6 May 2020

Why doing intense workouts may be doing more harm than good right now.

By Matt Whykes, BEXSc.
Kinesiologist, YUL Fitness


At any other point in time, doing intense workouts such as HIIT would be recommended by most coaches as a way to improve your fitness to the best of your ability. 

But now, it may be important to not exercise to your absolute max; but why?

During this pandemic, we need to step back and look at our main priority; preserving good health.

Now don’t get me wrong, exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health, but there’s a catch when it comes to high intensity training.

In a study by Nıeman and Pedersen (1999), it was shown that high intensity training may actually hinder immune function, as the long, intense workouts they performed decreased interleukin levels for 48-72 hours post-exercise.  

This means that they are less capable of fighting off infection in the time after their race, which is not ideal when we consider preserving good health as our top priority. A similar phenomenon may occur during any type of high intensity exercise, hence the need to tone it down.

In contrast, moderate intensity training, according to Neiman and Pedersen (1999), greatly improves immune function. So keeping some kind of moderate intensity movement in your routine is important (now more than ever) to keep your health at its peak and prevent sickness.

So how exactly should I go about exercising now?

You don’t need to eliminate your HIIT workouts entirely; however you should limit it to about one third of your total training volume, and try not to perform them on consecutive days, as there may be risk of overtraining according to the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee (2018).

Here are some guidelines for training during the corona virus pandemic:

  • Daily exercise, for at least 30 minutes.
  • Try to get outside to do your exercise, as fresh air is great for your mental and physical health.
  • Keep it moderate; you should still be able to talk during your exercise.
  • Make sure you spend some time recovering before you jump into your next workout. 
  • Pay attention to your body – If it’s telling you to back off, do it!

*This post is a summary of Jordan Metzl, M.D.’s article “Why You Might Want to Cool It On High-Intensity Workouts During the COVID Crisis” https://www.shape.com/fitness/tips/moderate-intensity-exercise-during-coronavirus.


Nıeman, D. C., & Pedersen, B. K. (1999). Exercise and immune function: Recent development. Sports Med27, 73-80.

2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. (2018). 2018 physical activity guidelines advisory committee scientific report. In :. US Department of Health and Human Services.

Metzl, J. (2020). Why You Might Want to Chill Out On HIIT Workouts for the Time Being. Retrieved 6 May 2020, from https://www.shape.com/fitness/tips/moderate-intensity-exercise-during-coronavirus


Photo by Fitsum Admasu on Unsplash

7 December 2018

Have you ever signed up to a gym once (or surely more) in your life? What prompted you to buy a subscription and get started on the quest for a perfect body or ideal health?

Was it a success? How long have you managed to keep up with four intense workouts per week? Did you know what you were doing or was your brother-in-law giving you bad advice?

Overall, did you like the experience and consider starting again soon?

If you are like 66% of people, you stopped training after 1 month.

If you are like 95% of the population, the gym membership is not a pleasant solution nor one that delivers concrete, long-term results.

“A gym membership is like getting a piano in the hope of becoming a virtuoso pianist.”

A gym membership is like buying a piano in the hope of becoming a virtuoso pianist, or getting a golf bag wanting to be a pro by summer (or even just a good player). Being in possession of these items does not guarantee that you will become a new expert in piano or golf.

What happens then? The piano becomes a piece of furniture and the golf bag stored at the bottom of the basement takes the dust.

So what about these people who are proud pianists or golfers emeritus? What did they do differently?

Well, they studied, practiced and they are disciplined to become better.

And not without external help, commonly called expert, coach, trainer or mentor.

Without a coach or trainer, great athletes would not be what they are today. And it’s for us too, ordinary people.

“To achieve results, we need to be surrounded and accountable to someone – a coach, trainer, expert or mentor who plans our journey to become better.”

To achieve results, we must be surrounded and accountable to someone, a coach, trainer, expert or mentor who plans our journey to become better. Otherwise, it is almost impossible to succeed.

And in the quest for a fit body and perfect health, it’s even more important, since our quality of life is at stake.

Being able to enjoy life and our daily activities is invaluable to someone who has experienced the opposite. This person now understands that having energy and vigor will make him happier today.

With the support of a coach or trainer, who knows where to go, because he made mistakes and lived the hard way, and gained knowledge in the sweat of his practice, developped, adapted and personalized programs for its students and clients, this ally will take us to the end of the road and will reach us in record time and much faster than we think.

“Today, time is priceless and it is our primary resource – in other words, there is no time to waste!”

To see results as quickly as possible, here’s how to choose your personal trainer:

  1. Determine the results you want to have. As when traveling, what is the final destination? Do you want to lose 20 pounds of fat in 6 months? Do you want to take 5 pounds of muscle in 5 months? Do you want to gain 50% more strength on your legs and double your number of pushups? Do you want to finally see your abs next summer? Do you want to be at your best in your wedding dress in 6 months? Do you want to reduce your knee pain by 50%? Increase your flexibility by 25% in 3 months? Do you want to run a 21 km in the next year? These are all worthy and individual results, depending on what you want to achieve. Take stock of your expected results before meeting your coach / trainer / mentor, and be realistic with yourself. No results too unrealistic, otherwise we are disappointed soon enough! And a good coach will tell you right away if your expectations are unrealistic.
  2. Ask for references. The best way to meet a competent professional is to ask a person close to you who is the expert that he or she has helped him achieve his results. Find someone who has achieved their results (which are similar to yours), and ask who has been (or still is today) their coach or trainer. This is proof of success and you immediately see the skills of the professional and what he is capable of. And above all, if this person is nice to work with him! Because having fun is important, right? You have no reference around you? Do a search on Google, and see to it that the coach or trainer has a clear and complete website of his services, that there are testimonials of the customers and the results that they had, and that this coach is well represented on social media and on the web. It goes without saying that this professional must have accreditations and certifications of personal trainer and / or a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology or exercise science.
  3. Accessibility. Be certain that the coach or coach you hire is near your job or your home. Changing your lifestyle is very difficult, you must first simplify the routine with a coach who will be more accessible. A maximum of 20 minutes of transport because if it takes longer than, it will be too easy to cancel the session. Out of sight out of mind. Whether he or she is just minutes away from your job, in the morning, in the daytime if your schedule is flexible, and after your office hours, it must be easy and in your pace of the day to go! Close to home before or after work, or weekends, it gives you an effective training in your busy schedule!
  4. Search, meet the professional and do your interview. So now you have well in hand the information of your future and potential coach (whether your reference or your search on the web and social media – and that his competence has been well established), it is up to you to contact him via phone or e-mail, make an appointment and pass the interviewer, because chemistry is the most important thing! If the skill has not been established beforehand, do it during this interview. During this time, make sure the coach or trainer asks you a ton of questions about you, your experience, your health, your background and the results you want. At the same time, make him talk too, be on the lookout for him or her to make you comfortable and allow you to be yourself (because we know how insecure it can be to reveal our life to a stranger) and to discuss without judgment and with openness and exemplary empathy. If after a few minutes you feel comfortable and relaxed, continue the evaluation and interview session, and if it is done well, you will be confident and have a taste of a session with a coach who knows what he’s doing. The pleasure is super important! And if this interview session does not commit you to anything, and it’s free, even better!
  5. Take the BIG decision. Your interview and assessment is now over, you’ve had fun, and feel like you’re getting into a new exciting momentum, jump in with your feet together! You will not be disappointed! Your coach will explain what will be the process and the program for the coming months. Because of course, be ready to dedicate yourself to your results for a while. Rome did not get built in four weeks. Achieving your results take the time you need, while you grow, you improve and that’s how you get better. To you all the credit of your efforts! The efforts will be there, so the results too, it’s a law!

You are now super excited to start your workout, fitness plan, weight loss, pain management, stress management or running program. It is now the last step (always very important) before you totally commit to your new lifestyle, the financial commitment on your part. Read this article (coming soon) to find out how much a personal trainer costs in Montreal.

Written by Dino Masson, Kinesiologist (Who is Dino Masson?)

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

4 April 2018

The most popular question? How to lose belly fat? Have you accumulated extra pounds? You look at yourself in the mirror, and the image that is returned to you is not what you had in mind?

The body changes and evolves with time and lifestyle. Whether positive or negative, the body will follow and gradually change according to your habits. It’s so devious that we wake up one morning, and paf! our body is not what it was. During all this time, we had never noticed anything. But why is this so?

The body takes a lot of time to metamorphose and develop. It’s a living organism, and its bones, organs or muscles change very gradually depending on what you do with it. It is with the months, even the years that our most precious vehicle (our body) molds and evolves to be the one of which it is today.

Your body today is the addition of the last 3 months and what you did with it during this time.

No exercise? He will be flaccid and limp. Junk food? You will be swollen, swollen, fatter and atrophied muscles. It’s not more complicated than that. It is with this in mind that YUL Fitness has developed programs that are easy to create and accessible to everyone. Check out our programs here.

It’s a huge task to develop and maintain good habits every day, you surely know something about it. Have you ever tried to change your lifestyle? Do more exercises, eat better? Did you succeed?

Here’s how to lose belly fat and finally burn fat.

  1. Add vegetables you like to your diet: At lunch time for your dinner, add some tomatoes or carrots to your side with your favorite dish. What will aim to fill you and you avoid wanting to eat too much, or eat something else more sweet like a bar of chocolate or other sweets.
  2. Reduce your portions just a little: It’s not necessary to completely cut your meals in half. Do not skip a meal! Just reduce your meal by 25%, without changing anything else. This small sacrifice will add up every day, and at the end of the month, you will have lost one or two kilos very easily.
  3. Add protein to each of your meals: white pasta only? Or sliced bread in the morning with nothing else? Add a few grams of protein to your meals, between 15 and 25 grams will do. Eggs, cheese, red or white meat, or fish, the choices are not lacking! Proteins increase the recovery and speed of metabolism and can not store in fat like carbohydrates.
  4. Increase the intensity of your workouts: still the same speed on the treadmill? Little jog too easy? Weights of 5 kilos for months? Intensity is very important for fat loss since the intensity mobilizes the energy resources to use the fats on our body. It also increases basal metabolic rate for 48 hours and allows for more calories. Do 1 minute intervals of running and 1 minute of walking on the treadmill, at a very uncomfortable speed during this minute. Add a few pounds to your weight training and do a maximum of 8 to 10 repetitions (without being able to do more). For effective exercises, subscribe to our fat loss training program here.
  5. Increase the weekly activity dose by 120 minutes: you train and then do not do anything else? You are not alone! Many think that training is enough. But no, add 30 minutes of activities over 4 to 5 days a week! Or if you do not train, it’s even more important! Go walking, hiking, play a sport with your child, bike, swim or snowshoe. Everything to move! More calories burned, more fat burned!

    Try these 5 tips to learn how to lose belly fat and burn fat for more results! Your extra pounds will go away over time, and your image in the mirror will look more like what you want.

    Find out more tips on how to lose belly fat in this video.