comfortable using machines. If you have been exercising for some time and would like to accelerate your strength gains, begin some training with free weights.
Strength training is an important part of any exercise routine but there is no need to choose between free weights and machines – an ideal training program can incorporate both. Choose the type of strength training that suits your needs and is safe and convenient.
Consistency is the most important factor in any strength training program. With that in mind, it is much easier to decide which type of strength training is right for you. The answer is – the one you enjoy!
Page 2 of 2 – On page 1, learn about the benefits of working out on weight machines.
We polled family doctors from across the country, and they laid down the law on eight things they wish we'd do—or stop doing.
According to our panel of general practitioners, Canadians aren't always doing what they should to make the most of doctor visits—and skipping out on these crucial tactics could lead to a delay in diagnosing serious conditions. Here's what our experts say you should add to your patient checklist.
1. Stop feeling shy
Many of us hesitate to talk to our physicians about sensitive issues (think substance abuse or sexual health—or even gender identity). But honesty and openness are important, both for fostering a good doctor-patient relationship and for ensuring that you get the best care, says Dr. Laura Pripstein, medical director of the Sherbourne Health Centre in Toronto and a staff physician on the family health team. That's why it's OK to try out a doc before committing. Dr. Pripstein recommends booking an initial visit to see if your potential doctor is a good fit. "You want to see if this person seems like someone you can talk to, someone you feel comfortable with," she says. And if you don't think your doctor understands or respects your concerns, don't be afraid to find someone new. "If you feel you can't ask questions that might be embarrassing, you don't have the right provider," says Dr. Pripstein.
2. Don't come to your appointments unprepared
Get the most out of your time—and your doc's—by arriving at your appointment with a clear plan for what you want to discuss, says Dr. David Ross, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. "It's good to have patients think about their problems from when the issue began, then look at it chronologically to the present," says Dr. Ross. Making a prioritized point-form list in advance helps ensure that you don't forget anything or mix up the order of events, he says. Then, work with your doctor to address the most serious issues first.
3. Choose your family doc over the walk-in clinic whenever you can
Yes, a clinic is convenient, but what we gain in easy access, we lose in familiarity. "I think it's really valuable if people can connect with a family physician who they'll be able to see long term, rather than just looking for the quickest way to access care," says Dr. Maurianne Reade, a physician with the Manitoulin Central Family Health Team in Mindemoya and M'Chigeeng First Nation, Ont. A family doctor will know your medical history and will keep it in mind when suggesting treatment—so, for example, if you've recently taken several courses of antibiotics for a UTI, your physician will likely look for a different course of action if you come in with another infection. According to the most recent statistics, about 4.5 million Canadians don't have a regular family doctor. If that's you, contact your provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons, or check to see if your region has an online registry (Ontario has Health Care Connect, while Quebec launched a web-based family doctor finder last year). "It's important to know that we doctors are privileged to share in your stories and to help you through difficult times," says Dr. Reade.
4. Share what's happening in your life
There's a reason your doctor wants to know where you're working, if you're dating and how the kids are—and it's not just because she likes you. (Though she does, we're sure.) Physicians need a picture of their patients' lives beyond their specific health symptoms and conditions, especially when they're first getting to know you, says Dr. Stephen Wetmore, the family medicine chair at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University in London, Ont. "Doctors need to know these things to understand how your lifestyle and habits may be influencing your health," he says. So when you're talking about your exercise habits, your health history and whether you smoke, drink or use drugs, mention your employment status, family obligations and intimate relationships, too, says Dr. Wetmore.
5. Be a better googler
Doctors know you do it (hello, late-night web searches), but they would prefer you to ask about good sources of information, rather than going rogue online. They also want you to be honest about your fears if you've read something particularly upsetting. Physicians can't address your concerns or point you in the right direction if they don't know what your fingertips have been up to. "The thing we want our patients to do is ask us for the most reliable Canadian websites to go to as resources," says Dr. Heather Waters, an assistant professor of family medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton.
6. Don't think your symptoms are "no big deal"
If you've noticed you are having more headaches than usual or are sleeping more or are eating less, you might not think to tell your doctor—but you should. There's no set of rules for determining which symptoms are worthy of investigation or discussion, says Dr. Wetmore, but make a note to mention anything that is new or has changed since your last appointment. "You should bring up things like sudden weight loss or fatigue that seems excessive," he says. "It could be a sign of a larger problem, or the cause of a developing problem." Evenif it doesn't end up being serious, seeing your doctor will help ease any anxiety you might be feeling, and that's worth the visit, too.
7. Talk about what you're taking
Tell your physician about any herbal medications and alternative treatments you take, says Dr. Mel Borins, a University of Toronto associate professor and author of A Doctor's Guide to Alternative Medicine: What Works, What Doesn't, and Why. It's important for patients to share what's working for them and for doctors to be open-minded about therapies outside their own practice or traditions, he says. This is also a concern when it comes to conventional meds, especially if you're pregnant; there are only 23 medications specifically approved for use during pregnancy— yes, out of every available drug—which can leave women feeling anxious about taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs when they're expecting, says Dr. Robyn MacQuarrie, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Bridgewater, N.S. But don't stop taking your meds as soon as your pregnancy test comes back positive. "It's really important to talk to your doctor instead of stopping cold turkey," says Dr. MacQuarrie. Physicians can help you determine the risks and benefits of using different drugs, and they can let you know when the effects of not taking a medication while pregnant may be worse than taking it— which is the case with some antidepressants.
8. Avoid diagnosing yourself
You know doctors don't like it when you come in prepared with a diagnosis you've made thanks to the aforementioned Dr. Google. But do you know why? It's not because they think you're encroaching on their territory! Rather, they worry that a serious medical problem might get missed or you'll cause yourself unnecessary anxiety over something not serious. That's because not everyone has the most common symptoms of a particular condition. Plus, men, women and different ethnicities can have varying symptoms for the same problem. For instance, Dr. Reade's community has a large proportion of people with diabetes, which can affect the warning signs of cardiac disease, a major killer in Canada. Instead of the usual pain or pressure on the left side of the chest or arm, men and women with diabetes may instead have spells of profuse sweating with weakness. And, of course, women who don't have diabetes can have differing symptoms, too; sometimes, a heart attack can feel like acid reflux or come with sudden nausea, vomiting and lightheadedness. So always tell your physician if your symptoms are surprising or strange—like a headache that feels different than usual, for example. And if you're worried about a specific diagnosis, be sure to bring that up, too.
While every Canadian faces his or her own unique set of health hurdles, there are a number of ailments that have become pervasive in Canada. Though medicine has advanced over the years, our modern lifestyles have introduced a new set of health challenges. Here are some of the top health problems that Canadians face today.
Our editors share the items they are coveting this February—and they're all under $100.
As much as we love shopping, what we love even more is a good deal. Which is why we asked our style editors to share the items that they'll be shopping for this month. The good news? Everything is under $100, which means you don't have to feel guilty about picking a few things up yourself.
As I think about spring, I always begin to think about what sneakers I’m going to pick up. Spring is sneaker season, at least if you ask me. This year, I’m going back to basics with a classic pair of Vans. Bonus—they’ve been spotted on bloggers, models and off-duty actors, so you know this style is making a comeback. At the very affordable $80 price point, this will be money well-spent seeing as how I'll be living in them for the season. - Alexandra Donaldson, contributing editor
Graphic pants are everything at the moment. Dress them down with sneakers, add heels for a more professional look, pair it with a form-fitting top to keep it sleek. They'll go with everything. - Noelle Gauthier, style intern
Uniqlo women smart style ankle length pants, $40, uniqlo.com.
Easy to apply eyeshadow
If I’m wearing makeup beyond my under-eye concealer and mascara, it needs to be efficient. Which is why I have my eye on this Nudestix eye crayon. The metallic hue will add a bit of pizzazz to my makeup look, without too much extra effort.
Nudestix Magnetic Eye Colour in Twilight, $28, sephora.com.
How come boyfriend jeans always seem amazing in theory, but never translate into the model-off-duty look when worn? These "girlfriend" jeans have a tailored fit making them far more wearable.
Animal motifs have been hot on the runway—but if you can’t afford to spring for Gucci (and really, who can?) you can pick up this panther cropped sweatshirt from Forever 21. At $25 it’s a steal—and super cute to boot.
A few years ago I never could have imagined loving the kitten heel like I do now—but these days everything is old new again. The low-heel allows me to survive in them all day, so I'm thinking they'll be sticking around for awhile.
Say what you want about the Kardashians, but they have the perfectly tousled California-girl waves I'm after. Enter this new haircare line by their trusted hairstylist, Jen Atkin. I'm eyeing this texturizing spray to recreate their manes.
Summer grilling doesn't just brings out the best get-togethers, but also the best in barbecued steaks. Don't throw your t-bones and sirloins into the grill just yet. Our easy-to-follow recipes for marinades for steak will give your meat a hearty flavour-boost that'll please all meat-lovers in your family.
The best way to add some flavour to your steaks is by whipping together some great marinades for steak and letting the meat soak up the amazing flavours. If you love exotic spices, try bathing your steak in a Five-Spice Marinade, which is flavour-packed with Chinese five-spice powder. Or, mix together cumin, paprika, garlic and lemon juice for a hot and zesty Moroccan Marinade.
Want something simple and classic? A quick Salt and Pepper Steak Rub is a perfect addition to any barbecue.
You can also try brushing your steaks on the grill with some Sweet Smoky Tomato Basting Sauce, a delicious mix of tomatoes, apple cider and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
Now get out and get grilling with some of these delicious marinades for steak.
10 tasty marinades for steak:
1.Salt and Pepper Steak Rub The classic combination of black pepper and coriander seeds is delicious on thick, juicy steaks, such as T-bones, sirloins or strip loins.
2.Sweet Smoky Tomato Basting Sauce This sauce mellows out considerably when brushed over meat on the grill, but it also packs a punch of flavour when served as a side sauce at the table. For doubly delicious results, use it to baste while grilling and serve extra sauce at the table.
3.Moroccan Marinade Got a pantry of spices? Stir together a few tablespoons of cumin and paprika with cinnamon, garlic and lemon juice for a flavour-filled marinade, perfect for grilling meat and poultry.
4. Universal Spice Rub Keep this simple all-purpose rub on hand for a last-minute flavour boost. You can rub it onto steak, ribs, brisket, chicken, fish or seafood before putting them on the barbecue.
5. Chili Orange Marinadeâ€¨ Love the taste of orange? Try whipping together orange juice, orange rind, tomato paste and chili powder for a flavour-packed marinade, perfect for grilling steaks or chicken.
6. Lemon Pepper Marinadeâ€¨ This zesty mix of lemon rind, lemon juice, garlic and peppercorns makes a delicious marinade for grilling steak and chicken.
7. Five-Spice Marinade Want add a punch of flavour to your steak? Bathe your steaks with a marinade of Chinese five-spice powder, gingerroot, onion, cayenne pepper, soy sauce and orange juice.
8. Cajun Spice Mix Add some spice to your steaks. Mix together some brown sugar, paprika, cumin, dry mustard and hot pepper flakes and lather it onto your sirloins, kabobs and T-bones. 9. Mediterranean Spice Mix If you're interested in adding a milder flavour to your steak, whip together some rosemary, cumin, oregano and cinnamon for a sweet and delicate flavour.
10. Adobo Marinade Love jalapenos? Soak your steaks with this spicy marinade, made of garlic, lime juice, cumin, oregano and a hot jalapeno pepper.
Watching the fiery health-care debates south of the border over the past few years, we Canadians may feel a growing urge to proudly wave our flag for all we're doing right. Last March, Candian Living's very own medical columnist, Dr. Danielle Martin, a practicing family physician and vice-president of medical affairs and health system solutions at Women's College Hospital, appeared in front of the U.S. Senate to share lessons gleaned from Canada's single-payer health-care system. The Senate was forced to contemplate the underlying principle that sets our system apart: equity. There's a lot we have to be proud of.
"Health care should be based on need rather than ability to pay," says Dr. Martin. "That's the bedrock of our system." By paying for every citizen, we end up spending just two-thirds of what Americans pay for their limited-access system, per capita. "And we actually provide quite good care," says Dr. Martin, adding that our outcomes for cancer and heart disease are similar or even better than those in the U.S. Plus, as she pointed out to one senator, we don't have 45,000 citizens per year die while waiting for treatment. Not that our system is perfect. There are still ways to make it more equitable.
1. Improve coverage of medications.
Back in the '50s and '60s, when Medicare was in its infancy, most health care was delivered in hospitals, which meant that prescription drugs weren't a significant cost for most people. "Times have really changed," says Dr. Martin. "Many Canadians are living a long time with chronic medical conditions now, and they need to take medications long-term." In the past 50 years, drug costs have become quite a concern. In fact, a 2012 study found that one in 10 Canadians struggles to pay for medication, and many fail to fill prescriptions or take them as often as directed.
2. Deliver consistent access.
"There's a role for the federal government to play in ensuring that Canadians can count on access to similar services, no matter where they live," says Dr. Martin. In March, Canada's Health Care Accord, which united all of the provinces and territories under common goals, expired. There's a huge variation in coverage between provinces, and Dr. Martin says we need national leadership to ensure consistent care.
3. Ensure that every Canadian has access to high-quality primary care.
"No Canadian should be without a family doctor, and no Canadian should have to wait six weeks for an appointment with one," says Dr. Martin. Currently, where you live impacts your access to primary care. "It's not so much about the number of doctors, it's about the distribution—where they're practicing, and how many are choosing primary care over specialties." To solve the problem, Dr. Martin says we need bigger teams of doctors, nurses and other health-care providers, rather than individual practices. "It's about being linked in â€¨to a bigger system."
For more advice from Dr. Danielle Martin, read what she has to say about these 3 aging myths.
This story was originally titled "Care That's Fair in the July 2014 issue.