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,
Tricep Summer Burn Workout: July 21st, 2017
a/close grip pushups: 3 sets to failure
b/one arm dumbbell extensions, three sets to failure
c/close grip bench press: three sets to failure
d/rope pressdowns: three sets to failure
*all sets to failure
*one minute rest intervals
45 minute session
Shoulder workout, summer shred program: July 20th, 2017
a/dumbbell front raises: three sets to failure
b/dumbbell side laterals: three sets to failure
c/barbell upright rows: three sets to failure
d/barbell push press: three sets to failure
*rest period of 1 minute
*stretch between sets
*all sets to failure
All About Biceps: July 19th, 2017
Most guys obsess about their biceps. The first muscles most
of us learn to flex is our biceps. For a long time, biceps have been looked upon
as the symbol of strength. Ask a kid to flex his muscles and chances are he'll
flaunt his pythons.
Many people get a gym membership just so they can get bigger biceps. Now that the sun's out, it's time to get your guns out. Don't be left out of this gun show. You don't need to worry if you have no clue of how to build bigger biceps.
Many people blame their genetics for having tiny biceps while the real problem is their training. In this article, we have listed out the five exercises you need to be doing to see incredible gains. You can do these five exercises as a complete workout or use a few of them in your workouts.
Follow the intensity of the exercises mentioned and you'll be on your way to achieving the mountains of your dreams. Don't be surprised if you can't lift your arms for the next couple days after this workout.
5 Hardcore Exercises To Build Bigger Biceps
1. 21s – 1 Set
These are one of the hardest bicep exercises. We recommend you start with this exercise because it'll exhaust your pythons and you'll be able to get the same pump by lifting relatively lighter weights as compared to what you usually lift.
Hold a straight barbell, pin and lock your elbows to your sides. Elevate the barbell so it's parallel to the floor and return to the starting position. Do seven reps of this. Then, curl the barbell to the top for the second half of this exercise. Descend the barbell halfway so it's parallel to the floor.
Complete seven reps and follow it with a complete range of motion for another seven reps. Doing these three variations for seven reps in one set will bring the total to 21 reps and hence the name of this exercise. This exercise is also known as 7-7-7.
2. Dumbbell Bicep Curls – 3 Sets, 12 Reps
5 Hardcore Exercises To Build Bigger Biceps
This is a textbook bicep exercise. Dumbbell bicep curls have stood the test of time and are considered one of the best exercises to develop your guns. You could do a standing or a seated variation of this exercise.
If you have been training for some time, chances are you already know how to perform this exercise. Make sure you turn your hand as much as you can at the top of the movement. This will work your inner bicep and develop the definition.
3. Reverse Barbell Preacher Bicep Curls – 3 Sets, 12 Reps
Most people overlook their forearms while training their biceps. If you have jacked forearms, it'll make your biceps look bigger as well. Your joints remain the same size even if you lift weights. Building bigger biceps and forearms will make your arms look huge.
This exercise will work on your forearms and the length of your biceps. Hold a barbell with an overhand grip with your thumbs over the barbell. It'll be harder to perform a curl with the thumb over the barbell as compared to the thumb around it. Choose your weights accordingly.
4. T-Curls – 3 Sets, 12 Reps
T-Curls will make your biceps work like only a few other exercises can. If you're looking to develop your inner biceps, this is the perfect exercise for you. You'll have no idea where to put your arms after you do this exercise.
Place an incline bench at 70-degrees and hold the dumbbells you'd choose while performing preacher curls. Perform alternate dumbbell hammer curls while forming a ‘T' with your arms. For this, lock out your elbows to your sides and pin them there.
5. Double Bicep / High Cable Curls – 3 Sets, 15 Reps
This exercise is a great biceps finisher. If you're fond of hitting the front double biceps pose, you better get good at this exercise. This exercise will help you shape your biceps for this pose. Double bicep cable curls work on the peak of your biceps.
Stand in the middle of the cable machine and hold onto the handlebars. Your arms should be parallel to the floor and your elbows should be locked in one place throughout the exercise. You shouldn't use momentum or swing your arms while performing this exercise.
Leg Day: July 16, 2017
15 minute cardio warm up
Barbell back squats: four sets to failure
Swiss ball Squats: three sets to failure
Stationary lunge: two sets to failure
Stiff legged deadlifts: three sets to failure
Standing calve raises: three sets to failure
*1 min rest period intervals
*stretch between sets
Biceps: July 13th, 2017
a/standing barbell curls: three sets to failure
b/seated alt dumbbell curls: three sets to failure
c/seated concentration curls: three sets to failure
d/one arm preacher curls: three sets to failure
a/one arm dumbbell extensions behind head: three sets to failure
b/tricep pressdowns: three sets to failure
c/close grip pushups: three sets to failure
d/close grip bench press: three sets to failure
Low-Carb Vegetables: July 11th, 2017
If you do follow a low carb diet, try to include as much
vegetables as you can. A list of low-carbohydrate vegetable is below:
Sprouts (e.g. alfalfa, bean)
Greens (e.g. lettuce, spinach, chard,collard greens, mustard greens, kale, endive)
Herbs (e.g. parsley, basil, cilantro, rosemary, thyme)
Cucumbers/ pickles (no added sugars)
Green Beans and Wax Beans
Workout 1 of summer shred: July 9th, 2017
a/barbell bench press, three sets to failure
b/dumbbell flys, three sets to failure
c/incline dumbbell bench press, three sets to failure
d/pushups, three sets to failure
*15 minutes of cardio for warm up
*1 min rest time between sets
*45 min workout
Summer Shred Program: July 5th, 2017
The summer shred program is back again and will be be starting on Monday. Hopefully you've had enough of the hot dogs and burgers and are ready to get in gear. The program will consist of resistance training as well as aerobic training. There will be a compilation of trainers and programs to meet all needs across the board. Get ready!
The Atkins Diet: July 1st, 2017
The Atkins dietThe Atkins Diet was initially aimed at individuals with obesity. The main focus is on reducing the amount of carbohydrates and at the same time increasing the amount of fat.
Atkins consist of four stages. Very small amounts of carbohydrates are allowed (20 g) in the first stage which is termed induction. This usually leads to rapid weight loss. In the next steps, carbohydrates are added in specific increments until you find the level of carbohydrate consumption at which you can continue to loose weight gradually. You stay at that level of carbohydrate consumption until you are within a few pounds of your goal, then you can move into the last phase which is considered to be a lifetime maintenance plan.
The Atkins diet was first introduced in 1972 when Dr. Robert Atkins published his first book, “Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution”. Robert Atkins was an American physician and cardiologist born in Columbus, Ohio in 1930. Atkins was very interested in nutrition and lifestyle measures to fight obesity. His initial methods were based on the research of another US scientist, Dr. Edgar S Gordon from Madison, Wisconsin. On October 5, 1963, Gordon and coworkers published an article in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) called “A New Concept in the Treatment of Obesity”. Atkins became interested in their methods and tried them on himself with good results. Although his book, “Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution, sold millions of copies his methods were strongly criticized by many colleagues and nutrition experts, some actually thought him quite mad. His methods severely contradicted mainstream nutritional recommendations. Increased consumption of fat was thought to be not only undesirable but dangerous.
Supplementation: June 30th, 2017
1. Whey Protein
glutamine, creatine, whey protein, magnesium, fish oil, best supplementsWhey protein is generally the cornerstone supplement in most athletes’ arsenals. Whey is the watery portion of milk that separates from the curd and is a by-product in cheese making. Generally whey protein is taken before or after a workout to help improve muscle recovery and promote protein synthesis. Whey protein is an abundant source of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAAs consist of leucine, iso-luecine and valine and are used to stimulate protein, and leucine plays an important role in this process as well.
There are three forms that whey protein generally comes in - whey concentrate (WPC), whey isolate (WPI), and whey hydrolysate (WPH):
Whey concentrates have a lower level of fat but in general have a higher amount of bioactive compounds and lactose giving it a higher carbohydrate concentration. Generally they are between 30%-89% protein by weight.
Whey isolates are processed to have the fat and lactose removed from them and are usually lower in bioactive compounds because of this. Generally they are around 90% + protein by weight.
Whey hydrolysates are pre-digested whey proteins that are partially hydrolyzed to aid in an easier metabolized whey protein. The problem is that this also comes with a higher cost. Hydrolysates can also be less allergenic.
Supplementing with whey can help whether you are trying to lose fat or gain muscle. But, it should only be used as an addition in your diet to other whole food protein sources to get an overall balanced diet.
2. Fish Oil
glutamine, creatine, whey protein, magnesium, fish oil, best supplementsIn a perfect world we would all be getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in our diet, but the reality is most people are not and require supplementation in either liquid or capsule form to help up their intake. Derived from the fatty layers of cold-water fish, fish oil is rich in the long chain omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are necessary fats in our diet as the human body is incapable of synthesizing them, so they must be obtained through food. Some of the health benefits include reduced cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation, as well as improved cognitive state and mood. For these benefits alone, unless you are eating the required fish intake in your diet supplementing just makes sense.
glutamine, creatine, whey protein, magnesium, fish oil, best supplements3. Creatine
Creatine is one of the most widely researched sports supplements. It has been proven that it is safe and that it works. Creatine is found in our muscles cells and is most abundant in skeletal muscle, where 95% of our body's creatine is stored. Creatine is generally supplemented in the form of creatine monohydrate.
The benefits of supplementing with creatine include:
Increased lean muscle growth and increased muscle cell volume
Increased post workout recovery
Increased muscle performance
Research has shown that supplementing with 5 to 20 grams per day is safe and virtually devoid of any adverse side effects, while in the short term increasing maximum power and performance during high intensity repetitive anaerobic training by 5 to 15%.
glutamine, creatine, whey protein, magnesium, fish oil, best supplements4. Magnesium
Magnesium is essential to maintaining optimal health, as it is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. Around 50% of the body's magnesium is contained in our bones. The reason magnesium is so important is because it is involved in over 300 reactions in the body.
Magnesium is involved in the following:
Maintaining nerve and muscle function
Maintaining steady heart rhythm
Helping support the immune system
Supporting bone strength
Supporting energy metabolism and protein synthesis.
Research has also shown supplementing with magnesium of 390mg a day can result in an increased peak oxygen uptake and an increased work output.
The Quads, June 26th, 2017
The quads are one of the largest and most powerful muscle groups in the body.
And they're super important for driving off the ground and helping to keep the
knees stable during cutting movements.
The quads are in fact a group of four muscles (hence "quad")—the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius and rectus femoris. All four attach to the kneecap, but on the other end, the vastus muscles attach on the femur, whereas the rectus femoris attaches to the pelvis. Their function is to extend the shin at the knee and flex the femur at the hip.
Quad strength comes from performing exercises that can be loaded closer to the knee than the hip. They allow athletes to run, jump, push, pull, lunge, stop and squat. Athletic movements are muti-joint, so quadriceps exercise should focus mostly on structural, knee-dominant exercises, not single-joint exercises like leg extensions.
Quadriceps exercises that are knee-dominant are the most effective at developing bigger, stronger quads. A knee-dominant exercise means that both knee flexion and hip extension are used, but the knee moves through a greater range of motion than the hip. Developing strength and power in the quads helps athletes who need to run backwards, field a ball, stop and change directions, or simply run fast.
Different Protein Sources: June 24th, 2017
Whey protein is one of the two proteins in milk. Milk protein consists of 20% whey and 80% casein, which is the protein that can trigger various milk allergies. Many people who turn to whey do so to avoid casein allergies and still receive the benefits or milk protein. Whey is either sold as an isolate or concentrate and is by far the most popular supplement in the market.
Whey protein essentially helps your cells to grow, replace and repair themselves. For all the proteins that your body doesn’t produce on its own, many people turn to dairy protein. Whey protein provides all nine amino acids and is easy to digest. Most whey protein is low-fat or fat-free and is commonly used by athletes to improve muscle strength. Above any of its other ingredients, leucine is the most efficient for muscle building. It is an amino acid that is key in maintaining and repairing muscles and is obtained from foods.
Pea protein is derived from yellow peas and is a completely natural, plant-based protein. As a safe alternative for those who suffer from allergies, pea protein has become increasingly popular. Being a plant-based protein, it does not have gluten or lactose and allows for easier digestion. Not only is digestion easier, but there generally are no bloating effects. Pea protein is high in branched chain amino acids (BCAA), among others that the body does not naturally produce.
Besides being a source for protein, pea protein can also aid in weight loss and muscle maintenance. The BCAA in the protein may aid in maintaining a muscle building state, decrease fat, and keep you feeling full longer. Many believe that pea protein is helpful in providing pre-workout energy boosts and post-workout muscle recovery.
Soy protein is another plant based protein that is a go-to for many vegetarians and vegans. Soy protein contains the essential amino acids to support growth and development.
There are three types of soy protein: soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, and textured soy protein. Soy protein concentrate contains most of the carbohydrates from the soybean and around 65% protein. The concentrate is essentially what is left of the soybean after the “de-fatting” process. Soy protein isolate is the most pure form of soy protein available. The isolate is made mostly of the “de-fatted” soybeans with almost all other ingredients removed, making it a pure protein source. The textured soy protein is made from soy protein concentrates. The textured protein includes imitation meat products.
TIPS FOR KETOGENIC EATING, June 22nd, 2017
Before making any major, long-term changes to your diet, it’s best to check in with a doctor or registered dietitian. Should you decide you’d like to try a ketogenic lifestyle for weight loss, here are a few tips to get you started:
ADJUST YOUR MACROS
To achieve nutritional ketosis, adjust your MyFitnessPal macronutrient goals to achieve a daily intake of 70–75% fat, 15–20% protein and 5–10% calories from carbohydrates.
ANTICIPATE A TEMPORARY DROP IN ENERGY
Transitioning to a ketogenic lifestyle can be a bit challenging in the beginning. “The first few days to few weeks of a ketogenic diet can be tough to get through,” says Mancinelli. “You may experience very low energy, crankiness and foggy thinking.” This feeling of lethargy may last from a few days to a few weeks; however, after it passes, many individuals report an improvement in energy and mood, as well as clearer thinking.
MODERATE YOUR PROTEIN INTAKE
Remember that a ketogenic diet is not a high-protein diet. Consuming too much protein may shift you out of a state of ketosis, as the body can convert excess protein into carbohydrates.
EAT A VARIETY OF FATS
Make sure your intake of fat is balanced between plant-based sources and animal fats such as olive oil, nuts, seeds and coconut, along with fatty fish. This will not only help to improve overall health, but will add variety to your meal plan as well.
KNOW IT’S NOT A QUICK FIX
As with any weight-loss plan, the goal is not just to lose weight but also to keep it off. Before you transition to a ketogenic way of eating, ask yourself whether you can make this a long-term lifestyle change and not just a quick fix that could lead to a cycle of yo-yo dieting.
Health Benefits of Tuna: June 18th, 2017
1. Maintain Cardiovascular Health
Tuna is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids which have been shown to support cardiovascular health. It can help promote cardiovascular health by increasing the concentration of good (HDL) cholesterol in the body. The experts believe that HDL removes excess cholesterol from the blood, preventing the build up of plaque which can clog the arteries.
2. Prevent Stroke
Since tuna can help prevent blood clots and improves blood flow, it can help prevent the risk of stroke. Eating 1-3 servings of tuna a week is enough to lower your chance of getting stroke.
3. Control Blood Pressure
Fresh tuna is naturally high in potassium but low in sodium, and research has suggests that a diet high in potassium and low in sodium can help control blood pressure. The omega 3 fatty acids found in tuna are also play a role in keeping your blood pressure within the normal range.
4. Supports Eye Health
The high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in tuna is also beneficial for the eye health as they can help prevent age-related macular degeneration and dry eyes.
5. Cancer Prevention
Studies have shown that eating fish high in omega 3 fatty acids such as tuna may protect against certain cancers such as breast cancer, colon cancer, and kidney cancer.
Other studies have found that consumption of tuna can significantly lower the risk of leukemia as well. The studies show that tuna is a remarkable fish for reducing the risk of leukemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
6. Increase Cognitive Function
Tuna is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which is known to support cognitive function by promoting a healthy blood supply to the brain and lowering inflammation, aiding the transmission of electrical signals in the brain, and thereby reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
7. Improve Mood
Tuna is a good source of selenium which is responsible for mood and appetite levels. A lack of selenium will cause unhappy and anxious feelings. The omega 3 fatty acids in tuna are also helps in improving mood levels.
8. Aid the Detoxification Process
Selenium along with omega-3 contained in the tuna, are essential elements for the production of gluthathione peroxidase, an important antioxidant which is critical for a healthy liver, an organ that is responsible for clearing toxin
Client Plan Outline: June 17th, 2017
Goals: strength and endurance, bulk on shoulders, upper back, thighs, calves. Abdomen, shoulder mobility.
Recommended Workout Split: Push/Pull/Legs/Cardio
Diet Recommendations: TBA upon further evaluation, preferably shooting for 1.2 grams of protein per pound bodyweight, split into every 3 hour increments from complete proteins such as chicken, turkey, eggs, beef, whey. Calories and carbs TBA
Preferable workout split:
Day one: Chest, triceps, deltoids (shoulders)
Day two: Back, trapezious, biceps
Day three: Quads, hams, calves
Day four: Cardio (basketball or swim)
Day Five: Chest, triceps, shoulders
Day six: Back, biceps,
Day seven: complete day off
*abs and stretching three days per week
*Protein and carbs post workout
*1/2 gallon of water per day
Why Use A Personal Trainer: June 14th, 2017
The image of a personal trainer yelling and pushing his clients until near
collapse may scare some people away from hiring a trainer, but the benefits of
using a personal trainer should be considered carefully. While some in the field
provide "tough love" motivation, personal trainers typically work with clients
in a non-threatening way, helping them to achieve specific fitness goals.
Understanding the potential benefits of a personal trainer can help you decide
if the financial investment is worthwhile.
A personal trainer helps you define your fitness goals. She takes into account your current fitness level and discusses what you want to achieve through your workouts. While you may have some idea of the goals you want to set, a professional is able to help you break them down into smaller goals that are specific and realistic. The personal trainer also helps assess your progress toward those goals.
Personal trainers create a specific workout plan just for you based on what you want to achieve. The personalized plan typically gives you better results than a general workout plan. Because he knows your physical condition and medical background, he is able to make accommodations to the program to fit your needs.
A professional trainer teaches you the proper way to perform each exercise movement in your routine. She often demonstrates the movement and watches you perform it so she can correct any issues with your posture or technique. Learning how to perform exercises properly reduces your risk of injury. You also will be able to do the exercises on your own at home or at the gym after getting professional fitness instruction.
Motivation is often difficult to maintain when you exercise on your own. Regular sessions with a personal trainer enhance your motivation to continue with a workout regimen. Even if you don't use a personal trainer for every session, knowing that you'll meet with your trainer soon will motivate you during workouts. You also get the satisfaction of showing your trainer the improvement you've made as your exercise program proceeds.
Another common problem is lack of commitment to a regular exercise program. When you exercise on your own, it is easier to skip a session here and there or fall off the wagon completely since there's no one to hold you accountable for you actions. When you work with a trainer, he keeps you accountable, making it more likely that you'll stick with your training program.
An experienced trainer teaches you a variety of exercise methods, which can keep you from getting bored. Also, if a specific exercise does not work for you, the trainer can change it to one that suits you better and provides the same physical benefits. Trainers also help you to make adjustments as your fitness level improves to ensure continued progress.
A professional personal trainer is able to make the most of your workout time, which increases the efficiency of your exercise program. This is especially beneficial when you have a limited amount of time to exercise. For example, if you have to cut your 1-hour training session short one day, your trainer can complete a routine with you that burns the same number of calories and provides the same physical benefits in half the time.
New Summer In Home Training Programs Coming Soon, Stay Tuned: June 13th, 2017
Bench Press: June 11th, 2017
Benefits of Omega 3, June 10th, 2017
The benefits of Omega 3 are not only wide-ranging, but are demonstrated by
multiple clinical studies indicating omega-3's:
Reduce Allergies: Increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids may help resolve some or all of the symptoms of many types of allergies. The symptoms due to inflammation can include itching, hives, and rashes, hay fever, asthma, food sensitivities, eczema, and sinus infections. You need to be patient because it may take some time. But if you combine a natural anti-inflammatory with dietary and lifestyle changes, you will see results.
It is important to note that while omega-3 fatty acids trigger the release of anti-inflammatory molecules, excess omega-6 fatty acids relative to the omega-3 intake can do the opposite by triggering the release of inflammatory chemicals. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 ranges from 4:1 to 1:1. Yet the typical American diet has a ratio of about 10:1. It is the imbalance which can be pro-inflammatory. Excess omega-6 is obtained from a diet full of processed foods, vegetable oils, meats and dairy. Omega-6 fatty acids, such as borage oil, evening primrose oil, and black currant seed oil have many benefits to be addressed in another newsletter. It is usually not wise to supplement the omega-6 EFA's without first supplementing at least twice as much of the omega-3's. So for help in relieving conditions caused by inflammation, you must increase your omega-3 intake and decrease your omega-6 intake.
Provide freedom from pain and inflammation: Allergies are only one of the conditions basically caused or made worse by chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is involved in any condition ending in “itis”, such as arthritis, prostatitis, and cystitis, skin diseases, heart disease, immune system dysfunction, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, digestive disorders and many other health conditions. Inflammation even plays a role in cancer formation and progression.
The EPA & DHA fish oil fatty acids, regulate your inflammatory response by reducing the amount of compounds causing pain and inflammation. Rising blood levels of omega 3’s decrease the pro-inflammatory chemicals, leukotriene B4, TNF alpha, Il-8, and thromboxane B2.
The Clinical Journal of Pain, Feb. 2010 reported on research on chronic pain. Five patients suffering significant neuropathy (nerve) pain and diagnoses of fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, cervical radiculopathy, burn injury, and thoracic outlet syndrome responded to treatment with omega-3's. They were given 2400-7200 mg daily EPA-DHA daily. They were evaluated by pre and post treatment pain surveys, objective clinical tools, and EMG nerve conduction studies. All had clinically significant pain reduction and improved functioning up to as much as 19 months after treatment began. No serious adverse effects were noted.
Reduce the production of cytokines: Atherosclerosis is partially caused by an inflammatory response triggered by chemicals in the body called cytokines. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fatty material collects along the walls of arteries. This fatty material thickens, hardens (forms calcium deposits), and may eventually block the arteries. The inflammation furthers this process.
Play an important role in the production of Prostaglandin (a powerful hormone-like substances): Prostaglandins are important to many physiological functions in the body. These include kidneys & gastrointestinal functions, blood pressure, blood clotting, and nerve transmission.
Improve Cardiovascular Health: EPA and DHA in fish oil have been demonstrated to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by helping to lower cholesterol, triglycerides, LDLs and blood pressure, while at the same time increasing good HDL cholesterol. Fish Oil fatty acids also helps to prevent heart attack & stroke by decreasing blood platelet aggregation (clumping) and breaking up clots before they cause any damage.
Biceps: June 8th, 2017
Your biceps are the muscles on the top part of your arm. There are three muscles
that make up your biceps: the brachialis, biceps brachii long head and biceps
brachii short head. The biceps are sometimes referred to as “mirror muscles” due
to the muscles visibility on the arm. When you create a biceps program,
targeting all three parts of the biceps decreases your risk of developing muscle
Classic and Hammer
Dumbbell biceps curls not only work your entire biceps, but by changing your grip you are able to target specific areas of your biceps and forearms as well. Starting out with an underhand grip -- the classic curl -- works all three biceps muscles. Changing your grip to a neutral grip -- the hammer curl -- works the top portion of your forearm as well as your brachialis.
Time to Concentrate
Concentration curls allow you to work on developing your brachialis. Your brachialis is located underneath your biceps, making it harder to develop. Strengthening your brachialis results in the muscle pushing up your biceps, giving your muscles more of a “peak” look. To perform a concentration curl, sit on the edge of a bench with your feet apart. Bending slightly forward, place your elbow on the side of your knee. Grabbing the dumbbell, you'll curl the weight up; you may find you need to use a lighter weight for this exercise.
Now for the Cable
Cable systems are not only effective for working various parts of your body, they also allow you to save time by staying at one machine. Just by changing the height and hand grip you are able to perform a variety of exercises; for biceps this includes low and high cable curls. Low cable curls focus on both heads of the biceps and can be done either unilaterally or bilaterally. High cable curls use all three muscles in your biceps for the movement. When performing high cable curls, start with light weight due to the strain on your elbow.
Get it Done
In order for your biceps to grow in strength and size, you need to overload or fatigue your muscles. The amount of sets, repetitions and the weight you lift depends on your fitness level. If you are new to resistance training, start slowly with light weights. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends performing a total of five to 12 sets of two to five exercises for the biceps. If you are training your biceps more than once a week, the ACSM recommends performing fewer sets in order to allow your muscles adequate rest in between sets. The number of sets also varies based on individual goals -- if you want to gain strength you may perform fewer sets with heavier weight; if you want to boost endurance you'll perform more sets with lighter weight. Since your goal is to get ripped arms, the first option will be more effective. Start your workout with a five-minute warm up to properly warm your muscles before hitting the weights. Track your progress by writing down your program in a journal.
Teenagers and Weight Training: June 6th, 2017
Teenagers are often attracted to bodybuilding. That's not surprising:
pubescence is the age when good looks and physical attraction become hugely
important for almost every young man.
I started with resistance training in my school gym when I was 14. That was unfortunately a long time ago but I remember well all the mistakes I made and all the injuries I (and my friends) brought upon myself.
I also remember how concerned my parents were – they were sure I'm going to get seriously overtrained, especially considering that I combined heavy resistance training with Karate and long-distance running.
In my case they were probably right although I didn't experience the “real” signs of overtraining which can be quite serious.
Parents, teachers and even coaches often caution teens against lifting heavy weights citing growth arrest as the main possible side-effect.
So let's check the scientific sources and let's see if such fears are legitimate or not. But first, let me explain the mechanism of growth in humans and how can physical exercise influence it.
Epiphyseal plate – the key to bone growth
Long bones in children are quite different in their structure from the long bones in adults. The adult bone has two main parts: diaphysis (the long midsection of the bone) and epiphysis (the rounded end on both sides of the long bone).
In growing children and teenagers, there is a third part between epiphysis and diaphysis called epiphyseal plate. Also called physis or growth plate, epiphyseal plate is a cartilage constantly producing new cells called chondrocytes which later ossify – meaning they become part of the long bone.
The growth plates ossify completely after reaching maturity (which is quite individual, usually between 19 and 21 years of age). Complete ossification means that the cartilage becomes part of the bone and only a thin line remains at the border of growth plate and epiphysis, called epiphyseal line.
Epiphyseal plate injury
Now you know what is epiphyseal plate (or growth plate) and how important it is for the bone growth in childhood and adolescence.
But what happens if it gets injured – broken, crushed, displaced – and what will happen to the affected bone?
The possibility of epiphyseal plate injury is exactly the reason why some doctors discouraged heavy exercise in children and teenagers. So forget the “more energy/nutrition going to exercise and less for the growth” nonsense. The only reason why scientists, medical professionals and coaches were cautioning young people against resistance training was the perceived risk of damaging the growth plates.
Epiphyseal plates can really get damaged in training-related accidents. Such accidents are not common but they definitely do exist. Of course, every accident causing broken bone can also cause growth plate injury. From this perspective, skiing or climbing trees are just as dangerous activities as weight lifting.
Some 85% of growth plate injuries will heal with no lasting effects. The remaining 15% will cause deformities in the affected bone: it will either stop growing or it will grow incorrectly and get more-or-less crooked.
In other words, person with growth plate injury can end up with one leg or arm shorter than the other.
It is important to notice that some epiphyseal plates are responsible for much more growth than others. The most active ones are those near the knee. Therefore, serious injuries in the knee area must be avoided at all costs during childhood and pubescence.
The Faigenbaum position statement and other studies
Probably the most complete and most serious modern work on teen bodybuilding is the “Youth resistance training: position statement paper and literature review” by A.D. Faigenbaum and 10 other authors, all of them leading medical authorities. The paper has been written in 1996 and updated in 2009.
Authors are specifically touching the topic of possible growth problems in young people involved in heavy resistance training.
The paper says that “a few retrospective case reports have noted epiphyseal plate fractures during adolescence, however, most of these injuries were due to:
1. improper lifting techniques
2. maximal lifts
Exercise Recommendations for Older Adults, June 5th, 2017
By LaVona S. Traywick, PhD
Encourage older adults to develop exercise regimens suited to their abilities and medical conditions.
The benefits of regular exercise for people of all ages have been well established. Regular exercise is associated with a decreased chance of death disability from pathologies such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and pulmonary disease. It is also associated with positive psychological benefits such as decreased depression and improved quality of life. Nevertheless, inactivity continues to be a major public health concern, with many people failing to exercise as recommended. But what are the current exercise recommendations for older adults?
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Position Stand has long been the gold standard for exercise recommendations. In 2007, the ACSM and the American Heart Association (AHA) released updated physical activity guidelines for older adults. In late 2008, the federal government, through Health and Human Services (HHS), published comprehensive Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. In January 2009, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) released the updated version of Exercise & Physical Activity. And in July 2009, the ACSM released its new Position Stand on Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults. Although the three entities provide overlapping and similar recommendations, there are slight differences in terminology and exercise categories.
The first terms requiring clarification are the most important ones. Although used interchangeably, there is a difference between physical activity and exercise. Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by the skeletal muscles resulting in energy expenditure that exceeds resting energy expenditure. Exerciseis considered a subcategory of physical activity and is defined as planned, structured, and repetitive body movements that are performed to improve or maintain one or more components of physical activity.
In other words, physical activity is activity that gets a person moving, such as walking to the mailbox, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or gardening, whereas exercise includes activities such as weight training, tai chi, and aerobics classes. Physical activity and exercise are both important for health and fitness. While the ACSM, HHS, and the NIA use physical activity in the titles of their recommendations, by definition they are referring to exercise.
How Much Exercise Is Enough?
The amount and type of exercise in which older adults should participate each week differs based on a number of factors, including age and special conditions such as disabilities and chronic medical or health conditions. For all individuals, some activity is better than none.
The recommendation for older adults is 150 minutes of exercise per week (as opposed to specifying 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days per week). New research shows there is a therapeutic effect in moderate-intensity endurance exercise in as little as 10 minutes. Exercising less than 10 minutes at a time does not seem to provide the desired heart and lung benefits. When broken down into at least 10-minute segments, 150 minutes is only (approximately) 20 minutes per day, seven days per week; 30 minutes per day for five days per week; or 50 minutes per day for three days per week. Performing 10-minute exercise periods spread throughout the week is often more appealing to older adults because it seems easier to accomplish.
What Type of Exercise Is Best?
The new recommendations speak not only to how much exercise older adults need but also what type of exercise is needed. There are four different categories of exercise, and participation in all four types is necessary for full health benefits. The first two categories, endurance or aerobics and strength training or weight lifting, are the ones with which most people are familiar. The second two categories, while not new to the field of exercise, are relatively new in that they fall into a separate category with specific recommendations. These are balance and stretching or flexibility. The key to fitness is to do all four of the major types of exercise regularly and increase the level of intensity over time.
Endurance exercises:With the previously stated goal of a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week, it is recommended that older adults strive to increase from the minimum goal of 10 minutes of aerobic increments to longer stretches as well as increasing over time the weekly number of minutes from 150 to 300. Examples of endurance exercises are walking, jogging, dancing, and playing tennis.
Strength training:Strength-training or weight-lifting exercises should be performed two to three days per week with a rest day between sessions. This rest day doesn’t mean to forgo the other types of exercises, just strength training. Strength-training activities should include exercises for all major muscle groups (shoulders, arms, chest, abdomen, back, hips, and legs). If an elder chooses to strength train on a daily basis, he or she must alternate the muscle groups to allow for a rest day. Examples of strength-training exercises include lifting or pushing free weights, pulling resistance bands, and using strength-training equipment at a fitness center or gym.
Balance exercises: Some balance exercises build up leg muscles, while other exercises focus on stability. Balance exercises, therefore, fall into two categories. Strengthening exercises must be performed two or more days per week (but not on any two days in a row), whereas stability exercises can—and in some cases should—be performed daily. Balance exercises include strength exercises for the lower body such as back and side leg raises and toe stands as well as stability exercises such as heel-to-toe walking and the stork pose (standing on one foot with arms held out to the side.)
Stretching/flexibility exercises: Stretching exercises improve flexibility but do not improve endurance or strength. Despite this, it is suggested that older adults perform stretching exercises after they have completed endurance and strength exercises. If they do only stretching/flexibility exercises, they must warm up first with gentle movements or slow walking. Stretching exercises can be performed daily and include shoulder, upper arm, calf, and thigh stretches.
For many the hardest part of exercising is getting started, but thinking about fitness goals in 10-minute segments doesn’t seem as daunting to older adults. For some it is helpful to make it part of their daily routines. For example, after putting the coffee on to brew, they could do 10 minutes of exercise and then have breakfast. In senior housing with congregate meals, have a 10-minute sitersize (aerobics while seated) session before lunch. If elders are working in offices that have periodic breaks, they could partner with some colleagues and make an appointment for a 10-minute walk during the afternoon break.
Five Great Supplements, June 4th, 2017
Magnesium is at the top of our list for a reason. An essential mineral to the human body, magnesium helps with more than 300 enzymatic processes and it’s integral to DNA and RNA, so it’s kind of a big deal. Bad news: the majority of us don’t get enough magnesium in our daily diets and that can lead to headaches, muscle cramps, nausea, metabolic syndrome, migraines, PMS, and heart attacks. Yes, pretty much everything you don’t want to happen to you. So take magnesium nightly before bed (and it will help you get a good night’s sleep) for optimal benefits.
Eat: Kale, spinach, and swiss chard are all high in magnesium, but you’d need to eat almost 50 cups of raw spinach to get your daily value of magnesium. Supplement with about 300-400 mg per day.
2. Vitamin C
It’s your go-to vitamin when you’re feeling sick, but vitamin C is good for more than just kicking the common cold. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body and it’s beneficial for tissue formation. If you’re an athlete, vitamin C can help you repair from your workouts and if you’re a stress case, vitamin C can help stabilize your cortisol levels, so you’ll feel less stressed and tired after a rough day at work. Best taken on an empty stomach, start your day with this powerful supplement.
Eat: Papaya, broccoli, bell peppers, brussels sprouts, and strawberries all offer you more than 100 percent of your daily intake of vitamin C. If you’re watching your daily sugar consumption and don’t want to eat too much fruit, training everyday, or feel a cold coming on take 65-90 mg a day.
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3. Krill or Fish Oil
We won’t sugar-coat it—the thought of swallowing krill or fish oil every morning isn’t necessarily appetizing. Kind of stinky but super potent, fish oil offers all the omega-3 DHA and EPA nutrients you need. Linked to reducing inflammation, supporting brain function and even muscle growth, fish oil is also beneficial in maintaining healthy hair and skin.
Eat: If you’re regularly eating wild-caught fish or eating grass fed beef, you’re already ingesting a pretty good amount of this brain-boosting fat. If you run in the opposite direction when you see a sardine, add a supplement of about 600-1000 mg per day to your diet.
4. Vitamin A
If you’re vegan or vegetarian, it’s especially important that you make sure you’re supplementing your diet with vitamin A. Found in animal byproducts, vitamin A (retinol) supports healthy vision, bones and teeth, and many metabolic functions. Vitamin A also prevents wrinkles and sagging skin—bonus.
Eat: If you’re eating a hearty amount of egg yolks, organ meats and dairy products you might be getting enough vitamin A daily, but studies tell us that only 25 percent of Americans consume enough vitamin A. If you’re in the other 75 percent of the population, remember to take a 5,000 IUs.
Whether you’re fighting off acne, combating the flu, or running a marathon, zinc is your new best friend. Zinc is an essential mineral needed to help catalyze your body’s chemical responses. Best known for its ability to boost immunity, zinc has also been studied for its effect on diabetes, macular degeneration and HIV/AIDS. Zinc is also notable for its acne-fighting powers as well as its effect on depression—it seems like there’s nothing this little mineral can’t do.
Eat: Most easily absorbed by your body when found in foods like shellfish and beef, zinc is also prevalent in nuts and legumes. Phytic acid, an anti nutrient found in unsprouted nuts and legumes, inhibits the absorption of zinc. Make sure you’re reaping all the benefits of zinc by ingesting at least 40 mg a day.
When in doubt, rely on your daily meals to you get your nutrients. But if you think you need a little extra pick-me-up, try these five vitamins to boost your energy and health.
Pre and Post Workout for Weight Loss, June 3rd 2017
To lose weight you can either train on an empty stomach or train with a light snack that you will burn shortly after you start your workout. You need a pre workout snack if you are so hungry you are feeling weak otherwise you won’t be able to push yourself hard enough - not enough to force your body to change and/or burn more reserves. Your goal is to train to raise your heart rate and body temperature sufficiently to speed up your metabolism. So the harder you work during your training session, the more you burn throughout the day after your workout. If you were too weak to work out at 100% it doesn't mean your workout was wasted - it’s just wasn’t as effective for the long-term burn.
A pre-workout snack is simply an aid to help you move faster and perform better. You can easily schedule your workouts around breakfast, lunch or dinner so you don’t require any pre-workout aid and hence consume no extra calories you then need to also burn off.
Some people train on empty early in the morning before breakfast. At that time, your body hasn't got any quick energy in the stores and will use your reserves to function. Your body will access fat stores straight away. Another plus of this type of training is since your body isn't busy digesting anything all of the energy will be directed into working out. You will burn more, you will burn fat but it is a brutal and a taxing way to exercise because of that so not many people can do that long-term.
Think of it this way: how long will you exercise and will you need extra energy for that or not? If your session is going to only last half an hour then you are unlikely to need any special pre-workout boost but if it’s going to be over an hour and it’s going to require everything you've got, then a pre-workout snack might be a good idea.
Running for under an hour for example, as demanding as it is, does not require any pre-workout snack.
A post-workout snack consumed roughly 30 minutes after your workout can help you repair the damage done to your cells and help you recover faster. It is usually a small protein snack or shake.
Choosing the Right Carbs, June 2nd 2017
When eating carbs always try to choose foods as close to their natural state as possible. For example:
A piece of fruit is better than fruit juice.
A whole potato is better than pasta.
Steel cut oats are better than oat flake cereal.
Brown rice is better than white rice.
Also, choose nutrient dense carbs before anything else.
Carbs within colorful vegetables and fruits are always better for your body than carb-rich foods like breads, pastas, rice, and potatoes. Here's a great graphic that illustrates how to incorporate carbs into your diet.
It is also best to aim for fiber-rich carbohydrates (peas and beans, fruit, oatmeal). Higher intake of fiber is linked to lower heart disease and diabetes risk. Fiber is also essential for regular moving bowels, and less constipation!
How Much Water to Drink: May 31st, 2017
For such a simple habit, drinking water has caused us far more than its fair share of confusion. How much do you really need? And how can you make sure you're getting enough? Well, not to burst your bubble, but you can start by forgetting that whole eight glasses thing.
As we've written before, that rule about drinking eight glasses of water every day isn't actually based on scientific evidence. In fact, in 2007, the BMJ dubbed it one of the most common medical myths.
But that doesn't mean you can forget about your daily water needs altogether. As the Mayo Clinic explains, your body loses water every day as you sweat, pee, and breathe — and it all needs to be replaced. If it doesn't, you're looking at potential dehydration, which can either be annoying or pretty dang awful: On the less serious end, you might have a headache, dry mouth, and dark urine without enough water. But, as you become more dehydrated, you can develop a rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, confusion, and lightheadedness.
So, yeah, it's definitely important to make sure you're getting enough water. But the exact amount of water that we each lose and need to replenish isn't as simple to figure out. As it turns out, that daily requirement is going to be pretty different for everyone depending on all sorts of factors. For instance, the amount of water you need to drink every day will go up if you regularly work out, live in a warm or humid city, have been dealing with a cold, or are pregnant or nursing, says the Mayo Clinic.
As a starting point, the National Institute of Medicine recommends women consume 91 ounces of water per day (which, truthfully, isn't that far off from the eight glasses thing). But it's crucial that you adjust that guideline to take the rest of your lifestyle into account. And, luckily, nature has gifted us with a few clues about when we need to drink more or less water: In general, you should be fine as long as you drink when you're thirsty and keep your urine on the lighter side (no, it doesn't have to be clear).
That said, it is possible to drink too much water. In rare cases (most commonly among hardcore athletes), you can drink so much water that it throws your body's sodium levels out of whack. This condition, called hyponatremia, can be serious and even deadly. So don't force yourself to drink more water than you really need.
Let's also remember that drinking water doesn't have to be a lame chore, even if you aren't the biggest fan of plain H2O: You can get your fix in the form of sparkling water, tea, or even water-filled foods (e.g. juicy berries and fresh cucumbers). You kinda need water to stay alive or whatever, so maybe it's worth figuring out a way to get what you need, eh?
Best Calf Exercises, May 30th, 2017
Exercises to tone your calf muscles will strengthen your legs, give them
definition and make them more shapely. Having stronger calf muscles gives you
more energy and endurance to carry out your daily activities. The best calf
exercises to tone your legs are exercises that can be performed just about
anywhere and are easy to do, especially if you have a busy lifestyle.
Your calf muscle consists of two muscles. The gastrocnemius, which is the large muscle at the back of your lower leg. This is the calf muscle that functions to elevate your heel. The second calf muscle is the soleus, which is a smaller muscle and lays under the gastrocnemius. The soleus is responsible for the function of lifting your heels with your knees bent.
The heel raise is a powerful way of toning your calf muscle by concentrating your body weight on one leg. Balance yourself by standing on your right foot with your left foot behind your right calf. Slowly raise up on the ball of your right foot, contracting your calf at the top of the lift. Relax and lower to the starting position. Do five repetitions on each leg, gradually increasing to 10 repetitions.
Performing side lunges will tone and strengthen your calf muscles to maintain balance. While standing up straight with legs shoulder-width apart, turn your torso to the right, Turn your right foot to point in the same direction. Slowly lunge halfway down, bending at the knee feeling the stretch in your calf. Slowly raise back up to starting position. Do five lunges with each leg, slowly working up to 10 repetitions.
The calf lift is an exercise that tones your calf muscles and defines the muscle. Standing with your hands on your hips or resting them on an object in front of you. Raise up on your toes, feeling the stretch in your calf muscles. Hold this position for three seconds and lower. Do five repetitions, gradually increasing to 10 repetitions.
Calf Raise on Step
Step calf raises tone and define your calf muscles. Stand on a step or on a couple of books, with your heel freely hanging over the edge. Hold onto an object in front of you, such as a chair, for balance. Raise up on the balls of your feet, hold for two seconds and lower your heels down, lower than the level of the step. Do five repetitions, gradually increasing to 10 repetitions. When you have mastered this exercise, performing this exercise one leg at time will give you a more intense workout.
Perform exercises for your calf muscles every second day. Leave a day in between for rest and recovery.
Measuring Body Fat: May 28th, 2017
Measure Body Fat Percentage #1: Skin Fold Caliper
Measure Body Fat Percentage 1
The “skin fold” method measures your body fat percentage by pinching your fat with your fingers then measuring the thickness with a body fat caliper. The reading is given in millimeters, which you compare to a chart with age and gender to arrive at your body fat percentage. There are many different types of caliper tests, which range from only one site like with the Accumeasure Body Fat Caliper to a 7 site Jackson Pollack Method (some are as high as 12 sites).
Dependable (when skilled at measuring)
Variability of measurement (same exact spot needs to used each time)
More than one-site test requires a skilled fitness professional (I’ve done these thousands of times!)
For people 35+ pounds overweight, fat may not fit within caliper, so it’s less accurate
Skin Fold is hands down the most effective, accurate, practical method to measure and track your body fat percentage. The self-administered Accumeasure Body Fat Caliper retails for under $10 and is sufficient for most people.
Measure Body Fat Percentage #2: Bioelectric Impedance Analysis
Measure Body Fat Percentage 2
Bioelectric Impedance Analysis, or BIA, determines the electrical impedance, or opposition to the flow of an electric current through the body. Muscle has high water content, and is highly conductive, while fat has lower water content and is not highly conductive. Based on the strength of the impedance along with height and weight metrics, the BIA scale will estimate fat-free body mass and body fat percentage.
Many consumer weight scales like Tanita Body Fat Monitor Scale also come with BIA capabilities, and there are others that require holding the BIA device in your hands. Because the BIA test is based on body water balance, your state of hydration can impact the level of accuracy.
Very easy to administer
Inexpensive (most weight scales around $50 or even less have BIA)
Variability of results dependent on hydration level
If you can’t use calipers, this is a far second option. If you have a high body fat percentage (calipers can’t fit around your fat pinch), or you have 35+ pounds to lose, start with BIA, then move to calipers. BIA readings for those with low body fat tend to be completely inaccurate.
Measure Body Fat Percentage #3: Anthropometric
Measure Body Fat Percentage 3
This method uses body circumference measurements to estimate body fat percentages. The U.S. Navy method takes waist, neck, and height circumference for men and hips, neck, and height for women.
A U.S. Navy Method calculator is available on this website where you can input your measurements on right hand column. If you don’t have a cloth measuring tape, you can purchase a MyoTape Body Tape Measure, which I’m using to measure my waist in the picture to the right.
Easy to Administer
Questionable Accuracy (Body fat is not directly measured)
I would consider this method the least accurate because it doesn’t directly measure body fat (or even attempt to). For example, I have around 6% body fat using calipers, but according to anthropometric, my body fat is around 11.5%. If you don’t have a BIA scale, or calipers, it can be a decent start.
Measure Body Fat Percentage #4: Hydrostatic Weighing
Measure Body Fat Percentage 4
This method is considered the “Gold Standard” (+/- 1.5% error) of body fat measurement that requires being submerged in a specialized tank of water. Because bone and muscle are more dense than water, a person with a larger percentage of fat free mass will weigh more in the water and have a lower percent body fat. Conversely, a large amount of fat mass will make the body lighter in water and have a higher percent body fat.
Accuracy of the reading is contingent upon blowing all the air out of the lungs during pretest screening. The test takes about 20-30 minutes, costs around $100-150, and is available at research labs, universities, or hospitals.
Very accurate, considered Gold Standard
Not repeatable (unless you liked repeatedly getting dunked in a tank and spending $150)
If you are extremely curious to get the most accurate measure of your body fat percentage, or you are a bodybuilder, or fitness model tracking your progress, Hydrostatic Weighing may make sense. Otherwise, it’s far too impractical.
Measure Body Fat Percentage #5: DEXA Scan
Measure Body Fat Percentage 5
Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry known as DEXA is fast becoming the “new” gold standard of body fat measurement because it’s based on a three-compartment model that divides the body into total body mineral, fat-free soft (lean) mass, and fat tissue mass. Hydrostatic Weighing on the other hand only uses a 2 compartment model (fat free mass and fat mass).
DEXA also allows for body fat distribution analysis, so you can figure out with precision how fat is distributed in various parts of your body. In the past, DEXA was only used to measure bone mineral density for ostopenia and osteoporosis in older individuals. The procedure uses a body scanner with low dose x-rays, so it’s completely safe, and takes about 10-20 minutes.
Expensive: Around $250
Not repeatable (unless you don’t mind spending $250 every couple weeks)
Similar to Hydrostatic Weighing, if you are extremely curious to get the most accurate reading of your body fat percentage, or you are a bodybuilder, or fitness model tracking your progress, DEXA may make sense. Otherwise, it’s far too impractical and expensive.
All these methods rely on algorithms to convert a measured parameter into an estimate of body fat percentage, so none of them are perfect. Algorithms have variation based on how the underlying assumptions and formulas apply to different populations.
So what’s the only way to measure body fat with perfect accuracy? Well, cutting open a body and examining the fat, like with a cadaver. Seriously, that’s really the only way to measure body fat percentage most accurately.
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.