Category Archives: Living

The 2-Week Hot Yoga Challenge

I honestly never thought I’d say this, but I’m officially a fan of hot yoga.

Ever since yoga became a mainstream leisure activity, I frowned upon it, judged those who did it, and borderline resented it. I was dragged into it a few times throughout my university days and found it to be unbearably boring and uncomfortable.

That has since changed…

On Monday I started a 2-Week Hot Yoga Challenge; hot yoga every morning from 6:30-7:30am for 12 days straight. Today marked day 6, the official halfway point of the challenge, and I have nothing but positive things to say about it.


1. Flexibility, Mobility, and Energy

This is the cliché of yoga, which had previously annoyed me. I figured that just being active and stretching a few times a week would save you the dreaded “namastes” on a mat for an hour. However, as I reached the ripe age of 25 I found myself behind a desk for much of the day and my youthful limberness was leaving me rapidly. Gym sessions after work became torturous the morning after and weekend sports? Forget about it.

My body was taking a beating from my active lifestyle and all of a sudden crushing weights at the gym was no longer the solution (not that it had been for my women issues, but a man can dream, right?). My lower back was constantly stiff, sending a chain reaction of pain and misery down to my lower body. I can honestly say that only 6 days in yoga has really alleviated that tightness. My flexibility has improved immensely and my general gait has regained that bounce. As for the energy, that leads me to the second point…


2. The 5am Club

Nearly every self-help book out there always hammers in the fact that the most successful people wake up at 5am. World renowned motivational speaker Robin Sharma coins it as “The 5am Club”. It was something I considered trying, but the yoga challenge has finally given me that excuse to do it. The first morning was tough, but after that, it’s a breeze. Seriously. The only hard part is getting to bed at 9:30pm, but how many productive things do you actually do between 9pm and midnight?

Waking up at 5am is liberating, but also paradoxical in the sense that waking up early makes you feel less tired throughout the day. It’s that feeling of accomplishment–that you’ve done something before most people have even got out of bed. By knocking out that first positive in the morning, you’re just cruising throughout the day. At least that’s how I feel.


3. The Finer Details

Yes, it’s true what they say. As a guy, yoga is pretty awesome because you’re surrounded by fit, attractive women. Wearing skin tight clothing. Doing poses that you thought only existed on late night television…


Needless to say, I’m looking forward to week two and encourage all those who haven’t yet done it, to seriously give yoga a try.


The Art of Sleep: Melatonin

Along with warm weather and guidos in tanktops, summer also brings longer days. These longer days are great, don’t get me wrong, but they can have a negative effect on the quality of your sleep. Humans are just like any other animal; we are all controlled by a circadian rhythm, which is an internal 24-hour cycle of biochemical, physiological, and behavioral processes. We are programmed to recognize blue light as daytime, thus it has a waking effect on us. Not only do we no longer sleep and rise with the sun, but our brains have no way of differentiating from the blue light of the sky and the blue light which emanates from electronic devices such as your computer monitor, television, or even that blue LED of your DVD player.  When this blue light enters our eyes at night, it disrupts the production of melatonin and thus one’s overall sleep cycle and circadian rhythm.

Sorry folks, but eyelids just don’t cut it anymore. Sleep experts recommend that you stay away from blue light electronics an hour before bedtime, that means no late night surfing of television or YouPorn—I mean YouTube.  They also recommend sleeping in a pitch-black room. The easiest way to obtain this? Sleep with a mask on. I highly recommend this one I got off Amazon a month ago for $15. It’s done wonders to limit those groggy mornings and a quality sleep provides much more energy throughout the day.

It’s like a bra…
for your eyeballs















I have simply replaced my pre-bed ritual of movies and net surfing with reading (a little fiction before bed puts you to sleep in no time), but if you really need late night movies on your laptop before bed, there’s a program called F.lux which adjusts your computer’s light depending on the time of day.  I’ve yet to try it, but heard good reviews. It’s free to download here.

Bathroom in the middle of the night? If you have a weak bladder and don’t want to take a chance with your aim in the dark, experts say that dim red light has little to no effect on your melatonin, so perhaps a red light bulb in the bathroom might be worth the investment for an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

Beyond a better sleep and a more energized day, several studies over the past decade have suggested that artificial light at night increases one’s chance of breast or prostate cancer (due to hormonal disruption). Now, I’m not one for the old “you’ll get cancer” scare tactic, but if it provides lifestyle benefits and potentially lowers your risk of disease, why not practice safe sleeping?


ONE Lifestyle Change for the Summer

First off, I’d like to recap my month of Paleo and Crossfit. It was an interesting 30 days and of which I managed to shed 5lbs of Mass March and bring my bodyfat from 15% to 13.5%.

I have a mixed review of the Paleo diet and wasn’t completely true to it (it’s quite hard to maintain such a diet when on the go, at work, etc.—but I tried to keep it relatively strict). Without any rice, grains, cereals, breads, etc. I found it very difficult to fill myself up and have energy. Eating a meal of only meat and veggies caused my body to think I was starving it, leaving me very unsatisfied. I’m a fairly active individual, so carbs have always helped me meet my desired caloric intake and provided energy throughout the day. Sorry cavemen, but pizza and pasta are just too good to say no to.

Crossfit definitely kicked my ass. After the first session, you realize that working out at your school gym or rec centre isn’t even comparable. As far working out and fitness go, Crossfit is king, no doubt about that. You will do more in a half hour session then 5 hours at a rec-centre. My favourite part was the Olympic lifts, engaging the whole body in one motion. What I personally didn’t like was how you do a different workout every day (although some people love this, so it’s all a matter of personal opinion). I like setting a routine, working to get better at it, then changing it every month or so—it keeps me consistent and forces me to be disciplined. I also enjoy the social aspect of working out, and as one critic wrote about Crossfit “I play real sports, I don’t need to be the best at working out,” which does hold a grain of truth in my books. That being said, it is awesome, but a little overwhelming. I’ll definitely be back at it, but may take a month off to enjoy some good old-rec centre workouts with friends, followed by a hot tub and steam…


So what is the lifestyle change that will help elevate your heroic status this summer?


Enter: The ICE Age


Lewis Pugh is the best cold water swimmer in the world. Google him, he is an absolute legend--the only man to swim in the waters of Everest.


I first read about the benefits of ice and cold therapy in Tim Ferriss’ book The 4 Hour Body. I started taking the occasional cold shower and began to grow a liking for them. I began further researching cold therapy and discovered several studies, which compiled numerous health benefits. For generations ice water has been a staple for heroes; from the athletes in professional sports to samurai warriors themselves. Needless to say, I haven’t taken a hot shower since and have an ice bath 2-3 times a week (sorry testicles).



 1) It wakes you up and makes you feel like a hero.
If you don’t believe it, try it.


2) It improves circulation.
Warm water makes blood rush to your skin, cold water makes blood rush to your organs. It is best to switch back and forth a few times in your shower (I switch to hot just before soaping up), but make sure to end in cold. Ice cold.


3) Speeds up recovery and reduces muscle pain after intense physical activity.
It is a widely accepted practice for professional athletes to hop in an ice bath after a game or workout. The principle effect is that the ice repairs and strengthens muscles through muscle hypertrophy. The coldness also restricts blood vessels and flushes waste such as lactic acid out of the affected tissues.


4) Healthier skin and hair
Cold water closes your pores, preventing them from being easily clogged by dirt and oil (the cause of the dreaded bacne). In a similar fashion, cold water closes the cuticle on your hair, making it stronger, while also looking healthier and shinier.


5) Burns fat 
Cold stimulates your “fat-burning” fat, also known as brown adipose tissue (BAT). In cold environments, your BAT will begin to burn other fat and glucose as heat, saving you hours on the treadmill.


6) Increased immunity
Acute cold exposure increases levels of circulating norepinephrine. In English? A cold shower a day, keeps the doctor away.


7) Mental clarity and purification
The ancient samurai warriors would shower themselves in the glacial river water every morning in a practice they called Misogi. It was a purification ritual which they believed to cleanse, energize their spirit. Even today, cold showers are used as a treatment for a depression.


So, there you have it; get fit, healthy, and sexy all at the same time. Summer is the perfect time to try out cold showers in your daily ritual. Start out by simply ending your showers with cold water, until your ready for the full 5-10 minute treatment with only brief stints of hot—and ice baths are simply a must for the athlete or fitness enthusiast.

Everybody's doing it


Happy. Healthy. Heroic.