Hey Everyone!!! Welcome to my blog, I hope that you enjoy the entries. As sappy as it may be, I consider my blog to be my very own personal diary for all of you to share. Hopefully, my entries can not only entertain a bit, but motivate as well. However, if you are a client of mine, don't hold my entries against me, you may end up in my blog :)
**Hey guys, I am finally going to start back with the blog, sorry it has been so long, but I am back, and have so many new topics. I'll be in touch!
I wish you all the best in health and happiness,
Your friend in health,
Can you spot reduce fat? By Aaron Nimmo, May 27th, 2017
The short answer is no, but the long answer is yes.
First let’s start with the short answer – no.
You’ve probably heard me say before that you can’t be overweight, just work your abs and expect your stomach to shrink.
Think about it. If you could lose fat this way it would mean that the body loses fat unevenly.
When’s the last time you’ve seen someone with rock solid, trim legs and a heavy upper body? Or vice versa?
Yes, there are different body types and everyone carries fat differently, but it’s impossible to be completely fit and healthy in one area of your body alone.
Now for the long answer – yes.
Here's the new thinking that might challenge everything you thought you knew about spot-reducing fat.
Spot reduction can work and I’m about to tell you how.
First you need to know how your body burns fat.
Your liver stores glucose and gradually releases it into your blood stream. This is the energy you use for things like keeping your heart pumping.
Once the glucose runs out your brain directs your body to tap into your stored fat for energy. This is called ketosis and is a dieting practice covered in my free eBook on fat loss.
Your fat cells are then used by your liver and taken directly to working muscles to be used as fuel.
This process causes your fat
cells to shrink.
Fat cells have receptors (alpha- or beta-receptors). The betas encourage your body to burn fat. The alphas tell it to be stored.
Stubborn fat areas have more alpha-receptors. To burn more fat in these body parts you want more beta-receptors and less alphas.
What creates more alpha-beta receptors is insulin because stubborn fat is more insulin-sensitive. This puts your fat cells in storage mode when you eat a high-carb diet.
In this case a low-carb diet and exercising while in a fasted state are the answers to your stubborn fat problems.
When you exercise in a fasted state, your body has no other option but to draw energy from your stored fat reserves.
Now you know why you can’t lose that stubborn fat. Here's how you can effectively spot-burn it.
Choose Where You Lose
The American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism did a study in 2007 measuring changes in fat mass during high-rep knee extensions.
What they looked at was blood flow and fat breakdown in fat tissue. They compared this blood flow in adjacent fat tissue and working muscles to fat tissue around inactive muscles in the other leg.
They found that blood flow and
fat breakdown were greatest around the working muscles.
Yes, this means what you think it means. Specific exercises can cause spot-reduction because blood flow and fat use is higher in the fat tissue closest to working muscles.
But this finding isn’t necessarily a cure-all for belly fat and love handles. The specific exercises work for spot-reduction, but only in tiny increments.
Like I mentioned at the beginning, sit-ups alone won’t give you abs if you have too thick a layer of fat overtop of them.
So people who say that spot-burning doesn't work are pretty much right. However, not technically speaking.
When you’re trying to lose fat in a specific area think of it this way.
Blood flow is greatest around the working muscle and is essential for fat extraction. Poor blood flow to areas like your abs creates poor fat loss from those areas.
This means is that if you increase the blood flow to a particular body part then you improve the ability to burn fat in that area.
To effectively spot-reduce fat in one area, you will need to do high reps in excessive amounts.
Ladies and gentleman, there’s a smarter way to get lean and ripped. Combine high-reps with high-intensity cardio.
The trick with any spot-reduction workout is to add a fat-burning activity such as HIIT. Use interval style training methods and alternate between 5 to 10 minutes of the cardio exercise, then 1 to 2 minutes on the strength training exercise that targets the area where you want to lose fat.
One final tip.
This strategy isn’t the best fit for someone who is overweight. People who are already fit will see the best results. This spot training concept is for those who need fine-tuning.
If you need to lose more than a pound or two, don’t be discouraged by this. Work hard enough and you will get to a point when you can reap the benefits of spot reduction training.
Creatine vs Protein Benefits: May 25th, 2017
Benefits of Protein
Protein supports the growth and repair of body tissues, and is important in rebuilding muscles and making them stronger. According to the Whey Protein Institute, whey protein--a type of protein popular among bodybuilders--can enhance athletic performance by providing the body with branched chain amino acids, which are metabolized directly into muscle tissue. These amino acids are the first used during exercise and strength training. Leucine, which is also provided by whey protein, helps promote protein synthesis and muscle growth.
Benefits of Creatine
While the benefits of protein for muscle building are well known, studies regarding the benefits of creatine have had mixed results, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Regardless, the Mayo Clinic states that most evidence points toward creatine having the ability to increase lean body mass, strength and endurance. The body converts creatine in creatine phosphate, which is stored in the muscles and used as energy. During weight lifting and exercise, creatine phosphate is converted into ATP, a major energy source for your body. Creatine may be able to increase muscle mass within two weeks when combined with exercise.
Benefits of Vitamin D: May 24th, 2017
Some of the health benefits of Vitamin D, also known
as calciferol, include curing rickets, the treatment of osteomalacia, protection
against peripheral arterial disease (PAD), reducing the risk of cancer,
preventing bone fractures, and treating rachitic rosary.
Vitamin D (calciferol) is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for human health. It is also called a steroid vitamin, because it increases the metabolism and absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Normal sunlight is actually adequate for the production of Vitamin D in the skin. However, a deficiency of Vitamin D can cause rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
The diseases caused by Vitamin D deficiency are osteomalacia and rickets. Osteomalacia is most often found in adults. The main symptoms of osteomalacia are an increase in bone fractures, a waddling walk, and muscle weakness. Rickets is a disease of the bones found in children. The symptoms of rickets include bowed hands and bowed legs. This happens due to the softening of bones.
Important Sources Of Vitamin D
Sunlight is the most important source of Vitamin D. Ultraviolet rays from the sun increase the speed of production of Vitamin D in the skin. Fifteen minutes of sun exposure a day is enough to complete your Vitamin D requirement. Vitamin D is found in a few foods, such as mackerel, sardines, and salmon fishes. Other good sources of vitamin D include butter, egg yolks, cod liver oil, and oily fish. Fortified milk also contains some amount of Vitamin D.
SardinesHealth Benefits Of Vitamin D
Control Phosphate and Calcium Levels: Vitamin D helps the body control phosphate and calcium levels in the body. In the case of a deficiency of vitamin D, the body is then unable to control phosphate and calcium levels. The body may generate other hormones to encourage the release of phosphate and calcium from the bones if the levels of these minerals in the blood become very low. This results in weakening and softening of the bones.
Curing Rickets: Rickets is a skeletal disorder caused by deficiency of vitamin D, phosphate and calcium. It is identified by an X-ray examination of the bones of the legs. Rickets can be cured quickly with an extra dose of oral Vitamin D. During the treatment of rickets, a doctor monitors the levels of 25-OH-D in the plasma to raise it to a normal value. The abnormalities in the bones will then slowly disappear. For rickets caused by deficiency of calcium, a supplement of extra calcium must be given along with the dose of Vitamin D.
Treatment of Osteomalacia: Osteomalacia is a disease found in the skeleton. The meaning of the word ‘Osteomalacia’ is “soft bones”. Minerals, calcium, phosphorus, and the matrix comprised of collagen, osteoclasts, and osteoblasts are the four main components of bone. Osteoclasts are bone-removing cells and osteoblasts are bone-manufacturing cells. The collagen fibers in matrix are covered by minerals. The strength of a bone depends upon the rich mineral coating over the collagen matrix. The mineral coating, if found in a significant quantity, forms a strong bone. Osteoclasts eradicate old bone and osteoblasts manufacture the new collagen matrix. Osteomalacia takes place if the process of formation of the mineral coating does not take place correctly. In this disease, new bones are formed without the mineral coating, which leads to softening of the bones. These types of bones may crack or bend easily. Osteomalacia is treated with an oral dose of Vitamin D and direct exposure to the sun. One alternative for absorbing ultraviolet rays is the use of UV lamps.
Protection Against Peripheral Arterial Disease: Vitamin D reduces the chance of peripheral arterial disease. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium, which is essential for our bones. Children are asked to sit in the sun for a moderate amount of time for the absorption of Vitamin D, in order to prevent this terrible disease.
Benefits of Vitamin E: May 23rd, 2017
Vitamin E is the generic name for “tocopherol” and is available in four different forms. It is a fat soluble antioxidant, which can be obtained only as a food supplement. The most widely known health benefits of vitamin E are protection against toxins such as air pollution, premenstrual syndrome, eye disorders such as cataracts, neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes.
The health benefits of vitamin E come from its antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants remove free radicals — the unstable compounds that damage the cell
structure. Immunity levels improve when vitamin E is consumed. Another important
benefit of vitamin E is that it reduces cholesterol and the risk of developing
Vitamin E thins the blood which is another significant health benefit. In other words, it prevents the blood platelets from clumping. High levels of vitamin E reduce the risk of sunstroke and coronary artery disorder or heart disease.
Another widely known health benefit of vitamin E is in skin care and hair care. Owing to its antioxidant properties, vitamin E promotes the circulation of blood to the scalp. Vitamin E helps alleviate fatigue and strengthen capillary walls while nourishing the cells.
Pure vitamin E oil is extremely versatile. A major benefit of vitamin E oil for the skin is that it helps the healing process. As vitamin E is absorbed by the epidermis layer of the skin, it can be used for treating sunburn or protecting you from the sun.
Another wonderful benefit of vitamin E oil is that it can be used to treat
scars, acne, and wrinkles because it speeds up cell regeneration. This creates
an anti-aging effect, which makes the skin look younger.
Vitamin E oil benefits the skin by helping it retain its natural moisture content. Vitamin E oil makes dull-looking, dry skin look healthier and fresher. You can apply a few drops of vitamin E oil to your nails and cuticles which is an effective way of treating the skin.
I Allow For Moderation to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle, May 22nd, 2017
Living a healthy lifestyle is not about restriction but allowing for moderation. It's not realistic to eliminate a favorite food forever from our diet. I consider my occasional splurges as treats and not even cheats. Because eating them in moderation is an enjoyable experience. It's called living a balanced healthy life.
I don't believe having a fresh baked brownie now and then is cheating on my fitness program. I follow a 90/10 rule consuming a wide variety of good carbs, lean proteins, and healthy fats 90% of the time. I allow for 10% indulgence like a glass of wine or dark chocolate. These small treats won't derail my efforts as many of us are taught to believe. It's what we do consistently that defines what our body looks like.
I will even apply the 80/20 rule eating healthy foods 80% of the time and allowing 20% for indulgence. This comes in handy when on vacation or during the holidays. I will not turn down a piece of my Mom's home-baked pie or biscuits with butter and honey ... are you kidding me?
I do feel indulgences need to be quality. I don't waste time on packaged process junk foods but will splurge on home baked goods made with real ingredients. I also enjoy a good burger, gourmet pizza, and frozen yogurt with toppings. When I treat myself, I still want to be in control of the quality of the food. I also don't believe in having a free ticket to binge on thousands of calories on splurge day. That is defeating the purpose of a splurge meal or day. If I want a burger and fries, I enjoy the meal and move on.
I don't plan a treat day either but listen to my cravings. I work hard, eat clean 80 to 90 percent of the time and know eating a slice of apple pie Ala mode is not going to break my fitness bank. I will savor every bite of my indulgence and eat slowly. I eat slowly anyway, but really take even more time when eating a treat.
Having treat meals are always a personal choice. Sometimes there are physiological and psychological issues to consider. Those suffering from emotional eating disorders may not be good candidates for treat meals and should be under the guidance of a physician. Also, newbie fitness adapters may not be able to manage treat meals just yet and succumb to past triggers and old behaviors. Medical issues like diabetes require food monitoring and certain treats may not be in their best interest.
I utilize treat meals for balance in my healthy lifestyle. Thinking we can sustain on boiled fish and broccoli is not realistic. I enjoy some sort of sweet treat or fun meal a couple of times weekly and still maintain a healthy body. It really comes down to how we apply treat meals. It's not a reward for being deprived all week or for completing a hard workout.
There is a place for eating healthy and allowing for treats in a healthy life. Living a healthy lifestyle shouldn't feel like a burden or deprivation. If that's the case, a review of your current nutrition plan is advisable. An unsustainable nutrition plan will cause many of us to return to unhealthy eating habits. Life is too short not to eat healthy and it's also too short not to enjoy some splurges along the way.
Basic Rules For Ab Friendly Diet: May 21st, 2017
Eat smaller healthy meals and snacks 6-to-8 times per day.
Focus on a high protein intake.
Eat LOTS of vegetables (if you think you already eat a lot, eat more).
Never ever miss breakfast or pre- and post-workout meals.
Stay away from anything containing sugar.
Don't eat carbs in the evening unless you need to reload after a heavy workout.
Drink lots of cold water throughout the whole day.
Incorporate high-intensity interval training into your cardio regimen.
Great Shoulder Exercises: May 20th, 2017
There is nothing like a good pair of solid, round shoulders to make any tank
top, tube top, or hot little black dress look tremendous! It's not too late to
get those shoulders into tip-top condition before sleeveless weather is over and
done with; If you're willing to lift slowly with good challenging weight, and
stick with it, hard round, defined delts can be yours easier and faster than you
It's important to remember to select a weight that is heavy, yet safe; this can be determined by how easy it is for you to lift and place the weight into the starting position; if it cannot be done with good and proper form, or without swinging the weight.. then it is wise to select a lighter weight. The weight should be challenging enough that it is difficult to complete the last one or two of your set number of repetitions.
Do each exercise in the order it is listed, instructions are below!
Exercise 1. Seated Dumbbell Press
Start: After selecting your weight, begin in a seated position on a flat bench, feet flat on the floor, sit up tall, back straight.
Finish: Holding the dumbbells lengthwise, at ear level, palms forward; Press the weight up until the arms are nearly straight, be careful not to fully lock the elbow joint. Slowly return the dumbbells to ear level and repeat.
Seated Dumbbell Press
Exercise 2. Front Dumbbell Raise
Start: Standing, knees soft (not locked out), holding Dumbbells in the frontal plane of the body, knuckles forward.
Finish: Raise the Dumbbells to shoulder height only, keeping arms straight, lower back to front of thighs, and repeat. *Do NOT swing or use momentum to get the Dumbbells up
Exercise 3. Front Plate Raise
*As a variation to the front Dumbbell raise, this is often easier for those just starting out.
Start: Holding a weight plate flat in front of the body.
Finish: Raise the plate up to shoulder height, slowly lower and repeat.
Exercise 4. Side Lateral Raise
Start: Standing with the Dumbbells in the lateral plane (sides) of the body, or held slightly in front.
Finish: Raise the arms laterally (out to the side), maintaining a slight bend at the elbow, raise to shoulder height only. *It is important with this exercise to go slowly, and raise the weight carefully; select a lighter weight than you can lift until your form is perfected.
Side Lateral Raise
Exercise 5. Seated Bent-Over Rear Deltoid Raise
Start: Sit on the edge of a flat bench, feet flat on the floor; bend over so your chest is nearly resting on your knees. Hold the Dumbbells just in front of the shins, palms faceing one another. You should be looking at the floor, keeping the spine neutral.
Finish: Raise the weight out to the sides, opening the arms in a reverse motion to activate the posterior deltoid, slowly lower and repeat.
Best Carb Sources: May 18th, 2017
Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy. In recent years, carbs
have gotten a bad reputation as the macronutrient that causes weight gain. The
slightest hint of eating carbs while on a diet conjures up lectures from gym
nutritionists about the benefits of going low carb. The reality is weight
balance has much more to do with overall calorie intake than carbohydrate
levels. Foods rich in [good] carbohydrates have many health benefits including:
lower cholesterol, reduced risk of heart disease/cancer and help with weight
1. Fruits. Fruits are rich in nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. While fruits contain simple sugars, they are also loaded with fiber which slows down the digestion and absorption process. This slow digestion/absorption process is important because it helps you stay full for a long period of time, keeping calorie intake low.
Foods high in fiber keep you satisfied for a much longer time than foods with little or no fiber. Fiber has also been shown to lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of developing certain cancers. Stay away from fruit juice as it is not the same as eating a whole fruit. The process of making commercial fruit juice removes the pulp and skin of the fruit which contains much of the fiber. What's left is a sugary liquid high in calories and low in nutrients.
2. Vegetables. Vegetables, like fruits, are loaded with nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber) but contain fewer calories. Because of their high fiber content, they keep you full for a very long time helping you eat less throughout the day.
3. 100% Whole Wheat Products & Brown Rice. Whole wheat flour contains nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fiber that are largely removed during the production of refined white flour. Check the nutrition label of bread and pasta to ensure the first ingredient listed is 100% whole wheat flour. The same is true for brown vs. white rice. Brown rice is left intact and contains more nutrients while white rice is stripped of nutritional value in the name of improving flavor and texture.
4. Oatmeal. Oatmeal is one of the healthiest breakfast foods as it is high in complex carbs and fiber. Oatmeal is digested slowly and gives you a steady supply of energy throughout the morning. Choose traditional oatmeal and add your own ingredients. Pre-flavored oatmeal is loaded with sugar and much higher in unhealthy calories.
5. Legumes. Legumes (beans, peas, peanuts) are loaded with healthy/complex carbs, and packed with non-animal protein. They are also loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Top Protein Sources: May 17th, 2017
Protein can help you shed those unwanted pounds -- and keep your belly full.
But it's important to eat the right amount and the right kind of protein to get
its health benefits.
Seafood is an excellent source of protein because it's usually low in fat. Fish such as salmon is a little higher in fat, but it is the heart-healthy kind: it has omega-3 fatty acids.
Stick to the white meat of poultry for excellent, lean protein. Dark meat is a little higher in fat. The skin is loaded with saturated fat, so remove skin before cooking.
Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt
Not only are dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt excellent sources of protein, but they also contain valuable calcium, and many are fortified with vitamin D. Choose skim or low-fat dairy to keep bones and teeth strong and help prevent osteoporosis.
Eggs are one of the least expensive forms of protein. The American Heart Association says normal healthy adults can safely enjoy an egg a day.
One-half cup of beans contains as much protein as an ounce of broiled steak. Plus, these nutritious nuggets are loaded with fiber to keep you feeling full for hours.
This great and versatile white meat is 31% leaner than it was 20 years ago.
Fifty grams of soy protein daily can help lower cholesterol by about 3%. Eating soy protein instead of sources of higher-fat protein -- and maintaining a healthy diet -- can be good for your heart.
Lean beef has only one more gram of saturated fat than a skinless chicken breast. Lean beef is also an excellent source of zinc, iron, and vitamin B12.
Top 5 Tricep Exercises: May 16th, 2017
You probably know that your triceps muscle is the large muscle on the back of
the upper arm.
What you might not know is that the triceps is actually the largest muscle in your arm: it has three points of attachment since it is longer than the biceps, which has only two. So, working your triceps will contribute substantially to making your arms looks more muscled and toned.
Check out what our expert contributors recommend as the best way to train these important muscles to make your arms look strong.
Best Triceps Exercise #1: Lying Triceps Extension
Hands down, my favorite triceps exercise is the Lying Triceps Extension, also known as Skull Crushers, or French Press. I love this exercise because you get an amazing stretch on the triceps and great contraction at the top. It’s like a biceps curl for your triceps. The key difference in the way I do this exercise is my elbows are pointed at a 45-60 degree angle from the ceiling – they are not pointed toward the ceiling as most people do this exercise. I also don’t take the weight to my forehead on the way down, but to the top of my head. Using this form constantly keeps the entire triceps muscle stimulated, including the long, short, and medial heads of the triceps (which is comprised of three muscles). You can use an EZ bar, or a barbell, but be careful with your wrists. This is an amazing muscle builder if you are eating enough calories and protein.
Best Triceps Exercise #2: Close-Grip Push-Ups
I really like triceps push-ups. This exercise comes with the added benefits of strengthening your core, chest, and shoulder girdle. There are a number of triceps exercises that I don’t love because they compromise the integrity of the shoulder joint, which is the most mobile and therefore usually the most unstable joint in the body. A triceps pushup, however, encourages strength and stability in the shoulder girdle while also strengthening the chest and triceps.
Best Triceps Exercise #3: Close-Grip Chest Press
I prefer close-hand chest press for triceps strength and overall size. By keeping your elbows close to your body while performing the movement, you target your triceps ideally. Another favorite if the person doesn’t have any issues with the movement are weighted dips. I also feel that if you’re targeting your triceps you should include a movement that helps extend both the shoulder and elbow joint to effectively target the long head of the triceps.
Best Triceps Exercise #4: Overhead Triceps Extension
One arm overhead triceps extension – either sit or stand (with an athletic stance) with dumbbell in hand in a vertical position over your head. Bend elbow, lowering the dumbbell behind your head towards the neck. Extend elbow until your arm is almost fully extended. Complete 10-12 repetitions and perform 3 sets.
Best Triceps Exercise #5: Weighted Dips
The triceps aren’t really an isolated system, so I wouldn’t say a cable pressdown, for example, is the best choice. Functionally, the triceps work in concert with other muscle groups as they do during a bench or overhead press – the weighted dip includes a component of this by incorporating chest & shoulders into the movement. If you’re new to dips, start with no weight at first. As soon as you can get 10 with your body weight alone, find a chained belt and strap on a 10 lb plate. If you really want to isolate the triceps or if you have shoulder problems that limit your ability to perform dips, then skull crushers would be my next pick. There are two main variations of skull crusher: one in which the bar is brought down to your head, and another where the bar is brought behind the head. If you’re new to skull crushers lower the bar behind your head because if you don’t properly gauge the distance between the bar and your head, you could end up with a broken nose.
TOP 5 HAMSTRING EXERCISES TO BUILD MASS Sam Reynolds, May 15th, 2017
The hamstring muscles, along with the quads, are the largest muscle groups in the human body. Strong, developed legs are not only necessary for a balanced bodybuilding form, but they are also specifically needed to lift heavy weights from a standing position.
The following hamstring exercises are some of the best to effectively develop your hamstring muscles, giving them mass, tone and definition.
TOP 5 HAMSTRING EXERCISES
These top 5 hamstring exercises work to produce maximum results in hamstring development. Employ these hamstring exercises throughout your strength training program. To develop massive hamstrings as well as fantastic physique, tackle the MP45 Program that uses H.I.S.T. (high intensity stimulation training) methods to bulk you up quick.
HAMSTRING EXERCISE #1 – BARBELL DEADLIFT –
The deadlift is a staple exercise for building leg strength as it employs all the leg muscles to accomplish it. By using proper barbell deadlift form, you not only utilize all the muscles of the leg, but you also improve stability and core strength.
HAMSTRING EXERCISE #2 – STIFF LEG DEADLIFT –
This is a powerful hamstring exercise because it better incorporates the backs of the legs for lift strength whereas most of the power to perform a standard deadlift is derived from the back (lower and upper). To perform the stiff leg deadlift, start from a slightly raised platform which allows you to reach a lower weight threshold than normal providing a greater stretch of the hamstrings. Once you lift the weight to the top, bend over slightly until you reach a comfortable stretching of the hamstrings. Then drive the weight back upwards using your hips.
HAMSTRING EXERCISE #3 – WIDE STANCE BOX SQUATS –
Regular squats are good for the legs overall. However, by stepping up onto a box or other solid platform, you increase the amount of stress placed on the hamstrings. By using a wide stance at the start and finish of each box squat, you increase the load on the hamstrings. Use your legs and hips to drive the weight from the stance to the top of the box (platform).
HAMSTRING EXERCISE #4 – LYING LEG CURLS –
By completing leg curls from a lying position, you specifically target the hamstring muscles for further development and definition. Using a leg curl machine armed with an appropriate weight, lie on your stomach, place your ankles beneath the foot pegs and curl the weight until you feel a comfortable stretching of the hamstrings. Avoid hyperextension of the knees at the end of the release portion of the exercise.
HAMSTRING EXERCISE #5 – PLATE DRAGS –
This is another good hamstring builder that uses the resistance of weight plates to develop hamstring muscles. Grab some free weights, lay on the floor facing upwards and fully extend your legs. Place the heel of one foot in the center hole of a weight plate and bend your leg toward you, dragging the plate as you do. Extend your leg by dragging the plate back to the starting position. Repeat using the opposite leg. Build to larger weight plates as you develop hamstring strength.
Great Shoulder Exercise: May 14th, 2017
Top Shoulder Exercise #1 – Hang Clean and Press
Possibly the best shoulder exercise ever invented. The hang clean is often compared to the high pull, or upright row, and if you can flow through with the momentum, you can press much more weight than you can from a dead stop. To set up, stand with your feet just outside of shoulder width apart and put both hands on your bar at just about the same place as your feet are on the ground. While holding your back flat and your chin up, deadlift the weight into the standing position with the weight against your thighs for the starting position.
From the starting position, you should lower the weight down to just above your knees, bending at both the knees and the waist. To perform the hang clean, you must extend your ankles, flex your knees and traps, and perform a ¾ upright row to bring the bar up in a straight line in front of your body until it reaches your shoulders. From here, rotate your elbows and arms under the weight, catching it in front of your shoulders with upward facing palms. Bending slightly at the knees can assist with the catch. Then lower the bar back down to your shoulders and then down the thighs to complete the rep.
Top Shoulder Exercise #2 – Military Press
Often referred to as a standing overhead press, this is a monstrous training exercise that can add great size and definition to your shoulders. Many trainers consider it to be one of the mandatory exercises for all serious weightlifters, in league with the squat and bench press.
Ideally you would set up your bar on a rack of some kind, but if you are able to clean the weight from the floor, more power to you. Starting with the weight resting on your upper chest press the bar upwards, directly in front of your face to the point just before your elbows lock. While maintaining control, bring the weight back down to the chest. Do not use your legs at all during this exercise, or it will be a push press, which is still effective for building overall strength, but is a different exercise and utilizes leg drive as well.
Top Shoulder Exercise #3 – Dumbbell Shoulder Press
This exercise can make your shoulder muscles practically explode under the skin, and should be a part of any serious lifter’s regimen. There are many variations on the principle movement, standing or seated, for instance, but the main focus of the workout is the same, more strength and bigger shoulder muscles. It is very important to remember not to over exert yourself or try to lift more than you can safely.
A typical dumbbell shoulder press begins with a dumbbell in each hand, cleaned to rest on the shoulder. Starting with the left side first, lift the dumbbell to full extension and return the weight back down under control, as the left weight is coming down, the right weight should be going up in an alternating motion.
Top Shoulder Exercise #4 – Upright Barbell Rows
The upright barbell row can be very difficult for a person with under-developed shoulder muscles, especially the rotator cuffs, but it can have a great impact on the medial head of the deltoid. Careful application of training and weight can quickly increase the strength of these muscles.
A barbell row begins by gripping the bar roughly inch inside of shoulder width. Bring the weight up just in front of the body, only bending at the elbows. As the motion reaches completion, your elbows should both be pointing away from the body, and the bar should be just below your chin. Return the weight to finish the rep.
Top Shoulder Exercise #5 – Overhead Squat
This exercise can be awkward at first, but with some practice it can become second nature. Despite the name, this squat does very little for the legs. The weight used is often far less than what would be chosen for standard squat exercises. The main goal is to increase stability in the shoulder muscles and the surrounding tissues, creating better control and definition.
Great Back Exercises: May 13th, 2017
Deadlifts belong in this list as well as in the top 5 best hamstring exercises, so here it is:
Deadlifts are one of the primary, fundamental exercises for all serious weight training programs. Deadlifts work 100% of your legs and they require functional stability from 95% of the rest of the muscles on your body. Using proper form, deadlifts will help you get stronger, gain more muscle, and burn more calories than any other single exercise after the squat.
Read more at http://www.projectswole.com/weight-training/the-top-5-best-back-exercises/#JoiLLC2ddZmeXKkX.99
Great Lower Body Exercises: May 12th, 2017
Talk to any personal trainer about the secret to toned legs and you'll likely
hear the word "lunge." Yet if you (like so many!) dread this lower-body move,
there's good news, says Jennifer Dene, a celebrity Pilates instructor, personal
trainer, and health coach in Beverly Hills, CA. "Lunges are a great leg
exercise, but there are others that are equally effective," she says. "Plus,
lunges are not only a challenging exercise in terms of exertion, but they're
also challenging to do correctly."
Dene says that while some of her clients like to avoid lunges because they cause that muscle "burn" quickly—which isn't a good reason to stop doing them altogether—others hate lunges because the exercise causes pain. If that's you, it's a good idea to steer clear of them, says Dene. "Pain usually happens when someone doesn't have enough mobility and strength in the knee and ankle joints, or if the knee pushes forward past the toes or falls in or out to the sides of the ankle," she says. This is when you're more likely to get injured.
Whether you loathe lunges or not, Dene suggests incorporating these 5 leg exercises into your workout routine. (Want to workout more but don't have the time? Then try Fit in 10, the new workout program that only takes 10 minutes a day.)
This move targets the glutes and hamstrings, two of the main lunging muscles, without putting strain on the knees, says Dene. "If you have any tenderness in your knees when you do this exercise, squeeze a cushion between your legs," she says.
Lie on back with knees bent and feet in line with sit bones. Engage abdominals, keep spine flat, and press arms firmly into floor at sides. Squeeze your glutes and, keeping weight in your heels, lift hips away from floor, pressing pelvis toward ceiling and being mindful to keep spine in neutral position. Lower hips to floor and repeat 10 to 30 times.
This exercise strengthens the same muscles that help to transition your body weight through up and down movements, which is what happens during lunges, says Dene. "The difference is that this exercise requires a smaller range of motion," she says, "which strengthens the thighs and muscles around the knee with less potential for injury."
Stand in front of elevated platform, such as stable bench or step. Step up, 1 foot at a time, to stand on top and then step back down. Start with low platform to keep hips as stable as possible while stepping up and down; to make this exercise more challenging, hold pair of 5 lb weights in each hand. Repeat 10 to 30 times.
If lunges aggravate your knees, chances are that squats will too, says Dene. "However, doing squats from a supported position, like in this modification which uses a chair, decreases the range of motion and emphasizes the upward motion of standing, which works the backside," she says. "Plus, learning how to move your lower body with an upright spine is also really beneficial for the health of your back."
Sit on bench or chair. Keep feet on floor, hip distance apart and parallel to one another. Squeeze glutes, press into heels, and stand straight up, then slowly return to seated. Keep spine in neutral position. Quick tip: The higher the chair, the easier this will be. You can also move hips closer to front edge of chair to make this move easier.
Single Leg Balance
One benefit of lunges is that they challenge both your balance and ankle stability. You can do the same things with this exercise, says Dene.
Stand 1 arms-distance away from wall or chair, feet hip-distance apart and parallel to one another. Hold onto wall or chair for support, engage thigh muscles and abdominals, and lift 1 knee to 90-degree position in line with hip crease. Stay here 10 seconds, then switch sides.
Don't be fooled by the fact that this exercise doesn't mimic the lunge at all, says Dene: It targets the abductors, which are the stabilizing muscles at the side of the hips. "Oftentimes the pain that people experience in their hips and pelvis when they do lunges comes from an instability in the hip girdle, and this move can help create more stability," says Dene.
Lie on one side, resting head on upper arm or on pillow. Bend knees to 90 degrees. Keeping feet together, rotate top knee toward ceiling, separating thighs and feeling muscles of outer hip contract. Squeeze inner thighs to lower leg back down. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides. The goal is to try to keep your hips completely still, only moving the thigh bone from within the hip socket as you do each repetition.
The Top 5 Exercises for Increasing Biceps – The Breakdown: May 10th, 2017
First and foremost, there’s a lot of equipment out there and the equipment you use is going to change the form and position of your workout. Some machines are available to reduce strain on the rest of your body or promote a motionless workout while ramping up resistance. Whatever you use, that resistance is what’s important because the weight or resistance is what pushes the limits of the muscles and forces them to recover and grow.
For this article, we’re focusing primarily on free weights because they require more form and concentration – giving a more powerful workout to the biceps.
Top Bicep Exercise #1 – The Standing Barbell Curl
If you have any interest in building your biceps up in order to look like a tank, the standard barbell bicep curl is the best all-inclusive bicep exercise. Regardless of the amount of weight, your body will use all of the bicep muscles and some forearm muscles to raise the weight as you flex the arm closed. The standard curl forces the arm to work in relative isolation from the back and shoulders, but on one condition – you can’t cheat.
Torso swinging is common, and needs to be avoided if you want the most effective workout. The goal is to remain stationary, flexing the arm at the elbow joint without moving your upper body. Perform this bicep curl by holding a barbell in both hands. Hold the weight with your palm outward and let the weight hang at your hip so that your arm is fully extended downward. Tuck your elbow into your sides and curl the weight to your chin without moving your elbow, hips or torso. Maintain tension, let the weight down slow. Do not bounce the weight off your hips or quads to start the next rep.
Top Bicep Exercise #2 – The Alternating Dumbbell Curl
The alternating dumbbell curl is a simple exercise that functions as a cross between a hammer curl and a standard curl. Instead of curling one weight using both biceps, or simultaneously curling with two separate weights, the alternating curl lets you focus the intensity of the workout in each bicep separately.
Torso swinging is also common in this workout, so it’s important to once again keep your elbows tucked into the body. Start at the same point as a standard curl with your arm fully extended however your palms will be facing in toward your body. As the weight clears your flank you can begin to rotate your arm. At the end of the movement your palm will be facing toward your head.
Top Bicep Exercise #3 – The Hammer Curl
While a significant amount of focus is given to the bicep, some of the muscle groups within the forearm will be working as well. Because the focus here is on a rotated curl there is a lot of emphasis on the brachialis and brachioradialis of the forearm.
The starting position for this curl is identical to the alternating curl, where the palms face in toward the body. Your elbows remain tucked in with your body and upper arms remaining stationary. Lift the weight, curling it upward without rotating the weight or forearm to the point where the weight is almost touching the shoulder of your lifting arm. Think of the motion of swinging a hammer – this is also where the bicep exercise got its name.
Top Bicep Exercise #4 – Supinated Bent Rows
Resistance breeds muscle gain, and more weight equals more resistance. You can sack more weight into a bicep workout using rowing. Bent over straight bar rows can let you work double the weight over your standard curling or straight bar curls.
Grab the straight bar with palms facing up/away with hands shoulder width apart. Either pull the weight from the rack or deadlift the weight from the floor to a standing position. Once the weight is up, bend into position so that your upper body is almost parallel to the floor. Avoid rounding off or trying to lift with your lower back. While bent, raise the bar to touch your abdomen while keeping your elbows tucked into your flanks. Lower the bar just short of fully extended and repeat.
Top Bicep Exercise #5 – Chin Ups
Not just any chin up either – this is about close grip chin ups. While curling or rowing can give you a significant workout, when was the last time you tried to curl your body weight with success? If you’re over 150lbs and you don’t often try to beat yourself into submission then likely not often.
Closing the grip on your chin ups will focus the pull on your biceps. You can use any secured straight bar or chin up bar. Reach up and grasp the bar so that your palms are facing you and about 6” apart. Pull yourself upward, keeping your legs raised/crossed so that you do not touch the floor when you lower yourself. It’s important to get your chin up over the bar so that your arms are fully flexed. Maintain the tension as you lower yourself, and avoid relaxing once you get to the bottom of the rep.
While all of these exercises will help you target the biceps, they’re intended to be inclusive with an overall workout program. You should never try to build only your biceps. You need to think in terms of your biceps being just a small part of the major muscle groups that form your body. In order for each of the muscles to work properly, the surrounding muscles need to be targeted as well.
Best Foods to Fight Rheumatoid Arthritis: May 9th, 2017
By Beth Orenstein
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in your joints. Some people find relief by making changes to their diet.
“There is no one food that helps everyone with RA,” says Scott Zashin, MD, a rheumatologist at Presbyterian Hospitals in Dallas and an author of Natural Arthritis Treatment. But some people find that eating foods that reduce inflammation can help ease their joint pain. You'll need to experiment to see what, if any foods, work for you, he says.
A variety of studies have shown that the following foods may prove helpful:
Coriander. This green, curly-leaved herb goes by different names — coriander, cilantro, Chinese parsley — and it’s a staple in multiple cuisines, from Mexican to Thai. Some people say it also makes their RA better. Coriander was among the many nutraceuticals (food extracts) that can have a beneficial effect on chronic inflammatory diseases such as RA, according to a study published in Toxicology and Industrial Health in September 2014.
Turmeric. Turmeric is a deep mustard-yellow spice from Asia that’s actually in the ginger root family and is used in many Indian curry dishes for color and taste. Turmeric contains curcumin, which has been shown to reduce inflammation at the cellular level. Mustard is a good source of turmeric and probably the easiest way to get it, Dr. Zashin says. He recommends having some mustard or curry at least two to three times a week. A research review published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in August 2016 found a small number of studies that support the benefit of turmeric in the treatment of arthritis. However, the researchers say that larger and more rigorous studies are needed.
Ginger. Ginger has long been recognized for its ability to calm the stomach. Like turmeric, ginger also contains chemicals that work as an anti-inflammatory for RA. Research done on rats found that, in addition to the anti-inflammatory properties in ginger's main plant compounds, its pungent compounds (gingerols) and its aromatic essential oils play a role as well. The study was published in Pharma-Nutrition in July 2016. Caution: Ginger can cause blood to thin; so if you’re taking a blood-thinning medicine like warfarin, talk to your doctor before adding ginger to your RA treatment plan.
Pineapple. “It’s not the pineapple that’s so exciting but the stem,” Zashin says. That’s because the stem contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme that has been shown to reduce inflammation in people with osteoarthritis and RA. Because the stem isn’t edible, however, to get bromelain you have to take supplements in capsule or pill form. A study of a complex of three plant extracts — bromelain, turmeric, and Devil's claw, published in the winter 2014 issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, found that they could be a valuable alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for people with chronic and degenerative joint pain. Zashin says that further studies are needed, and he cautions to “always talk to your doctor before using any supplement because dietary supplements can interact with prescription medications.”
Blackstrap molasses. Many people with RA swear by blackstrap molasses and have for years, but the scientific research is limited, Zashin says. One reason some suspect molasses may help relieve joint pain is that it’s rich in vitamins and nutrients, including magnesium. Magnesium helps preserve nerve and muscle function as well as joint cartilage, the Arthritis Foundation says. What's more, low levels of magnesium, as well as calcium, are more common in people with RA and could be a risk factor for heart disease, a known complication in people with the disease, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. Other good sources of magnesium are nuts, beans, whole grains, bananas, green vegetables, and dairy products.
Green tea. A cup of green tea a day may keep the joint pain away. Zashin notes that green tea has antioxidant properties, which are helpful in combating disease. However, green tea also contains small amounts of vitamin K, which can counteract certain blood thinners. That makes it important to talk to your doctor before adding it to your RA treatment regimen if you take blood thinners. Researchers at Washington State University in Spokane found that EGCG, a moleculewith anti-inflammatory properties that's found in green tea, could be an effective treatment for RA by targeting a pro-inflammatory protein. Their findings were published in Arthritis and Rheumatology in February 2016.
Sour cherries and pomegranates. Both fruits contain the flavonoid anthocyanin. A study published online in Advanced Biomedical Research in March 2014 found that pomegranate juice has many beneficial properties, including inhibiting inflammation, which makes it helpful for people with RA, perhaps even more so than green tea. Zashin is a proponent of tart or sour cherries. Like pomegranates, cherries are rich in antioxidants, which can protect your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, he says. Sour cherries also may lower levels of nitric oxide, a compound linked to RA, Zashin says.
Fish oil. Found in wild salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and trout, fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which work to decrease inflammation and reduce symptoms of RA. Consider eating fatty fish like salmon twice a week or supplementing with fish oil capsules. People with RA who took fish oil in addition to DMARDs had less pain and were in remission longer than those who didn’t, according to research published in June 2015 in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.
Parsley. The ubiquitous garnish on restaurant entrees, parsley has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Parsley contains the flavonoid luteolin. A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in June 2016 found that luteolin and other flavonoids help block inflammatory proteins. Further studies of parsley and its effect on people are still needed, but the easy-to-grow herb is another anti-inflammatory food that just might help reduce joint pain and stiffness while it brightens up your salads.
The Benefits of Weight Training: May 7, 2017
There is actually a long list of why you should include strength training in your program.
Not only does strength training increase your physical work capacity, it also improves your ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL's). You will be able to work harder and longer with the proper weight training activities.
It improves bone density. One of the best ways you can control bone loss as you age is to add strength training into your workout plan.
It promotes fat-free body mass with decreasing sarcopenia. The lean muscle mass that we all work so hard for decreases with age. If we don't add strength training to our routine then it will turn into fat.
It Increases the strength of connective tissue, muscles, and tendons. This leads to improved motor performance and decreased injury risk.
It improves your quality of life as you gaining body confidence. Strength training will not only make you strong, but will also help with managing your weight.
Strength Exercises For Seniors: May 6th, 2017
To get all of the benefits of physical activity, try all four types of exercise -- endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. This page addresses strength exercises.
Exercises That Build Muscle
Strength exercises build muscle, and even very small changes in muscle strength can make a real difference in your ability to perform everyday activities like carrying groceries, lifting a grandchild, or getting up from a chair.
Strength Exercises to Try
These 10 muscle strengthening exercises shown below target the upper and lower body.
Upper Body Exercises
side arm raises
seated rows with resistance band
Lower Body Exercises
back leg raises
leg straightening exercises
5 benefits of morning exercise: May 5th, 2017
Between answering work emails, preparing a healthy dinner and getting the kids to bed, daily exercise may be the last thing on your mind. If you find yourself having a hard time sticking to a workout regimen, try moving your routine to the AM hours. These five benefits may just outweigh the earlier alarm clock.
1. You’ll sidestep distractions.
“Morning workouts help reduce the possibility for obstacles to present themselves,” Jasmin Theard, ACSM HFS, an exercise physiologist at Piedmont Atlanta Fitness Center. “There is also less opportunity to make excuses.”
2. You’ll reap the mental benefits of exercise all day.
There are many mental health benefits of exercise, and working out first thing helps you experience those benefits right away. “Exercise leads to the secretion of neurotransmitters that promote mental clarity and an improved attention span,” she says. “You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment, as well as rejuvenated and recharged.”
3. You’ll make healthier choices.
That early morning sense of accomplishment can also help you have a healthier day. “When you get up and exercise, you establish a healthier mindset, which makes you more mindful of what you eat during the day,” she explains.
4. You’ll boost your metabolism.
Exercise has also been shown to boost the metabolism. While no study definitively proves that exercising in the morning increases your metabolism more than other times of the day, it does help to ensure you squeeze it in.
5. You’ll sleep better.
“Exercise in general helps create a hormonal balance and helps you get into a routine, which can help improve your sleep,” she says. Exercise and sleep go hand in hand because getting enough sleep is also linked to weight loss.
Top Protein Sources: May 4th, 2017
Including a wide variety of foods that are high in protein in your diet is an
important part of any healthy lifestyle. There are a number of reasons why
protein is helpful. First, protein is necessary for the building and maintenance
of many types of cells throughout the body; protein is the key to building
muscle and other important tissues as well. It also serves an important role in
maintaining the strength of your immune system and preventing you from getting
sick or succumbing to other adverse health conditions. Read on for a list of
some foods that are high in protein.
Traditionally, meat has been one of the strongest sources of protein for the human diet. Meats of all types contain protein, and the exact amount of protein varies according to the type of animal and the cut of the meat itself. Generally, meats that are lower in fat contain more protein, although the size and preparation method for the meat is an important determining factor as well. When including meat in your diet as a protein source, remember that some types of meat are more healthy than others. Red meat is higher in fat than chicken or other types of meat.
Fish is an excellent source of protein. Like meat, the amount of protein in any serving of fish depends not only on the part of the fish that you're eating, but also on the type of fish. It provides a wide mixture of other health benefits and nutrients as well, making it an excellent addition to any diet.
For people who prefer not to eat meat or who are looking for an additional source of protein in their diet, nuts are rich in protein. A single serving of nuts generally contains less protein than a serving of meat or fish, but this is nonetheless a great way to provide your body systems the protein source that they need in order to remain strong. However, many nuts are high in different types of fat, and the total quantity of nuts that you eat should generally remain low.
4. Dairy Products
Dairy products like eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt all contain protein in varying amounts. These products are great sources of protein for people who don't eat meat. As with nuts, however, many dairy products are high in fat and calories, so your total consumption of these should be carefully monitored.
Beans are a final source of protein for many people. They are rich in protein and low in fat, making them a good item for inclusion in many meals. Within this category are a number of soy-based meat substitutes like tofu and tempeh, all of which are made from bean sources and are rich in protein.
Post Workout Nutrition: May 2nd, 2017
THERE ARE SO many labels and designations for food these days it’s tough to
keep track of what they mean and how they can help you stay healthy. With
confusing and similar-sounding appellations like non-GMO vs. no growth hormones,
free-range vs. cage-free, organic vs. natural, it’s no wonder that a recent
study from the University of Illinois that looked at consumers' top concerns
regarding how their food is raised found that we're confused about what we want
and where to look for it.
For the study, researchers asked consumers to rank the importance of seven production claims—no growth hormones, non-GMO, humanely raised, no antibiotics, free-range or cage-free, grass-fed, and certified organic—most often found on four types of whole foods: beef, chicken, milk, and eggs. “No growth hormones” topped the list, with “non-GMO” and “humanely raised” following close behind, while the “organic” label ranked lowest in significance for consumers.
foods that'll never make you fat
They're so low in calories you won't feel bad for going overboard.
"The biggest surprise in the study is that 'no growth hormones' is the No. 1 concern consumers have across the board on all of these products," said lead researcher Brenna Ellison, Ph.D. "It's odd because growth hormones are already prohibited for poultry products. Further, products that are certified organic or humanely raised also prohibit the use of growth hormones in animals. Ultimately, it means consumers are spending unnecessary time looking for labels that reflect this particular attribute."
The proliferation of labels like these can make what you decide to buy at the grocery store an exercise in frustration where you end up taking a wild guess at what each really means, and what, if anything, that means for your future health, and for the health and well-being of the animal behind the product. Try educating yourself before you hit the store again by going to sites like the USDA and Farm Aid to learn what each label means and how it can better inform you.
5 Reasons to Exercise, May 1st, 2017
1. Health Benefits. Exercising makes you healthier and stronger. It lowers
blood pressure, resting heart rate and cholesterol. This gives you the ability
to do daily chores such as mowing the lawn and taking out the garbage without
getting tired and out of breath.
2. Makes You Happy. Research has shown that exercising makes you happy. It goes beyond feeling good about what you just did, it has to do with chemicals released when you exercise. If you're feeling down, try starting a daily exercise routine.
3. More Disease Free Years. Exercising doesn't necessarily make you live longer but it does extend the disease free years of your life. In effect you'll stay younger for longer. You always hear people talking about how they don't want to live the last years of their lives because they're the worst. With exercise, those last years won't be the worst anymore.
4. Increases Function. In the older population, exercising helps slow down bone deterioration and can even reverse it. By exercising, you actually increase bone density and lower the risk of life threatening accidents as you age. Imagine not being able to lift simple items such as a gallon of milk. Exercise can help older people remain independent.
5. Makes You Look Great. Everyone wants to look great and exercise helps you achieve that goal. It lowers your body fat percentage and increases muscle tone which will make you look great for those beach days.
Why Everyone Should Lift Weights: April 30th, 2017
By James Clear | Strength Training
I'll say it plain and simple: you should be lifting weights. But not necessarily for the reasons that you might think.
For example, I don't believe that strength is the main benefit of weightlifting.
Now, don't get me wrong. I love being strong as much as the next person, but there is more value in weightlifting than simply gaining muscle or losing fat.
When I think back on the time I've spent training (around 10 years now), here are the most valuable benefits I've discovered…
1. Pushing Yourself Physically Reveals What You're Made of Mentally
A few weeks ago, I posted an update on Twitter that asked the following question…
Just had a great talk about the value of sports vs. reading in life. Have you learned more from pushing yourself physically or mentally?
Many of you sent in great answers, but I particularly liked this one from Tom…
Not sure which — there's tremendous value in each. Mental teaches you about others, physical teaches you about yourself.
Tom explained what I hadn't quite been able to put my finger on: there is an incredible amount to be learned from both reading and playing sports, but you'll learn more about yourself when you push yourself physically.
My experiences have mirrored this. While I've learned a great deal about myself from mental pursuits like writing and photography, I've discovered far more about my mental strength and my ability to overcome failure by playing baseball for 17 years, competing in olympic weightlifting, and battling to achieve certain strength goals.
Challenging your own body is the greatest method for discovering the strength of your mind. Nowhere is this more true than with strength training. There will be days when you don't feel like coming into the gym. There will be sets that you don't feel like finishing. There will be times when everyone else in the gym will see you fail.
And if you keep showing up anyway, then you'll develop the mental fortitude to get past failure, work when you don't feel like it, and discover what you're really made of mentally and physically.
2. Weightlifting Solidifies Your Sense of Self–Worth
Here’s one thing I’ve learned from a year at the gym … it doesn’t matter how much weight I can or can’t pull, I can grow, build up strength, whatever’s necessary. I’m not defective.
There’s confidence that comes with that — wisdom enough to know when it’s too much weight, confidence enough to know what I can do.
Today’s fluctuating sense of worth, whether man or woman, is dangerous stuff. Confidence changes the kinds of thoughts you have.
— Chase Reeves
There is nothing more personal than your own body. Having confidence that you can move yourself through physical space with control and competence is a deeply satisfying feeling that filters into every other area of life. If you set a new personal record in the gym this morning, you can be sure that you'll be feeling more confident at work this afternoon.
But weightlifting goes deeper than that. Weight training gives you something to stand on, something to define yourself by. It clarifies who you are in your own mind.
“I can lift X pounds. I can do X sets. This is what I'm capable of. This is who I am.”
With weightlifting, there's no lying to yourself about what you can and can't do. The weight forces you to be honest and self–aware.
Strangely, even if you're weaker than you thought you were, there is a satisfaction that comes from knowing where you stand. Most days, life seems to be lived in the gray areas. It's hard to know if you're making progress as a parent, a friend, an employee, or a person. Weightlifting is more black and white. It helps you get past that fuzziness and closer to understanding yourself.
Combine this type of clarity with gradual improvement and your sense of self–worth will skyrocket. You know who you are and you are proving that you can become better than you were before.
“I lifted 10 pounds more today than I did last week. I can become better. This is proof.”
What could possibly be more confidence–building than direct, undeniable proof that you are becoming a better human?
Sometimes, this concrete proof of your improvement can do more for your confidence than all the positive thoughts in the world.
3. Strength Gives You More Opportunities to Contribute to Life
After spending more than 10 years analyzing the top regrets of dying patients, nurse Bronnie Ware said, “Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”
I believe that this freedom — this enhanced ability to explore, create, connect, and contribute to the world around you — is one of the greatest benefits of weight training.
What I have gained from weightlifting — the resistance to illness and injury, the confidence in my abilities and the awareness of my limitations — has positioned me to make a bigger impact and contribute more value than I could have before training. In my case, that means writing about health and wellness, volunteering for the Red Cross, and taking photos around the world.
This is one of the biggest benefits of weight training: it enables you to transform into a better version of yourself (more confident, more self–aware, more mentally and physically strong), so that you can become a better person for the people around you.
This is why I believe so strongly in our community here. We have a small and committed group of superhumans who care not only about developing strong bodies and minds, but also about contributing to the world.
Our community is filled with people who are challenging themselves to become better physically and who are excited about helping the people around them at the same time. Imagine if you spent your entire day surrounded by people like that? What would your world look like?
Get the Benefits of Weight Training
If you're already a weightlifter, keep at it. If you're not, get started.
You are on this planet to do amazing things, and I honestly believe that lifting weights can help you do those things better.
Happy and healthy people have a better chance to live with confidence and contribute value to the world than anyone else. Don't take that for granted.
What are proteins and what do they do? April 29th, 2017
Proteins are large, complex molecules that play many critical roles in the body. They do most of the work in cells and are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs.
Proteins are made up of hundreds or thousands of smaller units called amino acids, which are attached to one another in long chains. There are 20 different types of amino acids that can be combined to make a protein. The sequence of amino acids determines each protein’s unique 3-dimensional structure and its specific function.
Proteins can be described according to their large range of functions in the body, listed in alphabetical order:
Examples of protein functions
Function Description Example
Antibody Antibodies bind to specific foreign particles, such as viruses and bacteria, to help protect the body. Immunoglobulin G (IgG)
Enzyme Enzymes carry out almost all of the thousands of chemical reactions that take place in cells. They also assist with the formation of new molecules by reading the genetic information stored in DNA. Phenylalanine hydroxylase
Messenger Messenger proteins, such as some types of hormones, transmit signals to coordinate biological processes between different cells, tissues, and organs. Growth hormone (illustration)
Structural component These proteins provide structure and support for cells. On a larger scale, they also allow the body to move. Actin
Transport/storage These proteins bind and carry atoms and small molecules within cells and throughout the body.
Why is Exercise Important, April 28th, 2017
Helps Prevent Diseases
Our bodies were meant to move -- they actually crave exercise. Regular exercise is necessary for physical fitness and good health. It reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. It can improve your appearance and delay the aging process.
When you exercise, your body uses energy to keep going. Aerobic exercise involves continuous and rhythmic physical motion, such as walking and bicycling. It improves your stamina by training your body to become more efficient and use less energy for the same amount of work. As your conditioning level improves, your heart rate and breathing rate return to resting levels much sooner from strenuous activity.
Strengthens and Tones
Exercising with weights and other forms of resistance training develops your muscles, bones and ligaments for increased strength and endurance. Your posture can be improved, and your muscles become more firm and toned. You not only feel better, but you look better, too!
Stretching exercises are also important for good posture. They keep your body limber so that you can bend, reach and twist. Improving your flexibility through exercise reduces the chance of injury and improves balance and coordination. If you have stiff, tense areas, such as the upper back or neck, performing specific stretches can help "loosen" those muscles, helping you feel more relaxed.
Exercise is also a key to weight control because it burns calories. If you burn off more calories than you take in, you lose weight. It's as simple as that.
Improves Quality of Life
Once you begin to exercise regularly, you will discover many more reasons why exercise is so important to improving the quality of your life. Exercise reduces stress, lifts moods, and helps you sleep better. It can keep you looking and feeling younger throughout your entire life.
Effect of Exercise on Blood Pressure and Pulse: April 27, 2017
Your heart rate and blood pressure both rise when you exercise. Over time,
however, regular exercise can help lower your resting blood pressure and heart
rate. This is because exercise training improves the health of your heart and
blood vessels, allowing your cardiovascular system to function more efficiently.
Heart Rate During Exercise
Resting heart rate is normally 60 to 80 beats per minute but is often lower in trained athletes. Heart rate increases as you exercise to deliver more blood and oxygen to your working muscles. Intense exercise causes a steeper increase in your heart rate than moderate exercise. People who don't exercise regularly tend to have higher heart rates with physical exertion than those who are fit. Being in the heat, feeling dehydrated, having a high body mass index and getting up in years also tend to cause your heart to beat faster during exercise. After you finish exercising, your heart rate remains high for a few minutes as you recover. The more fit you are, the quicker your heart rate returns resting level.
Blood Pressure During Exercise
Along with an increase in heart rate, the force of your heart's contractions also increases while exercising, so more blood is pumped with each beat. This effect increases blood pressure. However, the blood vessels that supply your muscles dilate, or get larger, during exercise. This enables increased blood flow to your muscles without putting excess pressure on your blood vessel walls. So while your blood pressure rises during exercise, it is to a much smaller degree than the increase in heart rate. Like your heart rate, your blood pressure returns to resting level a few minutes after you stop exercising.
Long-Term Effects on Heart Rate
Exercise doesn't just strengthen the muscles you can see; it also strengthens your heart and keeps your blood vessels healthy. After a few months of regular exercise, your resting heart rate may slowly decrease because your stronger heart pumps more efficiently. Your resting heart rate affects your risk for heart disease. One study of more than 29,000 men and women whose resting heart rate increased over 10 years were found more likely to die of heart disease, according to a December 2011 "JAMA" report.
Long-Term Effects on Blood Pressure
Regular exercise has blood-pressure-lowering effects in people with or without high blood pressure, or hypertension. The American Heart Association recommends regular exercise to help treat hypertension and prevent heart disease and stroke. A review article published in the spring 2001 issue of "Preventive Cardiology" reported that regular aerobic exercise decreases blood pressure 4 to 5 percent in people with hypertension and 1 to 2 percent in people with normal blood pressure. A January 2005 "Journal of Applied Physiology" review article reported significant blood pressure reductions after 12 weeks of regular exercise. The authors noted benefits with both aerobic and strength-training exercise.
Improving Your Heart Health
To keep your heart healthy, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly. If you aren't currently exercising regularly, talk with your doctor about how to get started safely and setting personal goals. Because hypertension typically causes no signs or symptoms, it's also important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.
Seek medical care right away if you experience an unusually fast or slow heart rate, or a pounding or irregular heartbeat -- especially if accompanied by chest pain, dizziness, fainting or shortness of breath.
5 Best exercises to improve heart health: April 26, 2017
Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise is any form of activity that increases your respiratory and heart rate, essentially challenging your heart to work harder and become stronger. Cardiovascular fitness will improve the way your body uses oxygen. As your heart becomes stronger, you will find that you aren't winded walking up the stairs, you can perform physical activity longer, and your resting heart rate will be lower, meaning your heart is more efficient at pumping blood through your body. Though any aerobic exercise is good for your heart, these five physical activities are top-notch for heart health.
The human body was born to walk. Whether you rack up the miles on a treadmill or hit the road, brisk walking is a natural way to improve your fitness. Wear supportive, comfortable walking shoes, strap on your iPod and get moving. Though a leisure stroll is better than sitting on your couch, push yourself to walk at a fast pace to achieve a moderate intensity level.
Though more challenging than walking, running is another heart-healthy physical activity that the human body is ready-made to do (barring physical limitations or injuries). In addition, it is one of the best ways to burn calories (a 150-pound person can burn 100 calories per mile), a bonus if you are also trying to lose weight to reduce your risk of heart disease. If you are a beginner to running, start out with a brisk walk and add 1 to 2 minutes of running every 5 minutes of walking. As you get more fit, you can increase the minutes you run until you don't need to walk in between.
The pool may be a great place to float lazily along, but that water can also be a full body fitness challenge. Swimming laps or even participating in water fitness classes will not only raise your heart rate and improve your heart health, the water provides multi-directional resistance that will improve your muscular strength and tone. Swimming is a safe alternative if you have joint problems that walking or running can aggravate.
Another cardiovascular activity that is easy on the joints, cycling is a low-impact exercise that you can do solo in the gym, in a spin class, or outside on the road or trails. Make efficient use of your cycling time and bike to work or to do your errands. Even better, join a cycling club and enjoy the camraderie. While your heart is pumping you'll also be building strength and toning your lower body as well as your core muscles, if you take your bike off-road.
Interval or circuit training
If doing a solid stint of aerobic exercise bores you tears, mix up your cardio. For example, for every 3 minutes of cardio, do 1 strength training exercise or a high-intensity burst of cardio for 1 minute. Another option is to choose 5 to 10 strength training exercises and perform 1 set of each, doing lower weight and higher repetitions while moving quickly from one exercise to the next to keep your heart rate up. This type of training will not only keep you motivated to exercise, it will improve your muscular strength, endurance and heart health.
Before you start a new exercise plan, talk to your doctor to make sure the physical activities you want to do are appropriate for your age, health and fitness condition.
All About Vitamins, April 25th, 2017
Put simply, a multivitamin is a nutritional supplement that includes a
combination of vitamins, and often minerals. Vitamins are good for you, right?
So it should be a no-brainer: why not take a multivitamin.
The hitch is that there is no standard or regulatory definition for multivitamins, meaning that the composition and quality can vary significantly from product to product.
Originally designed to protect against micronutrient deficiencies resulting from inadequate dietary intake, multivitamins’ application has been broadened over time. Now not only do you have vitamins to supplement nutrient deficiencies, but products with specialized formulas which purport to meet a variety of goals, including: increasing performance, aiding in weight loss, protecting against cancer and other illnesses, and improving longevity. Can vitamins really do all that, or is it just a big marketing game?
Multivitamin Summary: Key Takeaways
As this is a long article, here are the key takeaways so you can quickly reference them:
The long term health benefits and risks of multivitamins are inconclusive
If you do not have a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables, a multivitamin may be beneficial as nutritional insurance
A whole foods powder supplement is likely the best bet, my favorites are Lindberg Fruits & Greens+
If you don’t want to drink a powdered supplement, consider a true whole foods multivitamin supplement by Megafood, or Garden of Life
While challenging, eating as much as 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day is ideal
Whole-Food Vitamins vs Synthetic Vitamins
I like to break down multivitamins into two broad categories: whole-food derived (found in natural, whole foods) and synthetic (created in laboratories). Without getting too technical, it is important to understand that just because something has been synthesized in a laboratory doesn’t necessarily mean it is not the same as what is found in nature. However, it is often different – for instance, synthetic Vitamin E is structurally unique from that of natural Vitamin E.
With both types of vitamin on the market, the argument against using synthetic – which include chemical distillates – is that they are not recognized and used by the body the same way vitamins from whole foods are. In research on scurvy (a disease defined by a Vitamin C deficiency), for example, it was found that whole foods containing Vitamin C quickly eliminated the illness while ascorbic acid (the distillate) supplementation had little effect.1 Whole food vitamins (in their highest quality form) contain the vitamin complexes as they exist in nature, and are theoretically recognized by the body as whole foods.
Vitamins Do Not Have To Be Tested Before Appearing On Store Shelves
Although the FDA has established “current Good Manufacturing Practice” (cGMP) regulations (requiring that vitamin manufacturers evaluate their products by testing purity, strength, and composition), because vitamins are classified by the FDA as general food products under the category of dietary supplements, and no testing is required before the manufacturer brings a product vitamin to market.
The primary safety concern with multivitamins is toxicity from over ingestion of a vitamin, or mineral, leading to increased risk of illness. For example, ingesting too much zinc interferes with copper and iron absorption. Since people do not need to consult a doctor before ingesting vitamins, you can potentially take vitamins that interact with one another in ways that can hurt, rather than help, your health.
Additionally, as with any nutritional supplement, there is a risk of impurities in the product, which can have severe consequences. For example, a contaminated batch of tryptophan from a particular manufacturer in Japan was linked to 37 deaths and 1500 cases of permanent disability.2
Long Term Health Benefits of Multivitamins Are Inconclusive
Diets high in fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and a host of other medical conditions.3 4 5 It’s hypothesized the high concentrations of anti-oxidants & fiber reduce inflammation and protect against chronic disease. So, the natural progression from this is the belief that supplementing with isolated forms of the anti-oxidants and nutrients found in fruits and vegetables would confer the same benefits.
The research, however, on the benefits (and harms) of vitamin supplementation in the general population is inconsistent. Supplementation of a nutrient confers health benefits if a person is deficient in that nutrient. That should be obvious, but that is not what this article is about. The question we need to know the answer to is: will taking a multivitamin make us live longer or perform better?
The gold standard of research study design is a randomized, placebo controlled trial, in which subjects are divided into experimental and “control” groups, with the experiment group receiving a placebo, or inactive substance, and the experimental group receiving the substance to be studied.
Last year, the Journal of the American Medical Association published the results of the first large scale, placebo controlled trial examining the long-term effects of multivitamin supplementation on cancer. The researchers found an 8% decrease in total cancer incidence in men taking a multivitamin. However, other observational studies find no association between multivitamin use and lower cancer rates, and some even find evidence that supplemental intake of certain vitamins may actually increase risk of certain cancers.
To further complicate matters, the few randomized controlled trials that have been done have produced conflicting results. Some show decreased cancer incidence6 and others show no effect or elevated risks.7
As far as improving performance, the research is also equivocal. For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Society of Clinical Nutrition shows no performance improvement in runners after 3 months of multivitamin supplementation. Similarly, a study entitled “Chronic multivitamin-mineral supplementation does not enhance physical performance” concluded just that.8 A study from 2006 in Research and Sports concluded that a liquid multivitamin supplement had no effect on “Anaerobic Exercise Performance” in people consuming an adequate diet.
Herein lies the problem and its resulting million dollar questions: What is an adequate diet and does the definition change depending on exercise habits and goals?
The research on multivitamins is lacking overall and even the research that has been done shows conflicting results. So what are we to do?
Ideally, an individual should strive to eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables (10+ servings) every day. Few people would disagree that this is the best way to get nutrients, improve energy and performance, and guard against disease. There is certainly a synergistic health effect from the contents of fruit and vegetables (both the things we know about and probably things we don’t know about), as nature’s design is most likely the best. The problem lies in executing this type of plan over the long run.
This is especially true for people who are trying to restrict calories to lose body fat, as 10 pieces of fruit would provide about 1000 calories per day. So what is the next best thing to eating that much produce? The makers of Centrum will say that taking a Centrum a day is the best alternative. Companies that sell whole food vitamin supplements will tell you that taking Centrum will do more harm than good, as the body doesn’t recognize and utilize synthetic vitamins the same way it does natural micronutrients. Unfortunately, there is no clear answer provided by research.
If eating 10+ servings of fruit and vegetables per day is not feasible for you, the next best thing is a product that most closely approximates it, namely, a “super greens and reds powder,” which is essentially fruit and vegetables concentrated down into a powder to be taken daily. This bypasses the issue of poor use of isolated nutrients and the idea that nutrients in real food exist in combinations impossible to replicate in a lab. There are many of them out there, but Lindberg Fruits & Greens+ is my choice.
If using a super foods powder is not feasible, the next best thing is a whole food multivitamin. It is very important to scrutinize the label of whatever product you’re thinking about buying, as often times products label “whole food multivitamins” are actually synthetic compounds combined with yeast (a whole food). Megafood, makes a good product, as does Garden of Life.
I recommend against the routine use of traditional multivitamins, unless you are part of a special population that research has shown to benefit from them. Still, if you are a hard training athlete, or are at risk for deficiencies due to restricted nutritional plans, you will likely derive more benefit from supplementation with traditional products than none at all. It is, however, a much better idea to use a preparation that more closely mimics eating real food.
In conclusion, there are no clear answers, and in the end the decision to supplement with multivitamins needs to be tailored to the situation of each individual. For most of the population, and especially athletes and people looking to improve body composition, a whole food derived nutrition supplement is a solid bet.
Best Exercises For Bone Health Prevent osteoporosis and fractures with
these bone-building moves By CARLIE HANSON April 24, 2017
“Exercise stimulates bone formation, because bone put under moderate stress responds by building density, and, depending on your age and workout regimen, it can either increase or maintain bone-mass density,” says Steven Hawkins, PhD, professor of exercise science at California Lutheran University. That’s why physical activity can reduce your risk of sustaining a hip fracture (which is usually caused by osteoporosis) by as much as a whopping 50%.
More from Prevention: Bone Health: Your Stay-Strong Plan
Dr. Hawkins cautions that if you already have osteoporosis or osteopenia, your best option is to protect your bones by improving stamina and balance, which will help you avoid falls. He recommends cardiovascular-endurance exercise such as walking, low-impact aerobics, and dancing. These serve the additional purpose of building muscle strength, which will help keep you upright and free from fracture-inducing falls. (Consult a health professional before undertaking any regimen, of course.)
If your bones are still healthy, working out with weight-training machines, free weights, or resistance bands, as well as doing exercises that use your body weight as resistance (sit-ups and push-ups, for example), will all build your bone density. The single best way to increase bone density is jumping (think jumping rope, jump squats, plyometrics), according to Dr. Hawkins.
To build bone mass in the three areas most prone to breakage from falls—the spine, hips, and forearms—Dr. Hawkins suggests this trio of moves: Romanian dead lifts, biceps curls, and triceps extensions.
Romanian Dead Lift*
Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Bend forward from waist, keeping abs contracted and back straight. Squeezing through glutes, return to standing. Repeat. For an extra challenge, do the same move with 1 dumbbell** in each hand, arms extended in front of thighs.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms extended by sides, 1 dumbbell** in each hand, palms facing away from body. Bend elbows, bringing weights toward shoulders. Slowly lower to start. Repeat.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms extended overhead, 1 dumbbell** in each hand. Keeping elbows close to ears, bend arms, lowering weights toward shoulder blades. Straightening elbows, slowly raise weights back to start. Repeat.
*Do 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.
** Weights should be heavy enough that you can do only 8 to 10 reps for each set. If you can do more with proper form, increase the weight.
10 Relaxation Techniques That Zap Stress Fast: April 23, 2017
By Jeannette Moninger
Relax. You deserve it, it's good for you, and it takes less time than you think.
You don't need a spa weekend or a retreat. Each of these stress-relieving tips can get you from OMG to om in less than 15 minutes.
A few minutes of practice per day can help ease anxiety. “Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress,” says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago health and wellness coach.
It's simple. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on reciting -- out loud or silently -- a positive mantra such as “I feel at peace” or “I love myself.” Place one hand on your belly to sync the mantra with your breaths. Let any distracting thoughts float by like clouds.
2. Breathe Deeply
Take a 5-minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.
“Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure,” psychologist Judith Tutin, PhD, says. She's a certified life coach in Rome, GA.
3. Be Present
“Take 5 minutes and focus on only one behavior with awareness,” Tutin says. Notice how the air feels on your face when you’re walking and how your feet feel hitting the ground. Enjoy the texture and taste of each bite of food.
When you spend time in the moment and focus on your senses, you should feel less tense.
4. Reach Out
Your social network is one of your best tools for handling stress. Talk to others -- preferably face to face, or at least on the phone. Share what's going on. You can get a fresh perspective while keeping your connection strong.
5. Tune In to Your Body
Mentally scan your body to get a sense of how stress affects it each day. Lie on your back, or sit with your feet on the floor. Start at your toes and work your way up to your scalp, noticing how your body feels.
“Simply be aware of places you feel tight or loose without trying to change anything,” Tutin says. For 1 to 2 minutes, imagine each deep breath flowing to that body part. Repeat this process as you move your focus up your body, paying close attention to sensations you feel in each body part.
Place a warm heat wrap around your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes. Close your eyes and relax your face, neck, upper chest, and back muscles. Remove the wrap, and use a tennis ball or foam roller to massage away tension.
“Place the ball between your back and the wall. Lean into the ball, and hold gentle pressure for up to 15 seconds. Then move the ball to another spot, and apply pressure,” says Cathy Benninger, a nurse practitioner and assistant professor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.
7. Laugh Out Loud
A good belly laugh doesn’t just lighten the load mentally. It lowers cortisol, your body’s stress hormone, and boosts brain chemicals called endorphins, which help your mood. Lighten up by tuning in to your favorite sitcom or video, reading the comics, or chatting with someone who makes you smile.
8. Crank Up the Tunes
Research shows that listening to soothing music can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety. “Create a playlist of songs or nature sounds (the ocean, a bubbling brook, birds chirping), and allow your mind to focus on the different melodies, instruments, or singers in the piece,” Benninger says. You also can blow off steam by rocking out to more upbeat tunes -- or singing at the top of your lungs!
9. Get Moving
You don’t have to run in order to get a runner’s high. All forms of exercise, including yoga and walking, can ease depression and anxiety by helping the brain release feel-good chemicals and by giving your body a chance to practice dealing with stress. You can go for a quick walk around the block, take the stairs up and down a few flights, or do some stretching exercises like head rolls and shoulder shrugs.
10. Be Grateful
Keep a gratitude journal or several (one by your bed, one in your purse, and one at work) to help you remember all the things that are good in your life.
“Being grateful for your blessings cancels out negative thoughts and worries,” says Joni Emmerling, a wellness coach in Greenville, NC.
Use these journals to savor good experiences like a child’s smile, a sunshine-filled day, and good health. Don’t forget to celebrate accomplishments like mastering a new task at work or a new hobby.
When you start feeling stressed, spend a few minutes looking through your notes to remind yourself what really matters.
WebMD Feature Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD
HYDRATION: HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU DRINK DURING EXERCISE? April 22, 2017
As the weather starts to warm up again, it’s time to ditch the winter thermals and start re-focusing on your hydration needs during exercise. With so many drink options available and mixed messages about how much and when to drink during exercise, this article will look at the ‘who, why, what, when and how’ of hydration.
Hydration needs are highly individualized due to variations in sweat rates between people, or even for the same person exercising in different conditions. Sweat rate is influenced by a number of factors including:
Body size – larger body sizes tend to sweat more
Fitness level – fitter athletes generally start to sweat earlier
Genetics – some people naturally sweat more than others
Temperature – hot and humid conditions increase sweat rates
Wind – air flow over the skin improves body cooling and reduces sweat rates
Exercise intensity – as intensity increases, so does sweat rate.
So, while there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to replacing fluid losses from sweat, being aware of your own hydration needs before, during, and after exercise is an important consideration for all active people.
During exercise, fluid is critical for maintaining blood volume, regulating body temperature, and for muscle contraction. Sweating is the body’s way of maintaining core temperature while exercising but the loss of body fluid that occurs can result in dehydration (eg. if fluid intake is suboptimal). Generally, the body has a good capacity to tolerate low to moderate levels of dehydration; however, as levels of dehydration rise, performance can be impaired through:
Increased heart rate
Increased perception of effort
Impaired cognitive performance (e.g. skill and coordination)
Gastrointestinal issues, such as nausea
Increased risk of heat illness
With so many drink options now available, deciding which fluid best suits your needs can be tricky. When choosing the best drink for you it’s a good idea to consider:
The duration and intensity of your session
Whether there is a need to replace carbohydrate and electrolytes during the session
Individual preferences (e.g. flavor preferences, gastrointestinal comfort)
Unlike plain water, dairy options and sports drinks contain carbohydrate and sodium (salt). When used appropriately, carbohydrate can have positive effects on performance, especially during moderate and high intensity exercise. Sodium is an important electrolyte that aids hydration by helping the absorption of water through the gut and assisting the body to ‘hold on to fluid’ more effectively (e.g. reduce urine output).
The optimal amount and timing of drinks will depend on your individual sweat rate and exercise conditions (e.g. hot vs. cold weather, easy ride vs. racing, etc). An Accredited Sports Dietitian can work with you to develop an individual hydration plan but as a general strategy:
Begin exercise well hydrated
Follow a hydration plan based on your individual needs while exercising
Rehydrate after you finish exercising as you are unlikely (and it’s not necessary) to replace 100% of fluid losses during exercise
Keep in mind that there is no performance advantage to starting an exercise session over-hydrated and it is actually more likely to result in negative side effects. Being too aggressive with your hydration can lead to interrupted sleep the night before, bloating and gastrointestinal upset, and the frequent need to urinate during exercise. It is important not to drink beyond your needs while exercising, as this can result in a condition known as hyponatremia (a medical issue where sodium levels in the blood become too dilute, most commonly seen in endurance or ultra endurance races where large volumes of low electrolyte fluids are consumed beyond participants’ needs).
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of hydration needs and realize that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to drinking during exercise. Here’s a quick summary of tips for optimizing your hydration plan:
Aim for pale yellow urine over the day – it’s a good sign that you’re appropriately hydrated
Avoid high levels of dehydration – this can impair performance and increase risk of heat illness
The best drink choice is different for different sessions – consider the duration and intensity of the session, the need to replace carbohydrate and/or electrolytes and individual preferences
Individualize your hydration plan and the timing of drinks during exercise – this will depend on your sweat rate, environmental conditions and practicality
More is not better – there is no performance benefit to being over-hydrated and it will increase your risk of negative side effects
Ways Exercise Can Help You Tame Diabetes, April 21, 2017
Looking for a proven way to delay the onset of diabetes or slow down its progression? Try lacing up your sneakers, rolling out your yoga mat and/or slipping into your bathing suit and get moving.
“Exercise is a key component to keeping blood glucose (blood sugar) levels in the correct range, encouraging weight loss and reducing cardiovascular risks,” says family medicine specialist Nishanthini Sooriyapalan, MD, who goes by Dr. Nish. “Just check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you have co-morbidities, such as heart failure.”
According to Dr. Nish, diabetes is one of the most common diseases in America, affecting nearly 30 million Americans. A metabolic disease, it occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal. The chronic disease is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S.
Dr. Nish answers questions about the ways exercise controls diabetes and how to safely begin an exercise routine:
How does exercise help control my blood sugar levels?
A. “People with type 2 diabetes have too much blood sugar in their blood because their body doesn't produce enough insulin to process it, or because their body doesn't use insulin properly,” she says. “When a muscle is exercised, it draws glucose out of the bloodstream for fuel, helping control levels of sugar in the blood. This effect continues not just during exercise, but for 24 to 72 hours afterward.”
Will exercise help me with other diabetes-related issues?
A. Dr. Nish says that by staying fit and active you can also:
Reduce your risk for stroke and heart disease
Lower your blood pressure and blood glucose
Help your body use insulin
Raise your good cholesterol and lower your bad cholesterol
What are some recommended exercises?
A. “You should aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise – like walking, hiking, stair climbing, dancing, swimming, tennis, bicycling or outdoor hiking – at least five days a week, or a total of 150 minutes a week,” says Dr. Nish. “And weight-training exercises should be done two or three days a week. You should include working with hand weights, elastic bands and weight machines.”
She also recommends incorporating Tai Chi or yoga into an exercise program.
Can I just go from being a couch potato to a jock?
A. “To prevent complications, any new or rigorous exercise program should be approved by your doctor, who may refer you to a physical therapist, diabetes educator or personal trainer,” she says. “You might have to start out exercising 10 minutes a day until you can build up your stamina and strength.”
She also advises people with diabetes to check their blood sugar levels before, during and after an activity to prevent low or falling blood sugar levels.
“And it's also prudent to have a piece of candy or fruit nearby while you exercise,” she says.
Can I do exercises while at my desk job?
A. Even while you're at work you can improve your blood sugar levels by moving every 30 minutes. She suggests doing activities, such as:
Leg lifts or extensions
Overhead arm stretches
Desk chair swivels
Walking in place
“No matter how simple the moves, whether sitting down or standing up, exercise is an effective way to improve the body's ability to use insulin and help control blood sugar levels,” Dr. Nish says.
Effects of Exercise on Depression Underestimated, April 20th, 2017
by Justin Karter
A new meta-analysis finds that the large antidepressant effects of exercise may have been underestimated in previous reviews. This latest report, published this month in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, examines twenty-five previous studies and concludes that regular exercise has a large and significant antidepressant effect in people diagnosed with moderate and severe depression.
“The effects of exercise on depression have been a source of contentious debate,” the researchers, led by Felipe Schuch, write. “Previous meta-analyses may have underestimated the benefits of exercise due to publication bias. Our data strongly support the claim that exercise is an evidence-based treatment for depression.”
While past research has demonstrated a consistent antidepressant effect for exercise, there has been controversy over exactly how large the effect actually is. In 2013, a Cochrane analysis found that when the review was limited only to high-quality studies with a low risk of bias the effect of exercise on depression was small and non-significant.
The Cochrane review has come under scrutiny, however, and new high-quality randomized control trials on the effects of exercise in depression have since been published. The new study aims to expand upon and update the Cochrane analysis while also investigating the effects of publication bias.
The researchers examined twenty-five total trials which included data on nearly 1,500 adults with depression. After adjusting for publication bias, they found that exercise had a large and significant effect on depression when compared to controls. For those diagnosed with major depressive disorder, the effects of exercise were found to be even greater.
Their results also indicate that both aerobic and mixed exercises were effective at reducing depression symptoms and that moderate and vigorous exercises were more effective than those of light intensity. Those who had training supervised by professionals also fared better than those who exercised on their own.
“Overall, our results provide robust evidence that exercise can be considered an evidence-based treatment for the management of depression,” the researchers write. “The fail-safe assessment suggests that more than a thousand studies with negative results would be needed to nullify the effects of exercise on depression.”
The updated review found a larger effect size for exercise than the earlier Cochrane analysis. The study authors attribute this difference to the fact that they excluded studies that compared exercise to other active treatments and included updated results from new studies published after the Cochrane analysis.
Benefits of Exercise, April 19th, 2017
Want to feel better, have more energy and even add years to
your life? Just exercise.
The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability.
Need more convincing to get moving? Check out these seven ways exercise can lead to a happier, healthier you.
1. Exercise controls weight
Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn.
Regular trips to the gym are great, but don't worry if you can't find a large chunk of time to exercise every day. To reap the benefits of exercise, just get more active throughout your day — take the stairs instead of the elevator or rev up your household chores. Consistency is key.
2. Exercise combats health conditions and diseases
Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Regular exercise helps prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, a number of types of cancer, arthritis and falls.
3. Exercise improves mood
Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A gym session or brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.
You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
4. Exercise boosts energy
Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance.
Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.
Source: The Mayo Clinic
Top Ten Reasons to Hire a Personal Trainer April 18th, 2017
ACE's Top Ten Reasons to Hire a Personal Trainer
Motivation – Personal trainers wear many hats, serving not only as coach, but as an educator, confidant, role model and a major source of motivation and encouragement as well.
Consistency – Do you find it difficult to stick to your program? Scheduling regular appointments with a personal trainer helps eliminate any excuses you might come up with for not exercising.
Safety – Unsure about how to use the chest press machine at the gym or how to perform walking lunges without hurting your knees? A personal trainer will show you how to exercise safely (including which exercises to avoid) and instruct you on the proper and safe use of exercise equipment.
Individualized Instruction – What works for one person, may not work for another when it comes to choosing an exercise program. A personal trainer will develop the most effective program for you based on your fitness evaluation results and personal goals. Beginners in particular benefit from instruction on how to perform specific exercises and program planning.
Effective Workouts – Today's hectic lifestyles mean you don't have time to waste on ineffective exercise routines. Personal trainers help maximize your time by providing workouts designed to meet your goals quickly and efficiently.
Supervision – Personal attention during exercise is the primary function of personal trainers. Need someone to spot you while you do pull-ups? Looking for feedback on your running form? No problem-that's what your personal trainer is for-to observe, assist and, if necessary, correct as needed.
Sports-specific Training – Many amateur and professional athletes work with a personal trainer during the off-season to prepare themselves for in-season competition. Whether you want to shave some strokes off your golf score or beat your brother-in-law at tennis, a personal trainer can tailor your program to your sport of choice.
Injury Rehabilitation – Injuries and accidents can prevent you from participating in your favorite activities. An experienced personal trainer, however, can make the road to recovery a smooth one by recommending exercises that emphasize overall muscular balance to prevent future injuries.
Special-needs Training – Research confirms that individuals with health challenges such as diabetes, asthma, osteoporosis or heart disease benefit greatly from regular physical activity. These conditions, however, can make exercising safely a challenge. Many personal trainers are experienced in designing programs that address the special needs of these and other conditions.
Ego Boost – It's a fact-feeling good makes you look good, and vice versa. Not only can your personal trainer help you achieve your health and fitness goals, they provide you with positive feedback on your performance and bolster your confidence to take on new challenges.
Tomorrow we will be starting our new spring workout program... April 17th, 2017
Waiting to Start a Fitness Program Means Never Reaching
Our Goals, April 15th, 2017
How many Mondays have gone by without starting a fitness program? What other things continue to take priority? We have good intentions, want to get in shape but follow through is lacking.
It's time to put a stop to the excuses that get in the way of our health and fitness. Health is our wealth and we couldn't live such a busy life without it. Think about that. Declining health equals no work, no social life, and no money. Not that money is or should be the most important thing in life.
Our priorities are skewed and our reasons to not get fit make no sense in the big scheme of life. Why are we waiting for illness to hit our life before taking action? Our lives require a priority overhaul. Don't you agree?
Living a life without good health is not a quality life at all. When the morning routine means taking pills for proper body function there is something wrong. This is referencing self-induced illness created by not taking care of ourselves. This shouldn't be an acceptable norm for society. This should piss us off and motivate change in our life.
Waiting for someday is no longer an acceptable excuse. Besides, someday doesn't qualify as a day of the week. Do you want to lose fat, look good naked, feel great, move better, and be more confident? Do you want to toss those pills prescribed from self-induced illness? Do you want to be healthy?
In order to improve our health and fitness, we need to make it a priority. Change takes a choice and we're all responsible for our health and fitness. Your busy lifestyle should include consistent workouts and healthy food.
Fitness takes good time management. For example, making gym time one of your social hours without canceling. Another way to improve our eating habits is being prepared with a packed cooler at the workplace. This will keep us out of the vending machines, break room junk food, or nearby restaurants.
You can achieve your goals by applying simple changes. It will be a progressive life-long journey. Life is meant to be enjoyed with a healthy, fit body. The choice is yours to make it happen. All in fitness love. Stay Healthy!
Use Fitness to Work Through Emotional Upset: April 13th,
Life is not meant to be easy easy and all wrapped in a pretty bow all the time. The truth about life is it can suck and be filled with very difficult emotional and even physical hardships.
Emotional junk can weigh down our brains and bodies and cause us to retreat into a shell of self-defeat. When we're struggling with emotional upset from any life situation, it's important not to give up on you. During these times we tend to not take care of our health and fitness. We really can become our own worst enemy.
Emotional upset can happen at any given time and we can choose to handle it in a healthy or unhealthy way. It really comes down to us being responsible for our own physical and emotional health. This also includes maintaining our fitness and happiness.
Emotional upset seeming to be the most painful occurs in close personal relationships with spouses, significant others, dearest friends, and family. It's also the most difficult to navigate feelings that may include anger and resentment. We can become so bitter it interferes with the quality of our life and health.
We tend to walk around with unrealistic expectations of how things and life are supposed to be. We want to be in control of how people treat us and really expect others to be like us. Often times we create our own upset because things don't happen according to our own thought processes.
These self-induced feelings can create an unhealthy person that we ourselves find hard to recognize. It can be difficult when we feel hurt, but it's also important to recognize if the hurt is real or created from unrealistic expectations.
In the midst of emotional upset, it's important to exercise and release endorphins to help us feel better. Studies have shown exercise to be one of the best methods for stress reduction, decreased depression, and overall positive well-being.
It would be wonderful if life had an easy button to simply remove all the drama causing us emotional pain. The closest thing we possess to make that happen is our response to what causes the upset. We can choose to walk around with a bad attitude or choose to be positive with a healthy response. A great workout can enhance our positive feelings even more.
Having a healthy response to unhealthy situations takes learning and practice, but the reward is a healthier happier life. There is nothing worse than stewing inside and growing an emotional pimple until it bursts into ugliness. There are so many positive avenues to take care of the problem in a healthy way. Eating healthy and exercise are great ways to improve our mental and physical health. Other ways to work through emotional upset include meditation, prayer, or even reaching out to a licensed therapist.
Life is similar to a classroom and we are students learning through each experience. Every circumstance is an opportunity to learn and grow in a positive way. With every upset, we can choose to become healthier people. Remember, life is 10 percent what happens and 90 percent how we respond to it.
April 11, 2017
Standing alt bicep curls: three sets/15 reps
Standing barbell curls: Four sets/15 reps
Seated concentration curls: three sets/15 reps
One arm preacher curls: three sets/15 reps
*all sets with slow tempo
*30 second rest in between sets
*stretch between sets
Spring training program day 1: April 7, 2017
Wide grip pulldowns: pulldowns to the front
Reverse grip pulldowns: right below chin
T-bar rows: as heavy as possible w/ correct form
One arm dumbbell rows: good stretch on bottom
*all exercises three sets
*emphasis on hypertrophy
*one minute rest between sets
Fitness is a Process You Achieve One Day at a Time:
April 4th, 2017
Believing anything happens quickly is not realistic. Fitness is a process of small changes creating large results over time. No magic wand to instantly provide a chiseled physique or bikini body. We may want that, but not how it works. Quick fix thoughts only set us up for frustration and failure.
Achieve fitness one day at a time. Biceps don't suddenly appear after your first day in the gym. What does occur when you apply fitness daily is progress. The muscle will show up but let it work, grow and build. It's like a fine wine or great simmering stew. The journey will be rewarding but patience is required.
One of the worst things you could do is to jump into a fad diet or take unregulated fat burning supplements thinking this is the answer. Read the small print on any of these pseudo-fitness deals. "Best results when accompanied with a healthy diet and exercise program" is what you'll find.
All that needs to happen is to follow the small print which is the best advice on those bottles. In fact, any results achieved comes from implementing a healthy nutrition plan and exercise. You're the one doing the work, not what's in those bottles.
Fitness done daily will take time and effort but the lifelong results are the reward. It's also a journey and not a destination. There's no need to feel rushed or stressed about getting fit. It's really a simple process often over-complicated. Find healthy foods and exercise you enjoy and this is what keeps you coming back for more.
Avoid jumping ahead in your mind to what you want now and focus on today. What are you doing today to reach your fitness goals? Did you exercise, eat healthily, and get plenty of rest? Awesome! Celebrate your daily achievements. Write them down if it helps. Stay positive even when things aren't showing up as fast as you think they should.
We're all different in how our bodies respond to change. Comparing to friends or people we see at the gym is the thief of joy. We're not here to be or look like someone else. Our job is to become our best healthy self through daily choices. Who cares if your friend lost 5lbs and you didn't reach that mark. Fitness is not about who is faster at achieving results.
The goal is getting fit and loving ourselves through the process. The days are going to pass anyway so focus on adopting a healthy lifestyle the right way. Today is what we have, tomorrow isn't promised and yesterday is gone. Be in the now with your fitness and you'll get there one day at a time.
Example of a senior program, March 20th, 2017
1/ seated leg raises, 2 sets, 10 repetitions
2/chair squats/3 sets/10 repetitions
3/seated 5lb dumbbell curls/3 sets/10 reps
4/Seated 5lb dumbbell front raises/3 sets/10 reps
5/standing yellow tube front raises/2 sets/10 reps
6/standing yellow tube bicep curls/2 sets/10 reps
7/standing weighted plate front raises/2 sets/10 reps
8/standing dumbbell bicep curls/2 sets/10 reps