Chronic Neck Pain: Top 5 Exercise Cures

I have been cursed with a weak neck, and so have suffered chronic neck pain and headaches most of my adult life. It does not help that it has been cranked in grappling matches and that I’ve been kicked in the head a few times in competition. Suffice to say, I have learned very well what works, and what does not for neck pain.a women suffering neck pain from all the years at the gym training wrong

STOP all static stretching for the neck. This does not help! All neck movement should be kept fluid and dynamic which was not the advice all the crappy gyms near me shared. Intuflow is the best system I have found to work the neck and surrounding areas. Intuflow is dynamic mobility movements. You start with simple, linear movements, proceed to circular, then figure-8 (both planes and both directions), then finally clover leaf motions.  You take all movements to the tension, NOT through it! Working through pain sends a negative feedback signal to the brain, which causes a guarding reflex on subsequent sessions. It’s okay to work through tightness, slight discomfort, but never through the pain. It may take a year or more to build up to figure-8 motions, but diligent practice and consistently shaving off the tension will reap huge rewards.

So here are my top 5 exercises (which works out to be much more, and things other than exercise) so find a gym near you and get to work!

1. Intuflow

Linear motions at first, like up/down, side/side, tilt/tilt. Increase complexity as you feel smoother in the movements. Check out for the whole body routine.

2. Dumbbell Shoulder Shrugs

This simple exercise has reduced my neck pain more than any other strength exercise. Pick a pair of moderate weight dumbbells (10-15 for women, 15-20 for men), and perform 1 set of 50 repetitions. Do this every day, seven days a week. I have worked up over the years to 2 sets of 50 with 55lbs.

picture of a women doing should shrugs at the gym

3. Cable/Smart Toner High Pull

Using a cable or smart toner set to light tension perform high face pulls. The version I like best is like a bent arm rear flyer. So, not like a row. This uses more rear deltoids. Perform 1 set of 20 every day.
A man performing cable high pulls at the gym

4. Hanging

Do you see a theme here? A lot of shoulder stuff. The shoulders are the gateway to our neck and head. Start with supported hanging from a pull-up bar. Do not let your full weight bear down, but take some of the weight off by having the feet on something. Work up to full passive dead hangs – working up to 1 minute.

a shirtless man vertically hanging to improve his neck at the gym

5. Posture awareness

This one is huge! How much time do you spend on the computer or your phone every day? It could add up to 15 hours a day of your head bent forward in a dangerous position. Set yourself up ergonomically correct at work, school, home office, while watching TV, texting, etc. The term “organize yourself” has been used recently. Organize your body by lifting the sternum, very slightly elevating shoulders then tucking the shoulder blades into the back pocket.

Here are a couple of bonus tips. Make sure your pillow is not too high. When laying on your back, your chin should not just forward! When laying on your side, your head should not tilt up at all; it should remain neutral.  Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Finally, take a look at your sofa/TV watching chair. Is your head craned forward, or are you looking up/down to the screen? Proper posture needs to be carried over from exercise, to work, leisure time and sleep!

In Health,

Coach Kumar – Peak Synergy Fitness

Unabashedly educating you on how you can win in life with your fitness, sleep, diet, and stress management.


We all need structure in our life.

Success is achieved through hard work and discipline, not an airy-fairy approach. If you are a parent, you know this to be true. Children function best when they have structure and routine. They need to know boundaries, when their bed time is, and the rituals they need to perform before bed. If you wonder why your kid is cranky, acts out, or has behavioural problems, look at your life and schedule. You need to live your life around their schedule, not the other way around. But what if you are not a parent, how can you relate to this? Think of something you have achieved in your life, like getting a black belt, a university degree, a good job or the man/women of your dreams. You did it through consistent and structured hard work.

What does this have to do with fitness?

It has everything to do with it! If you are an on-again-off-again type of fitness person, then you will get those kinds of results (which isn’t much). I’ve amusedly observed these type of people in gyms for 20+ years. But, if you consistently build exercise into your routine, you will get the results you want, have the body you want, and most importantly, be able to do the things you enjoy.

At Peak Synergy Fitness, we just had our first member, Ryan, reach 100 classes. It is nothing extreme, his results are excellent because he is consistent…period. He comes every M/W and every other Thursday while only missing a couple of classes because of minor injuries (not from Peak!). You wouldn’t think just 2-3 times per week could make such a huge difference, but it does. Those 100 classes transformed not only his body, but also his mentality as a person. Ryan walks into the gym with more confidence than ever, and instead of looking for the easiest version of an exercise, looks for the most challenging one he can do. His arms have doubled in size, and he has kept his body fat low.

Why do people like Ryan get the results they do? Consistency, structure, and one very important thing – memory. He remembers that heavy strength training and intelligent metabolic conditioning got him there. He is not suddenly going to join “Globo Gym”, do step classes, and start running marathons.

The definition of insanity as per Albert Einstein: doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. So, if  by training a few times a month, or when the mood strikes you, you expect results, that is insane. Schedule 2x/week into your schedule for 2017. Every single person has time for this. If you say you don’t, then your health is not a priority. You need to put your health first, so that you can be there for your family and family. Act now!

In Health,

Coach Kumar

Unabashedly educating you on how you can win in life with your fitness, sleep, diet, and stress management.

Client Transformation Story: 40lbs and counting!

Bryan’s Weight Loss Transformation Story:

Body Transformation Weight Loss

“I joined Peak Synergy Fitness at the end of 2015, with the intention of improving my overall fitness and health with the help of some group classes. Prior to joining Peak, I had never attended a group fitness class before and wasn’t really sure what to expect. Believe it or not, the routine of going to the gym without a plan or any idea of what I was doing, wasn’t all that successful in helping me with weight loss!

I weighed in on January 11th 2016 at 252.8 pounds. The weight itself wasn’t a surprise to me, but Coach Kumar, who helped me in taking some before and after pictures, warned me prior to looking at them that seeing yourself in a picture is always going to be different than in a mirror. And he wasn’t lying; if “the camera adds 10 pounds”, there must have been a few more on me than I was aware of!

A year to the day later, I weighed in at 211.0 pounds, for a total loss of 41.8 pounds. Keeping an accurate log of my weight throughout the year meant the weight itself wasn’t much of a surprise a year later, the surprise was now seeing the pictures of myself and seeing the transformation. If anything, this one-year follow-up isn’t the finish line, it’s a checkpoint on my continued journey.

Body Transformation Weight Loss

After hitting a high of about 280 pounds a few years ago, I began making progress to get to the 250ish mark over the last few years. That number seemed to be a plateau that I wasn’t able to get below on my own, so it motivated me to start making some more changes, and reach out to the experts at Peak.

The biggest change that I stubbornly tried to fight off for as long as possible was cleaning up my diet. Joining peak forced me to finally do so, which made a world of difference. To help monitor my progress, I downloaded an app for my iPhone to track my daily weigh-ins. Both Maria and Kumar have been amazing resources for assisting me on my journey, offering suggestions to improve on different workouts, but also advice on my nutrition/diet/lifestyle. This major change was definitely the catalyst to breaking past my plateau and seeing such a big transformation over the year.

Coming to Peak has made me feel accountable to show up and take responsibility for my own results, and I now look forward to attending after work to blow off some steam and join the workouts. It’s become a regular part of my routine that I never imagined that I would be doing, and I love it! Kumar has most recently given me the challenge to make my legs stronger in 2017, and he is giving me the tools to succeed and keep me focused on improvement. Here’s to 2017, and another year of success! Thanks Peak!”

Body Transformation Weight Loss

Ready to start your own success story? Our 3 Month Unlimited Transformation Package is the perfect kick-start for your journey. Click here to register and get started on your transformation!

Oral Hygiene – A Missing Link in Optimal Health

Oral hygiene could possibly be the missing link in optimizing your health. If you are suffering from unexplained problems like joint pain, concentration problems, depression, irritable bowels, recurring infections and brain fog, it might be your teeth.

Teeth are not just rocks in your mouth. They are living organs!

They have nerves and a blood supply, and touch everything you put into your mouth. Everything that touches your teeth, gums, and cheeks gets absorbed into the body. In a society that is obsessed with simply white teeth, we often forget there is much more to a healthy mouth.

Chronic low-grade infection can contribute to many issues. We have talked about systemic inflammation before. There is local inflammation like when you hit your thumb with a hammer. Then there is overall body inflammation at the cellular level. Long-term chronic infection or exposure to toxins (like mercury, fluoride, food colorings, Xenoestrogens) can contribute to this. Pinpointing the cause is hard since it can take a long time to express symptoms.

Your depression or IBS could be caused by an unhealthy gut, caused by gut dysbiosis, caused by lack of healthy gut flora, caused by fluoride consumption – all from using conventional toothpaste and drinking fluoridated water.

Why do we need to be so careful about which chemicals touch our insides? Nearly every chemical that controls the brain is also located in the stomach region, including hormones and neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine, Glutamate, GABA and Norepinephrine. The gut contains 100 million neurons – more than the spinal cord. But there are also two-dozen small brain proteins; major cells of the immune system; one class of the body’s natural opiates; and native benzodiazepines. The gut, known as the enteric nervous system, is located in sheaths of tissue lining the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon, and plays a key role in human emotions. But few know the enteric nervous system exists, and therefore gut health is often overlooked. Symptoms from the two brains can get confused, and just as the brain can upset the gut, the gut can also upset the brain.

I have to admit, I have been blessed with almost perfect teeth. They are white, straight, and I’ve never had a cavity in my life. I am sure much of it is genetics. I do however have a rigorous oral hygiene routine of flossing, brushing, water pick, and more flossing. I grew up in Calgary where the water was fluoridated and I also got extra fluoride via drops when I was a kid. That was just what people did. It did create very strong white teeth, but unbeknownst to me, this can create severe problems later in life. Fluoride can create such a tight barrier, that cavities fester within the tooth without the dentist seeing them. These long-term low-level infections can wreak havoc on the immune system. I’ve been lucky, but many people have severe health problems now because of fluoride toxicity or mercury poisoning from fillings.

The trend in the last few years is to remove mercury fillings. Unless done in an almost Hazmat-like environment, where the mercury is treated as a hazardous material, this can sometimes make things worse. The patient, dentist, and hygienists are exposed to mercury off-gassing during the procedure. If you have mercury fillings and want to get them removed, be sure to seek a dentist that specializes in this. Biological Dentistry and Holistic Dentistry is what you would search for. Make sure all fillings are “amalgam free”. Sometimes it may be worse to have them removed. There is a special meter which can measure how much off-gassing is happening. I compare it to asbestos. Asbestos buried within a wall is not an issue, but once it becomes airborne, then it wreaks havoc on the lungs.

A Holistic Dentist will tell you what you should already know:

  1. Brush twice a day and after meals if you can.
  2. Floss daily – it’s best to floss after brushing so you don’t push plaque/dirt into the gums.
  3. Change your toothbrush regularly. Keep it away from the toilet in a cabinet.
  4. Rinse your mouth after drinking tea, coffee, colas etc.
  5. Consider using a non-fluoride base toothpaste. If you can’t make a complete switch, then use the fluoride toothpaste in the morning and natural toothpaste at night.
  6. Eat whole, unprocessed foods, as close to nature as much as possible.
  7. Limit sugar to a minimum.
  8. Meditate or use relaxation methods to reduce stress-induced TMJ (jaw pain) and teeth grinding.

A healthy diet plays a major role in teeth health. Weston A. Price, a dentist in the early 1900’s, was called the “Isaac Newton of Nutrition”. He postulated that modern children, teenagers, and adults suffer tooth decay, tooth loss, tooth abscess, along with malformations of the maxillary and mandibular bones that result in crooked teeth because of the ingestion of excess sugar and grains. 

Lastly, it’s important that you protect your teeth from injury. Think of how much time and effort you have invested in your teeth over a lifetime. If you play contact sports like hockey, football, lacrosse, soccer and even non-contact sports like ultimate or downhill skiing, a mouth guard is a solid investment.

Oral hygiene is not something we give a lot of thought to, besides our own personal routine. You will not see articles on fitness websites on this topic, but complete health means you care for your entire body, not just what people see on the outside. So, take your 3 minutes both morning and night to brush your teeth thoroughly and you’ll have healthy chompers well into your 90’s.

In Health,

Coach Kumar

Unabashedly educating you on how you can win in life with your fitness, sleep, diet, and stress management.


Develop a Plan for Success: Have SMART Goals

Setting SMART goals for 2017

Have some goals you want to achieve in 2017? In order to be successful in anything you do, especially in fitness, you need to develop a plan. Haphazardly going to the gym will never allow you to achieve your goals.

They say that people that write their goals down, tell people, and revisit them often are far more successful in achieving them.

How many times have you made New Years Resolutions, only to let them fall by the wayside by mid-January? What if you actually spent some serious time researching, writing them down, and then developing a plan to execute them?

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Intuitive Training – Using Mindfulness to Optimize Results

trusting_your_intuitionIntuitive training is the key to success. Blindly following a program without really listening to your body is a sure-fire way to burn out, or get injured. But what does it mean to train intuitively? Read on to find out.

You just read Muscle and Fitness Magazine and now go to the gym to follow the Ultimate Glute Scorcher routine. You ignore that you have tight hips, you tweaked your hamstring running for the bus this morning, and you only slept 5 hours last night. You grind your way through the workout doing multiple sets of squats, lunges and all sorts of variations thereof. That is the opposite of training intuitively!

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Are You Really Serious About Your Health?

Winter Health Starts Now! Build your Immune System

Build your immune system now for optimal winter health! But heck, if you’ve got kids going back to school, it’s almost too late. By the third or fourth week of school absences spike as both students and teachers get hit with bouts of cold and coughs. Everyone’s been outside, enjoying summer, getting sun and exercise and not in cramped, stuffy classrooms – a breeding ground for germs.

Are you the type of person that gets sick every winter, possibly even with recurring infections requiring antibiotics? There a lot of potential immune building supplements and foods that can be of great help. However, building your immune system does not happen over night, or even a few weeks. Depending on your current health it can take months to build a strong immune system, resistant to colds, flu and bacterial infections.
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