Tag Archives: jamie McIntyre

What is your ‘Why’?

By: Jamie McIntyre, BS Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

As I stood there hunched over with my hands on my knees after another grueling 5-mile run I thought to myself why I am doing this? Now, I am a competitive person by nature so I understand why I push myself harder every workout, because I always want to be better than the last time. What I hadn’t put much thought into was why I worked out like I do in the first place. Yes I am a personal trainer and yes it is part of my job but I could probably get away with fewer and shorter workouts and still be a good role model for my clients. So, the question remained why do I continue to push myself and why is it so important for me to know and understand that why?

Working out is hard. There is nothing easy about weight loss/muscle gain/toning. It takes a lot of discipline and hard work to reach our goals. Knowing and understanding your why is the key to success. Your why is not “because I want to lose 10 pounds,” it goes deeper than that. Your why goes into why you want to lose 10 pounds at all. What is truly motivating you to reach your goals? You must know the answer to this question in order to achieve success because if you don’t then chances are you will not have the drive and determination it takes to get to where you want to be. Here are a three questions you should ask yourself to determine your why:

  • Why do you want (insert goal here)? – Like I said before you need to go into why you want to achieve that goal. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds your reason for that may be because when you were at your goal weight you had never felt better about yourself. You were more confident, more outgoing, and more comfortable in your own body. Our feelings motivate us and knowing the feelings involved with achieving your goal is crucial to your success. So, dive deep and find out why you want to reach your goals and identify the feelings involved.
  • What in your life is going to change if you achieve that goal? – Now I want you to dig a little deeper and think about how your life will be different once you achieve your goals. Will you be more confident? Get off medication? Be able to play with your kids more? Having a clear picture of how your life will change is another way to motivate yourself to reach your goals.
  • Are you doing it for yourself or for someone else? – This question is important. You need to know if you are being motivated by yourself or by someone else. If you are doing it for someone else, is it what’s best for you? Because if it isn’t something that you want or that you believe you will benefit from chances are you are not going to achieve your goals. You must be able to say that you are pushing yourself towards your goal because it is important for you.

So, dig deep and use these questions to find your why.  I promise you that if you can find it and have a clear picture of why you want what you want then nothing can stand in your way.

As for me, I workout and eat healthy for my future self because I know that the harder I work now and the more disciplined I am now, the easier it will be when I’m older. I have learned a lot from my clients and one thing that I am continually told is how much harder it is to achieve your goals when you are older. I believe them, even though I am still young, I know that my body is not the same as it was when I was 20. The great thing about my why is that I will always be working for my future self. My why is never going to change, other factors may come into it but I will always be working for my future self.

Jamie McIntyre, B.S. Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

meJamie McIntyre is the Marketing Coordinator and a personal trainer at Ascension Fitness. She came from San Diego, California where she recently completed a Master’s degree in Business Administration at San Diego State University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Dickinson State University. Jamie received a softball scholarship to play at Dickinson State University. During her time at Dickinson State she completed an internship as a student athletic trainer which led to her passion of fitness.  Jamie loves training, softball, ringette, and watching movies.

Confidence is Key

By: Jamie McIntyre, BS Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

“So much of this game is about believing in yourself and believing that you will succeed.” Those were the words I left my softball team with after another tough loss. During the game I watched each player timidly approach the plate and walk away with their head down after they were called out. After only a couple of weeks of coaching, it was clear to me that we needed to focus on building confidence. I believe that confidence is a key success indicator in every sport. When you watch the best players in the NFL (or any other major sport) you can see that they are confident, they hold their head up high, they are aggressive, and everything about their body language exudes confidence. So, I built a practice that would not only enhance my players’ physical ability but also increase their self-confidence. I provided critical feedback along with praise. I made sure they knew I was giving that feedback because I had confidence in their abilities to make the proper adjustments. This is also something I needed as a softball player. When I knew that my coach believed in me, I believed in myself. As a collegiate athlete I struggled with confidence at the plate. I felt that my coach and my teammates didn’t have the confidence in me to hit the ball and they were right. But it wasn’t because I didn’t have the skills or ability to hit the ball, it was because I didn’t believe I could hit the ball. However, when I was playing defense I was the complete opposite. I owned the field, I knew that every ball that was hit to me would be an out and it usually was. It is funny to think back on that now. To see how in one game I could have two completely opposite views of my skills and abilities.

This experience is what I bring to my coaching, my training, and my life. I know that if I want to accomplish something or I want someone to accomplish something I need to believe in myself/them. There are three things that I do to work on improving my self-confidence everyday:

  1. Practice – “Practice makes perfect.” Not a single person in the world can truly succeed without practice. Practicing and honing your skills whether it is for sports, work, or everyday life, is crucial to improving self-confidence. Knowing that you can do something outside of the game or presentation will help you succeed.
  2. Visualize – Visualizing a time when you made the big play or you gave a great presentation will help boost your confidence to go out there and do it again.
  3. Positive Self-Talk – You can have everyone in the world believing in you but at the end of the day you need to believe in yourself. Always speak to yourself in a positive way. Even if you fail, know that you can learn from that experience and you will use it in a positive way to succeed the next time.

Confidence is the key to success in everything you do. But it doesn’t come easy and it doesn’t come without putting in the work and a strong support network. I know that a consistent, daily approach is worth the time and effort and will in having a lasting positive effect.

Jamie McIntyre, B.S. Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

meJamie McIntyre is the Marketing Coordinator and a personal trainer at Ascension Fitness. She came from San Diego, California where she recently completed a Master’s degree in Business Administration at San Diego State University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Dickinson State University. Jamie received a softball scholarship to play at Dickinson State University. During her time at Dickinson State she completed an internship as a student athletic trainer which led to her passion of fitness.  Jamie loves training, softball, ringette, and watching movies.

Preventing Injuries in Young Athletes


By: Jamie McIntyre, B.S. Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

There are an estimated 60 million children ages 6-18 that participate in some form of organized athletics, with 44 million participating in more than one sport. In a society where many children are addicted to technology such as cell phones, video games, TVs, etc., it is great to hear that athletics are still a way of life for millions of kids. Not only do sports teach physical skills, they also teach skills such as teamwork, leadership, and strategic thinking.

Despite the many benefits of playing sports, there are some risks. Estimates show 3.5 million children aged 14 and under receive medical treatment for sport-related injuries, while high-school athletes account for another 2 million a year. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases the most common sport injuries are due to accidents, poor training practices (such as overtraining) or using the wrong gear or equipment. The good news is that many of these injuries can be prevented. Below are seven tips to help prevent injuries in your young athlete:

  1. Play Safe – probably the most obvious one is to teach your young athlete how to play a sport safely. This includes teaching proper technique (such as diving for a ball) and wearing proper equipment.
  2. Allow time for recovery – make sure your young athlete has a rest day so that their muscles can repair, rebuild and strengthen. Rest days can also help maintain a better balance between home, school and sports.
  3. Take breaks – along the same lines of taking a rest day, make sure your young athlete gets rest during practice and play. Taking breaks will reduce the likelihood of both injury and heat illness.
  4. Don’t “push through the pain” – If a young athlete is complaining of pain it is best to have them sit out a game or practice instead of letting them play and making it worse. Parents also need to be watching their young athlete for any signs of pain because they may not tell you about it. Watch for a change in their movement (limping), or wincing when making certain movements.
  5. Build Strength –Resistance training has been shown to increase both muscular strength and bone strength which will in turn decrease their chances of injury.
  6. Increase Flexibility – The International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA) defines flexibility as: “the ability to produce and reproduce efficient static and dynamic movements at speed over an optimal pain-free range of motion.” In basic terms, flexibility is the “freedom to move.” If a young athlete’s ability to move freely is compromised, the likely outcome will be inefficient movement, decreased athletic performance and injury.
  7. Enforce an “off-season” – Young athletes who play sports year-round are more likely than others to experience overuse injuries because they aren’t giving their bodies a chance to rest and recover. Encourage your athletes to take at least three months off of a particular sport each year. Have them mix it up and play different sports during the year so that the same muscle groups are not being used continuously, leading to overuse injuries.

Overtraining is one of the most common causes of sports-related injuries. According to sports medicine researchers at the Loyola University Medical Center young athletes should not spend more hours than their age in training during a given week. Those who did not follow this recommendation were 70% more likely to incur serious overuse injuries than other types of injuries. If an athlete does experience pain or other symptoms that might indicate an injury, seek medical attention immediately.

At Ascension Fitness our philosophy is simple: Provide our athletes with the most effective, up-to-date education and training techniques to improve performance and prevent injuries. We are dedicated to changing the lives of young athletes in a positive environment.  Call us at 504-304-6205, email jamie@ascensionfitnessnola.com, or click here: http://ascensionfitnessnola.com/sportscamp.html to learn more about our Sports Performance Camp!

Jamie McIntyre, B.S. Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

meJamie McIntyre is the Marketing Coordinator and a personal trainer at Ascension Fitness. She came from San Diego, California where she recently completed a Master’s degree in Business Administration at San Diego State University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Dickinson State University. Jamie received a softball scholarship to play at Dickinson State University. During her time at Dickinson State she completed an internship as a student athletic trainer which led to her passion of fitness.  Jamie loves training, softball, ringette, and watching movies.


mygroupfit. (2008, February 6). Flexibility Development in Young Athletes.

Stop Sports Injuries. (2010). Teaching Kids Safe Ways to Participate in Sports.


What is ITBS and how can you prevent it?

By Jamie McIntyre

ITBS, or Iliotibial Band Syndrome, is one of the most common overuse injuries that many active people (mostly runners and cyclists) suffer from. Those suffering from ITBS will complain about pain on the outside of their knee. The pain will typically come on at a certain point in their workout and then worsen as time passes. This pain usually goes away at rest. In its later stages, the same pain may begin with other, less stressful activities, such as stair climbing or even walking.

Now some of you may be wondering what exactly is the iliotibial (IT) band and how can you prevent ITBS? Your IT Band is a tough group of fibers that run along the outside of the thigh. It begins at the hip and extends to the outer side of the shin bone just below the knee joint. The IT band serves as both a shock absorber and a lateral stabilizer for the knee and hip.

ITBS is usually caused from tight IT Bands, so the best thing you can do to prevent ITBS is to stretch. To stretch your IT Band (shown in the picture below) stand tall with your right leg crossed over left. Lean to the right (towards front leg) until you feel a stretch along the side of left leg. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

itbs stretch

The other thing you can do is foam roll for self-myofascial release (to learn more about why you should foam roll click here). To foam roll your IT Band (pictured below) lie on your side with a foam roller positioned horizontally under your hip. Put your forearm on the ground and lift your legs up if you can. Then slowly roll down the outside of your leg to just above the knee and back. Repeat this motion 4-5 times.

itbs roll


Stretching and foam rolling will definitely help prevent ITBS but if you do develop IT band syndrome, rest, ice and anti-inflammatory are the best treatments.

Stay Trim this Holiday Season

By: Jamie McIntyre, B.S. Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

Once again the holidays are fast approaching. Every year it seems like time flies and we’re back to the holiday season! We all know that this is usually not the season to get your bikini body, it is the season to eat, drink, and be merry. Even I have a tendency to over-indulge a little bit during the holidays (just like everyone else, I too think my mom’s apple pie is the best!). Every year, knowing that I may over-indulge, I devise a plan to staying trim during the holidays. I put together a list of my best tips and try to stick to them the best that I can. Instead of being selfish and keeping these tips to myself I thought I would share them so that we can fight the holiday bulge together! Here are my five tips to staying trim:

slim santa

  1. Promise yourself 15 minutes. When we’re busy with family, friends, and holiday parties our workouts can sometimes be pushed to the bottom of our priority list. To get my workouts in I promise myself that I will work out for 15 minutes. It is a small time commitment that will burn some extra calories before a big meal. Plus, most of the time I will start to feel good during the workout and push past that 15 minute mark.
  2. Catch up with friends and family. When you are at a party make conversation with people. It is much more difficult to overindulge in food if you are talking to people the entire time.
  3. Keep a food journal and be honest with it. Keeping a food journal is a great tool for staying trim all of the time but could be even more important during the holiday season. The trick is to be honest with yourself about what and how much you are eating. It is easy to underestimate how much you had at a party so I try to overestimate what I take in.
  4. Don’t beat yourself up. One of the worst things we can do is beat ourselves up about something we ate. Most of us (including myself) are guilty of this: “well I ruined my diet with (insert bad food here) so I might as well keep it going.” This does not make any sense, you know it, and I know it, so let’s all agree to stop thinking it. If you eat something bad that’s ok just try to make healthy choices the rest of the day. Remember to follow the 90/10 rule. Eat healthy 90 percent of the time and indulge the other 10%.
  5. Maintain, don’t gain. My goal during the holiday season is to maintain my weight. I know that I will probably not lose much body fat during this time so I set a realistic goal of maintaining my current weight.  This way I don’t get disappointed when I don’t reach a goal I knew I probably wouldn’t reach in the first place.

But most importantly, enjoy the time you spend with friends and family because that’s really what the holiday season is about. Happy Holidays!

What You Need to Know About Over-Training

By Jamie McIntyre

Three weeks into my training for my very first road race, the Crescent City Classic 10k, and I was feeling great.  It was easier to run here (in New Orleans) than back home in Calgary where the altitude is 3,600 feet; I could actually breathe here and it felt amazing! Finally I could actually enjoy running.

The moist, warm air helped me push further than I ever had before. I was running 12 miles a week when the PAIN hit me.  Pain in my knee.  Pain in my shins.  Pain in my hip.  Pain everywhere.

At 26 years old I felt like I was 100 (ok that may be an exaggeration, but still it hurt!).  Now I am pretty stubborn so I ran through the pain for a couple of weeks before the pain became too much to handle.  So I walked into Ascension Fitness one day and complained to Jenn Lormand about my pain. She turned to me and said “Jamie, it sounds like you are over-training; you need to take a break from running for a bit.” Wait what, stop running?

Honestly, my first thought was, is she crazy?  Here I am only a few weeks before the race, my body may be hurting but I am super-pumped for my first race and now I have to stop running? After digesting what she was telling me, I realized that she was right.  It wasn’t that I was prematurely aging (like I thought was happening), it was that I wasn’t giving my body enough recovery time. So there was nothing left for me to do but take my rest.

Overtraining is defined as constant intense training that does not provide adequate time for recovery. So what causes over-training? For some (like me), over-training can occur because of an upcoming competition. Increased training prior to an event is understandable, but it needs to be increased gradually to decrease the risk of injury. For others, over-training can arise from emotional or psychological reasons. In a society obsessed with physical looks it can become easy to develop an addiction to exercise and start to over-train. Exercising beyond the point of exhaustion, while injured, or to the exclusion of other aspects of one’s life are some of the signs of exercise addiction.

So how do you know if you are overtraining?  First pay attention to your body and energy and look for some of the signs and symptoms that may arise due to over training, such as:

Physical signs of overtraining include 

  • Decreased performance
  • Loss of coordination
  • Prolonged recovery
  • Elevated morning heart rate
  • Elevated resting blood pressure
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased incidence of musculoskeletal injuries Disturbed sleep patterns
Physiological and emotional signs include 

  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Emotional sensitivity
  • Reduced self-esteem


If you feel that you may be over-training, talk to your trainer and get advice from them about the best next steps. More often than not the cure for over-training is simply taking a break from the activity that is causing you pain. As for me I took a couple of weeks off of running completely and then gradually worked back into training for the race.  In case you were wondering, I finished the 10k race pain free and in 54 minutes, I felt great and loved every minute of it!

Reduce Your Meal Portions with these Easy Techniques

By Jamie McIntyre

Portion control has been a challenge for Americans because we seem to have become a nation of “Bigger is better!” Restaurant meals have become increasingly larger over the years to match the growing demands of their consumers (or as many argue drive the demand for bigger is better). Check out the chart below that illustrates what a typical fast-food meal looked like in the 1950′s compared to today:fast-food

It’s easy to see why nearly one- third of the American population is obese compared to only 9.7% in the 1950′s (Holy fat burn, Batman! That’s over a 300% increase in obesity in the last 60 years!). Research shows that people unintentionally consume more calories when faced with larger portions (basically, this means we eat whatever is put in front of us!). This can mean significant excess calorie intake, especially when eating high-calorie foods. One way of managing this, while still eating some of the foods you like but know are high calorie is to manage and reduce portion sizes (the regular restaurant won’t do it for you, so you’ll have to!). See these six easy techniques to help train yourself (and your stomach) on eating smaller portions.

•Use a smaller plate. Instead of using a traditional dinner plate, use an appetizer/salad size plate instead. This will force you to start with fewer calories right away. We’ve been taught as kids to eat what’s on our plate. So a bigger plate automatically means more calories.

•Divide your plate into 4 parts. A quarter of the plate will be reserved for starch (ex. Quinoa or brown rice), a quarter of the plate will be reserved for lean protein, and the last half of the plate should be reserved for fruits and/or vegetables.

•Eat slowly. Did you know the brain needs 20 minutes to receive the signal that you are full, so slow down!

•Drink water. Drink a glass of water 20 minutes before you eat. This will help to suppress your appetite

•Order two plates. No I don’t mean two orders, just order one meal but have them bring a second plate so you can split the meal.

•Keep a food log. Logging and measuring your food intake is a great way of bringing awareness to what and how much you’re eating.

Implementing these strategies will help you manage the portion sizes you consume and help you reach you’re ideal “portion size”! ! Wishing you the best in health and fitness.

How Can I Sneak Exercise into My Daily Life

By Jamie McIntyre

According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, you need to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise and two or more days of muscle-strengthening in order to improve your health. Unfortunately, many of us are busy with errands, work, and family and have a hard time getting the recommended amount of exercise in every week. To help you out here are a few tips to sneak exercise into your daily routine:

•During commercial break: There is an average of 8-10 minutes of commercial breaks in a 30 min TV show. Take advantage of that time by choosing to do 1 exercise per commercial break whether it be squats, lunges, pushups, back T’s, or crunches only do 1 exercise per commercial break!

•Play with your kids (or dog): kids (and dogs) need physical activity as much as we do, so take them out to the park and play a game of tag or kickball. That way you get your activity and quality family time all at the same time.

•While driving: one thing that we tell our clients to do is kegels when they are sitting at red lights. Kegels help to strengthen the pelvic floor as well as your core.

•While cleaning: turn cleaning your house into a workout. Do lunges while vacuuming or stand on one leg while doing the dishes. You will get both your aerobic as well as your muscle-strengthening exercise in.

•While doing laundry: while folding your clothes you can do calf raises to strengthen those calves and get them looking great!

Implementing these tips into your daily routine can help you reach the minimum requirements for staying healthy with exercise. Remember to keep moving, the more we move the better we feel.

What Happens Once You Reach Your Goals?

By Jamie McIntyre

Congratulations you have reached your goal! You worked hard, ate right and it all paid off. You feel great but something inside of you is saying “now what?”

The “now what” is up to you. You can establish new goals and push further or if you are satisfied with where you are you can enter into a maintenance phase. Most of us, tend towards maintenance and the great news is that our bodies are actually built to maintain. What does this mean for you? Well it means you can relax a little on some of the more strict habits you had when you were trying to reach your goal, but must guard from becoming too complacent or revert back to older “bad” habits. To help you effectively stay in the maintenance phase, we’ve provided a few strategies:

1. Stay consistent with your exercise plan - just because you have reached your goal does not mean you can stop exercising. Exercise is an important part of the maintenance phase so whether it is a quick walk on a busy day or an intense workout with us at Ascension Fitness make sure you get your regular exercise.

2. Keep up with your measurements - scheduled measurements and weigh-ins will hold you accountable to maintaining your current body. It will also give you feedback and help you detect small changes before they become larger.

3. Watch out for triggers - we all have triggers that can cause a food binge but the difference between success and failure is being aware of our triggers. These triggers can be food (the smell of a chocolate cake) or emotional (a stressful day at work). Being aware of which foods and situations trigger a food binge can help you replace the poor eating behavior with a healthy one.

4. Follow the 90/10 rule - it is still important to follow the 90/10 rule in the maintenance phase. So make sure that 90% of your meals are healthy and allow yourself to indulge the other 10% of the time.

5. Seek support - As with most aspects of our lives, a strong support network that will encourage you to keep up with your maintenance. This support network can be friends, family, or a fitness professional.

Congratulations again for reaching your goal (or on your current journey to get there). Remember to stick with these strategies and you will keep that body you worked so hard for!

What Should I Eat Before and After I Exercise

By Jamie McIntyre

We all know how important nutrition is to reaching our goals. As an exercise physiologist I am often asked what someone should eat before and after a work out to maximize results. To help understand the answer, I’ll explain why each meal is important and then get to what you should include in your pre/post workout meals.

First, pre and post workout meals are only really necessary for intense workouts that last 30 minutes or more. A pre-workout meal is important because it provides fuel to power through the workout. The post-workout meal is equally important because it helps your body repair and replenish itself after the muscles are broken down in the workout. It also helps reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.

So now that we know why these two meals are important let’s get into what they should consist of.

Pre-Workout Nutrition:
•Aim to eat approximately 15 grams of protein and 35 grams of carbohydrates 60-90 minutes before your workout
•Your protein sources can come from chicken, turkey, fish, beef, or egg whites.
•For complex carbohydrates, eat low-glycemic-index foods (the glycemic index provides a measure of how quickly blood sugar levels rise after eating a particular type of food)such as oatmeal or brown rice.

Post-Workout Nutrition:
•Aim to eat 10-25 grams of protein and 30 grams of carbohydrates within 1 hour of your workout
•Your protein sources can come from chicken, turkey, fish, beef, or egg whites. Another great option is an Advocare Post-workout recovery shake (click here to purchase).The post-workout recovery shake is convenient for those people who are too busy to sit down and eat a meal after their workout.
•Carbohydrate sources should come from fruits and vegetables

Remember that these are the recommended guidelines and that everyone has different needs so what works for one person may not work for the other.