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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Sedentary living is the 'new smoking' and we're paying for it, study says

Sitting is the 'new smoking,' says a report that finds exercise could make Canada $7.5B stronger

Spending the day sitting at your desk and the evening in front of the TV? You could be hurting your health and costing the economy money, according to a new study.
Getting even a small fraction of Canadians out of their chairs and moving could boost the economy by an estimated $7.5 billion over the next 25 years, says a new report by the Conference Board of Canada and ParticipAction.
An additional $2.5 billion by 2040 could be saved on medical treatment for diabetes, heart disease and cancer, says the report, titled "Moving Ahead: The Economic Impact of Reducing Physical Inactivity and Sedentary Behaviour."
Sitting is becoming the “new smoking,” says the study, based on the Canadian Community Health Survey, Statistics Canada research and a Public Health Health Agency of Canada study of the economic burden of illness on economy.
“Canadians spend most of their waking hours sitting and get insufficient activity, a recipe for the promotion of hypertension, diabetes and even premature mortality,” said Dr. Mark Tremblay, a member of ParticipAction's research advisory group.
“These new findings show that modest, achievable changes in movement behaviours can produce substantial and important improvements in health, and should be embraced.”
Only 15 per cent of Canadian adults get the 150 minutes a week of vigorous physical activity recommended for a healthy lifestyle, the report notes. But if 10 per cent more could be enticed to get out of their chairs and lead a less sedentary life, they’d be giving a big boost to the economy, it says.
It’s not necessary to get the 150 minutes of vigorous activity to make a difference, but Canadians do need to break the sitting habit. Almost a third of Canadians get a little exercise but spend most of the day being sedentary – an estimated 10 unbroken hours of sitting.
"Just not sitting as much, walking a little more, that doesn’t mean being physically active per se, but removing the physically inactivity and sedentary behaviour out of your daily life,” said Louis Theriault, president of public policy at the Conference Board.
He agrees that many jobs are designed to have us sit for hours and that means Canadians need a strategy to address the ill effects.
"Three quarters of our economy is a service economy so it’s a trend and it won’t go away," Theriault said in an interview with CBC's The Exchange with Amanda Lang. 
The Conference Board analysis estimated Canada’s medical system could feel an impact by 2020 if people started exercising more in 2015. The report said a little activity could lead to:
  • 222,000 fewer hypertension cases.
  • 120,000 fewer diabetes cases.
  • 170,000 fewer heart disease cases.
  •  31,000 fewer cancer cases.
By 2040, premature mortality could fall by 2.4 per cent or 6,600 lives.
"If you put it at a macro-fiscal level, you have health care that makes up close to 50 per cent of spending by the provinces so we’re getting to a point where we’re starting to look at alternative strategies and the health and wellness agenda is moving up the priority list," Theriault said. 

Less absenteeism, more productivity

Thy Dinh, a Conference Board of Canada researcher and one of the report’s authors, said Canadians who live healthier lives would have less absenteeism at work and reduced disability, resulting in a larger, more productive workforce.   
A modest increase in physical activity by 10 per cent of the population would raise Canada’s gross domestic product by $230 million in 2020, $931 million in 2030 and nearly $1.6 billion higher by 2040 — a cumulative $7.5 billion over the full period.
“Improving the health status of Canadians through increased physical activity and reduced sedentary behaviour can lead to longer, healthier lives, and the expected productivity gains would be of significant benefit to the entire country,” Dinh said.
The report is the first in a series that aims to examine the link between physical health and economic health.
The Conference Board says a later report will make suggestions about how to get people moving, but suggests it may go beyond individual choice.
“These findings build a strong case for action on the part of the public, government and employers,” the report said.

Five Omega-3 Champs

Eat More Salmon, Sardines, Smelt, Shad or Anchovies for Better Health

We hear a lot about eating more omega-3 fatty acids these days. It seems like every week a new study comes out that highlights another health benefit to eating this "good fat," which is found in fatty fish that swim in cold water. Some of us remember fish used to be called "brain food." Omega-3s are the reason why. They are a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps the body heal all sorts of problems, from poor eyesight to Alzheimer's disease. Fish are the primary source of omega-3 fatty acids, but not all fish are created equal: Here are five fish with extremely high levels of omega-3s.

1.  Salmon

Salmon is easily the most accessible and familiar of the five top fish for omega-3s. Every supermarket carries salmon, and nearly every seafood cook has at least one favorite salmon recipe to go to. The best salmon to eat to get the most omega-3s would be king salmon, also called chinook salmon, which are wild-caught from California to Alaska. Interestingly, canned salmon is also high in this good fat. The leaner sockeyes and silver salmon are still high in omega-3s, just not so much as chinooks. Farmed salmon, which is the most common form in supermarkets, is iffy. You are what you eat, and many farmed salmon are fed land-based feed -- this lowers their omega-3 levels. Wild is best, but farmed is still OK.

2.  Sardines

Sardines, especially fresh ones, are delicious, plentiful and inexpensive. Serve them grilled or baked with a tomato sauce. Can't find fresh ones? Canned sardines are just as good if you're looking to maximize your omega-3 intake: Serve canned sardines broiled on toast for a classic appetizer.

3.  Smelt

Smelt are widely available in the freezer section of your supermarket, most often cleaned already. These little fish are made for the fryer -- batter them up, maybe with a light Japanese tempura batter -- and eat them like French fries.

4.  Shad

American shad may be tough to find unless you live on the coast. Strictly a springtime delicacy, shad is milder than sardines or herring, but they have many bones you must work around. If you find shad at your market in the East, you may find boneless fillets. Out West, you will have to deal with the bones yourself; I offer several options here on this site.

5.  Anchovies

Almost all anchovies you will find are preserved, because they go bad very quickly. If you find fresh anchovies, grill or broil them and serve them simply. Preserved anchovies can be added to tomato sauces or -- sparingly -- to pizza or other Mediterranean dishes. Look for boquerones, or Spanish white anchovies, in fine markets: These are cured in salt and vinegar and are much fresher and tastier than the brick-colored anchovies you'll find in jars.

The only way is up

Tower running - racing up the stairs of skyscrapers - is a fast-growing new sport. It is also incredibly painful. Why is it so popular, asks Benjie Goodhart

The agonies people are prepared to inflict upon themselves in the name of fitness and fun are often baffling, but "tower running" takes endurance to a whole new dimension. It is a sport of few rules: you run up a skyscraper's stairwell, you collapse and the fastest time wins. Despite the fact that it sounds about as enjoyable as gargling with magma, it is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. In America, there are countless competitions, with the three majors being the US Bank Tower in LA, the Sears Tower in Chicago and the Empire State Building in New York. There are races, too, all over Europe, Asia and South America, though none yet of any significance in Britain.
The elite athletes who pioneer this new craze are, unsurpisingly, a rum bunch. There's 55-year-old Kurt Hess, who holds the world record for altitude climbed in 24 hours (30,000m) and who trains for 12 hours a day at weekends. There's Ed McCall, a successful broker, who liked running up stairs so much he introduced his teenage sons to it: the three now combine school and work with travelling to races all over the world. And there's Tim Van Orden, who feels compelled to break records in a host of athletic endeavours, and to show the world (via his website that all of this can be done on a raw vegan diet.
Their motives for taking up the sport may differ, but tower runners all talk of one universally shared experience - the pain. "It's not all that pleasant," says Ed McCall. His son, Colin, adds: "After my first race, I puked in a garbage can. Everyone high-fived me." "Think about the most painful thing you've ever done, then multiply by 10," says his elder brother Colin.
Most tower runners seem to have found the sport by accident. "I was a mountain runner training for the US team back in the fall of 2006," says Van Orden. "At the time, mountain running was the most gruelling sport I could find. But I injured my knee, and thought I was going to be out for a few months, until I discovered that I could climb stairs without aggravating it. A friend had mentioned that they held a stair climb race in the US Bank Tower in downtown LA and suggested that I give it a try. Somehow I managed to get third place overall. I had never experienced so much pain in my life - but I was hooked." Not everyone achieves such success in their first event. Tower runners love to relate stories of elite marathon runners who assume they'll cruise to the top, only to drop out in a crumpled heap on the 43rd floor.
One "flat" athlete who has succeeded at more vertical pursuits is Austrian Andrea Mayr. As well as being the Austrian record holder for the women's 3,000m steeplechase, Mayr is a multiple winner of the Empire State Run Up and the Taipei 101, the sport's most prestigious events, and sees it as useful endurance training on a road that she hopes will take her to Beijing this summer. Even she - a seasoned athlete - complains of the pain of tower running: "After the first half your legs get tired, and at the end the muscles really burn. It's really, really tough."
Surely, you might think, this can't be doing these people any good. Susan Brown, a lecturer in biomechanics at Napier University, disagrees. "This is good exercise because it increases cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength and endurance," she says. "When you're running up stairs, you're shifting your centre of mass vertically as well as horizontally, so you're fighting against gravity, which uses more energy. The more difficult it is, the better a training tool it is." Tower runners also use their arms to haul them up using the stair rail, which means the upper body is being worked. "If you think about it, athletes have always used stair climbs as part of their fitness training. Lots of footballers take a run in the stands for that reason. Rocky did it, too." She is referring, of course, to the iconic sequence in the eponymous film, where Rocky sprints up the steps outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He looked exhausted when he reached the top and the big galoot had only done 65 steps. Most tower runs worthy of the name involve 1,500.
Brown also dismisses the suggestion that stair-climbing is particularly hazardous for your body. "Injuries only occur where you apply a force in a direction that doesn't suit the way your body moves," she says. "Your body is perfectly capable of climbing stairs. You are putting more stress on your knee and hip joints, but not to an extent that your body can't cope with, unless you have existing problems." She does, however, offer a few cautionary words: "Make sure your whole foot is on each step to eliminate potential Achilles tendon strain," she says, "and avoid running back downstairs: it's of negligible benefit, and the risk of an impact injury is far greater. Finally, as you get more tired, there is an increased possibility of tripping. In that respect, the injury you're most likely to suffer is to your nose or teeth."
You don't have to be an athlete to benefit from stair running either, says Brown. "As with all new forms of exercise, you should start slowly, climbing one step at a time. After four to six weeks try two steps at a time, then two steps more quickly and once you're used to that, try wearing a weighted belt."
Enthusiast David Snyder claims on his website that it burns about twice as many calories as other sports, though no scientific study has backed this up. It is generally accepted, though, that walking up stairs burns 500-600 calories per hour, while running up burns about 1,000, depending on your weight. So next time the lift breaks down at work, instead of sighing and muttering into your doughnut, think of it as an opportunity.

What Muscles Do Push-Ups Work?

Push-ups are one of the most basic exercises that are beneficial to build a strong core and upper body using only your body and a flat surface. What muscles do push-ups work?

Push-ups are basic strength-building total body exercises that strengthen the upper body and improve the core strength. Several muscle groups in the chest, arms, shoulder, triceps, back, and neck work simultaneously during a push-up. Push-ups are performed in a prone position, which can help develop a good posture.
Military personnel and athletes do push-ups as part of exercise regimen that helps strengthen the upper back and shoulder while providing stability to the torso, and promote muscle endurance and overall fitness. It is considered the ultimate body-weight exercise because there are different kinds of push-ups you can do depending on your strength and stamina. Push-ups are easy to do and do not require any special exercise equipment, which is very convenient as it can be done without investing a lot of money in fancy gym equipment.
Push-ups help build a stronger core, and increases strength in the chest, arms, and forearms. Different types of push-ups target different muscle groups.

What Muscles Do Push-ups Work?

Various muscles in the upper body work together during a push-up. The main muscles targeted are:
  • Pectoralis major
  • Deltoids
  • Triceps brachii
  • Serratus anterior
  • Abdominal muscles
  • Coracobrachialis
Pectoralis Major. These are the two large chest muscles primarily the pushing muscles of the upper body. It makes up most of the upper body. As you raise and lower your body during a push-up, the pectoralis major is doing most of the work to raise and lower your body.
Deltoids. These are the shoulder muscles helping the pectoralis major to push the body during a push-up. Although they are a weaker muscle group, they are crucial to all movements of the shoulder. The rounded shoulder look is due to a well-defined deltoid.
Triceps Brachii. Triceps are situated at the back of the upper arm and help in extending the arm outward. It makes up about two-thirds of the upper arm mass and is most exerted muscle during push-ups.
Serratus Anterior. The serratus anterior lies under the armpit at the back of the chest. The muscles give the scapula a winged look. These muscles are activated during a push-up and doing regular push-ups strengthens the serratus anterior muscle helping in smooth movements during exercises.
Coracobrachialis. The coracobrachialis runs from the shoulder blade to the upper arms. During a push-up, the coracobrachialis pushes the upper arm against the body, which is essential to perform a push-up. A well-developed coracobrachialis muscle is necessary for building upper body strength.
Abdominal Muscles. The core strength develops as the abdominal muscles are engaged in a push-up. As the body is held in a prone position, the abdominal muscles help the body brace itself.

Variations of Push-ups

There are many different kinds of push-ups and the most common are:
  • Wide Grip Push-ups
  • Incline Push-ups
  • Decline Push-ups
  • One Arm Push-ups
  • T Push-ups
Wide Grip Push-ups.This classis push-up is more difficult than the standard push-up as it provides less mechanical advantage to push your body upward. The wide grip push-up targets the chest, triceps, and muscles in the front of the shoulder. The shoulders and chest are worked up with the assistance of the triceps.
Incline Push-ups.The incline push-up is the most commonly used push-up targeting different parts of the chest. The triceps, deltoids, and core muscles are activated during incline push-ups, with lesser stress on the elbows reducing the amount of body weight being lifted. Incline push-ups activate the chest muscles and prevent sagging of the spinal column. With a slow motion, the core is engaged and the incline push-up can be used as a pre- or post-exercise stretch.
Decline Push-up.A decline push-up is an advanced upper body exercise targeting the chest, shoulders, arms, and back. By placing the feet higher than the hands, the level of difficulty can be significantly increased because maintaining proper rigid body position requires significant strength and stability in the core, legs, and back.
One-Arm Push-up.A one-arm push-up strengthens the chest and triceps muscles and builds a strong and muscular core. The abdominal muscles and obliques have to work extra hard to keep the body stabilized on one arm and you must have sufficient strength to maintain the position. Building muscle and strength is important for total body control during a one-arm push-up.
T Push-up.The T push-up is a variation of the standard push-up. More muscle groups are involved during a T push-up. The T push-up requires the muscles to work much harder to balance the body during the exercise. It works the core muscles, chest, and shoulder at the same time, which does not happen often.

How to do Push-ups

The push-up is a body building exercise that strengthens the upper body and core while using muscles in the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, and legs. The following steps explain how to do a push-up:
  1. Lower your body down on to the floor or a carpeted floor with your palms under your shoulders - slightly wider than shoulder width. Keep your feet close together and dig your toes into the floor helping to stabilize the lower part of your body. Maintain your body flat likes a plant by engaging your abdominals.
  2. By focusing your eyes about two to three feet in front of you, begin to lower your body keeping your back flat until your chest is nearly touching the floor. It is important that the body remain flat in a straight line throughout the lowering movement. This plank-like position is the beginning and end position during a push-up.
  3. Keep the elbows close to the body, and draw the shoulder blades back and down. Keep your head facing forward and inhale as you lower yourself.
  4. Exhale as you push to the start position without leaving the ground. The chest and shoulders provide the strength for the push-up. Continue to push up until your arms are almost straightened.
  5. Repeat the above steps after pausing for a few seconds. Adhere to proper stretching and cool-down routines are necessary.
The wider your arms, the better it is for you to execute a successful push-up. If you are a beginner, do a slow and proper push-up and do not rush to simply finish off the push-up. You can begin by balancing on your knees instead of your toes if you find it easier. Then you can begin to balance on your toes when you feel confident and relaxed. Try not to lower your hips during a push-up. If your lower back begins to hurt during a push-up, stop and take a break.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

How much salt should I use in sauerkraut?

Why do you need salt anyway?
The salt helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the brine while also allowing the lactic acid bacteria to ferment the vegetables (through lacto-fermentation). There are some sites out there that advocate using little or no salt to increase 'diversity' of the fauna - I generally don't worry about this as the salinity level won't affect the bacteria we want. Also, the salt will help the cabbage (and any other vegetables) keep their 'crunch' even after several weeks of fermenting.

How much?
If you have searched on the Internet for information on this you will no doubt have come across a figure of 3 tbsp (tablespoons) of salt for every 5 pounds of cabbage. In metric this equates to approximately 1 tbsp of salt for every 750 grams of cabbage. Personally I find this level too salty and have found that one can make perfectly good sauerkraut using as little as 1 tbsp of salt for every kilogram (1,000 grams) of cabbage, especially if you use the brine preparation method outlined in the preparation article in this section (click here to view the preparation article). In short you can more or less salt to taste provided some salt is used and evidence of fermentation can be seen. Also be aware that unrefined sea salts are saltier than other varieties.

Also, the ratio applies to the total weight of vegetables - if you are making sauerkraut that has a significant amount (more than 10% of the total) of other vegetables (like carrots, fennel or kale for example) then increase the salt in proportion as if there were more cabbage.

What kind?
I have found that the very best kinds of salt to use are Celtic or Pink Himalayan Sea salt, but any unrefined sea salt will do. I don't like to use any other kind, and haven't used any table salts to make my sauerkraut so I won't comment on their use here.

Do I really have to use salt?
Ok, fine - you can use very little or no salt and still get fermentation when using cabbage, as the bacteria we are after are still just as present and will still start to create the anaerobic environment which is hostile to more harmful bacteria.

However a word of caution: to do this I would advise using a starter culture, just to be sure, and keeping a good seal on and sterilising the container is all the more critical, especially in the first few days when it is easier for more undesirable types of bacteria to thrive.

Personally, I think using salt makes the fermentation process, taste and texture of the sauerkraut better - but you can experiment and see what you prefer.

Sauerkraut is very easy to eat. You can get a lot of valuable probiotics from it without having to buy any supplement.

Don’t Fear the Natural Trans Fats in Grassfed Meat and Butter

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Trans fats are getting a lot of press today. There is general agreement that the artificial trans fats made in a lab are very bad for human health. Numerous studies have implicated trans fats as contributing to heart disease and other illnesses. The federal government now requires that the presence of all trans fats be labeled. Unfortunately, the labeling requirement does not distinguish between artificial trans fats made in the lab and trans fats that occur naturally in dairy and meat products. This is a shame, because there is solid scientific evidence that natural trans fats actually reduce the risk of heart disease.

Does Grassfed Meat Contain Trans Fats?

My friend, low-carb advocate Jimmy Moore, made me aware of this issue. One of Jimmy’s readers was going to buy some grassfed meat. The reader looked at the package, and saw that the meat contained trans fats. The reader did not want to be harmed by trans fats, and did not buy the meat. Well, grassfed fat does contain a small amount of trans fats. However, the trans fats that occur naturally in meat and dairy products are very different from the lab-made trans fats that have been implicated in the studies. Here’s the link to Jimmy’s excellent article on the subject.

What Are Trans Fats?

There are two major kinds, which are actually quite different from each other. There is a kind of trans fat which occurs naturally in meat fat and dairy products. People have been eating this kind of fat for many thousands of years. Most of this fat is known as transvaccenic acid.
There are also man-made trans fats, which were invented in the 20th century. These fats are created by adding hydrogen under pressure to a liquid vegetable oil. This process turns the oil solid at room temperature. This kind of man-made fat is most commonly called partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. These lab-made oils greatly increase the shelf life of processed foods. They have also been found to increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, and other illnesses, in many studies.

Federal Labeling Requirements Do Not Distinguish Between Natural and Artificial Trans Fats

The federal government requires that all foods containing a certain amount of trans fats be labeled as containing trans fats. This is very confusing, because the labeling requirements do not distinguish between natural and artificial trans fats. It is actually possible that a product could contain both, such as butter that has had partially hydrogenated vegetable oil added to it. You cannot tell from the label if the trans fats in the product are the natural trans fats or the artificial trans fats. This is very unfortunate, because the difference between the two major kinds of trans fats is crucial.

Natural Trans Fats May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Obesity

Several recent studies done at the University of Alberta in Canada showed that transvaccenic acid substantially reduced risk factors associated with heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. The studies involved feeding transvaccenic acid to rats. The studies showed a substantial reduction in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and an even larger reduction in triglyceride levels. It should be noted that transvaccenic acid is 70-80% of the trans fats that naturally occur in meat and dairy products.
This research is completely consistent with the research done by Dr. Weston A. Price in the 1930s. Dr. Price studied a number of peoples eating their traditional diet. Some of these diets included large amounts of animal fat, and/or very large amounts of full fat dairy products. Both the animal fat and dairy products would have contained natural trans fats. The peoples studied by Dr. Price had no heart disease, no diabetes, no tooth decay, no cancer, and were not obese—as long as they ate their traditional diets, which were full of naturally occurring trans fats.

How to Find Natural Trans Fats and Avoid Lab-Made Trans Fats

Since the labels do not tell you if the trans fats are natural or artificial, how can you tell?
  • Natural trans fats occur only in meat and dairy products. So if you see trans fats on the label in any non-meat, non-dairy food, you can be reasonably certain that the trans fats are artificial.
  • If you see trans fats on the labels of meat or dairy products, you can expect that they contain natural trans fats, but they could also include artificial trans fats that have been added in processing.
  • The best way I have found to deal with this problem is to buy only pure, unadulterated products in their most basic form, as unprocessed as possible. I also avoid products that have additives.
  • Any product that has the words hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, almost certainly contains artificial trans fats.
For myself, I have decided to avoid all artificial trans fats to the extent possible. I have also decided to enjoy the benefits of the natural trans fats contained in grassfed meat and real butter.
Here are links regarding the studies done at the University of Alberta:
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday Blog Carnival at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.
Read more at Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.

The 20 Worst People at the Gym, According to Trainers


You’ve made the honorable effort of getting your butt to the gym. Little do you know, the battle has only just begun. Claiming your space for high-intensity intervalshandstandsand heavy lifts isn’t easy — and during peak hours, there’s a real art to getting fit in close quarters. But on the road to slimming down, leaning out, or getting swole, are you leaving behind a trail of destruction (alongside a pool of sweat on the bench)?

Trouble in Gym Land

According to a survey conducted by Nuffield Health, a U.K.-based health firm, the answer may be yes. Of the 2,000 people polled, 74 percent said fellow gym goers were guilty of bad gym etiquette, and many implicated themselves as well: 49 percent admitted to having used water bottles and towels that weren’t actually theirs; 33 percent revealed they exercise without deodorant; 18 percent fessed up to working out despite coughing, sneezing and being sick; and 16 percent flat-out said they don’t wash their clothes between workouts. Skeeved out? Us too.
But don’t throw in the towel just yet. In an effort to make your box, studio or sports club a friendlier, safer and all-around-more-awesome place to be, we called in some of the top trainers in the country to weigh in on proper workout decorum. While this list is by no means exhaustive, it hits on some of the deadliest sins in sweatsville. So who are the worst offenders? Find out here.

1. The Hoarder 

Need one of everything, in every size, shape and color? Health club hoarders aren’t unlike the ones you see on reality TV. “They stand in the same spot in front of the mirror with a collection of dumbbells in every weight around them and swear they’re using them all — while doing 10 different exercises,” says Max Tapper, personal trainer at The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers. How to avoid stockpiling? “Make circuits small and only take the weights you will need immediately,” Tapper says.

2. The Not-So-Supersetter 

Supersetting (i.e. alternating between two or more exercises at a time) is a fantastic way to maximize your time, and your burn. It’s also a fantastic way to make some gy-nemies during peak lifting hours. Claiming “dibs” on multiple areas of the gym not only ties up two pieces of real estate at once, it forces others to wait and ask around if someone’s still there. “If you’re using more than one piece of equipment, make sure you’re close to them at all times,” says fitness coach JC Deen of JCD Fitness. Walk away for more than 15 to 30 seconds, and most people will assume you’re done, Deen says. “Supersetting is a luxury, not a necessity,” adds strength coach and author Bret Contreras. Bottom line: “If the gym is busy, don’t superset!”

3. The Spoiled Brat

Blame growing up with nannies, butlers and maids. For some, cleaning up after themselves isn’t second nature, which means stray kettlebells, plates and other gym essentials not in their proper place.  “It’s pretty self-explanatory, but it sucks when you’re rushing to get in a workout and you spend half the time looking for the dumbbell or medicine ball you need,” says Dan Trink, C.S.C.S., strength coach and owner of Trink Fitness. Avoid timeout by returning your equipment back where it belongs.

4. The Exhibitionist

When you’re pushing through that last round of v-ups or sled sprints, distractions can be a very good thing. But people-watch at your own risk. According to Jordan Syatt, five-time world record powerlifter, strength coach and owner of, overexposure (including “working out sans underwear”) is more common than you’d think. “I’m all for giving yourself some extra breathing room, but for your sake — and everyone around you — make sure you strap on a decent pair of undies.”
The same goes for shirts at certain boxes and gyms. “We have a shirts-on policy for men and women,” says Kelly Starrett, coach and founder of San Francisco CrossFit. “As a practical matter, it keeps people’s sweat from dripping all over our gym. More importantly, the gym should be a place that feels welcoming and inclusive, and not a place the few super jacked people can show off their six-packs.”

5. The Miley

We’re just minding our own business at the pull-up bar, and in comes the wrecking ball — music blaring from their over-ear headphones, singing full-voice for all to hear. Is it Miley, just being Miley? Unlikely. “Singing in the gym it is not only distracting to gym members, it’s flat-out annoying!” says Michelle Lovitt, celebrity trainer and fitness expert. “Sing in your head or in the shower so the only person you’re distracting is yourself.”

6. The Pick-Up Artist

Want to gawk? Swipe right. For all other inquiries, keep it respectable. Leering men aren’t just creepy, they’re “one of the biggest reasons women tell me they’re intimidated by the weight room,” says Adam Rosante, fitness and wellness coach, and author of The 30-Second Body. “If you see someone who really catches your attention, try to make eye contact at an appropriate time — not mid back squat — and smile. If she smiles back, wait until she’s done crushing it to say hello. If she blows you off, move on. You can go run 10 minutes of intervals to alleviate the sting.”

7. The Talker

Up to 32 percent of gym rats admit to regularly interrupting their session to chat it up with friends. Sure, that’s OK for a recovery day, but most workouts should involve some amount of work. “If you’re able to carry on a full conversation while on the treadmill, you aren’t doing it right!” says Anja Garcia, DailyBurnand Equinox trainer. Gossip can wait — and for the 24/7 gabbers, cell phone calls should never take place on a moving conveyor belt (trust us). “It’s important to dedicate time to yourself, your fitness and your health.” Garcia says. Leaving distractions behind can be the difference between a phenomenal workout, and a face plant.

8. The Texter  

Emojis can’t type themselves — at least not yet. And mid-workout, those minutes scouring your smart phone can really add up, taking a toll on focus, productivity and intensity (read:calorie burn). According to a survey conducted by Harpers Fitness, a typical gym-goer wastes up to 35 percent of each sweat session on non-fitness activities including texting, checking email, and scrolling through apps. To avoid shortchanging yourself, put your mobile into airplane mode and plug back in once you have that post-workout shake in hand.

9. The Drama Queen

Drop it like it’s hot? That depends. If Olympic weightlifting (on an Olympic platform) is your thing, by all means, go for it. But at most commercial gyms that aren’t properly equipped, dropping your weights can be deemed dangerous, disruptive and downright unnecessary. “At the end of a very heavy set [it’s] sometimes unavoidable,” says Sean Hyson, C.S.C.S., Training Director for Men’s Fitness magazine and author of The Truth About Strength Training. “But if you see a guy doing it repeatedly, he’s either desperate for attention or very careless. Dropping dumbbells can damage them, as well as the floor beneath, and abruptly dropping a barbell can warp the bar, causing it to bend. Bent bars make loads unstable to lift and can cause injuries.” We’re all for lifting heavy, but be aware of your gym’s policy (Planet Fitness, we know where you stand), and avoid unleashing the beast with every. single. rep.

10. The Know-It-All

Dole out unsolicited advice and you’re bound to push buttons. “I see it happen a lot at various gyms I train at, and have yet to witness anyone who appreciates a total stranger giving them advice that they didn’t even ask for,” says Tony Gentilcore, CSCS, co-founder of Cressey Sports Performance in Hudson, MA.
“There are a million reasons why a trainer — or non-trainer — might be doing something, and presuming that you know why they’re doing it is condescending,” says Jessi Kneeland, strength coach and creator of Remodel Fitness. “If you must get involved, simply ask them why they’re doing it that way. They may be clueless and actually ask for help — in which case go for it! But they may also have a special-case reason for doing something unusual, that you might never have thought of,” she says.

11. The Body Double

Imitation can be the sincerest form of flattery, unless of course that involves attempting a 375-pound deadlift having never learned proper form. A “monkey see, monkey do” deadlift (or any other exercise you may find poorly executed on YouTube) won’t be deadly, but it can result in a strained muscle, herniated disc, or worse. “It’s a recipe for disaster,” says Jason D’Amelio, certified athletic trainer and owner of Total Athletic PT, and one that can land you on YouTube yourself, but as a #gymfail. “Read up on new exercises before attempting to execute them, and make sure you have good form and technique before you start adding weight,” he says.

12. The Grunter  

There’s beast mode, and then there’s beast mode. If you’re performing a near-max set, grunting is an acceptable practice that’s often impossible to control, Hyson says. “It’s a byproduct of the pressure that builds up in the abdomen from holding your breath during a lift.” Research suggests it may also be the result of proper breathing, which can reinforce stability in the core to help generate more power. It’s when those grunts begin to resemble wounded animal noises that there may be a problem. D’Amelio adds, “If you’re using 10-pound dumbbells for bicep curls and it’s a struggle to lift them properly without making a prehistoric sound, consider dropping to a lighter weight where you can perform the exercise with full range of motion and full control.”

13. The Liability

Take a note from Bret Contreras’s list of 50 Commandments of Commercial Gym Etiquette, and repeat after us: “Thou shalt respect other individuals’ space and maintain adequate distance from other lifters while they’re lifting.” Getting too close for comfort is not only irritating; it can result in a dropped weight, a black eye, or worse. In terms of safety, “there’s also the issue of keeping your immediate lifting area clear of any stray plates, water bottles, and so on,” says Jen Sinkler, fitness writer and Minneapolis-based personal trainer. “Should you miss a lift, the weight you’re hefting could fall, bounce off of those items, and take you out.”

14. The Space Invader

One of the biggest annoyances cited by gym-goers: Others encroaching on your own personal space. “Politely mentione that you need a little more space to safely and confidently do your weight training — for their sake as much as yours,” says Sarah Marsh, head of fitness and wellbeing at Nuffield Health.” If the problem persists, speak to a staff member. It’s possible the same person has been causing trouble for other clients as well, and it may be time to intervene.

15. The Sweaty Betty (and Stinky Steve)

Sweat can be the mark of hard work, but don’t let it stain your reputation. Not wiping down equipment exponentially ups the “yuck” factor for all parties involved. “You accept a level of grossness in most gyms, but have a little respect,” Trink says. What’s worse: Skin infections, such as jock itch, ringworm and even MRSA can spread like wildfire in athletic settings, so personal hygiene isn’t just, well, personal. When it comes to smelling fresh and clean? “Have a rotation of at least two to three gym outfits and a stick of deodorant on call,” suggests Tapper.

16. The Closer

On the treadmill, going nowhere fast? You may be a prime target for pushy trainers trying to score new business. According to a recent poll conducted by Nuffield Health, 45 percent of trainers said they don’t think people seek out enough professional help. Whether or not they’re right, that’s up to you to decide. While each gym will have different policies on hard sell tactics, you always have the right to kindly say no thanks. Headphones back on, resume interval sprints.

17. The Wild One

For the au natural crowd, feeling the earth (or rather, the linoleum) under your toes can be freeing, we get it. Problem is, hygiene (see number 15). “I’m all for barefoot training,” says Syatt, “but if your feet smell like Big Foot’s diaper, you either need to keep your shoes on or give ‘em a good scrub before coming to the gym.”

18. The Shrug-It-Out Bro

Unfortunately traps aren’t made in the kitchen…or at the squat rack. If it’s not leg day, steer clear of such hallowed ground. “Everyone says curls, but taking up a rack for shrugs is worse,” says Trink. Take them to the Smith machine instead, he suggests. And for bicep curls, all you need is a preacher bar or a set of dumbbells and a clear spot on the gym floor, says JC Deen.

19. The Lemme-Get-a-Spot Bro

Needy significant others often get the boot. And yet, it’s hard to say no to the dude who always needs a spot. (Safety first, right?) Keep in mind that not every lift should be a one-rep max attempt, and other lifters do have their own programs to attend to. ”The only exercises that really need to be spotted are chest press and fly variations and squats,” says Hyson. “Only in rare situations is a spotter really necessary to help you increase the intensity on a set — by helping you force out more repetitions, or changing weights for you during a drop set. Most of the time a spotter’s only function is safety — to help you get into position for a lift or prevent you from dropping weights on your skull.”

20. The But First, Lemme-Take-a-Selfie Chick

How else will the world possibly know you crushed your workout? At DailyBurn we fully support the sweaty selfie (in reasonable doses, of course). It’s your moment to flex those guns, squeeze those lats, and do whatever gets you amped to keep up your progress. That said, there’s a time and a place to snap ‘em (#belfies included, Jen Selter), so don’t take up prime real estate in order to capture the perfect light and angle. Whether you have five followers — or five million — don’t take your Insta-self too seriously.