Copyright © 2017 Alex Liska. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A Little Recess Will Keep Your Recovery On The Right Track

Article courtesy of Constance Ray from

Just like eating your vegetables and flossing your teeth, everyone knows that exercise is good for you. But thousands of wasted gym memberships prove that plenty of people don’t want to do it.

Why does getting regular physical activity have to be such a chore? The problem is, we’ve forgotten what every child knows. The best kind of “exercise” is play. You’re going to have to reach back into the best days of your childhood and find that feeling again. Exercise is the reward you’re giving yourself for all the hard work you’re doing to get sober. This is not a workout. This is playtime. School’s out, let’s have some fun!

Pursue Your Passion:
First thing’s first. You have to move, every single day. Even on days when you don’t really feel like doing anything. So let’s find some things that you actually like doing, so you can get busy doing them. This doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing every day, but you have to do something every day. If you’re sporty, you can check out the local scene and join a team. Do you like music? Enroll in a dance class, break out your old mixtapes and dance in the living room, whatever gets you moving.

Not a big fan of anything that involves sweating? Go for a swim. Do you enjoy being outside and communing with nature? Start going for walks, taking hikes in the woods, or even biking around your neighborhood. Is there anything you ever wanted to try, but were afraid to? Now is your chance. Don’t be afraid of not doing it well, or looking clumsy or silly. Your friends and family want you to be feel better. Consider inviting them to participate in your new sport or hobby activities. It’s always more fun to do stuff with your friends.

In the moment, and in yourself:
In recovery, we are often encouraged to “be in the moment.” Part of that is learning how to reinhabit your body. Focus on taking joy in its movement.  As you get stronger and healthier, you’ll find it can do all sorts of things you didn’t know that it could. Everyday, it will change and adapt. Exercise actually promotes the growth of new nerve cells, so as you keep doing an activity,  you get better and better at it.

Test your own limits and make a game of what you can do and how much you can handle. Get down on the floor and stretch out your body to see how far each bit flexes. Study how you master new movements or physical skills. Keep track of your progress and be proud of your accomplishments.

Arrest Anger and Stave Off Stress: 
As a recovering addict, you’re going to have dark days when you don’t want to move. There will be times when anger almost overwhelms you. This is normal. But studies show that exercise actually has a preventive measure against anger. If you are getting regular exercise, your blow-ups will be weaker and shorter duration. Your mood swings won’t be as wild. Those dark days will be somewhat brighter.

When we are under physical or mental stress, our body makes less serotonin and raises its levels of cortisol, which triggers depression and increases emotional volatility. But when you’re physically active, your brain produces higher levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate your mood and endorphins, which act like painkillers, activating the opioid centers in the brain. This is the source of the fabled “runner’s high.”

So when you know you’re heading into a situation that might be stressful or make you angry, schedule some playtime in advance, doing a little preventative anger management.

You have spent a long time neglecting your health. Now you’re ready to start putting yourself back together and making yourself a priority in your own life. Addiction is a traumatic experience for the body and mind alike. You need to heal. It will take time, and it’s going to be a lot of work.  But if you’re serious about your recovery, a healthy exercise regimen can be a great place to start on the road to a brand new, happier you.  

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


By: Alex Liska
This is one of the biggest mistakes I have come across that people make in an attempt to lose weight quickly! Carbs bind to water molecules so when they are eliminated from your diet, the initial drop in weight is mostly water! It is too hard to enter ketosis (the stage where the body burns body fat as a result of carb restriction) when you are combining intense exercise with a low carb diet! The reason for this is that our muscles require carbohydrates in order to perform optimally! For women especially; since most of our bodily functions are controlled by hormones, cutting carbs can be dangerous because we tend to increase dietary fats! Fats and estrogen (female hormones) in excess can cause a toxic internal environment and lead to major cravings which completely kills progress as far as fat loss goes. Another commonly overlooked fact about increasing protein intake to replace carbohydrates is the fact that our livers require glycogen (carbs) to function as does our skeletal muscle! Our bodies are built for survival and our liver will convert excess protein (amino acids) into sugar! (The term for this conversion is "gluconeogenesis")

Think about your body as a vehicle that requires premium fuel to function optimally. By attempting to drive this car faster and longer (adding in weight training and cardio) and restricting fuel intake suddenly, we disrupt hormone functions and cause our body to break down muscles/joints/connective tissue in an attempt to support our new activity level. Eventually our body will slow down its metabolism as a survival mechanism. It is best to start by replacing unhealthy foods with healthier alternatives and slowly cutting back on calories (energy balance) over time or simply providing quality nutrients to replace empty calories. You are better off eating 2-3 clean meals and planning them ahead of time than setting the bar too high and trying to cut calories too low and just grazing on low nutrient foods for 5-6 meals a day because "they say so" in a fitness magazine sponsored by protein bars or other weight loss products.

Stress can cause  more weight gain than consuming extra calories in many cases! Stress causes an elevation in the hormone "cortisol" which is responsible for stubborn fat deposits around the midsection and hips/thighs (typically in women) as well as an increase in sugar cravings and many other complications. It is pretty common for folks that rely on food tracking mechanisms to have an all or nothing mentality when implementing nutrition changes to a new routine which can lead to little or no forgiveness when a mistake happens, such as an unplanned cheat meal or a higher number of calories consumed than what the initial daily goal was. Sometimes it is better to focus on small changes and shift gears slowly; one by one to ensure a smooth transition in to clean eating. Our bodies aim to achieve homeostasis (a balanced internal environment) so it is always best to ease into nutrition changes slowly and take it one step at a time: work with your body, not against it! Less stress this way!!

Most supplement companies prey on the folks that are looking for quick changes and rapid fat loss and eager to start a fitness routine and diet!! This is why most of these products list "facts" on their labels such as: low calorie, no added sugars, meal replacement etc... to appeal to those looking for low calorie, low carb, and "easy on the go" options!!! The fact is that if the product is low calorie it is usually high in chemicals and preservatives. If it is low carb then it is full of artificial sweeteners which wreak havoc on the endocrine system a/k/a can wreck your thyroid and adrenal glands by disrupting hormone balance (for women especially!!!)  "Easy on the go" options all have a long shelf life so they are full of hidden ingredients that can extend their expiry date but also extend the time your organs require to eliminate the nasty preservatives and toxins! Imagine what all these chemicals are doing to your digestive system and your insides, overall?

If you take the word breakfast and break it up into two words "break" and "fast" then basically, "break-fast" is to be consumed when YOUCHOOSE to BREAK your FAST! If you break that fast too early in the morning before you're actually hungry then you are simply interrupting the body's natural digestive process and slowing down digestion. My biggest word of advice to my clients is "listen to your body". If you wake up hungry then by all means, EAT!! but if you wake up and don't have an appetite please refrain from forcing down food just because some fitness magazine or cereal commercial said it's the most important thing to do. Marketing gimmicks are everywhere and mislead people into thinking they need to eat "Special K" or "yogurt and granola" as soon as they wake up in order to lose weight! This information has no scientific evidence to prove it's true so you are better off listening to your body as far as breakfast or skipping breakfast are concerned. By skipping breakfast when you are not hungry, you are simply using up stored energy form the day before to fuel your activity whether that means a morning workout or simply reading or doing work on the computer! Wait until your body advises you it is the right time to BREAK your FAST: this is personal for each individual, and not a decision the cereal companies or fitness magazines can make for you! :)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Quick and effective metabolism boosting exercises for both gym and home!!

Hi, hope everyone's having a great week so far !!!

I have been brainstorming ways to shorten my daily workouts from over an hour to just under 45 minutes or 45min max!! I know a lot of people struggle with finding time to exercise and ensure that the workouts they're doing will be effective in terms of increasing energy levels, strength and building lean muscle while losing fat a/k/a boosting their metabolism!!

I have been focusing lately on finding a solution for this and finding workouts that can be done in 45minutes and under by combining some great exercises that focus on various components of fitness all at once. I picked some of my favorite exercises to share with you guys :) 
Of course, there are modifications but I was only able to capture a few shots and videos for now... Note that I always start with a good warmup whether it's a sprints on the treadmill, hiit on the stepmill, skipping rope, sled push or plate drags, or even jumping jacks.. the warmup is usually under 10minutes and is dynamic.. my goal is to get my heart rate up and get blood pumping and oxygen to the lungs ;)

I will usually do 4-5 rounds 12-15 reps of the following exercises with 45-60sec rest between sets:
1) Bulgarian Split Squat (targets glutes, hamstrings, quads)

2) BOSU burpees (with or without the pushup: works chest/core/cardio)
3) Wide grip pullup (use assistance if needed: works back/biceps)

4) Bench Jumps (great for getting the heart rate up/conditioning/core/shoulder strength)


If you're interested in more info on crossfit as well as workout and nutrition check out  where you can gain a better understanding of what crossfit is and how you can incorporate it into your fitness routine in order to make workouts more effective with less time spent on machines doing cardio :) Check out for more workout ideas and to gain a better understanding of crossfit and how to incorporate it into your workouts to get more out of your training in less time!!

Hope this post was helpful and can add some variety to your workouts; I will be posting more ideas for both daily workouts and meal prep so stay tuned :) 


-Alex L. :)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Quick At-Home Fat-Burn Workout!!


I hope 2018 is off to a great start for all of you... I must say my year has started off much better than 2017... One of the reasons for this is because I have chosen to take action of more of the small things I have control over, like every day habits; and I'm learning to let go of circumstances that are out of my control... 

That's one of the reasons I decided to post this quick workout; I didn't have time to get to the gym this morning because I had some work to do from home, and a meeting at noon.. so trying to force in a workout at the gym would have been stressful and stress is something we should all try to avoid... 

Anyhow here is the workout I did:

Warmup : 4 sets 50 jumping jacks ...
I did the following 5 exercises one after the other with no more than 30sec rest between rounds: I typically aim for 3-5 rounds depending on how much time I have!

1) 10-15 pushups (modified pushups are fine)
2) 50 mountain climbers total
3) 15-20 reps V-Ups (modify with reverse crunches or lying leg raises if necessary)
4) Ice skaters 50reps total
5) 25 jump squats

This workout targets most major body parts and cardio which is great for getting a quick burst of energy and strengthening your core/upper body and sculpting the lower body!

Years ago I wouldn't have been okay with skipping weight training at the gym followed by machine cardio.. but I am starting to realize you can get a decent workout at home; stress-free, and have also found that when I shorten my workouts I'm less hungry throughout the day so it's easier not to over-eat!!! 

Stay tuned for more workout ideas and nutrition tips !!


-Alex L. :)