Fire Fighting in Canada



Want to bulk up?
Personal trainer Brad Lawrence looks at breaking plateaus in his FitSmart column and, in his nutrition column, superfood supplements

November 30, 1999 
By Brad Lawrence

FitSmart is a Fire Fighting in Canada online exclusive column by Brad Lawrence, a firefirefighter and personal trainer in Leduc, Alta.  Brad can be reached at


Breaking your plateaus

Oct. 6, 2008

Getting into the gym for a workout can be a battle all on its own, obviously physically, but also mentally. Keeping a positive mental outlook definitely gets tougher as you plateau with your current training. Everyone plateaus. Let’s look at why we plateau and the best way to break through.

Why we plateau
The muscles in your body are designed to plateau and this can be a good thing. Your body is designed this way, so that with frequent training in a specific task, you become better at it. This is how athletes become so good at their specific tasks. This is called the SAID principle. Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands.

Once you’ve adapted to a certain demand, your body must be placed under a higher demand to make progress. A very common mistake is to add weight or repetitions to any exercise. Adding weight to an exercise is not necessarily increasing the demand on the muscle; its increasing the load on the muscle. It’s important to understand the difference.

How to break a plateau

Breaking a plateau takes strong program design, structure and, most importantly, hard work. Here are a few suggestions that should fit into most programs.

is described as completing an exercise set and then immediately moving into another exercise (usually also for that body part). For instance, if you rest for 30 seconds to one minute, it’s not a proper superset. There is not one way to do this, but there is an optimal way. The idea is a compound movement with an isolation to follow. (I.e. squat then leg extension, or chin ups and bicep curls). Look for further information on this topic in coming months.

A drop set is essentially a group of mini-sets involving an individual working to failure, reducing the load, working until failure, reducing the load further, and again working until failure. This can be done using two to 10 sets if desired and is also an old-time plateau breaker. Just be conscious of your form near the end and remember that failure is defined as the inability to further complete the exercise in proper form.

Eccentric loading is the third plateau buster and for good reason. Eccentric training is a great way to boost strength and works on the principle that you’re able to lower more than you can lift. All three methods usually work to get you past a plateau. Remember to design your program, structure your training, and work hard.


Superfood Supplements
Oct. 6, 2008

This probably isn’t a surprise, but you probably don’t get enough fruits and vegetables in your daily diet; most of us don’t. If you read May’s article concerning fiber, be prepared to find some interesting similarities with fruit and vegetable intake. Not having the time to prepare fresh vegetables, or disliking vegetables, is no longer a valid excuse.

The benefits of proper vegetable intake are fairly evident. For instance, five servings a day decreases heart disease risk by 28 per cent. Vegetables boost the immune system, they reduce disease, are rich in antioxidants, they help us control our weight and each serving delivers a host of vitamins and minerals.

For many of us, the battle with fruits and vegetables is simply finding time to eat as many of them as we should. Another obstacle is taste. Many people just don’t enjoy the taste of certain fruits and veggies. That’ said, there is a solution called “greens” supplementation that can provide most of the vitamins and minerals previously found only in fruits and vegetables.

Greens supplements are a blend of the “superfoods” combined into a powdered blend. A superfood is any food possessing much more significant health benefits than standard foods, based on their specific nutrients. Examples of superfoods are blueberries, green foods, green leafy veggies, tea and various other fruits and vegetables.

To create greens drinks, supplements manufacturers combine many of these superfoods and create a blend that mixes with water and is easily absorbed by the body. The finished product is some of the very best foods available combined into one easy-to-consume mix. This won’t eliminate the need for fresh veggies, but it will supply you with a good portion of your daily needs.

Normally I don’t endorse supplements, but these supplements have attracted a phenomenal following. Recently I broke down and tried a greens supplement for the first time. Within days of taking greens I felt more alert and energized, my mood and temperament was better and digestion was great. I highly recommend this supplement to anyone, especially those conscious of what goes into your body.

This is a supplement I look forward to taking every day and I can honestly say that I was impressed with it and doubt I will discontinue it anytime soon. Give it a chance!

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