Archive for November, 2009

I don’t know about you, but having the stomach flu or an upset stomach is one of the worst common “sicknesses” I can think of. Whether you are paying tribute to the porcelain god from one end or the other (or both), a stomach flu bug or a bout of food poisoning is enough to make you never want to eat again . . . EVER. Luckily there are some foods to get you on the way to your old self in no time. Keep reading for the 5 foods to eat (and the 5 ones to avoid) when recovering from a stomach bug . . . or even too much Thanksgiving turkey!

When you have an upset stomach, you will want to eat these foods:

1. Peppermint

If you have an upset stomach, peppermint tea will help ease your nausea and can also quell your upset stomach. The peppermint you choose should not be too sugary and is best consumed in a tea form. Peppermint tea is one of the most soothing foods for an upset stomach and will calm your nausea in no time. Peppermint tea is also ideal for women who are suffering from morning sickness as it does not have any negative side effects but is very effective for squashing nausea.

2. Ginger

Another food that is excellent for your digestive system and can quell nausea is ginger. Ginger is also loaded with antioxidants and is good for your entire body. You can eat ginger raw or you can also use it in meals. If you are suffering from nausea, you can drink ginger tea as this, like peppermint tea, can keep you from getting sick.

3. Rice

Rice is easy on your system and is an ideal food for someone who is getting back into eating solid foods after being sick. Rice is filling but is also a light meal and is easy to digest. Rice can be made with chicken broth as a remedy for curing a cold and as a simple way to get some bland food into your stomach.

4. Crackers

Eating crackers is another way that you can help ease your way back into solid foods if you have been sick and have not been on solid foods for some time. Crackers are often recommended for pregnant women who experience morning sickness. Just make sure you choose crackers that are low in sodium and free of unhealthy fats.

5. Bananas

Bananas are easy to digest and are often one of the first foods given to babies (who simply by their young nature have sensitive stomachs). Like rice, bananas are filling without upsetting your stomach. Bananas are also one of the best foods for an upset stomach as they are not heavy, but do provide you with needed nutrients that you may have lost when sick (such as potassium).

When you have an upset stomach, you will want to avoid these foods:

1. Dairy

Eating dairy after an upset stomach may seem like a way to calm down the stomach, but usually produces an opposite effect. Cheese is very binding and may cause constipation, while milk may cause (or worsen) diarrhea.

2. Caffeine

Caffeine (such as that contained in drinks like coffee or tea, or in chocolate) is hard on your stomach to begin with, so you for sure don’t want to jump right into these drinks/food when recovering from a troubled tummy. Once you’re back on your feet you can go back to your morning cup of java or give in to your chocolate cravings. Until then – hold off.

3. Spicy Foods

Much like caffeine, spicy foods can wreak havoc on your stomach in a normal situation, much less when you’re already sick. If you’re a fan of Mexican, Italian, Asian, or Indian fare,  you should definitely stay away for at least a few days. You’ll enjoy those foods much more when you’re back to your healthy self!

4. Nuts

Nuts are hard to digest for certain people and although they are good for you, they can disturb your digestive tract even more if it is already in distress. Stay away from nuts when you are suffering from a stomach bug.

5. Tomatoes

The lycopene in tomatoes is a tremendous nutrient that you should be getting on a regular basis, but the acidity in this fruit can aggravate an already upset tum. Save  your tomatoes and tomato-based foods for when you’re fully recovered!

Don’t let the stomach flu (or food poisoning, or morning sickness, or too much Thanksgiving fare) get you down! By getting the “good” foods and avoiding the “bad” you can recover safely and quickly (and with fewer trips to the bathroom).

Get Strong! Stay Strong! (and keep your food down!)

Chris

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An excerpt from Alwyn Cosgroves article: Releasing the Brakes

Imagine that a guy walks into my gym, and he’s looking to add 10 pounds of muscle — a simple and straightforward request. The first thing we do is go through a short checklist:

1. Is he lifting?

2. Is he eating enough, and eating enough protein?

3. Is he lifting often enough, heavy enough, and with good technique?

Obviously, if someone wants to gain size and he isn’t lifting weights, there’s no mystery about the first step. We get him on a training program, introduce him to the magic of progressive resistance, and watch him grow.Since nobody is confused about the need to lift in order to gain muscle, let’s move on to the next two points.  You’d be surprised how many people lift weights but don’t eat enough total calories to reach their goals. Same with protein intake: It seems obvious, but some people do need to be told to eat more. So once we figure out what he’s eating and when, fixing the problem is relatively straightforward.

“Heavy enough” and “often enough” are subjective, of course, but once we understand what he’s been doing, these are easy variables to manipulate. Technique? Well if you’ve been to any commercial gyms recently, you’ll see a lot of underdeveloped guys lifting with really bad form. If our guy’s form on the squat and deadlift leaves a lot to be desired, we might be able to add size just by teaching him to use the right muscles on basic lifts.  But what if the problem isn’t so easy to detect and fix? What if he’s doing everything we expect him to do with his training and nutrition, but he’s still not making the gains he wants to make, and that we’d expect him to make, given the effort he’s putting in?

Our next step is to release the brakes.  When Pushing Harder Doesn’t Help.  I got the “release the brakes” idea during a conversation with Dax Moy, a British trainer and gym owner. We were talking about “accelerating” client progress, and came to an interesting conclusion:  All of us in the fitness industry, trainers and trainees alike, have been brainwashed into thinking that the only way to improve results is to push harder. If you aren’t making gains, it’s because you aren’t training hard enough or often enough. Doesn’t matter if we’re talking about systemic gains in muscle size or body composition, or strength in particular lifts, or the size of individual muscles or muscle groups. The answer to every problem is to punch down harder on the accelerator.  But think of a car with the parking brake on. If you push harder on the gas pedal, you’ll only run out of fuel quicker, right? But if you take off the brake, the car will go farther and faster, and probably use less fuel in the process.

This leads to two important conclusions: First, removing the impediments to your progress will probably help more than adding another set of squats, bench presses, or sprints. Second, it’s pointless to increase load and volume while those impediments are in place.  So What’s Holding You Back?

A friend of mine went to see a chiropractor for a back problem. The problem: misaligned vertebrae in his lumbar spine. The culprit: heavy Romanian deadlifts.  My friend is strong as hell — he was using close to double his body weight in the lift. His glutes and hams could handle the load, but his lower back couldn’t. Since my friend’s goal is to get even stronger than he was before the injury, what’s his best strategy? Keep pushing, despite the fact his injured back has already shown it can’t handle bigger loads? Or design a program that releases the brakes by strengthening his weakest link?

We switched to a heavy emphasis on core training that allows direct loading of his lumbar area, along with heavy single-leg RDLs, which maintained the strength of his glutes and hams without the risk of a lower-back injury.  Core strength is often the underlying issue, whether we’re talking about something major like misaligned vertebrae or something that’s annoying but minor, like a lagging body part. The core muscles need to stabilize and protect the spine, particularly when the extremities are in motion. If those muscles aren’t strong or stable enough, the first clue could be a lack of size or strength somewhere else.

Quick experiment:

Stand up and hold a single dumbbell out to your right side, as you would in the finishing position of a lateral raise. What muscles are working? Obviously, it’s your right deltoid. If you’re a trainer or otherwise knowledgeable about exercise physiology, you can probably name a few other muscles in the shoulder girdle that come into play, but we can all agree that the prime mover here is the deltoid.  But think about how your torso stays upright with that dumbbell hanging out in space. Your center of gravity has been thrown off, so something besides your right deltoid must be working pretty hard to keep you from listing to the starboard side. In this case, it’s your left oblique. It’s working to stabilize your spine, allowing your right deltoid to lift that weight and hold it out there away from your body.

Now imagine that the oblique on your left side is weak, or recently injured. You wouldn’t be able to lift that dumbbell, since the muscles charged with protecting your spine aren’t prepared to do their job. Your body cares more about the health and safety of your spine than it does about the size of your shoulders.  Your best strategy, then, is to rehabilitate and strengthen your obliques, thus releasing the brake on your muscle development. Stomping on the accelerator by increasing the volume of your shoulder training wouldn’t do any good, and might make things considerably worse.

Let’s assign some completely hypothetical numbers to this example, and say your right deltoid can lift 30 pounds for 10 reps. To achieve overload and force growth, we have to train the deltoid to do one of two things: lift 31 pounds for 10 reps, or 30 pounds for 11 or more reps.  But let’s say your core muscles, either because of injury or disuse, can only handle 29 pounds for 10 reps.  A bodybuilder might say the solution is to find a way to overload the delts while bypassing the core. Maybe he’d use machines designed for that purpose, or wear a lifting belt for his lateral raises, or do something else that wouldn’t occur to me. Ultimately, the strategy is counterproductive; even if it works, it only exacerbates the imbalance, which makes the brakes work harder to slow your body down and keep your spine safe.

See more at alwyncosgrove.com

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

 

 

By Steve Maxwell

Mobility, or joint mobility, is the ability to move a limb through the full range of motion–with control. Mobility is based on voluntary movement while flexibility involves static holds and is often dependent upon gravity or passive forces. Mobility demands strength to produce full-range movement, whereas flexibility is passive, thus not strength-dependent. Some authorities refer to mobility as ‘active flexibility’. It is possible to have good mobility without being especially flexible, just as one can be flexible with poor mobility, i.e., control. Of the two, mobility is more important. It is better to be inflexible with good mobility than flexible with poor mobility. The percent difference between your mobility and flexibility is the same percent chance of creating a musculo-skeletal injury during physical activities.

Sports, recreational activities and other daily physical practices can result in reduced range of movement in any participating joint. When the joint is unable to move through its full range, we call it compromised. When compromised movement is present in a joint, surrounding joints take up the slack, creating extra stress all around. A typical example are immobile ankles and feet underlying stress and injury to the knees, hips, and lumbar spine. It’s a cascade effect, albeit in reverse:  the body tissues are held together with sheets of connective tissue called fascia, so stress extends upwards from the feet. Poor mobility in one area can cause pain and stress in seemingly unrelated areas, but once fascial anatomy is understood, the idea that immobile feet could cause neck or shoulder stiffness is no longer a conundrum.

Mobility work reduces the potential body imbalances inherent in our athletic and recreational pursuits. For example, it’s widely accepted that running for distance shortens the hamstrings, calf muscles and hip flexors, resulting in decreased free movement in simple full-range exercises, such as bodyweight squats. Well-documented is the compromised range produced by heavy weight-lifting and body building strength sports–yet, properly conducted, weight training can improve range of motion! All too often, in practice, weight lifters endow themselves with tight, restrictive movement by over emphasizing short-range movements and excessive hypertrophy.  Worse, especially in the U.S., is that ubiquitous non-activity: sitting. Sitting in a chair, at a desk, while hunching over a computer is a recipe for a compromised structure full of imbalance and continual pain.

The solution? A joint mobility program. Joint mobility exercise stimulates and circulates the synovial fluid in the bursa, which ‘washes’ the joint. The joints have no direct blood supply and are nourished by this synovial fluid, which simultaneously removes waste products. Joint salts, or calcium deposits, are dissolved and dispersed with the same gentle, high-repetition movement patterns. Properly learned, joint mobility can restore complete freedom of motion to the ankles, knees, hips, spine, shoulders, neck, elbows, wrists and fingers. It’s especially important to keep the spine supple and free and if there were such a thing as a fountain of youth, joint mobility exercises come very close.

Use mobility exercises as a warm up, an active recovery during other activities, or as a stand-alone workout. You can rejuvenate yourself and reclaim the movement of a child with a good joint mobility program. Joint mobility makes a wonderful, energizing morning recharge and sets the day up on the right foot.

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

 

Russian woman Natalya M belly fat picture[3]

By Sylvia Anderson

You’re eating a balanced diet. You’re exercising daily. You’re staying away from junk food. But the numbers on your scale still refuse to budge. So why aren’t you losing weight when you’re doing all the “right” things? Keep reading to find out why you’re not shedding those pesky pounds . . . and what you can do to change that!

 

1. You’re Not Exercising Portion Control

One major reason why people don’t lose weight is because they serve themselves excessive portion sizes. For example, the recommended USDA portion size for meat is four ounces, or about the size of a deck of cards. Compare this size to the average size of a filet at a steakhouse, which is at least twice that size, and you can see why America is suffering from an obesity epidemic. Beware of hefty portions both when eating out and when eating at home.

 

2. You Skip the Most Important Meal of the Day: Breakfast

If you’re not losing weight, you should ask yourself if you are eating a nutritional breakfast. Breakfast is still regarded as the most important meal because it sets the tone for how you distribute your calories for the rest of the day. For instance, eating a breakfast of whole-wheat toast, eggs, and fruit will leave you feeling satisfied for a longer stretch of time. You will be less prone to snack and binge on unhealthy foods the rest of the day.

 

3. You Eat Only One Meal

Many dieters also make the mistake of fasting during the day and eating one large meal at dinnertime. While you may think you’d eat fewer calories by taking this approach, by the time evening arrives you are so hungry that you end up overeating. In fact you likely end up eating more fat and calories than you normally would if you had eaten three healthy meals and two nutritious snacks that day. Additionally, these large meals are often extremely heavy and caloric, and a bad choice so close to your bedtime.

 

4. You Don’t Pay Attention to What You’re Eating

People also fail to lose weight due to “calorie creep.” A common example of this is when people eat while they cook. Even taking small bites of foods can deposit hundreds of calories into your body. This amount is staggering when you consider that the average person’s recommended calorie intake is 2,000 calories per day. To combat “calorie creep,” you should pay attention to each morsel of food you put into your mouth. Do not distractedly eat small bites of food and expect that it won’t count as calories. Try keeping a food diary and making sure that you record every single piece of food or sip of drink you take. You might be surprised at the excessive amount of calories you take in.

 

5. You Are Eating the Wrong Foods

Another dietary reason why you’re not losing weight may have to do with your distorted ideas of a food’s nutritional value. Many people believe yogurt is good for you because it is a source of protein and calcium. While this is true, if you are eating full-fat yogurt instead of low-fat yogurt with healthy probiotics, you are doing yourself more harm than good.

 

You may also be getting extra fat through your cooking oil. If you’re using more than one tablespoon of oil or butter for cooking, you are adding many harmful saturated fats to your diet. Moreover, while olive oil is a healthy cooking-oil option, take care not to add more than a tablespoon because this oil is still heavy in fats.

 

6. You Are Drinking Your Calories

Some dieters pay meticulous attention to what they are eating, but forget that calories come in liquid form as well! Whether its juice or wine or a sports drink, those calories also count towards your daily amount. Think diet soda is the answer? Think again. Recent research suggests that even diet soda may spur you to crave sugary, calorie-laden foods. The best option, of course, is water. If you can’t stomach plain water, try adding a lemon or lime slice to make it more tolerable.

 

7. You Are Not Exercising Effectively

Lastly, you should examine your exercise routine. Are you using proper form when you do sit-ups and lunges? That is, are you honestly using only the muscles you’re supposed to be targeting? When doing exercise, proper form will get you the results you want and greatly further your weight loss. Also, you need to make sure that you’re getting your heart rate up when doing cardiovascular exercise. If you walk every day, but only do so at a snail’s pace, you’re not doing much to aid your weight-loss efforts.

 

Don’t despair! By taking a closer look at your approach to losing weight, you may just uncover some vital mistakes such as those above. Fix those mistakes immediately, and you’ll see results in no time.

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris