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Monday, January 31, 2011

10 Core Training Tips

Core training has become popular as a fitness philosophy because it is a great way to build a strong foundation. Here are 10 Core Exercise Tips.

Tip #1: Activate Your Abdominal Muscles

The abdominal muscles play a significant role in core stability. The deep abdominal muscles contract to stabilize the spine before the arms and legs can move. The drawing-in maneuver and the plank are great exercises to activate the deep abdominal muscles.

Tip #2: Strengthen Your Lower Back Muscles

The lower back muscles often get neglected in fitness programs, probably in part because of vanity. I’ve never heard someone say, "Do you know any good exercises to get ripped lower back muscles?" In fitness many people are focused on getting 6 pack abs and a flat stomach, and they are neglecting their back.
The back muscles are just as important as the abdominal muscles. If you want to have a strong core, you must have both strong abs and strong back muscles.

Tip #3: Learn to Engage the Pelvic Floor

The Pelvic Floor muscles are most popular when discussing sexual dysfunction or bladder control issues, but they are really important for stabilizing the pelvis lumbar spine. They actually work with the abdominals and back muscles. To engage the pelvic floor muscles you have to contract as if you were preventing yourself from going to the bathroom.

Tip #4: Do Balance Exercises

Balance Exercises are any exercise when you’re standing on 1 leg or when you are standing on an unstable surface. Your center of gravity shifts when you stand on one leg, so your core muscles must work harder to maintain your alignment. Balance Exercises are an important part of a core workout routine.

Tip #5: Strengthen your Scapular Muscles and Rotator Cuff

Your core is more than just your spine. Your core is your entire trunk and consists of the shoulder and scapular stabilizers. When your scapula is stable, you will be less likely to get shoulder injuries and you will perform at a higher level. Your core workout should include scapular and rotator cuff exercises.

Tip #6: Strengthen your Gluteus Maximus

The hip stabilizers are also part of the core. The glutes attach to the pelvis and control the position of the hips. When the glutes are weak or inefficient you will have a decrease in pelvic stability and hip stability. Bridges are a great exercise to strengthen the glutes an improve core stability.

Tip #7: Train for Stabilization and Endurance First

Core stabilization exercises are exercises in which there is little to no movement around the spine. When you begin a core program, it is important to first build a solid foundation of stability. If you focus on stability first, you’ll make greater improvements in strength and speed. The Plank is a great core stabilization exercise.

Tip #8: Train for Strength Second

Once you have a good base of stability, shift to building strength. Strength exercises challenge your abdominal and back muscles through a large range of motion. Crunches on a Swiss Ball and lower back extension on a machine are good strength exercises.

Tip #9: Train for Power and Speed Third

Once you have a base of stability and strength, you can more efficiently develop your speed. In addition, if you have a strong foundation, you will be less likely to get injured and your performance will improve more quickly. Power exercises are done in a fast and explosive way. Medicine ball throws and jumping exercises help to develop the power of your core muscles.

Tip #10: Play with Different Core Exercise Equipment

There are many tools that can enhance your core workout. The Exercise Ball, Reebok Core Board, and the Bosu Ball are all great tools that can challenge your coordination and balance. When you exercise on less stable surfaces, your core muscles work even harder to stabilize your body.

Source: Charles Inniss

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Interval Training

Interval training is basically exercise which consists of activity at high intensityfor a period of time, followed by low intensity exercise for a period of time. These 'sets' are repeated.

Sprint Intervals

The high intensity portion are called Sprint Intervals. Sprint intervals are measured either by time or distance. They can be as short as 15 seconds in activities like HIIT or as long as 20 minutes for aerobic interval training.

An example of a Sprint Intervals would be running at full pace along a stretch of field for 30 seconds, another would be an indoor cyclist spending 15 minutes simulating a climb on the bike.

Rest Intervals

The periods of recovery are called Rest Intervals. During an rest interval athletes do not stop the activity but generally exercise at a low intensity which allows the body to recover from the sprint interval. The length of these rest intervals are determined primarily by your fitness levels and the type of the sprint interval.

The intervals are important; the basis of the interval training is to ensure that your sprints are done at an optimal intensity, without sufficient rest your interval training will resort back to an aerobic type of activity.


The intensity of the sprint intervals is how hard you push yourself during the sprint. For simplicity sake the intensity is usually measured on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being no effort whatsoever while 10 represents the maximum effort possible.

Now this is a completely personal scale depending on your own fitness levels and the type of interval training.

For example a seasoned athletes may be training on improving his speed work, the sprint lasts for 15 seconds and his ‘10’ may be a flat out sprint with the athlete going as fast as he or she can.

Another example would be someone who has not exercised in a while decides to do intervals while walking; a 1 minute walk at a brisk pace may leave the person completely out of breath. This would be their 10.

Now take the original athlete who sprinted for 15 seconds and change the interval to 5 minutes. They couldn’t maintain the same original 15 seconds pace for 5 minutes, but the maximum effort still represents a 10.

A ‘10’ is merely the maximum amount of effort a person can safely expend for that particular interval.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's All About Muscle Endurance

To improve your endurance, otherwise known as cardiovascular fitness or exercise tolerance, exercise must use oxygen or be "aerobic."

Important Points:

- It must use the large muscles of the arms or legs.
- It must feel like moderate work, with faster breathing and more heartbeats each minute.* (see last page)
- It must occur regularly at least three times each week.
- It must be continuous for 20 minutes, not including warm-up and cool-down.

* A target heart range is a guide for some people to check the effect of endurance exercise. It is 60-80 percent of the predicted (average, usual) maximum heart rate of people in a certain age group. You can use a chart to find a target heart range for your age group, unless you are taking heart or blood pressure medication or have other health problems. Remember, the best guide is how you feel!

To determine your heartbeats per minute, you will have to find and count your pulse. Stop exercise briefly, and quickly follow these instructions. It will take some practice!

To find your heart rate (beats/minute):

- Immediately after exercising, place the tip of your third finger lightly over the blood vessel in your neck located to the left or right of your Adam's apple, or place it on your wrist just below the base of your thumb.

- Count the beats you feel for 10 seconds.

- Multiply the number of beats by 6 to determine beats per minute.

- If your pulse is below your target heart range, exercise a little harder next time. If you are above your target heart range, exercise a little less vigorously.

Source: American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Friday, January 28, 2011

About Knee Pain

Understanding what is causing your knee pain must be understood in the context of the pain. How old are you? Was there a traumatic event? Where is the pain located? Did the symptoms develop immediately or over time?
Once these questions are answered, you can begin to investigate the symptoms. Putting the symptoms together with the history often leads to a diagnosis.

Common Knee Symptoms

Popping and snapping within the knee is quite common, and often not a symptom of any particular problem. When the pops or snaps are painless, there is usually no problem--the bigger concern is when these sounds are associated with pain. A pop is often heard or felt when a ligament, such as the ACL, is torn.

A sense of grinding or crunching is most often associated with bone grinding against bone once the cartilage is worn away. This is commonly found in arthritis. Patients who are young (under 50 years old) seldom have arthritis that will cause these severe symptoms, unless there has been a severe injury to the knee in the past.

Locking is a symptom that occurs when a patient cannot bend or straighten their knee. The locking can either be due to something actually blocking motion of the knee (this can occur when a piece of cartilage wedges within the joint) or when pain prevents the patient from moving the knee. These two causes must be differentiated, as something physically caught in the joint should be evaluated in a timely manner. Often injecting the knee with numbing medication can help determine the cause of locking.

The stability of the knee is provided by the ligaments that connect the shin bone (tibia) to the thigh bone (femur). When the ligaments are stretched or torn, the knee may feel as though it is giving way beneath the patient. A sensation that the knee may give out from beneath you is a common symptom of ligament injury.

Swelling of the knee is common with several different knee problems. When there is swelling immediately after an injury (within an hour), the most common causes are an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament or a fracture of the top of the shin bone. When swelling develops gradually over hours to days, the injury is more likely a tear of the meniscus or a ligament sprain. Swelling that occurs without the presence of a known injury can be due to arthritis (common), gout (less common), or a joint infection (uncommon).

Location of Pain
The location of the pain can be an important part of tracking down the symptoms.

•Front of the knee: Pain over the front of the knee is most commonly related to the knee cap. Kneecap pain can be caused by several different problems.

•Inside of the knee: Pain on the inside, or medial aspect, of the knee is commonly caused by medial meniscus tears, medial collateral ligament injuries, and arthritis of the joint.

•Outside of the knee: Pain on the outside of the knee, or lateral aspect of the knee joint, is commonly caused by lateral meniscus tears, lateral collateral ligament injuries, IT band tendonitis, and arthritis of the joint.

•Pain in the back of the knee: Pain in the back of the knee can be due to the formation of a cyst, called a Baker's Cyst, in the back of the knee joint. Also common is for kneecap pain to be felt in the back of the knee.
Timing of Pain
Some common situations cause pain typical of certain conditions.

•While going down stairs: Pain while walking down steps is very commonly associated with kneecap problems, such as chondromalacia.

•Morning pain: Pain after first waking in the morning that resolves with gentle activity is typical of early arthritis. Often patients loosen the knee over the course of the day.

*It is recommended that you consult with a medical professional if symptoms become chronic.

Source: Jonathan Cluett, M.D.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Understanding Low Blood Pressure -- The Basics

Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure (less than 90/60) with no symptoms.

A blood pressure reading appears as two numbers. The first and higher of the two is a measure of systolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood. The second number measures diastolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.

Normal blood pressure is usually in the range of 120/80 (systolic/diastolic). In healthy people, especially athletes, low blood pressure is a sign of good cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) health. But low blood pressure can be a sign of an underlying problem -- especially in the elderly -- where it may cause inadequate blood flow to the heart, brain, and other vital organs.

Chronic low blood pressure with no symptoms is almost never serious. But health problems can occur when blood pressure drops suddenly, and the brain is deprived of an adequate blood supply. This can lead to dizziness or lightheadedness. Sudden drops in blood pressure most commonly occur in someone who's rising from a prone or sitting position to standing. This kind of low blood pressure is known as postural hypotension, orthostatic hypotension, or neurally mediated orthostatic hypotension.

Postural hypotension is considered a failure of the autonomic nervous system -- the part of the nervous system that controls involuntary vital actions, such as the heartbeat -- to react appropriately to sudden changes. Normally, when you stand up, some blood pools in your lower extremities. Uncorrected, this would cause your blood pressure to fall. But your body normally compensates by sending messages to your heart to beat faster and to your blood vessels to constrict. This offsets the drop in blood pressure. If this does not happen, or happens too slowly, postural hypotension results.

The risk of both low and high blood pressure normally increases with age, due in part to normal changes during aging. In addition, blood flow in the brain declines with age, often as a result of plaque buildup in blood vessels. An estimated 10% to 20% of people over age 65 have postural hypotension.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cleansing Your Colon

Why Do People Receive Colon Hydrotherapy?

•Athletes have opted for colon therapy to improve metabolic efficiency.
•Many receive the treatments during a period of lifestyle change or as a preventive measure.
•Another group manifests symptoms of intestinal distress; constipation (some from prescription drugs), carbohydrate indigestion, diarrhea, gas, bloat, hemorrhoids, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, diverticulitis, colitis, parasites, skin conditions such as psoriasis, shingles, and eczema, inability to lose weight, and scar tissue and adhesions from surgery.
•Another group is pain motived; abdominal pain, continuous headaches and migraines, back or shoulder pain, aching joints, gout.
•A number of clients are immune-compromised with lupus, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis, cancer, chronic fatigue, Epstein-Barre, candida, infections, colds or influenza.
•Colon hydrotherapy sessions are used for medical reasons: pre- and post-surgery or barium x-ray, stool samples, and geriatric.
•A number come in during a fast, a cleansing program, a raw food diet, a liver and /or gallbladder flush, or recovering from an accident.
•Some are working on emotional issues which they feel are physiologically rooted in their intestines.

What Will Colonics Do For The Colon?

1.Cleanse the Colon: Breaks down toxic excrement so it can no longer harm your body or inhibit assimilation and elimination. Toxins built up over a long period are gently removed in a series of treatments. Your colon can begin to co-operate again as it was intended. In this sense, a colonic is a rejuvenation treatment.

2.Exercise the Colon Muscles: The build-up of toxins weakens the colon and impairs its functioning. The gentle filling and emptying of the colon improves peristalsis (muscular contraction) by which the colon naturally moves material. Having Colonics is like taking your colon to the gym.

3.Reshape the Colon: When problem conditions exist in the colon, they tend to alter its shape because the colon is a muscle and it will enlarge to the build up of toxins not being released. That in turn causes more problems. The gentle action of the water, coupled with massage techniques of the colon therapist, help to eliminate bulging pockets of poop and narrowed, spastic constrictions finally enabling the colon to resume its natural state.

4.Stimulated Reflex Points in the Colon: The colon is connected to every system and organ in the body by reflex points. The colonic stimulates these points thereby affecting the corresponding body parts in a beneficial way. Thus creating overall well-being and health in the body.

5.Hydration of the Whole Body: Water is absorbed into the body through the colon which increases the volume of blood. The circulation of the blood is increased, resulting in a greater bathing of the cells. This dilutes the toxins and flushes them out; relieving toxemia and uremia; and increasing elimination both through the kidneys, and the skin as well as the bowels. All this generally assists the cardiovascular and circulatory systems to be more efficient.

Benefits Of Colon Hydrotherapy

1.Compression of neighboring organs disappears or attenuates when volume reduces in the colon. Relaxing effect on organs above intestines such as the liver, heart, and lungs. Sensation of lightness may be experienced.

2.Reduces pressure in the intra-abdominal area which improves venous return from lower extremities and pelvic zone. Relaxes pressure on the hips and lumbar column and is beneficial to their mobility. Relaxes abdominal muscles from the action of water temperature and massage that accompany the colonic. Increases abdominal muscle tone due to reducing intestinal residues.

3.Stimulates peristaltic action of intestines restoring normal muscle tone and therefore removal of constipation. Potential to correct intestinal transit problems such as constipation and diarrhea without resorting to prescription drugs.

4.Sensation of well being due to the elimination of mucus, alimentary remainders not digested, gases and toxic bacteria. Relieves inflammation and edema due to elimination of irritating substances.

5.Expels parasites due to alternating water temperatures and complementary additives to colonic water such as garlic and other vermifuge (parasite killing) herbs. Decreases demineralization of body because it improves metabolism.

6.Relieves gynecological disorders such as cystitis and dysmenorrhea due to reduction of a prolapsed intestine. Reduces risk of complications after surgery because it reinforces natural immunity. We can suppose colon hydrotherapy improves functions of the large intestines, lymph and nervous system because a relation exists between them in the GI tract.

7.Reduces weight and slims due to activating elimination. Creates an increase in mental capacity and rejuvenation since it decreases the degenerative process, normal or accelerated, by removing toxic substances that affect biological aging.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Benefits Of Amino Acids

The amino acid benefits contribute to almost every cell in your body.

With very few amino acid side effects, these nutrients are extremely important for your body to function properly.

If you read about protein, or building muscle, you're basically reading about the function of amino acids.

Any article about building muscle will tell you that protein is crucial.

You have probably heard that protein is the building blocks of your body. Well, amino acids are the building blocks of protein.

All the benefits of protein are basically the benefits of amino acids.

Amino acids help repair muscles, organs and your skin.

There are 20 common amino acids and each one relates to specific health benefits.

Everything from reducing the risk of cancer to healing wounds and muscles can be labeled as an amino acid benefit.

Here are some of these specific benefits:

- Increases physical energy
- Helps keep the brain functioning normally
- Growth and repair of muscles
- Converts stored body fat into energy
- Helps overcome depression
- Improves memory
- Alleviates fatigue


Monday, January 24, 2011

Benefits Of Protein

1) IT BUILDS, MAINTAINS AND REPAIRS CELLS:- Protein is referred to as your body’s building blocks for good reason. As you grow your body needs protein to construct every single cell including your bones, your muscles, your skin, your vital organs and your blood vessels. When you are fully grown your body still needs protein to maintain all these cells and also to replace any cells that fall off such as hair, nails and skin. Protein is also required to repair any cells that become damaged. For example, if one of your blood vessels burst or one of your bones break protein is required to repair them.

2) IT IS USED TO PRODUCE IMPORTANT CHEMICALS:- Your body uses protein to produce a number of important chemicals. Antibodies are built using protein and are a key part of your immune system which helps your body fight disease. Enzymes are also constructed from protein and act as a catalyst for many important reactions in your body including digestion. Protein is also used to create hormones which act as chemical messengers in your body and stimulate a specific response from certain cells.

3) IT REGULATES IMPORTANT BODILY PROCESSES:- Protein is not just used by your body to produce cells and chemicals. It also regulates certain important processes in your body. One example of this is fluid balance. Your body’s cells cannot move fluid directly. Instead they produce proteins which attract water. These proteins can then be sent out to areas where fluid needs to be absorbed allowing a fluid balance to be maintained throughout the body.

4) IT HELPS YOUR BLOOD CLOT:- Your body also uses protein to prevent your wounds from bleeding continuously. When your skin gets cut and starts to bleed your body responds by producing fibrin, a stringy protein that forms a clot. Once the fibrin has clotted your body then produces another protein, collagen which forms scar tissue and permanently heals the cut.

5) IT CAN ASSIST WITH WEIGHT LOSS:- Not only does protein perform all the important roles listed above but it can also be a great food choice for people who are trying to lose weight. First, it has a greater thermic effect than carbohydrates. This means that by eating protein you burn more calories during digestion and boost your metabolism. Secondly, studies suggest that protein can suppress your appetite. Although more research needs to be done into exactly why protein has this effect, this study suggests that the amino acid leucine has a major influence on appetite.

As you can see the importance of protein cannot be underestimated. Not only is protein responsible for producing every structure in our body but it also plays a key role in many processes including blood clotting, fighting infection and maintaining optimum levels of fluid. Protein has received much recent praise in both bodybuilding and weight loss circles and after writing this article it is easy to see why. Without protein your body cannot build, maintain or repair cells and this can cause a number of health problems. Therefore, you should try and ensure that you get sufficient levels of protein with each meal and give your body what it needs to grow and function properly.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Benefits Of Warming Up

Here are a list of reasons why you need a good fitness warm up routine that you should practice before each workout:

- It warms your muscles by increasing blood flow
- It warms up your tendons and ligaments, allowing them to be used more effectively
- It increases the ability for your muscles to efficiently use oxygen, which helps you get a better workout
- It prepares your muscles for stretching
- It increases the speed of your nervous system
- It "warms up" your heart - preparing it for more strenuous exercise
- It mentally prepares you to start working out


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Feeling The Pinch - Pinched Nerves

Nerves carry information between your brain and the rest of the body via electro-chemical nerve signals. When a nerve is pinched, it means a nerve signal is interrupted somewhere along the way.

A pinched nerve is also referred to as nerve compression, entrapment or impingement. And a prime example is when your foot “falls asleep.”

Very often, a pinched nerve is caused by excessive pressure on a nerve by surrounding bone, cartilage, muscle, tendon or inflammation. Whenever the pressure is enough to cause nerve signal disruption you’ll likely experience pain plus some of these symptoms:

•muscle atrophy
•muscle weakness
•sharp, shooting pain
Where you feel pain symptoms of a pinched nerve isn’t necessarily the location of interruption. And if your pinched nerve arises out of your spinal cord, then coughing or sneezing may aggravate its pain.

Pinched nerves are most common where a nerve travels through a small space, like with:

•carpal tunnel syndrome ~ wrist
•thoracic outlet syndrome ~ between neck base & armpit
•piriformis syndrome ~ sciatic nerve pinched by piriformis muscle, herniated disc
A number of conditions may cause a nerve or nerves to pinch, for instance:

•bone spurs
•poor posture
•herniated disc
•spinal stenosis
•repetitive stress
•inflammation around nerve caused by injury, bruise, etc.
Pinched nerves can sometimes lead to other conditions, i.e peripheral neuropathy and tennis elbow.

If the extent of your pinched nerve pain is short lived, then typically it’ll cause no permanent damage. However, if the pressure on your nerve is chronic, then permanent nerve damage may occur.

Initial treatment for a pinched nerve is rest, as in refrain from any activity that causes pain aggravation. Often, this is the only treatment necessary so long as you feel pinching relief within a few days.

Otherwise, another form of treatment may be required:

•surgery ~ last resort
•brace ~ for immobilization
•corticosteroids ~ helps alleviate pain
•NSAIDs ~ ibuprofen, naproxen for swelling
•cortisone injections ~ minimizes pain & inflammation
Frequently, a pinched nerve might be avoided if you:

•maintain good posture
•limit repetitive movement
•use proper body mechanics
•include strength & flexibility within fitness regime
And keeping your weight within a fit range is important as well.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Eating To Lose Weight

You need to eat to burn body fat. This is a fact: The first nutritional demand of your body is energy. Without adequate energy, your body will convert muscle protein into energy to feed your brain, nervous system and red blood cells.

These particular tissues do not possess the metabolic machinery to burn fat. They only burn carbohydrates. When your intake of carbohydrate falls below these tissues demand, the body begins to convert tissue protein into carbohydrate to meet their need. The net result is a loss of muscle tissue.

Yes, the scale may say you have lost "weight", but you have lost the very tissue that burns fat. Muscle tissue burns 70% of the fat in your body; so losing muscle sacrifices your ability to burn body fat.

In fact, the "weight" you lose on a diet can represent up to 10 to 20% of those pounds in muscle loss. This poor dieter will not only regain this weight, but then some. All because they have compromised their ability to burn body fat.

This is also why people gain weight as they age.

Aging causes muscle loss. So does inactivity. Have you heard of the saying"Use it or lose it"? This is true of your muscle.

Inactivity leads to muscle loss and muscle loss causes a lowered capacity to burn fat, so you wear more of it.

The bottom line is this: At any time, or for whatever reason, you lose your muscle; you lose your capacity to burn fat. Diets, aging and inactivity all lead to a decreased amount of muscle weight and an increased amount of fat tissue.

Never fear. You can, at any time in your life, rebuild your muscle and teach it to burn fat.

Aerobic exercise rebuilds your muscle and teaches it to burn more fat. Eating right gives you the nutrients you need to make that muscle. The food pyramid outlines how to eat to get the nutrients you need, so let us deal more specifically with energy needs and where that energy needs to come from.

In order to burn just the fat and not the other lean tissue in your body, you need to meet your minimal energy requirement.

If you want to maintain your current weight, this level is found by multiplying your weight by 15.

If you want to lose weight, multiply your ideal weight by ten. For example, if your ideal weight is 140 pounds, your minimal energy requirement is 1400 calories.

Next, you need to factor in the calories needed for exercise and activity. Very active people (those who exercise 3 hours or more a week) need to multiply their minimal requirement by 1.5. Moderately active individuals (those who exercise 1 to 3 hours per week) need to multiply their requirement by 1.2.

Source: Nancy Bennett, M.S., R.D., Nutritionist

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lactic Acid & Muscle Pain

No pain, no gain. This is the adage that many of us work out by. If it’s not hurting we are not working hard enough. What causes sore muscles and what part does lactic acid buildup play?

There are 2 types of muscle pain. One is the burning that you feel in your muscles while you are working out, and this is commonly known as lactic acid build up. The second kind is the stiffness and soreness you may encounter for up to 2-5 days after you have worked out. This pain is referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS for short).

Lactic acid is created when the body is not getting enough oxygen to break down the glucose required for energy. Lactic acid is produced at these moments of time of extreme anaerobic activity (such as weight lifting) as a defensive measure, forcing the body to slow down and catch its metabolic breath. The burning feeling you are experiencing is a sure sign that you are working out to your maximum. Once your body starts producing the lactic acid in high quantities the body can only continue that particular muscle use (rep) for another 1 -3 minutes. The lactic acid does not hang around in your muscles for too long, from several to twenty-four hours.

DOMS is the correct term for the pain, stiffness and suffering you may encounter when you try to get out of bed the day or two after the massive or new workout. This pain and stiffness usually peaks within the first 1-2 days and then subsides. The length of recovery time can depend on the muscle damage and subsequent repair necessary. Yes, you read right. DOMS is actually caused by the inflammation and damage of the muscles created by the workout. Generally, if DOMS is caused by a new workout routine, your muscles will soon adjust and you will find the DOMS will stop troubling you.

Tips for relieving muscle pain.
* Massage has been proven to reduce both the tissue swelling and the pain associated with DOMS after strenuous workouts. The theory is that the massaging motion helps clear the chemical build-ups in the muscles and surrounding tissues, allowing the healing process to start faster.

* Light exercise again has been clinically proven to help alleviate some of the symptoms of DOMS. A light cardio workout is recommended first to warm up, followed by some stretches. If you are then able to do your usual workout that’s fine. However, if the pain is interfering with your routine, or the pain intensifies then this is your body signaling you that those particular muscles need more recovery time. It is important to listen to your body and not ignore severe pain.

* Heat packs and ice packs can both help with tissue damage and pain. Ice will help prevent swelling, and heat is generally found to be soothing for sore muscles and joints.

Does it really have to hurt to work?

The pain that is felt in the muscles after an intensive routine is the small tears in the muscles healing themselves. This is part of the muscle strengthening process. A little DOMS can be a great indicator that you have successfully pushed yourself. On the other hand, severe DOMS indicates that you have overexerted yourself. Lactic acid burn is a signal that your muscles are indeed working out.

The production of lactic acid is a process signaling that muscles in your body have run out of oxygen needed to clear out the chemicals created by an intensive workout. The build up of lactic acid is signaled by the feeling of muscle burn. DOMS, on the other hand is the pain and stiffness felt from anywhere between 1 and 5 days after a strenuous activity.


Oxygen Intake And Requirements

The oxygen requirement of a given act is the volume of oxygen necessary for the performance of the act and for recovery. If the exercise is moderate, this requirement may be satisfied by the oxygen intake and recovery keeps pace with activity. If the exertion is severe, this relation breaks down and an oxygen debt is incurred, In this case, the oxygen requirement of the exercise is the sum of the oxygen intake during exercise anti the oxygen debt which is repaid during recovery.

The oxygen requirement of exercise is determined by a combination of factors, among the most important of which are: the severity or intensity of exercise, its duration, its speed, its economy, and certain environmental conditions, notably temperature and humidity.

Intensity of Work

Tile tension exerted by a contracting muscle is dependent on two factors: the number of fibers contracting and the frequency of their contraction. Muscle tone, which is based on the low frequency activation of a small proportion of the total number of muscle fibers, requires a very small oxygen intake. The same is true of a weak voluntary contraction. If a stronger contraction is needed, additional muscle fibers must be brought into activity and the frequency with which each fiber contracts must be increased; both of these adjustments increase the oxygen requirement of the muscle.

Duration of Work

Within certain limits, the oxygen requirement of work is directly proportional to its duration. If, however, the intensity is great enough, or the duration long enough to induce a state of fatigue, the oxygen requirement per unit of time usually begins to increase rapidly. This is easily explained by recalling the shape or the fatigue curve of an isolated muscle. As a muscle begins to tire the tension developed by each fiber is reduced, and hence more fibers must he brought into activity if the same level of work is to be maintained. The oxygen requirement is increased in proportion to the increased member of active muscle fibers.

Rate or Speed of Work

The relation between the oxygen requirement of work and the speed or performance is complex. For many types of work there is an optimal speed at which the oxygen requirement is minimal. If the work is performed at a slower or a faster rate, the mechanical efficiency is diminished and the oxygen requirement increased. The net result of two opposing factors determines the optimal speed of performance: (a) a rapidly contracting muscle has been shown to develop less tension than does a muscle contracting more slowly due to the limited rate at which the chemical changes underlying muscle contraction can occur; (b) a definite amount of energy is required to maintain tension in a muscle, once it is developed, and the slower the contraction, the greater is the proportion of the total energy used for this purpose (that is, tension must be maintained over a longer period of time in accomplishing a given amount of work at a slower rate of contraction). Factor (a) tends to make work more economical (lower oxygen requirement) at low speeds, while factor (b) results in a smaller oxygen requirement at high speeds. The worker, if left to his own devices, usually automatically adopts the optimal rate of working; this is, of course, impossible in assembly-line work.

There is another important type of work in which there is apparently no optimal speed. This is exemplified by the act of running. Table I indicates that the oxygen requirement of a 120 yard dash increases in direct proportion to the speed. Actually, the difference between these two types of activity is more apparent than real. In running, even at low speeds, the subject is usually exceeding the optimal speed for horizontal locomotion. In walking, on the other hand, there is a definite optimal speed of about 100 yards (120 steps) per minute.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Muscle Confusion - An Amazing Muscle Builder

So what is muscle confusion? Do you really need to make your muscles confused?

Well not really, you see muscle confusion (MC) is really a training principle that creates variety in your training. The reason to use this training protocol is because muscle confusion prevents plateaus and keeps your muscles growing. Muscles become accustomed to a training program very quickly. We need to develop different exercises and perform a variety of sets and repetitions. The best way is to cycle your training program, typically in four week cycles.

By cycling or changing your training program every four weeks, your muscles cannot become used to the exercises. This forces your muscles to grow quicker than with any other training method. That is why MC is such an exciting training principle.

One way to use MC is to vary the exercises. For example, if you were doing a barbell incline chest press, you could use a hammer strength incline machine one week and then the following week you could do a dumbbell incline press. While you're still working the upper chest muscles, you're hitting them from a different angle and this will stimulate new muscle growth.

By using the MC principle you're guaranteeing yourself consistent results in your fitness and resistance training workout.

Here are three tips to help you in using the muscle confusion principle:

" change your exercises every four weeks.
" use free weights, cables or resistance bands in your workout.
" vary the repetitions and the number of sets you use.

By following these three tips you will get the Maximum Results from your strength training workouts. Use the muscle confusion principle in your training program. Remember the three most important components of gaining muscle size are:

" Proper rest
" Proper nutrition
" Hard training

Make sure you include these three components in your muscle building goals, doing so guarantees fast muscle growth and the body that you dreamed about.

Regardless of whether you want to gain maximum muscle size or lose body fat-- or both. The correct exercise equipment and nutrition program are essential.

Source: Frank Sherrill,,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Top 10 WORST Foods!

1. Artery Crust

Judging by the label, Marie Callender’s (16.5 oz) Chicken Pot Pie has 520 calories, 11 grams of saturated fat, and 800 mg of sodium. But look again. Those numbers are for only half a pie. Eat the entire pie, as most people probably do, and you’re talking 1,040 calories, 22 grams of saturated fat (more than a day’s worth), and 1,600 mg of sodium (an entire day’s worth).

.2. Triple Bypass

Can’t decide what to pick from a restaurant menu? No worries. Now you can order not just one entrée, but two … or three … all at once. Olive Garden’s Tour of Italy – Homemade Lasagna, Lightly Breaded Chicken Parmigiana, and Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo – comes with 1,450 calories, 33 grams of saturated fat, and 3,830 milligrams of sodium. Add a breadstick (150 calories and 400 mg of sodium) and a plate of Garden-Fresh Salad with dressing (350 calories and 1,930 mg of sodium) and you’ll consume 2,000 calories (an entire day’s worth) and 6,160 mg

.3. Salt's On!

On average, a cup of Campbell’s Condensed soup has 850 mg of sodium. That’s half a day’s worth … assuming you eat only one of the 2½ servings that the label says the can makes. Campbell’s Healthy Request and Select Harvest, Progresso Reduced Sodium, and Healthy Choice slash the sodium to the 400s. Look for lower sodium lines in the 100s to 300s by Amy’s, Imagine Foods, Pacific Natural Foods, and Tabatchnick.

.4. Tortilla Terror

Interested in a Chipotle Chicken Burrito (tortilla, rice, pinto beans, cheese, chicken, sour cream, and salsa)? Think of its 970 calories, 18 grams of saturated fat, and 2,200 mg of sodium as three 6-inch Subway BLT Classic Subs! Getting the burrito with no cheese or sour cream cuts the saturated fat to 5½ grams, but you still end up with 750 calories and more than a day’s worth of sodium. Yikes!

.5. Factory Reject

People don’t expect light desserts at The Cheesecake Factory. But the Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake kicks things up a notch. If it weren’t served on its side, this one would stand over six inches tall. And upright or not, the slab of cake still weighs in at three-quarters of a pound. What do you get for all that heft? Just 1,670 calories and 2½ days’ worth of saturated fat (48 grams), nearly all of it from chocolate, sugar, cream, white flour, and butter.

.6. Burial Grands

No one thinks of cinnamon rolls as health food. But each Pillsbury Grands! Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll with Icing has 310 calories and 2 grams of saturated fat plus 2½ grams of trans fat (more than a day’s worth) and 6 teaspoons of sugar. Companies are dumping their partially hydrogenated oils left and right, yet Pillsbury still makes most of its rolls and biscuits with the stuff.

.7. Transgression

“Excellent source of ALA Omega 3,” declares the Land O’Lakes Margarine box. Who knew that Land O’Lakes stick margarine was so heart healthy? It isn’t. Each tablespoon of the spread has 2½ grams of trans fat (more than an entire day’s limit) and 2 grams of saturated fat. And beware of other trans-filled sticks by Blue Bonnet, Parkay, Country Crock, Fleischmann’s, and Imperial. At least those brands don’t imply that a bit of ALA outweighs the harm caused by the margarine’s trans and saturated fat. Shopping tip: Look for tub margarines – most have little or no trans fat.

.8. Starbucks on Steroids

The Starbucks Venti (20 oz) White Chocolate Mocha with 2% milk and whipped cream is more than a mere cup of coffee. It’s worse than a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Few people have room in their diets for the 580 calories and 15 grams of saturated fat that this hefty beverage supplies. But you can lose 130 calories and two-thirds of the bad fat if you order it with nonfat milk and no whipped cream.

.9. Extreme Ice Cream

An average halfcup serving of Häagen-Dazs ice cream squeezes half-a-day’s saturated fat and a third-of-a-day’s cholesterol into your artery walls and makes a 300-calorie down-payment on your next set of fat cells – if you can stop at a petite half-cup!

.10. Stone Cold

Cold Stone Creamery’s Oh Fudge! shake (chocolate ice cream, milk, and fudge syrup) starts at 1,250 calories for the “Like It” (16 oz) size. That’s more than a large (32 oz) McDonald’s Triple Thick Chocolate Shake. The “Love It” (20 oz) has 1,660 calories and the “Gotta Have It” (24 oz) reaches 1,920 calories (an entire days’ worth) and 69 grams of saturated fat (3½ days’ worth). It’s two 16 oz T-bone steaks plus a buttered baked potato, all blended into a handy 24 oz cup.


Monday, January 17, 2011

How To Keep The Variety In Your Exercise

Keep Your Muscles Challenged

To avoid reaching a plateau and effectively allowing your progress to flat-line, it is necessary to incorporate exercise variety into your workout routine. Instead of always doing the same crunches to work out your abs, do crunches sometimes, use a medicine ball every few workouts, and rotate between different abdominal machines and apparatus when you can. By changing up the type of motions, your abdominal muscles won't become "used" to crunches. Instead of developing abs that can only do crunches, you can develop abs that are toned from all directions because of your various abdominal exercises. Do the same for all muscle groups, and you'll be on the right track.

Reach Higher Levels of Fitness

If you run once around the park every day, eventually you will hit a finishing time that you just can't beat. You will have, again, reached a plateau. The only way to push your body to newer levels of fitness will be to move on to a new running regiment, whether it is a longer run or a run with more hills. An even better way to incorporate exercise variety, in this case, would be to have a number of different runs that you use throughout the week, rather than only moving on to a new run once you've reached your plateau.

Prevent Yourself From Getting Bored

Don't you think running in that same park every day would get a little boring? Aside from the physical benefits exercise variety offers, it is easy to see how it can help provide motivation through new and exciting workout routines. Knowing now that exercise variety will help you to reach new levels of fitness, you can confidently join that salsa aerobics class or cycling class knowing that even if it hurts a little at first, in the long run, it will help.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Top Five Reasons to Buy Locally Grown Produce

1.Freshness & Taste – Local produce is generally as fresh as you can get without growing it yourself. The taste of fresh fruits and veggies improves with more freshly picked, local produce.

2.Healthy Choices – Besides the freshness, most if not all locally grown produce is untreated and free from additives and preservatives.

3.Heritage – Buying fresh local produce encourages continued growth of heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables, especially tomatoes.

4.Community – When you purchase local produce, you are helping to sustain the local economy and upholding the way of life of area farmers.

5.Green Lifestyle – Purchasing fresh produce from farms and farmer’s markets drastically reduces the amount of resources like fuel and packaging necessary to get the fruits and vegetables to your dinner table.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Top 5 Holistic Supplements


What it is: An extract made from the roots of the ginseng plant—a type of medicinal foliage that dates back to prehistoric times.

What it does: Calms frayed nerves. Experts call ginseng an adaptogen, meaning it may help increase your body's resistance to stress. "If I had to recommend just one supplement, ginseng would be it," says Frye.

Ginkgo Biloba

What it is: A concentrated powder made from the ginkgo tree's leaves.

What it does: Many guys on antidepressants experience, um, unforeseen side effects? You know, in bed? Ginkgo can help by improving circulation, which could also mean better short-term memory thanks to increased blood flow to the brain.

St. John's Wort

What it is: A yellow flowered plant first used medicinally in ancient Greece; buy it in capsules, teas, or liquid extract.

What it does: "St. John's Wort is mostly used to treat mild to moderate depression," says Frye. If you're bummed because you just broke up with your girlfriend, feel free to give it a shot. It may pick you up.

Grape Seed Extract

What it is: Just what it says—an extract from the seeds needed to grow a grapevine.

What it does: Its antioxidant properties fight free radicals, compounds that pop up when you smoke or drink too much. "If people are exposed to a lot of toxins, an antioxidant may help counteract their damage," says Frye.


What it is: A type of algae that comes packed with chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, and protein.

What it does: Think of spirulina as a produce replacement, giving you the nutrients from fresh greens without a salad bar. "If you're not getting five servings of fruits and veggies," says Frye, "spirulina could be a good substitute."

Source: Joyce Frye, D.O.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Top Ten Worst Offenders - Fruits And Vegetables You Should Consider Buying Organic

* Apples: An apple a day is a good idea, but eat organic apples. Apples in any form may contain chlorpyrifos and methyl parathion.

* Grapes: Look for organic grapes, imported or domestic. Conventionally grown grapes have been shown to contain such chemicals as dimethoate, methyl parathion, and methomyl – an insecticide noted to be an endocrine disruptor.

* Green beans: Buy organic green beans to avoid three nervous system toxins: acephate, dimethoate and methamidophos.

* Peaches: If you buy no other organic fruits and vegetables, your choice in peaches should be organic. Peaches are probably THE worst of non-organic fruits. Non-organically grown peaches register high levels of iprodione residue. This despite the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified iprodione as a probable human carcinogen. In addition, a bite of non-organic peach also contains methyl parathion.

* Potatoes: Potatoes are a root crop, and as such, they are saturated with pesticides. Non-organic potatoes usually contain dieldrin and methamidophos.

* Raspberries: Compared to others in the top ten organic fruits and vegetables, organic raspberries may seem expensive. If you are going to eat raspberries, however, choose organic berries to avoid the triple dangers of captan, carbaryl, and iprodione.

* Spinach: Spinach is claimed among the best non-organic vegetables, but spinach often contains dimethoate and permethrin – a potential carcinogen.

* Strawberries: In order to increase sweetness, growers of non-organic strawberries are said to irrigate with NutraSweet laced water. And that red color? Why can’t they get that in organic fruit? The lovely red color is caused by the fungicide captan.

* Tomatoes: Anyone who has grown tomatoes, organically or non-organically, knows that insects are a problem. Non-organically grown tomatoes are protected from those insects by chlorpyrifos – the United States farmers’ most heavily used insecticide.

* Winter Squash: Families with young children should be especially sure their winter squash is among the top ten organic fruits and vegetables they buy. For every 100 conventionally grown winter squashes tested, 66 will contain Dieldrin and Heptachlor – powerful carcinogenic insecticides.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Reduce Back Pain - 5 Tips

#1 - Get up and get moving
The most important thing you can do to keep your spine healthy, and the rest of your body, is to exercise. The best way to start is to think of an activity that you enjoy, and do it!! Your goal should be to exercise at least 30 minutes each day (or on most days of the week). Whatever activity you choose, make sure it gets you breathing a little harder than usual. This is good for your circulation. Also, include some strength training to keep muscles healthy and strong.

#2 - See your doctor
Regular checkups with your doctor are really important, no matter what your age. Make a plan to see your physician at least once a year to make sure all your systems are working smoothly. If you are experiencing back pain, and can't seem to find any relief, it's definitely time to see your doctor. Today there are many treatment options available so you don't have to live with back pain.

#3 - Lose weight
It's estimated that over half of all Americans are overweight. It's important to know that obesity contributes to the development of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and back pain. While the spine is designed to carry and distribute the body's weight, excessive weight can strain the spine. Eventually, the spine will begin to wear out.

Give your spine a break by shedding those unwanted and unnecessary pounds. Don't know how to start? Talk to your doctor. He or she can help you find a weight loss and exercise plan that best suits your needs.

#4 - Good posture
You may think that slouching when sitting or standing is relaxing your muscles. But actually, it makes your muscles work harder. Good posture, which involves standing and sitting in a balanced and neutral position, is the best way to avoid straining your spine.

#5 - Rest easy and properly
Sleep is an essential nutrient for our bodies and where we sleep can make all the difference. If you are having trouble sleeping or find that you wake in the morning more tired than when you went to bed, you may need to take a good look at where and how you sleep. A good mattress allows you to maintain the same natural spinal alignment that you have when standing. When your body is allowed to rest in its natural position, muscles are relaxed and sleep is more refreshing.

While you may not be able to avoid some occasional back pain, keeping your back healthy will go a long way to keeping you in good shape!

Source: Mark R. McLaughlin, MD

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dynamic Lower Back Stetches

10 Fitness Tips

1.Exercise does more than just tone your body, it boosts self-esteem, improves mood and revs up metabolism. So suck it up and get moving!

2.If you are looking to shed those last stubborn pounds, you need to increase the intensity of your workouts. Try working at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR) for optimal results.

3.Getting bored with that same old exercise routine? Chances are you body is too. It’s probably time to switch things up if you want to continue seeing results.
Keep reading for seven more tips from Jillian.

4.Using proper form when working out is the key to getting the results you want and preventing injuries. Think quality over quantity. Take the time to perfect your form in order to get the results you want and keep your body healthy and strong.

5.Do not exercise on an empty stomach. This way you’ll have energy during your workouts and will burn fat instead of muscle.

6.Don’t over do it. When starting out consult your physician. Work to beginner/intermediate levels. Stay at around 70 percent of your MHR. In a couple of weeks or so as you become stronger and more fit, begin to up your intensity for best results.

7.For fast results, try circuit training. This is an exercise technique that utilizes a series of moves in swift succession with no rest in between. For example: push-ups into squats followed by jumping jacks. This method allows your workouts to strengthen while burning fat at the same time.

8.To ramp up your fitness regimen try incorporating high intensity interval training. This simply means working short bouts (30 seconds, 60 seconds, 90 seconds, two minutes) of cardio into your strength training routine.

9.Six pack abs are not about crunches. You cannot spot reduce fat. The best way to get the washboard tummy is by burning the fat off on top of the muscle with a combination of diet, cardio, and over all resistance training.

10.When you are on the treadmill don’t hold on. If you hold on while walking or jogging, it decreases the intensity, which decreases your calorie burn by up to 24 percent.

Source: Jillian Michaels