Muscle Directory

Hey all,

I'm currently building a muscle directory. it'll be incorporated into posts like the example below:

the biceps are one of the main flexors of the forearm.

So basically any time I mention a muscle it will get linked to the muscle directory so that you can see it, there will also be tidbits of information on each muscle. For now it'll be just the picture until I'm able to draw, upload, and edit each picture.

Cheers, and as always you can check out my wife's blog for travel and fashion.

Body Weight Exercises - The Pushup

Pushups are probably one of the most well known exercises around. If you've ever taken gym in school you have likely done a pushup. The beauty of it is it's simplicity, how easy it is to adapt, and that you can do it anywhere. This post will explain the musculature involved in a simple pushup and ways to alter the way the pushup is done.

The Science-y Bit

Push-ups involve the following muscle and their actions:

shoulder flexion
shoulder adduction
shoulder medial (internal) rotation
elbow extension
minimally assists shoulder adduction
shoulder flexion
minimally assists shoulder addution

Push-ups typically involve two major actions - elbow extension and adduction of the humerus. Pectoralis Major is the main target of the exercise, with an average activation of 95%. Triceps get an average activation of 75%.

The push-up also involves stabilizing muscles of the trunk, but I don't want to make this too boring for you all. If you are interested in all of that, then by all means, contact me. 

The Practical Bit

So, now that I've bored you completely, what's the big deal about push-ups? Well, as I mentioned earlier, they can be done pretty much everywhere. Granted, you're not likely to get down on the floor in the middle of your office to do a few push-ups, but the option is there

The are a compound exercise. Compound exercises are great because they are multi-joint and typically more functional than isolated exercises. For example, there are times when you would have to do a push-up to get yourself up off the floor if you happened to fall down, but when, in the real world, will you ever actually have to do a bicep curl?

Three simple Adaptations

How it changes the pushup
From knees
Decrease length of lever arm and therefore percentage of body mass supported, making pushup easier. Appropriate for beginners.
narrow hand position
Increases activation of triceps, making in a more targeted exercise for arms
wide hand position
Increases angle for adduction and thereby requiring larger percentage of activation from pectoralis major. making it more targeted to chest

Body Weight Exercise - Introduction

Hey all,

It's been a while since I made an actual post on here, my apologies. I've been a little bussy with a side project on squidoo. I thought it was about time I started working on the content here as well.

For the next few posts I'm going to be focusing on strengthening exercises that you can do with just your own body weight and a minimal amount of equipment. Right now I'm on a bus on my way to work, so I just wanted to give a little introduction to the series.

Body weight exercise is great. That sentence seems like it should have a bit more ummph to it, but the statement stands on its on. It's great. It requires little equipment, is basically free, and you can do it in your own home. For anyone in transit (staying in a hotel room, etc...) it can be used to tide you over until you can hit the gym again. No you won't get HUGE with body weight exercises, but you can expect to see improvements in strength, muscle tone, and balance.

For the next few posts I'll cover some common body weight exercises, common mistakes while doing them, ways to progress them, and a little bit of anatomy/biomechanics just for the fun of it.

As always, if you have any questions please don't hesitate to comment or contact me directly. Cheers!

Soft Tissue Healing - Content at Squidoo

It's been a couple of days since my last relevant post. I've been working on a few things, trying to make little improvements here and there. One thing I've done is started a squidoo account and started posting content there. It's a pretty interesting little site so I think I'd try it out for a little while. Here's a post on soft tissue healing that I just wrote for my squidoo account. It will likely find it's way to my healthy living page here in the near future, but in the meantime you can read all about it there.

I encourage any of you who do read this blog to let me know what you think. Is there anything you want me to write about? Follow me, tell your friends, I need to know I'm not alone out in the blogosphere. That's it for now. Cheers.

Technorati Claim

Forgive me folks, this post is neither personal nor health related. Just a requirement for technorati.


Knee Injury - Sprains and Strains

Below is information for a handout I wrote when working in a clinic. It contains basic information about sprains/strains of the knee

General Information

The knee is a complex structure consisting of four strong ligaments – the Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL), Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL), and the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) – cartilage known as meniscus, and a number of tendons the cross over the knee to allow for knee flexion and extension-most notably the patellar/quadriceps tendons.

The knee is the most injured joint of the body, with most injuries being a sprain to one of the four ligaments. Commonly knee injuries occur as a result of participating in sports. Other causes can be slips, trips, and motor vehicle accidents. Knee strains and sprains are caused by direct trauma.

Tips to Prevent Injury

Unfortunately, knee injuries caused by direct trauma, for example a football player getting tackled at the knees, are unpreventable. However, one way to minimize the risk of a strain, sprain, is to properly warm up before participating in sporting activity. Often a person will get injured because they are inexperienced or casual participants in sport and are not conditioned for the rigors of sport.

Exercise is also important as it will help retain flexibility in the knee and keep the muscles and tendons surrounding the knee strong to provide stability.

If you have a history of knee injuries then wearing a protective brace or taping before participating in physical activity is a good idea.


Immediate treatment for a mild strain/sprain injury should focus on reducing swelling and pain with a combination of anti-inflammatory medication and following the R.I.C.E model:

Rest – take a break from activities that may aggravate the injury

Ice   – Ice the injury for 15-20 minutes on and off for about 2 hours to keep swelling down

Compression – keep pressure on the injury by using a wrap in order to push swelling away from the injury

Elevation – Elevate the leg above the level of the heart by lying down and supporting the leg with pillows or books to prevent pooling of blood and to keep swelling down

Strengthening exercises should be included once swelling has decreased, usually about 3-4 days.

Rotator Cuff Injury - The Basics and Tips

The rotator cuff is the main stabilizer of the shoulder joint of the shoulder and it allows the arm to raise and rotate, hence the name. The four main muscles that make of the rotator cuff shown below:

                                              Posterior                           Anterior

The infraspinatus and teres minor act as external rotators of the arm, while the subscapularus acts as internal rotator. The teres minor is also a weak adductorof the shoulder, while the supraspinatus acts as a shoulder abductor.

The majority of rotator cuff injuries are repetitive strain injuries that occur gradually, although some injuries occur because of a trauma such as a fall or accident. Rotator cuff injuries usually fall into one of two categories:

1.     Rotator Cuff Tendonitis – inflammation of the tendons of one or more of the above muscles

2.     Rotator Cuff Tear – tearing of one of the tendons of one or more of the above muscles 

The main signs of a rotator cuff injury are shoulder pain and weakness and this is aggravated when lifting objects above one’s shoulders/head. Poor posture can also put you at risk for developing a rotator cuff injury because as you slouch forward you place undue stress on the shoulder joint.

Tips to Prevent Rotator Cuff Injuries

While you cannot prevent trauma, there are things you can do to lower the risk of developing a rotator cuff injury:
  1. Exercise your rotator cuff. This will strengthen the involved muscles and help to better stabilize the shoulder joint.
  2. Avoid lifting heavy objects about your head. The safest level for lifting is between your waist (at your belt) and your chest. If lifting is to be done above the shoulders then ask for assistance or use a stool.     
  3. Take Breaks when your shoulders/arms feel weak or tired. Remember, most rotator cuff injuries are repetitive stress injuries and are caused by overuse. When you’re muscles fell weak and tired they are unable to stabilize your shoulder joint properly, increasing your risk for injury. 
  4. Listen to your parent’s advice and stand up straight. Your shoulders should be relaxed, back, and down. Avoid slouch forward.    

I Have Returned (much like the Jedi)

Hello world!

I am back from my honeymoon. I will post some relavant posts as soon as I can, but in the meantime, check out my wife's blog for pictures from Barcelona, and Marrakech to follow.

Also, if anyone has any ideas of topics they would like me to cover then please let me know. I'll gladly write on anything health related. Of course, if it's not something I've had much experience with I will have to research, but I'm cool with that - it'll actually be helpful for when I have to write my thesis.

The Snail

So, you may be wondering why there's a snail in my heading when I claim that this blog is about exercise and music. I could come up with a witty joke (actually, I probably couldn't, I have perhaps the driest sense of humour in the world), but I figure I'll just go with the boring truth.

Way back in the mystical time that was 2009 I started this blog. I was bored, I liked the internet, and I thought that blogging would be my first step towards conquering it (I hear that Steve Jobs is the final boss, and when you beat him you get a free copy of the yet to be release OS Liger). So I spent hours trying to figure it out, reading different peoples blogs, playing around with the layout, and basically just wasting as much time as I could because I'm a giant child. Anyway, I didn't really have a name for the blog, but I always used song lyrics as my the title for my posts, so I thought why not use a song for my blog. I guess my favourite song a the time was Snails by the format, so I named my blog "Snails See the Benefits." So there you have it, the totally lame reason why there's a snail in my header. I've just realized that by the time anyone actually reads this I will have probably changed that snail into something else...... but probably not, who has the time really?

Since then I've tried to reinvent the blog and make it more focused on two things I know a little bit about, but I've been too lazy to change the header. I'm not sure if the name is quite right yet anyway, but I don't want to keep changing it because I'm confusing google. It crawls over me one week and the next week, bam! I've disappeared.

Oh, on a side note: Sarah and I are going on our honeymoon tomorrow, and as such I will be sans internet for about two weeks. We're going to Barcelona and Marrakech. check out the ladies blog in the near future for an update and some snazzy photos of our trip.

Update: Coincidentally, Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of apple, I guess someone has conquered the internet before me. Damn.

Protein and Chocolate Milk

When I was working as a personal trainer before I took on my masters in physiotherapy I got asked one question a lot. That question was - what protein do you recommend? My answer almost undoubtably was chocolate milk. Confused? I'll explain it.

First off I will clarify something. I do not discredit the fact that a protein shake is helpful for a specific population, but for the general population the cost outweigh the benefits, and what in fact a lot of people end up buying are the ingredients for expensive pee as your body will only absorb a certain amount of the protein and get rid of the rest. For the general population that is roughly 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight for woman and 0.9-1.0g of protein per kg of body weight for men, slightly higher after you exercise.

So let's do the math. Let's assume a 60kg woman. She needs 0.8x60 = 48g of protein. Her meals are as follows:
Breakfast: 2 eggs and toast = ~12g protein
Snack: yoghurt = ~4g protein
Lunch: PB&J sandwich and a fruit cup = ~12g protein
Snack: babybel cheese serving: ~5g protein
Dinner: chicken and broccoli casserole = ~20g protein

giving us a grand total of 53g of protein just from meals and snacking.

So does she really need to get another 25-40g of protein from a typically protein shake? Or will she benefit more from a serving of chocolate milk that has 9g of protein? Assuming she's a regular gym goer who does cardio and some light weight training. I will argue that given her needs the 25-40g would be excessive and the 9g from the serving of milk would easily meet her protein requirements post exercise. So why spend your money on a bunch of protein that your body will just piss away, when you could have a glass of delicious chocolate milk?

There are other benefits of chocolate milk as a post-exercise drink, but I don't want this entry to be too long. I'll just bullet point a couple:

~3:2:1 carbs:protein:fat ratio
~160cal (calories are very important post exercise)
calcium + vitamin D (strong bones)
it's delicious! (seriously, tastiest thing on the planet)
Relatively cheap when compared to protein supplements
packed with electrolytes

I think that should about cover it. As always if you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me, either comment below or email me directly from my contact page.

Again as always, if fashion/travel tickles your fancy check out my ladies blog.


For anyone out there who is following this blog, I'm sorry for the hiatus the last couple of weeks. Sarah and I just moved into a new flat and haven't had internet since july 21st, and won't have it until august 16th. I'm working on a couple posts in the meantime, but I won't be able to get them up for a little while. bear with me. And as always, you can check out Sarah's fashion blog if that tickles your fancy.

You Can Count on Me..... Calorie Counting

Ever count calories? Do you really understand why you even do it? In this post I'll try to explain the reasoning behind counting calories. I'll keep this at a very basic level. There is more that goes into weight loss than just calorie restriction, but that's for another topic which I hope to cover soon. So on with the show.

First things first, we need to know what a calorie is. Essentially, a calorie is a unit of energy. What we all refer to as a calorie is actually a kilocalorie (kcal), but typically it is just referred to as a calorie. A calorie by definition is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1ÂșC. The easy way to look at it is as fuel for your body.

The bigger the person, the more fuel that is needed throughout the day. On average, this is 2000cal for a women, and 2500cal for a man. This is the amount of energy your body requires to stay at its current weight*. So, the basics of counting calories for weight loss is to monitor how many calories you take in and how many your burn and make sure it is lower than your caloric requirements. Simple right? Well it really is, but how many calories do you need in order to lose weight, but still remain healthy?

If you take in too little calories your body will actually go into starvation mode. It will start storing more fat as a protective mechanism because it believes it will not be getting enough to survive. Because of this increased fat to muscle ratio your metabolism will slow and you will actually require fewer calories to remain at the same weight you were before. Tricky little bugger the body is. The key is to know your ideal body weight for your age, activity level, and height and to aim to get to that, or as near to that as possible, then maintain. There are differing ideas on ideal body weight, but I generally say it's the weight you feel most comfortable within a BMI of 18-24. This gives you a lot of wiggle room.

Once you've set your healthy target weight, you can use calorie counting as a tool to help you reach it. Healthy weight loss is up to two pounds per week. There are approximately 3500 calories in one pound. So in order to lose two pounds you would need to eliminated 7000 calories from your diet per week, which works out to 1000 calories per day. This seems like a lot, and for many people who are already within a healthy BMI range may be unattainable. However, with the right combination of diet and exercise you can eliminate calories quite easily. For example, say you drink 3 cups of coffee a day with  two teaspoons of sugar and a tablespoon cream thats 70cal per cup X 3 = 210cal per day in coffee. Just by switching to 2% milk and using half the sugar you will cut down to about 35cal per cup X 3 = 105cal. In a week that will save you 735cal. Similarly, let's say you take the elevator to go up two stories to work, and you do that 4 times a day (up for work, down for lunch, up after lunch and down to go home). Just by walking the stairs instead of taking the elevator you will use approximately 40cal extra per day, that's 200cal per week. That's a total calorie deficit of 935cal per week just by changing two small things in your daily routine.

Hopefully now you can see how calorie counting can be a useful tool in your healthy living repertoire.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me either by posting a comment below or through my email in my contact page.

*for a more accurate view of you caloric requirements use this calculator from

I Followed Her to the Station, A Suitcase in My Hand

I really picked a horrible time to start blogging again. Sarah and I are moving into a new place tomorrow and will be without internet for a month. A month. It's going to be rough days ahead. How will I ever know what's going on in the sports world? Luckily it's summer, so the only thing of interest to me is baseball and a little golf.

Being without the internet will be tough, but maybe it's just the kick I need to get me into study mode. I've been in university again now since January and I really haven't been a good student. I've honestly been coasting by on what I learned in my last degree. It's getting to the point now though where that knowledge is running out and new stuff is coming my way. Stuff that, while very interesting, is just a chore to read. I guess I really never was that good of a student. Well, let me rephrase that. I was never that good at studying. I procrastinate far too much and mostly go by what I remember from class. It got me through my undergrad, but I don't know how far it will get me in the masters. It's just so hard to break old habits.

I guess I should get back to packing (yet another thing I always leave until the last minute). Cheers.

I've Been Away, Been Away Too Long

First post in quite some time. I've been having grand ideas about starting this blog up again and being regular with it. I even drew up how I wanted the whole thing to look, different pages, resources. I'm just terrible at it. I always feel that I should be able to be good at this, but I'm really not. I have ideas of things to post, the only problem is they all require research that I haven't really the time to do. So for the time being I'll just post when I feel like it, using this more as a journal of sorts.

A quick update on my life. I'm living Scotland now. I got married. I'm studying physiotherapy, I'm broke, and I'm addicted to TV shows (mad men and dexter in particular),  So all in all good times. I had to leave so much stuff home when I moved here. I even had to leave my lovely wife for 4 months (well, fiance at the time I left, wife as of march). I miss my stuff. I want my guitars and my playstation and record player and all my friends and I can't say and anymore without sounding like a 5 year old listing what he wants for christmas. I just accumulated so much cool (to me) stuff over the last few years. I get attached to my things, especially electronics. I guess that's just a guy thing. I was able to bring the one guitar with me, clementine. She has been a comfort on lonely nights when the lady was back in Canada.

Anyway, that's the skinny of it for now. School is going well. I've had one 6 week placement. 1 1/2 years left before I'm a real person. Cheers.