Author Archives: Greg Lawlor

The Problem with Exercise On The Internet

Exercise online is a bit of mess.

The problem with social media and what we see on the interweb is that most of it is inappropriate. I don’t mean inappropriate in a “parental guidance “sort of way, although there is too much of that as well (put some clothes on people!! ).  I mean more inappropriate for you and me.

Random exercises performed by someone who is ½ our age, or has 10x more experience in the gym, or is a freak of nature, or has no injuries, or (I can go on and on) is not the best guidance for most of us.

I can come up with a few different examples.

Here is one I see often. Back squats.

The squat that we did in high school or perhaps our sporting years, with bar loaded up on the back of our neck and down we go!  Back up, Down we go.

The old school lifters will tell ya that all you need is master the squat, deadlift and bench press and you are good to go.  But those guys have been doing that for 25 years!

The new school fitness coaches will give you all kinds of variations to keep things interesting.  Too many sometimes.

The answer is somewhere in the middle for most of us.

See the rest of the article with video support over on the A040 blog

Our journey continues,


The best gift for the holidays!

Holiday season.

New Years resolutions. If you notice anything in mainstream media, you will see all the hype around new year resolutions.  Gyms are busiest from January 1 to Mid February then people fall off. A whole host of reasons why (don’t get me started), but they are rooted in unrealistic expectations and unrealistic programming.

That is another topic for another day.

Get the jump on the gift giving season with the best gifts you can provide for your yourself and/or your loved one who needs a spark in their fitness journey.

   First of all, the best gift you can provide yourself and your loved ones is to be your best self.  Investing in your health is the most important thing, and that reality hits home as we age and as we see important people in our lives age.

“Sometimes you have to be selfish to be selfless” – Edward Albert.

#1 gift you can provide is the one for yourself. Build a daily routine of investing in your health.  Yoga, mobility, strengthening body, mind and spirit!  Start that now. 5 minutes daily.  Something you enjoy (enough grinding already!)  Despite all you read and hear, 5 minutes is all it takes to start.    You can find tons online about daily rituals has habits towards success.  Pro athletes, top leaders and anyone really at the top of their craft most often will have this in common. A daily ritual that keeps them centered, and prepared to tackle the day, to being their best self!

In the spirit of new years resolutions and the holiday season, are some other gifts you can give yourself and/or loved ones in order to help with your journey to being your at your best!

A new toy:

Some ideas to spark the mindset and rituals ….

  • Foam roller
  • Resistance bands (either 40” or 13”)
  • TRX suspension trainer.

These are staples in my daily routine, my travel pack and help me focus 5-15 minutes per day on stretching, breathing and strengthening.  They have been for as long as i can remember.

Any of these toys are available online ( and are great resources) or locally you can usually find at a specialty fitness retailer and come with supporting programming material.    These tools will be key in some programming that I will be sharing in the coming months catered to being your best self, however for now, there are lots of simple (*notice did not say easy*) and beneficial moves you can develop around a little space and a toy or 2 to get you on a permanent road to being your best self.

Being middle age strong starts with a mindset.  Give yourself permission (gift) to being your best self.

5 minutes per day.

A few tools to get your body moving daily. Strengthening and moving!

You got this!

“Take care of your body, it is the only place you have to live” – Jim Rohn
Happy Holidays!

Greg Lawlor

5 things you must include in your middle age exercise program

New year is coming, resolutions of course arrive at the same time.

Exercise is top of the list, losing weight, healthier etc etc.  Fitness over 40 becomes more and more top of mind.

Gyms are busiest in first few weeks of the year, then a huge drop off.  I see so many folks in my age bracket at the gym putting in the effort, but I can’t help but thinking they are feeling a little lost.  There does not seem to be a plan, or the plan is flawed (I see what they are doing).

Here is what must you include in order to start feeling and moving better and kick the resolution off to a good start (with a chance to succeed):

Do something daily or program in place that will allow them to feel progress.

In middle age (age 40-60 years old)

      1. 5 minutes a day of mobility, core and basic body weight exercises. This time allows you to clear the mind and work on your mobility, strength and soft tissues. Foam rolling, some yoga style movements does the job here. 5 minutes in morning or mid day or evening…whatever works. It makes a big difference. Daily routine, even for a small time, is the common denominator with anyone who has mastered a healthy lifestyle. Start with 5 minutes!

       2. Incorporate movement into your routine. Biggest reason we feel stiff and slow and immobile as we age is we don’t move enough. Skipping, shuffling, backpedal even in small spaces and slowly (if just starting) will help a ton (and quickly). If you walk, walk some backwards, side shuffle and mix it up!

      3. High intensity intervals at least 2x per week. There is a reason it is the #1 trend in fitness for 2018 (According to ACSM link here), it gets results. High intensity refers to small bursts of activity followed by rest of a set time interval.  How much effort is high intensity? That is relative (no, not just heart rate). It is an effort that makes it hard to carry a conversation, more than you are used to. Just starting? Walk to corner fast, then slower for twice the time it takes. Then repeat. Build up 2/3 times per week.

More advanced exerciser: any activity you can repeat a higher than usual effort followed by rest qualifies. Start with 15 seconds effort, 30 seconds rest.  Cycling, elliptical, walking on incline or locomotor movements all qualify.

Make sure you feel comfortable with the activity before going harder than usual.

One of the main draw backs to HIIT is going too fast too soon with too much impact on your joints. (example: sprinting before progressions will lead to injuries).

If you have not exercised in years, get a check up from your doctor and start small.

     4.  Recovery time. Biggest change I found at 50 vs younger, is it takes longer to recover from bursts of activity. Lots of water, foam rolling, yoga movements (refer to #1 above), some steady state cardio at low pace all help. Recovery time does not mean sitting on the couch necessarily! Active recovery is good.

     5. Clean eating.  Especially around the holidays, eat as clean as possible. Take the supplements you are supposed to, get your veggies and protein daily and don’t eat processed foods. That affords you a few cheat meals/days during the festive season.

Simple, yet not easy!

Start today. 5 minutes.  your first step to Middle Age Strong!

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” – Lao Tzu

Age is not a disability

If we relied on how we felt….tired, sore, low energy, sick a few times a year.

If we believed the media: after 40, physically your best days are behind you.

The reality is that middle age represents a unique time in our lives.  A different time.

  • For some of us, we are running around getting our kids to activities (or just running around!)
  • We are busy with all the commitments and obligations we have for work.
  • We have witnessed the decline of our parents, a very challenging life event, that exposes us to their vulnerability and foreshadows ours to come?
  • Our self care has taken a back seat, yet perhaps have not quite felt the decline – although we are getting subtle symptoms!

Your self-care!

There …I said it.

How are you taking care of yourself?

And no, a few glasses of wine a few days a week does not count! (rewards perhaps  but not self-care!)

Your weekly golf game or hockey game does not count!

Yard work once a month does not count!

These are not considered active aging!

Doing something when you can does not count unless it is daily.

Financial experts would say that you need to pay yourself off the top as part of your investment plan.

Do fitness and health experts say the same about your self-care?

Our society has a model that has you consult a doctor when something is wrong.

You consult a financial advisor when you want to increase your financial portfolio.

Like our finances, our own health requires that we take charge and get informed….. and not be left to someone else.

The thought of self-care to include exercise may not be the most appealing. Perhaps you are not a gym person.  Perhaps you are too busy. Perhaps you don’t enjoy working out unless playing something, perhaps …there are lots of reasons not to exercise or train.  Only 1 good one needed to re-evaluate.


Train for what?

For life. To stay strong, positive, energetic and be your best self.   Like athletes, we have a purpose to train for, yet many do not look at it this way.  If we are not strong, our loved ones suffer. They rely on us. We owe it to ourselves.

What I am about to introduce to you is a simple, effective program that will allow you to slow down the decline, perhaps freeze it for a while. To re-gain some of that strength and energy lost in the last few years… all on a time budget.

That is right, a time budget. Not 150 minutes per week. Not 45 minutes a day.  All in just a few minutes per day.

Stay connected, our new product launch is coming soon.

A game changer.

Age is not a disability!

Sprint Intensity Training to overtake HIIT?

The Sprint 8® Protocol is more intense than interval training, but worth the effort, according to its creator Phil Campbell.

In two hospital-based studies specifically on Campbell’s Sprint 8 Protocol, the research shows an average drop in body fat of 27% with no change in diet. Campbell attributes the results to a natural increase in human growth hormone.

Our team at STAK Fitness/Matrix Canada is implementing this program with organizations as I write this. Stay tuned for more details on progress.

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