Posts Tagged ‘health and fitness’

Everyone enjoys the big Thanksgiving feast and many overindulge to point of practically going face down in their plate! I know ive been there  many times as Thanksgiving is my favorite meal.
Here are a few tips for damage control. So go ahead and feast guilt free!

1. Get a good work out in.  This not only mentally puts you at ease but also boosts the metabolism to burn more calories throughout the day.

2. Start your day with protein.  Helps to boosts metabolism and feed your muscles which are more metabolically active.

3. Drink luke warm water with your meal. This helps keep the digestive fires burning.  Cold drinks dampens digestion.

4. Stay hydrated.  This will help w/ digestion as well as keeping you regular.  Drinking a large glass of water just prior to meal can make you feel full and cut down on how much you eat, maybe!

5.  Take a spoonful of lemon juice before your meal.  This helps blunt the insulin response.

6.  Use a smaller plate and a larger fork.  Actually cuts down on how much you eat.

7.  Chew food thoroughly and take your time!  The turkey is dead and will not fly away! Ha

8. If unable to get full workout in that day, then just prior to eating do 60-90 sec of light exercise ie squats or lunges, wall push up, sit ups.  This activates muscle receptors so the calories consumed are shuttled to the muscles and not the fat cells.

9.  Snack on veggies.  Not only does this provide critical vitamins and minerals, but contains fiber that will help keep you regular.

10.  Take a brisk walk after eating.

11.  Relax and enjoy the day!

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Get Strong!  Stay Strong! (and eat hearty!)

Chris

By Sylvia Anderson, IH Editor — Published: July 22, 2010

It’s the constant battle – tea or coffee? Caffeine is bad for you, right? Tea is better for cleansing, while coffee just gives you a buzz? But what if I like the taste of coffee better? And I can’t do without my morning Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino!

Whoa, whoa, whao – slow down! The good news is whichever you prefer, new research says that BOTH coffee and tea are good for your heart.

With the ever increasing addiction to caffeine, many wonder if the substance offers any health benefit or simply harm to your body. Increased consumer consumption of both products has caused increased research interest in the potential health benefits and hazards of caffeine.

A recent study from the Netherlands suggests that tea and coffee may support heart health, a significant concern among both men and women worldwide. The study examined 37,514 participants’ questionnaire responses regarding their daily coffee and tea consumption. Over the study’s 13 years, 1,881 incidences of cardiovascular disease were reported, with 563 strokes and 1,387 cases of coronary heart disease.

According to the study’s findings, consuming between three and six cups of tea a day may reduce the risk of death from heart disease by about 45%. In addition, the study suggests that drinking coffee may offers similar heart benefits; up to a 20% reduction in heart disease risk with 2-4 cups consumed daily.

Black tea was the most commonly consumed tea among the study’s participants. The benefits to the heart have been attributed to the antioxidant properties found in tea and coffee. In particular, health benefits have been linked to flavonoids found in teas.  These studies were published in the Journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

One of the limitations of this study was that researchers were relying upon self-reported consumption data. Additional research is needed to fully understand not only consumption levels and their links to health status, but of the potential health benefits of caffeine as consumed via tea and coffee.

So, go ahead – brew or steep to your heart’s content!

Life is a sport. Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

An article from Lipids in Health and Disease 2010

Background

The weakening of the cardiovascular system associated with aging could be countered by increasing levels of physical activity and functional fitness. However, inconsistent findings have been found, and the variety of characteristics of exercise used in previous studies may partly explain that inconsistent results.

Objective

To investigate the training effect of sixteen weeks of moderate intensity, progressive aerobic and strength-based training on metabolic health of older women and men.

Methods

Sixty three sedentary individuals (mean (SD) age 76 (8) years) were randomly assigned to control (n = 31) or exercising (n = 32) groups. The training group was separated to aerobic (n = 18) or strength-based (n = 14). Training took place three times a week. Subjects agreed not to change their diet or lifestyle over the experimental period.

Results

Exercising group attained after treatment significant differences on body weight, waist circumference, body mass index, diastolic blood pressure, triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol relationship, high sensitivity C-reactive protein, and 6-minute walk distance. The control group only had significant differences on waist circumference.

Conclusion

The training programs produced significant benefits on metabolic health indicators of sedentary older women and men.

More good evidence on why its soooo important to exercise!

Me, I prefer strength based exercise.

Life is a sport.  Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

April 12th, 2010

A recent study came out of Truman State University and looked at the metabolic effect of kettlebell training (thanks to Adam Bornstein for forwarding)

The subjects were asked to swing a kettlebell as many times as they could in a 12 minute period (sets, reps and rest period it seems were freestyled – the subjects rested whenever they wanted)

The researchers found that the subjects completed between 198 and 333 swings in the time frame (265 swings average ) and worked at an average heart rate of 86% of max and at 65% of their previously measured oxygen consumption [VO2max]. They concluded that

“Continuous kettlebell swings can impart a metabolic challenge of sufficient intensity to increase Vo2max. Heart rate was substantially higher than Vo2 during kettlebell swings. Kettlebells provide a useful tool with which coaches may improve the cardiorespiratory fitness of their athletes.”

This validates what several of you training yourself, training clients or who just hate doing traditional cardio have probably known for a while… We don’t have to do traditional cardiovascular training (running, cycling etc) to get a cardiovascular training effect. 12 mins of kettlebell swings can be used as a great cardio tool, as can bodyweight circuits, sleds, sandbags etc.

Taking that a step further, we can see that it may actually be a better choice of cardio training for some clients.

12 mins of running  as a comparison obviously involves a lot more repetitions through the joints than an average of 265 reps of kettlebell swings.  So for some clients/trainees, we can get a similar metabolic effect, heart rate, oxygen consumption (and therefore calories burned) while reducing the total reps and joint stress in deconditioned clients.

The bottom line is that we can use non-traditional metabolic training such as this, to provide cardiovascular training benefits.

Try the following at the end of your next workout:

Start the stopwatch.

Do 10-12 swings at the top of each minute, and rest for the remainder of the minute.

Repeat for 10-12 mins.

A great article from Alwyn Cosgrove

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

 

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 Matt Lisk
Author of The Burrito Diet

Stop Using Weight Machines!

Weight machines are sexy, sleek, shiny, and smooth. Perhaps that is why gym owners and lazy personal trainers have fallen head over heels in love with them.

Gym owners pack their gyms with these eye catching devices so that they could get more people into their gyms without having a large amount of trainers on staff. Those gym goers who do utilize personal training services often get a highly paid escort who walks them from machine to machine and adjusts the setting for them. Do you know how to spot a good trainer? One who never takes their clients to the weight machines!

Without getting too biological on you, your muscles do not work in isolation – they work in a chain of movement. The most evil of machines, the leg extension machine, is a prime example – it is just not a natural movement. It has absolutely nothing to do with how our legs are used in everyday life – for walking, climbing, and descending.

Don’t get me wrong – machines do have their place in the fitness world. However, they are most beneficial to two populations – bodybuilders who are looking to correct a deficiency or weak point, and physical therapy patients who are trying to rebuild strength and regain range of motion. They are not meant for people looking to lose fat!

People looking to lose fat need to utilize free weights, body weight exercises, and various other equipment like medicine balls, resistance bands, and balance trainers – essentially training movements not specific muscles.


Stop Using the Handles on Cardio Machines!

It cracks me up every time I see someone who is using a treadmill and is holding on to the bar in front of them for dear life with a white-knuckled grip. Maybe you’ve seen the people who are draped all over the stairmaster or stepmill with their arms, and their heads facing down while their back is unnaturally curved. There are even those who hold on to the siderails on the stepmills or elliptical machines and push up with their arms (or my all time favorites are the people who contort their arms so that their wrists are facing forward!)

What do these people all have in common? They are wasting their time! Bars are meant for balance only – not as a crutch to use when the going gets tough during exercise. When you walk or run outside, do you have anything to hold on to? Unless you run while pushing a shopping cart (very odd!) or stroller (if you must), let go of the handles. You’ll expend more energy and use more muscle, thus getting a more efficient and effective workout.

I know what you’re thinking – “What about the elliptical machines with the handles that pump back and forth? Don’t I get more of a calorie burn from them?” In short, no. Pumping your arms back and forth without touching the handles will of be far more benefit to burning fat.

And don’t use the handgrips on any cardio machine to get your heart rate – they will not be accurate. Instead, read on and follow my advice below.


Stop Doing Hours and Hours of Cardio!

Read this next statement carefully, then re-read it:

You should never spend more than 20 minutes doing cardio

Want proof? Simply put a picture of a marathon runner next to a picture of an Olympic sprinter (preferably one who is not using steroids!). Now, which person’s build would you rather have?

If you’re doing long bouts of cardio (more than 30 minutes at a slow and steady pace) you are burning muscle – muscle that is extremely vital to your fat burning efforts. Your “cardio”, rather than slow and steady, should be short bursts of hard effort followed by recovery. I will go into this much more in depth in future newsletter articles, and may even have an expert or two explain in detail why training this way is much more efficient for fat loss. For now, take my word for it that SLOW AND STEADY DOES NOT WIN THE FAT LOSS RACE!


Stop Reading / Watching TV / Using Your Mobile Phone While In the Gym!

The gym is the one place where multi-tasking is an absolute no-no! Shut your mobile phone off (or better yet, leave it in the car – many facilities are starting to ban mobile phones because people tie up equipment while using them, or worse, take pictures). Leave the magazines and newspapers at home. You only have a limited time at the gym – you should be focused on achieving your daily goals. To keep myself honest, I’ll use a stopwatch to time my between-sets breaks. Eliminate all distractions and your fat loss efforts will improve dramatically!


Never Workout Without Recording Your Results as You Go!

Whether you use a good old fashioned paper and pencil, or a tricked-out PDA, keep track of your workouts EVERY TIME you go to the gym.

A well-respected fitness expert (who we will hopefully be able to speak to during one of the upcoming teleseminars) speaks of setting personal records (or PRs as he calls them). Every time in the gym, you should be focused on doing a little bit more than you did the last time – a Kaizen approach to fitness. Let’s say you did 3 sets of 5 chin-ups in your last workout – you should strive for 3 sets of 6 chin-ups next time out. If you fail, that’s ok – the quality of your workouts will be affected by many variables like nutrition, amount of sleep, outside stress, etc. Even if you did one set of 6 chin-ups followed by two more sets of 5, you’ve bested your personal record. And how would you know that? Because you were keeping track!

I have detailed workout journals that span years. Not only do I note the sets, reps, time, etc. but also any other notes that would have come into play (e.g., “gym crowded – forced me to substitute Exercise X for Exercise Y; poor sleep the night before; feeling nauseous). This helps you to put some context around your performance. Your solution does not need to be fancy – a notebook is fine, though there are software packages you can use. No matter what you choose, make sure you utilize it every time you work out!

Stay Tuned for Part 2

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

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Wether your at home or on the road for the holidays here is a workout that can be done anywhere with no equipment needed.  Work it hard and dont feel guilty about indulging (a little) over the holidays.

Perform each exercise for 30 sec and rest 15-30 sec between.  If your feeling ambitious, do multiple rounds.

     Mountain Climber Push Ups (2 mountain climber then push up-Repeat) 

     Squat Jumps

     MT Climber Push Up

     Alt. Lateral Lunges

     Mt Climber Push Ups

     Reverse Lunges

     Mt Climber Push Ups

     Squats

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Happy Holidays!

Chris