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Monday, February 28, 2011

All About Essential Amino Acids

Definition of Essential Amino Acids
Essential Amino Acids (also known as Indispensible Amino Acids) are amino acids that cannot be synthesized by the body, and thus must be supplied by diet.

Essential Amino Acids, while required by the human body to support life, are not called “essential” because they are more important than other amino acids, but instead because they cannot be produced by the body. In other words, they must be obtained through food sources since the body cannot produce them itself.

Non-essential amino acids are those that are synthesized by the body and do not require dietary supplementation.

List of Essential Amino Acids
In adults, there are eight amino acids that have traditionally been considered essential:


Histidine has recently been discovered to not be synthesized in adults, which raises the list of 9 essential amino acids in adults.

In infants or growing children, the list grows to 12 essential amino acids, including:


Benefits of Essential Amino Acids
Amino acids play a central role as the building block of protein, as well as intermediaries in metabolism.

The 20 amino acids found in protein facilitate everything from catalyzing most reactions in living cells to controlling cellular activity, including the creation and preservation of muscle.

There are 20 amino acids that make up critical proteins in the body, and depending on age and certain conditions, the body can produce 10-12 of the necessary amino acids independent of diet.

However, a deficiency in even one of the eight essential amino acids (or ten essential amino acids, in the case of infants or growing children) can cause degradation in the body’s proteins, resulting in muscle loss or developmental defects.

Essential Amino Acids and Complete Proteins
Foods that contain all 8 essential amino acids are known as “complete proteins.”

Animal-based sources of food such as meat (beef, lamb, bison), poultry, eggs, dairy and fish/seafood are considered sources of complete proteins, along with a small number of plant-sources of protein like quinoa, buckweat, hemp and soya.

Most grains, legumes, pulses and vegetables contain some of the essential amino acids, but not all, qualifying them for the moniker “incomplete proteins.”

This means that vegetarians or vegans need to eat a wide variety of plant-based proteins across the day, or combine complementary proteins (for example beans and rice or wheat and corn), in order to ensure that they are consuming all essential amino acids in the right proportions to ensure proper health.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Can Green Tea Regulate Blood Pressure?

Through the years people have searched for holistic remedies to cure high blood pressure also referred to as HBP. It has been an eye opener and documented that Green Tea can assist in lowering high blood pressure, the reason for its success is that Green Tea inhibits ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) and lowers blood pressure without the nasty side effects.

There are many factors that can contribute to Hypertension lack of physical activity; smoking, obesity, and chronic alcohol consumption are just a few. To successfully reduce HBP a lifestyle change is necessary and adding tea into your daily dietary regiment would assist in reducing high blood pressure.

ACE is the name of the enzyme that begins the chain reaction that causes the tiny muscles surrounding the arteries to compress down, making the arteries smaller and increasing blood pressure.

Green Tea can assist in the reduction of the narrowing of the arteries, and assist in reducing hypertension. If you are suffering with HBP and currently taking medications to reduce your pressure to normal levels, perhaps looking into natural remedies of tea would be an option for you. Your medical provider will probably say that you will have to remain on medication for the rest of your life; however that is not always the case.

If you are willing to try natural remedies such as a life style change in your dietary and exercise habits healthier pressure could be in your future. Another life style change will also be required and that is losing weight, and green tea can assist with that as well.

Also it is important to state that the reduction of salt is also important in reducing HBP. There have been studies that have shown dropping about eight pounds and reducing sodium intake by 25 percent allowed half of the participants to lower their blood pressures enough to stop taking medications.

It has also been established that the catechins in tea has significantly lowered blood pressure and triglyceride levels, while raising the "good." It is clear that Green Tea is an effective aid in changing lives one cup at a time.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Bone Density and Exercise

Bone density refers to matter per square centimeter of bone. Exercise for bone density is effective, but not all exercise is. Both overall bone health and bone density can benefit from exercise. It is important to know which exercises to do because some may actually reduce bone density. No patient should start an exercise regimen without getting permission from their doctor first. Low bone density is medically referred to as osteopenia. It may lead to stress fractures, osteoporosis, other fractures, and other bone injuries.

Exercise Characteristics
There are three different exercise characteristics that have been proven to have a significant impact on increasing bone density. These include the exercise's strain magnitude, the exercise's strain frequency, and the exercise's strain rate. It is not yet known which of these three characteristics is most important. It is said that performing exercises with these characteristics three days a week for 12 to 20 minutes each time is sufficient to decrease bone density, though longer workout sessions will help more as long as the patient is healthy enough.

Which Exercises Should I Do?
When building an exercise for bone density program, it is important to choose the right exercises. To prevent bone loss and increase bone density, the following are recommended:

•Weight training (squats are highly beneficial)
•Jump training
•Body weight exercises
•Stair running
•Jump roping

Activities that May Decrease Bone Density
Bike riding and swimming are not considered beneficial in increasing bone density. In fact, there is evidence showing the elite cyclists may actually experience a decrease in their bone density when they are participating in high intensity racing and training. Why elite cyclists lose bone density is not fully understood, some theories include little strain magnitude with this activity, a possible energy imbalance when performing intense exercise, and losing large amounts of calcium and certain other minerals during hours of sweating.

Risk Factors of Low Bone Density
In addition to the wrong exercises, other factors may contribute to low bone density. These may include amenorrhea, not getting enough vitamin D or calcium, or eating disorders.

Adding Nutrition to Increasing Bone Density
A person needs to do more than just certain exercises to increase their bone density. Combining weight-bearing exercises with good nutrition is key in building bone mass. It is important to build bone mass during the younger years because once a person is around 30 years of age, building bone takes more than it did before 30. Getting adequate calcium is also crucial, as is getting adequate amounts of vitamin D. To maintain bone mass, all a person has to do is exactly what they did to build it.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Coconut "Miracle" Water!

Nutritional benefits of coconut water:

•Energy booster:
◦It contains lots of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients which make it a wonderful energy drink. Natural coconut water contains less sugar and sodium content and more Potassium, Calcium, and Chloride content in comparison to most sports drinks. So, it is a best choice as rehydrate fluid and it replenish and boost the energy levels of body. For instance, in every 100ml of Coconut Water there is approximately 294mg of potassium, 25mg of sodium, 5mg sugar and 118mg of chloride as compared to 117mg potassium, 200mg sodium, 20-25mg sugar and 39mg of chloride in an average energy drink.

•Cardiovascular Health:
◦Generally, high blood pressure people have low potassium levels in their body according to researchers. Coconut water contains high concentration of potassium and lauric acid and so regular drinking of coconut water can be quite effective at regulating blood pressure. Some recent studies also suggest that coconut water can help to increase HDL (good) cholesterol, which makes it a wonderful natural treatment for maintaining good cardiovascular health.

•Skin Problems like Age Spots, Wrinkles, and Other:
◦Coconut Water contains these cytokinins and lauric acid. Studies have suggested that Cytokinins help to regulate the growth and cell divisions. Cytokinins and lauric acid can help to minimize the aging of skin cells, balance PH levels, and keep the connective tissues strong and hydrated. Apply Coconut Water every night before going to bed onto affected areas of skin. It may help with acne, age spots, wrinkles, stretch marks, cellulite, and eczema.

◦Coconut water contains lot of minerals which help to regulate internal fluids of the body and also replenish and rehydrate the body. It also helps to treat dehydration caused by dysentery, cholera, diarrhea, and stomach flu. The electrolyte balance and plasma in Coconut Water is similar to that of human blood. And so, daily drinking of one cup of Coconut Water during digestive tract abnormalities, hot temperatures and after tiring workouts can help to rehydrate the body rapidly.

•Digestive Problems:
◦In the body, Lauric acid is converted in to monolaurin which has great antiviral, antiprozoal and antibacterial activity. Lauric acid is present in coconut water. Thus, it helps to fight against intestinal worms, parasites, lipid-coated viruses and other gastrointestinal tract infections in children and adults. Coconut water has not only antibiotic effect but it can also rehydrate the body. And so, it is a simple remedy for Intestinal Worms. Mix one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil into a cup of Coconut Water and drink it daily for at least three days. Drink one cup of Coconut Water twice daily for constipation, diarrhea and other common digestive problems.

•Weight Loss:
◦Coconut water is an isotonic beverage and also a natural electrolyte. It helps to increase the metabolism rate of the body. So, it is greatly beneficial for people who struggle with weight related problems.
Side Effects of Coconut Water:

Coconut Water doesn’t have any known side effects as it is one of the best natural drinks on the face of the earth. Some people are prone to having allergic reactions or have severe nut allergies. Coconut water is believed to be safe for children, pregnant, and breastfeeding women. Coconut Water is high in potassium so it is helpful for people who are taking potassium supplements to regulate their potassium levels.

Regularly Drinking of Coconut Water has following Health Benefits:
•Detoxify & Fight Viruses
•Helps to heal age spots, acne, and other skin issues
•Stops Fatigue
•Naturally Boost Immune System
•Controls Diabetes
•Eases Stomach Pain & Vomiting
•Increases Metabolism & Weight Loss
•Prevents Hypertension
•Treats Kidney Stones
•Balances Body PH
•Reduces Cancer Risk
•Improves Intestinal Health
•Boosts Poor Circulation


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What You Need To Know About Swimming

Health Benefits
Because the human body is 90% water, its density is very similar to the density of water. This is why you get a feeling of weightlessness when you're swimming. It's also why swimming is a great form of low-impact exercise, making it extremely popular with people who are elderly, pregnant, recovering from an injury, disabled or extremely overweight. The other advantage of swimming is that it is a great cardiovascular workout, that elevates the heart and respiratory rates, improving overall health.

When you swim, you exercise all of the muscles in your body. However, your upper body and arms are getting much more of a workout than your legs. If you want to use your legs more, try doing the breast stroke, which generates greater leg movements than the front crawl. If you are supplementing your swimming with exercise on land, where the legs are used more, you might want to try doing the front crawl to give your arms an additional workout.

Burning Calories
When you swim breaststroke or backstroke, you burn about the same number of calories as you would by walking fast or jogging slowly. More vigorous swimming will, obviously, burn more calories. For the average woman, doing the front crawl vigorously for 30 minutes will burn about 350 calories.

Swimming During Pregnancy
Swimming is a completely safe and excellent exercise for expectant mothers. Just be sure to check with your doctor or midwife before you jump into the pool. If you swam before you got pregnant, you should have no problem at all. If you didn't exercise at all before your pregnancy, start slowly with some gentle stretching, go easy and listen to your body. Just stay out of the hot tub or sauna once you get out of the water. Extreme heat can sometimes slow the development of the fetus.

Swimming as Rehabilitation
Swimming is a great way for athletes to quickly bounce back after injuries and physiotherapists will often recommend it to their clients. One of the most famous examples of an athlete who used swimming to speed a recovery is the runner, Mary Slaney. After suffering an injury to her Achilles tendon, Slaney trained only in the water for three weeks. Less than a week after returning to land-based exercise, she set a world record in the 1000 meters.

Aqua fitness and Aquaerobics
Aqua fitness and aquaerobics are both excellent ways to get aerobic workouts without the high impact typical of aerobic exercise. Incorporating many movements seen in dry-land aerobics with specialized equipment for deep-water workouts, many people who have suffered from injuries, or who have conditions that make high-impact too difficult or dangerous, use aqua fitness to stay healthy and improve or maintain their cardiovascular fitness. Aqua fitness and aquerobics are also great forms of exercise for pregnant women and elderly people who might not be able to exercise otherwise.

Possible Drawbacks
While swimming is undoubtedly good exercise, if you're planning on using it as your only form of workout, be aware that it does not use your leg muscles as much as exercises done on land do. Because our leg muscles are the largest muscle groups in our bodies, swimming cannot work the total muscle mass. Also, because swimming is so low-impact, it is not good for maintaining bone density, so don't look to swimming to help prevent osteoporosis. To off-set this, it is recommended that, if you are able to, do other exercises outside of the water, such as lunges, running, walking, or cycling, two to three times a week to help ensure total fitness.

The other drawback of swimming that researchers have discovered is that, while swimming is great for overall fitness, it is not a very effective tool for weight loss. The reasons for this are not entirely understood. Here are some theories:

•Because water cools the body so much, it is thought that the bodies of swimmers might aim to maintain a layer of fat under the skin for insulation.
•Some researchers believe that being surrounded by cold water for a period of time may increase the appetite, causing swimmers to eat more once they get out of the water.
•Another theory states that people who are successful swimmers may also be genetically disposed to having a higher body fat content, since this leads to increased buoyancy and a rounder shape will offer less resistance in the water.
•Swimming fast requires a high output of energy, which burns glycogen instead of fat. Prolonged exercise at a lower intensity is better for fat burning.
•It is believed that the body's metabolism increases at higher body temperatures. Since the body is cooled while swimming, this could reduce the metabolism and the subsequent amount of food energy burnt by the swimmer.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Benefits Of Balance Exercises

There are many benefits of balance training but here are the top 3 benefits:

Improves core strength. The core muscles include not only those in your abdominals and back, but also muscles in your pelvic floor and hips. If the core muscles are weak, your body doesn't work as effectively, and other muscles have to pick up the slack. This can result in injuries such as a twisted knee, a pulled shoulder, or your classic "bad back."

Improves joint stability. Balance training helps the body react in an unstable environment by contracting the right muscles at the right time. It improves joint stability and helps to prevent joint dysfunction and injury. Everyone young and old can benefit from balance exercises.

No equipment is necessary. Although there are balance boards and other equipment that can be used in your balance training, the truth is, if you have a floor to stand on, you have all you need to improve you balance and your overall health. This is why it appeals to so many, especially seniors who live in smaller spaces, like assisted living apartments.

Our balance deteriorates as we age, so it's important to incorporate balance training into your fitness regimen now. At any age, remember to start off slow and build up to more intense exercises. You will truly feel muscles working you've never felt before, so you want to make sure to not over-do it at first. If time and finances allow if, search out a specialized balance trainer in your area. Some local YMCAs offer balance classes so see if you can find one near you.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Perfecting Posture

We are born in the fetal position with our spines rounded forward. As we grow, our spine extends in both our lower back and neck, which allows us to look straight ahead, walk upright, and use our hands. Unfortunately, modern occupations such as working at computer workstations and lifestyles that involve prolonged sitting in cars, eating, and watching TV have imbalanced our normal upright position.

This forward head posture (FHP) and slouched position is reinforced by gravity, which makes it even harder to maintain normal upright posture. The signs of FHP include: increased pressure on the heels, sway back, roundness of mid-upper back (widows hump), rounded forward shoulders, head forward, and “chin poke.”

The weight of a typical head is almost 10 pounds. The head should be centred over the shoulders. For every inch of forward head travel the compressive forces on the lower neck increase by the additional weight of the entire head. This means one inch forward head translation equals 20 pounds head weight, two inches equals’ 30 pounds head weight, and so on. Just try this yourself by holding a weight close to your body and then holding it out in front of you. The weight feels heavier depending on how far away it is from your body.

Rectifying Forward Head Posture

First it is important to take a proactive approach. In order to correct FHP you must first assume the “military posture repositioning exercises” to help move you back into the correct position. You should attempt these exercises every 30 minutes to train the nervous and muscular systems to learn a new “habit” Postural muscles require exercising for approximately eight times longer than phasic muscles for gaining strength and endurance. Further, they respond best to isometric exercise procedures.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Benefits Of Building Muscle Mass Naturally

If you are going to build muscle naturally, you have to realize that all forms of exercise have individual benefits when it comes to your muscles. When it comes to building muscle, weight lifting has the best workouts that will ultimately challenge your muscles. Most people that are new to weight lifting believe they will get extremely big, if they workout consistently with free weights. This is a misconception that most people have thought when it comes to lifting weights to building muscles. In fact, for your muscles to get really huge from lifting, you will have to be taking some extra protein or supplements to achieve that look. If you continue your regular diet, your muscles should only grow moderately with your muscles looking more define.

For people that want to build muscle naturally and eliminate excess fat, they can achieve this with weight lifting. With weight lifting, a resistance of force will challenge your muscles during a workout exercise. This will be done by performing an exercise in repetition to put working muscles into action. You should be careful and only work with weights that you can lift 8 to 10 times when performing you exercise. If the weight is too heavy, you will risk the chance of injuring your muscles or causing muscle strain. As long as you lift with moderation, it is guaranteed your muscle group will get the targeted workout they need.

In order to build muscle naturally the right way, you have to use proper form throughout all your exercises. For people that use the wrong form, chances are they will cause serious injuries. Also, cardiovascular exercises are very important when trying to build muscle. When you strengthen your cardiovascular system, you are making it possible for more blood and oxygen to reach your muscles. Overall, this will prevent cramping because you are eliminating the buildup of lactate acid through the circulation of blood and oxygen throughout your body. When you are done training, it is also important that you get plenty of rest. This allows the muscles to rest and repair any damaged tissue and also promotes muscle growth. As long as you lift weights, do cardio and let your body rest, you will achieve muscle growth with your routine.

Source: Dane Fletcher

Saturday, February 19, 2011

B Complex Vitamins And Their Role In Our Lives!

B vitamins are water soluble vitamins which greatly determine the health of the person.

As B Vitamins are water soluble, it is impossible to experience toxic effects since excess intake of B vitamin can be flushed out through the urine.

Therefore, it is important to maintain your levels of water soluble vitamins on daily basis.

B vitamins are group of vitamins. There are 8 B vitamins which are thiamine or vitamin B1, riboflavin or B2, niacin or B3, pyridoxine or B6, folic acid or B9, cobalomin or B12, pantothenic acid and biotin.

B vitamins are necessary for your body in many ways. They are important for your liver, skin, eyes, hair, and mouth as well as stomach and intestines.

B vitamins help in breaking down of carbohydrates into glucose, which is the basic sugar that your body’s cells use for fuel. As the B complex vitamins help to break down fats and proteins within the body, they aid in the functioning of nervous system.

You can get all the B vitamins by taking a supplement daily, but it is not difficult to get all the B vitamins you need from a healthy diet. B vitamins can be found in whole grain cereals, rice, nuts, breads, and brewer’s yeast. Certain animal products also contain B vitamins such as eggs, fish and milk. Vegetables such as potatoes, legumes and peas contain some level of B vitamin.

B vitamin deficiency can result in innumerable bad health effects. Beriberi, anemia, dermatitis, pellagra, diarrhea, memory and brain damage can occur if your body is not receiving the B vitamins it needs. Therefore it is important to know the recommended daily allowances for B vitamins to ensure that you are getting sufficient levels of consumption.

Thiamine or B1 should be consumed at a level of 1 to 1.5 milligrams per day. Riboflavin or B2, niacin or B3 should be around 1.2 to 1.8 milligrams. Pyridoxine or B6 should be consumed 1.4 to 2 milligrams per day. Cobalamin or B12 should be consumed around 2 milligrams for the average adult.

Pantothenic acid and biotin should be maintained by your own intestine by eating meat, liver, mushrooms and egg yolk which help assist your body in maintaining its supply. You can see many important body functions that are maintained by B vitamins.

Vitamin B3 helps lower cholesterol, increases good cholesterol levels and limits the damage of heart disease. Vitamin B12 is used for managing stress, anxiety and fatigue and improves memory.

Be sure that you are getting the nutrition and body building supplements that your body needs. If you are not getting B vitamins through diet, a multivitamin can help you to regulate your daily vitamin dosage.


Friday, February 18, 2011

The Pros & Cons of Protein Shakes

Protein shakes seem like an easy, promising way to gain protein and help with dieting and building muscle. While protein shakes offer some advantages, some disadvantages are often overlooked.

Pro: Controlled Portions
Prepared protein shakes come in pre-set portions. An individual drinking protein shakes reduces the chance of overeating while gaining nutrients and preventing starvation.

Pro: Good Source of Protein
Because they do have a lot of protein, these shakes provide fairly high-quality nutrition that is better than that found in many fast-food meals, which are often the alternative for busy people.

Pro: Easy
An individual saves time and effort drinking protein shakes. Preparation is brief.

Con: Poor Nutritional Substitute
According to Dr. Nancy Clark, the engineered protein found in protein shakes offers nothing over naturally protein-rich foods. Natural foods often provide more well-balanced nutrition.

Con: Unnecessary
Most individuals receive enough protein by eating right. Dr. Martica Heaner and Dr. Clark explain that athletes need 0.8 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.5 to 0.75 grams per pound, which can easily be obtained through a natural diet.

Con: Fat
Dr. Heaner states that consuming extra protein leads to extra fat, not extra muscle, due to the added calories.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Shin Splints: What They Are And How to Avoid Them

"Shin splints" has become an umbrella term for any pain in the shin area. It is characterised by a dull aching sensation at rest and an area that is often extremely sensitive to the touch. However, not all lower leg pain is actually caused by shin splints. There are also several preventative measures that can be put into practice in order to prevent the discomfort caused by shin splints.

What are the Symptoms of Shin Splints?
Shin splints are actually medial tibial stress syndrome, although these symptoms can be associated with other conditions. There are several characteristic signs that indicate shin splints, including the following:

•pain along the inside of the shin bone
•The affected area is hot to the touch
•a sharp pain when the foot strikes while running
•extreme tenderness to the touch
•swelling along the length of the bone
•bumps along the side of the shin
•pain becoming more pronounced the day after exercise

Preventing Shin Splints
Although there are different treatment options for shin splints, ideally runners and athletes should be looking to prevent the condition before symptoms arise. Shin splints are a product of excess strain on the tibia and connective tissue in the lower leg. There are a few common causes of this. For runners, this is often a result of repeated shocks as the foot strikes the floor. The best way to minimise this is to adopt a more natural running style that limits shock.

Another easy solution is to avoid running downhill at pace. The forces from a downhill impact are considerably more important than running on flat ground. In fact, the best solution to decrease risk here is to do as much running as possible uphill. Using a sensible strategy to increase the distance and speed of runs over time is also essential. Using a progressive program of resistance training to strengthen the lower leg is also a wise investment of an athlete's time.

Treating Shin Splints
Once symptoms of shin splints are present, it is important to act quickly. The longer pain persists, the worse it tends to be and the longer it takes to effectively restore lower leg health. Here are some things to do as soon as possible:

•Rest. It is important to maintain some physical activity. Swimming or other low-impact solutions will maintain conditioning and accelerate the healing process.
•Ice the affected area. This can be somewhat uncomfortable, especially if the shin is very tender. It should be repeated several times throughout the day for 15-20 minutes.
•Take pain relief and anti-inflammatories. This will make day-to-day activities easier.
•Compress and elevate the affected area. This will help reduce swelling.

For some, especially competitive athletes, taking a complete rest from training is impossible. There are a couple of things that can make training with shin splints more bearable. Firstly, taping the shin can reduce pain during training. Secondly, reducing high impact training to the minimum should be a priority.

Sources;, "Shin splints" (Accessed 16th May 2010) (Accessed 16th May 2010)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Winter Running

Who says winter has to be about cocooning at the gym (or worse yet, under the covers!)? If you love being outdoors, there’s no reason why you can’t take your cardio on the road, sidewalk or trail—even when the mercury drops below zero.

Winter running can be addictive, says Bryan Smith, Toronto-area manager of Running Room Canada. “I love the opportunity to breathe fresher air than any other time of the year. When there’s snow on the ground, I love to make the first footprints, and that crunch under my shoes,” rhapsodizes the 9-year veteran of winter running.
Also, says Smith, “I like being one of ‘those crazy people’ drivers see running in the winter. It’s fun to know I might be inspiring someone to try it – because I used to be on the giving side of that comment!”

The benefits of winter running
Running torches through 270 to 500-plus calories per half-hour session (your personal results will vary based on your body weight, pace and environmental conditions), making it an excellent weight-bearing cardio sport. Weight-bearing activities are especially important for women since they help protect against osteoporosis.

Whether you run in the warm or cold doesn’t make a huge difference, says Dr. Stuart Phillips, a professor of kinesiology at Hamilton Ont.’s McMaster University, although he says, winter running may have a slight advantage: “You may have to work a little harder to stay warm.”

The gear you need
Gearing up for winter running means preparing for the cold, as well as slippery conditions.

• Clothes
Think: comfort and versatility. But for best results, says Smith: “You want to start your run almost uncomfortably cool; you’ll be warm within 10 minutes.”

“Everything should be technical or sport natural fibres like merino wool or silk blended with synthetics, “ says Smith.

Base layer: “Wear the closest-fitting, thinnest fabric against your skin and add more garments on top based on your tolerance to the cold,” says Smith.

Layer two: “Fleeces make great insulator layers but don’t block the wind well,” says Smith, meaning you’ll most likely need a top layer, unless you choose wind-resistant fleece.

Layer three: A breathable shell or windbreaker. “Your top layer should block the wind and precipitation,” says Smith.

Want to travel light? “If you want to wear as few layers as possible, consider compression garments for your base layer as these tend to keep you quite warm,” advises Smith.

Ultimately, be prepared for trial and error. And don’t think it’s nerdy to log the weather conditions and what you wore. After all, you want to remember the perfect combo as well as what to avoid, when. “Ideally, you don’t want to be sweaty on a winter run, nor chilly for more than the first 10 minutes,” says Smith.

• Shoes
Feel free to use the same shoes year-round: most winter runners do. Or consider all-season or winter runners with water-resistant uppers and deeper treads.

Trail-running shoes are also popular. Finally, some runners use strap-on “grippers” with metal coils or spikes to increase traction in tricky conditions.

Pair your shoes with technical socks designed for winter, so you get maximum warmth without ruining the fit of your shoes with bulky, extra-thick socks.

• Accessories
Don’t forget your hat, gloves/mitts and neck gaiter (not scarf). Again, look for technical fabrics that add warmth without bulk, and that effectively wick away sweat.

Winter running safety
As always, simple precautions will help ensure your safety.

• Got asthma? “Asthmatics are at greater risk for an attack when it’s cold and dry, so be prepared,” says McMaster University’s Phillips. Stay on top of your regular asthma-control regimen, and pack your relief puffer just in case.

• Don’t start cold. “Warm up in the warmth,” says Phillips. Go up and down the stairs or jump rope at an easy pace for a few minutes indoors to get your blood flowing and limber up before you head out.

• Give drivers a head’s up. “Wear more reflective clothing so you’re visible to drivers, and carry a whistle,” says Smith.

• “Run with a buddy,” advises Smith. This provides extra motivation as well as safety.

• Finally, be prepared for contingencies: “Carry identification and public-transit fare, and let someone know your route and expected time of return,” says Smith.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How To Stretch Your Hip - Videos

Watch the hip stretching videos below to improve your hip flexibility and relieve tight hip and lower back muscles.
Hip stretches are important for the flexibility and range of motion of the hip and lower back muscles. Good hip flexibility allows for the unrestricted and pain free movement of the hip and legs.

Sports that benefit from the hip stretches below include: Cycling; Hiking, Backpacking, Mountaineering and Orienteering; Ice hockey and Field hockey; Ice Skating, Roller Skating and Inline Skating; Martial Arts; Rowing, Canoeing and Kayaking; Running, Track and Cross Country; running sports like Football, Soccer, Gridiron and Rugby; Snow Skiing and Water Skiing; Walking and Race Walking.

Hip Muscles being Stretched
During the following hip stretch videos there are a number of muscles within the hip and lower back that are stretched. Below is a comprehensive list of the anatomical muscle names involved in the following hip stretches.

■Gluteus Maximus, Medius and Minimus
■Tensor Fasciae Latae
■Gemellus Superior and Inferior
■Obturator Internus and Externus
■Quadratus Femoris

Source: The Stretching Institute

Monday, February 14, 2011

What You Need To Know About Calcium

Calcium is considered as one of the most essential elements in the diet because of its structural use in the composition of teeth bones and soft tissues in the body. Whether it is used for strengthening the bones or enhancing the blood clotting process, the human body needs calcium to efficiently operate. As a matter of fact, if you do not get the right amounts of calcium in your diet, the body reacts by taking in calcium from the bones to maintain normal blood calcium levels. A prolonged calcium deficiency may lead to bone fragility and later on worsen into osteoporosis.

The recommended daily allowance for calcium in adults is around 700 to 800 mg every day. Experts believe that adults above the age of 50 must take in around 1,500 mg calcium daily for the prevention of osteoporosis, a pathologic condition where the bones become brittle due to lesser bone density.

How is calcium utilized in the body?
Around 99% of calcium is stored in the body's bones and teeth. Calcium plays a big role in giving strength and mass to your bones. The remaining 1% is distributed into the bloodstream and performs several essential functions. Calcium is needed by the central nervous system. Calcium ions are vital in transforming electrical impulses into chemical signals within the brain. Calcium plays a significant role in the blood clotting process thus preventing drastic bleeding episodes.

Calcium is also an essential mineral for the muscular system. The muscles in the body depend on calcium to connect nerve impulses among nerve fibers and muscle tissues. A lack of calcium in the body may cause your muscles to twitch or even worse, your heart muscles stop beating.

Calcium in your Everyday Diet
Calcium can be found in three food classes: milk & dairy products, fish & shellfish, and green leafy vegetables. Dairy products such as whole milk, cheese and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium. Other than these milk products, there are also non-dairy sources that will help you achieve the daily average calcium requirements in the body. The soft bones found in tinned salmon, sardines and pilchards are good sources of calcium. Soy bean products such as tofu are also good alternatives. Other non-dairy calcium sources include green vegetables (broccoli, okra, turnip greens, spinach & etc.), nuts, sesame seeds and dried fruits.

Calcium Supplements: Do they work?
Nowadays, you can also find plenty of calcium supplements in the market. These calcium supplements are usually prescribed by doctors in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. Many specialists recommend taking calcium tablets after meals because of its acid reducing effects in the stomach. Supplemental calcium should only be used upon your doctor's approval. Excessive calcium levels in the body may result to constipation, excessive gas and bloating. Calcium supplements should not be taken by people suffering from diseases such as hyperthyroidism and chronic kidney disease.

Source: Charmaine Ann Enerio

Sunday, February 13, 2011

How Much Fruit Is Too Much?

Pay attention to how much fruit you consume. Moderate consumption of fruits brings many benefits for the body, but we must not exaggerate.

Fruit juices are not the best choice either, say researchers; they recommend us to consume fruits rather than fruit juices. Fruit juices are rich in fructose and contain calories.

Glucose-fructose syrup is used in most processed products, from crackers to ice cream and cereals. Have you ever wondered why you can not eat just one and you have to eat the whole pack? Experts say: fructose is to blame for it has the ability to stimulate appetite, leading to numerous health problems. According to a recent study, glucose-fructose syrup contributes to the development of fat cells on the heart, liver and other vital organs, determining other serious illnesses such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

Dr Carel Le Roux, consultant in metabolic disorders from Imperial College London, explains to us that when we eat sugar our body releases insulin to announce us that we have eaten enough. On the other hand fructose is unable to send this message to the brain, therefore we tend to eat more.

This syrup is obtained from corn syrup processed with enzymes to convert glucose into fructose. Fructose is then mixed with glucose from pure corn syrup, resulting the fructose-glucose syrup. Because it's cheap, this syrup is used in a variety of products, sometimes in those where you least expect it, such as cereals.

Fructose affects blood pressure
According to a study done by scientists at the University of Colorado, people who have hypertension problems and consume more than 74 grams of fructose per day increase their risk of high blood pressure with over 87 percent.

Also, another study done by specialists at the University of California shows that sugar found in fruits is able to turn itself into fat when it reaches the liver, compared to glucose. This increases the risk of fatty liver disease, associated with liver disease and type 2 diabetes.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Hydrate for Optimum Workouts

During exercise it is important to pay attention to your hydration level. A well-hydrated athlete improves his chances of not only winning but also reduces his risk for injury.

•Water makes up approximately 70% of the body’s composition.
•Water transports nutrients and gases.
•Water helps to remove waste and toxins from the body.
•Water helps to regulate the body’s temperature.

Some signs that you could be de-hydrated include- muscular cramps, dizziness, nausea, headaches, fatigue and lethargy. A good way to prevent dehydration is to play attention to fluid intake throughout the day.


To prevent dehydration
•drink 8-16 ozs. of water each morning upon waking up,
•take sips of water throughout the day,
•you may consider drinking low calorie, low sugar drinks but avoid alcohol or caffeinated drinks such as coffee and sodas, they are diuretics which can cause dehydration.

•Two hours before exercise drink 8 to 16 ounces of water.
•According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), a good rule of thumb is to drink 20-40 ounces per hour of a cool, non-carbonated beverage, this equates to ½ to one cup fluid for every 15 minutes of exercise. A helpful hint: an ounce equals approximately one "gulp".
•Research shows that fluids that are flavored, lightly sweetened and contain some sodium help stimulate voluntary drinking, more so than water alone.
•Besides enhancing flavor, the use of carbohydrates as the sweetening agent can also help active persons maintain their physical performance.

What to drink
•After exercise drink 16 ounces of fluid for each pound lost.
•Drink even when you don’t feel thirsty, because by the time you feel thirsty you have already begun to dehydrate. Once you begin to dehydrate your performance will begin to suffer.
•Attentive hydration will greatly benefit your recovery time and consequent workouts.
•Research indicates physically active individuals should drink 10 to 12 cups of fluid per day.
•Some people can lose as much as 5 quarts of fluid per day while others may require up to 10 quarts.

•Try to drink some fluid ever ½ hour to hour throughout the day, not just when thirsty.
•Don’t wait until you get thirsty, when you feel thirsty, you've already lost important fluids & electrolytes and may be dehydrated.
•Drink fluids before, during & after exercise.
•Always have a bottle of water or sports drink with you when working out to ensure prpoer hydration.
•Check your urine to determine hydration status, clear to light-colored urine means you're well hydrated.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Antioxidants and Dark Chocolate Health Benefits

How can something so good for you taste so good? It's not always true that good tasting foods are always bad for you; dark chocolate, red wine, fruit and vegetables are some of the healthiest foods and the most delicious, loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols especially the dark colored fruit and vegetables (red, Purple, green) these are the most antioxidant rich vegetables.

The Difference Between Antioxidants and Polyphenols
Antioxidant foods don't slow the aging process like the polyphenols in resveratrol but they protect the cells from free radicals, like when you put lemon juice on a cut apple, to slow the browning effect.

How Do We Get Free Radicals in Our Blood
Free radicals are a natural by-product of life, even breathing causes free radicals to form but as we cannot stop breathing or normal activities we can increase or antioxidant levels by eating antioxidants and dark chocolate rich foods. But as we get older the natural antioxidants our body makes to fight them off begin to decline, experts say. One of the benefits of resveratrol supplements is as we age they help to reverse the process of aging on a cellular level.

Why Cocoa Beans are so Rich in Antioxidants
The kinds of antioxidants found in dark chocolate and red wine are called polyphenols, a large class of molecules found in fruits and vegetables like oranges,green tea, soybeans and berries. The reason this type of chocolate and cocoa rank so high is that the antioxidants are very concentrated. More than 10% of the weight of cocoa beans is polyphenols.

Chocolate and cocoa are particularly high in a sub-class of those compounds called flavanols, which are also found in red grapes especially Muscadine grapes and tea, hence the well-known benefits of red wine and green tea

What Happens After Eating Chocolate
Research shows that as soon as 30 minutes after eating one 40 gram serving of this chocolate blood levels of the two main antioxidants in chocolate, epicatechin and catechin, are increased. They peak about two hours after consumption. That's why this chocolate is healthy for us.

What Makes the Plants Produce Antioxidants
Scientists theorize that plants naturally produce antioxidants to help them from sunlight, bacteria, fugus and other harsh elements. These same compounds in the plants molecules can aid us when we eat them. The same holds true with antioxidants and dark chocolate when we eat these delicious foods we get the same benefits that the plants were trying to acquire.

Is This Type of Chocolate High in Caffeine
Despite public perception, milk chocolate contains relatively small amounts of caffeine about the same as a cup of decaffeinated coffee. However, chocolate also contains theobromine, a relative of caffeine. Theobromine is much less powerful than caffeine.

Source: Allen Partch

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Buying The Right Fitness Shoe

How many times have you bought a new pair of workout shoes only to find they hurt your feet later? Maybe they didn’t last very long. Or, perhaps they didn’t help you perform at your best. By following a few simple tips, you can make sure your next pair of workout shoes fits perfectly and feels great.

Decide whether to buy your fitness shoes online or in-person
If it’s your first time purchasing a specific brand or type of shoe, it’s best to buy the shoes in person. Try them on; walk around in them. Make sure your feet feel good right from the start. Proper footwear does not need to be “broken in;” shoes should fit well when you first put them on. After you’ve worn a particular brand, style and size—if you know you’d like the same shoes again—online purchases will save you time and money.

When is the best time of day to go shopping for fitness shoes?
Feet are actually bigger at the end of the day. If you’re buying shoes in person, avoid shopping first thing in the morning, especially if the shoe is going to be worn other than during morning hours. Feet can swell up to a half size by the end of the day.

Ensure shoes fit properly
When choosing footwear for fitness make sure your toes can fan out inside the toe box of the shoe. You should be able to curl your toes inside and have plenty of room in the front area. The back should not flop up and down but fit snugly against the heel. Resist the tendency to buy shoes based on what size you normally wear or feel you should wear. Once you start wearing them, comfort will be more important.

Consider your different size feet when buying shoes
If your feet are considerably different sizes, buy shoes based on the larger foot. Make sure there’s at least half an inch between your big toe and the shoe. It’s easier to make a smaller shoe feel comfortable than one that’s a bit too small.

Select the appropriate type of fitness shoe
Choose a style of shoe that fits the activity it’s going to be used for most. For example, running shoes are different than walking shoes. Both are different from cross training and fitness shoes. To ensure you feel your best, you need to pair the right shoe with the right activity.

Trying fitness shoes: lacing up is important
Once you receive your new shoes, pay attention to how they’re laced. Different lacing techniques help feet that are narrow, wide or with heel problems. Narrow feet need the side of the shoe to fit snugly so use the eyelets farthest from the tongue of the shoe. Wide feet need more space so use the eyelets closest to the tongue. Heel problems require less tension near the toes but a tighter tie. So, use every eyelet and make the top fit snug.

Replace fitness shoes often
Athletic shoes need to be replaced much more often than most people imagine. Even though they still look new, it only takes three to five months of regular use before they lose their support and cushion. Be sure to order another pair before your current pair wears out.

How much should I spend on fitness shoes?
Unless you consider yourself an athlete, you don’t need to spend a small fortune on shoes. Choose those that are towards the top of the line (usually indicated by higher numbers) but maybe last season’s style. You can get great value for less money and have a pair of shoes that will fit better and last longer.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fitness Tips for Arm-Toning Exercises

•Toning your arms can involve several types of exercises: aerobic, weight training, and isometric. Aerobic exercises will help burn fat, while resistance or weight training gives you lean arm muscles. Toning also involves critical rest periods, which help your arm muscles to repair torn fibers and create stronger ones. Consider using these exercises or a combination of them to tone your arms.

Aerobic Exercise
•Aerobic exercises aren't just good for your heart. Aerobic exercises also help burn fat, especially if they involve repetitive motions. Kickboxing aerobics, for example, makes use of arm motions that simulate several boxing punches like hooks, uppercuts and jabs. Those motions will help tone your arms by forcing your arm muscles to quickly expand and contract.

Weight Training
•You can utilize weight training or resistance training to help tone your arms. Medium-resistance weight training helps build lean muscle, which in turn burns more fat during resting periods than with aerobic exercises alone. For best results, use free weights like dumb bells and kettle bells so that your arms must rely on themselves to fight resistance. Dumbbell curls tone your biceps. Focus the resistance on the bicep by standing with your back straight and keeping your inner arm pinned against your body as you curl, not allowing kinetic energy to bring the weight up and down.

Isometric Exercise
•Isometric exercises focus on specific muscle groups, using slow repetitions. Utilize isometric exercises if you want to tone your biceps, triceps, deltoids, or forearm muscles. An example of an isometric exercise for the arm is the slow push up. Perform a push up as normal with your arms under your shoulders, fully extended. Your back and legs should be in a straight line, with your feet no more than 12 inches apart. When you come back up from the "down" position, do so at a five-count pace. This should provide added resistance to all your arm muscles.

Rest and Repair
•Give your arms at least one day of rest in between heavy workout sessions, whether you are doing resistance training or aerobic exercises with your arms. Resting allows your muscle fibers to repair and become stronger. This repair period also consumes fat and stored glucose. Not resting your arms not only prevents your body from repairing itself, it can result in serious injuries to your arms.


Monday, February 7, 2011

9 Basic Tips To Lose Weight In About 3-4 Weeks

One of the most important things you can do for your weight loss goals is regular cardio exercise. It really does wonders and especially, if you do the the most effective exercises. You have to keep it up if you want to see results. The exercises that burn most calories and get you into shape faster are, running, bicycling, swimming, step aerobics, rock-climbing and inevitably, jogging.

2. Drink lots of water. Water actually increases your body’s ability to metabolize fat and greatly helps in shedding your first couple pounds also known as, water weight.

3. Yoga. People recommend it because it reduces stress. But why is stress a bad thing? Well, when you stress your body releases high levels of sugar. And FYI, that’s really not a good thing. So, it depends on you. If your a stressed out person, take up yoga. Play music. Just relax. On the other hand, if you don’t need to, then don’t.

4. You’ve heard this one a hundred times but, it’s that important. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Up your intake on them and it’ll help you immensely. Opt for leafy, green veggies and your body will thank you.

5. Eat more protein. This is essential in weight loss. Especially if you want to keep the weight off, and I’m sure you do. Who wants those pounds coming back? Um, no thanks. Some recommended foods that are high in protein are nuts (Almonds), eggs, fish, low-fat yogurt, lean meat and skim-milk.

6. Only eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Do not snack when you are bored. It’s a terrible habit that many people do (and don’t even notice!) and it plays a huge part in obesity. Think about it. Am I even hungry? Grab a piece of fruit instead.

7. Eat your food slowly. Many people tend to just swallow food down and that’s wrong. Chew your food 2-3 times before swallowing. It helps your brain register that the food is there and your eating it. You’ll become full faster.

8. Watch your portion sizes. This one is exceedingly important because it implies to so many people! Ever eaten a whole bag of rice cakes in one sitting? We’re all guilty of it. Well, truth be told, it won’t help you lose weight. When eating chips, nuts, or dried fruit, put a portion in a small bowl and then put the bag away. That way you won’t mindlessly eat a larger portion than you had intended.

9. BE CONSISTENT. This is THE most important rule and I cannot stress it enough. Be consistent with your exercise or I’m telling you, it will NOT work. You have to be dedicated and work hard to see results. Don’t expect a miracle. You don’t just lose weight over night but, don’t get me wrong, healthy weight loss can be found and maintained if you are CONSISTENT and CONTINUE with your healthy eating habit and exercise even after your weight loss.



Sunday, February 6, 2011

Quick and Easy Breakfast Recipes

A light morning meal will leave you feeling energized and ready to begin the day. Vegetables Juices and fruits are perfect for breakfast, since they are high in nutrients yet low in calories and easy to digest.

They are much more healthy than eating fried eggs and bacon! Not only that, when you wake in the morning your stomach is empty, so this is an optimal time to cleanse your insides with a smoothie or Juice.

If you’re having trouble with constipation, bloating, indigestion this can end that very quickly.

If you need something heavier in the morning try the Quinoa cereal (Gluten Free) with almond milk.

Berry Smoothie

■1 cup of blueberries or raspberries
■1 banana (optional)
■1-cup water or more
■1tsp. flax seed oil
■2 tbsp. ground flax seed or chia seeds
■1 tbsp. cinnamon
■1 scoop of vanilla rice protein 85% pure protein, totally Raw, and entirely Vegan

Blend until smooth.

Veggie Juice:

You’ll need a juicer for this one:

■1-cup cucumber juice
■1-cup celery juice
■1-cup kale juice
■1 apple
■(Add 1 scoop of vanilla rice protein) optional…

Hot Quinoa Breakfast Cereal

Quinoa, a gluten free grain-like seed that is safe for those with gluten intolerance

■1 Cup quinoa
■2 Cups water
■1/2 Cup pear, thinly sliced, or blueberries
■1/2 Tsp cinnamon
■1 Tsp of flax seed oil
■Almond milk (available at the health food store or you can make your own)

Soak 1-cup quinoa overnight.

Rinse quinoa and add to water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 5 minutes. Add pear or blueberries and cinnamon, ground flax or chia seeds and almond milk. Makes 2 servings.



Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sleeping For Fitness

How did you sleep last night? If the answer is "poorly" or "not at all," you'll find that this is a problem that you need to take care of as soon as possible! When we sleep, our bodies repair a lot of the damage that we do to it, and you'll find that if you are not sleeping well, you are soon going to be paying the price. When you want to sleep better and when you want to make sure that you can get the sleep that you need, there are definitely a few things to keep in mind.

Sleep Should Be a Part of Your Fitness Plan

When you getting ready to get in shape and be more fit, you'll find that you need to think about what your sleep is like. Even if you eat well and get lots of exercise, constantly shorting yourself on sleep is a poor idea. Without sleep, your body will get constantly run down. Sleep is essential for getting your body in tip top shape. When you go without sleep, have you ever noticed that you are clumsy and that you can think clearly? The more you deny your body the sleep it needs, the longer it will take you to get into shape and the more problems that you are going to have.

How Do I Get the Most Out Of My Sleep?

When you want to get enough sleep, it can be hard. Check out some of these important tips.

1. Don't exercise before you go to bed. This wakes your body up and can keep you up for hours more.
2. Eat at least two hours before you go to bed. Having food in your stomach when you go to lie down can give you indigestion.
3. White noise played on headphones or on a CD player can help you get to sleep. It gives your mind something to focus on.
4. Your bedroom should be dark, and if you have a lot of light coming in in the mornings, get some curtains. If you habitually stay up late, don't let the light wake you up before you are ready.
5. Cue yourself to go to bed. Start having a little nightly ritual to cue yourself to get some sleep. We are largely creatures of habit and this can help a great deal.

Getting enough sleep is essential to getting fit, so make sure that you consider some of the tips above!

Source: Dr. Saman Bakhtiar


Friday, February 4, 2011

Ten Tips To Healthy Eating

*Eat a small meal or a snack every 2-3 hours to keep your blood sugar level, energy and mood stable. Eat less food more often!

*Include a lean source of protein at each main meal. Examples are chicken and turkey breast and egg whites.

*Protein is the key for fat loss because it has a high thermogenic effect. This means that your body produces more heat when digesting protein; therefore, you burn more calories.

*Consume plenty of salads and vegetables as these are high volume foods and they are rich in fiber and nutrients.

*Avoid refined carbohydrates as these foods easily store as fat and give you a surge of energy followed by a drop in energy and mood.
Examples are white sugar and white flour products such as white bread, white rice and white pasta.

*Choose complex carbohydrates as these foods are released slower into your system so they stabilize your energy level.
Examples are whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal.

*It is best to eat your carbohydrates earlier in the day so that you have more time to burn them off. Limit starchy carbohydrates for fat loss.

*Include essential fatty acids (good fats) such as olive oil and omega 3 (fish oil) in your diet.

*Fruit intake should not exceed 2 servings per day when you are trying to lose weight. Avoid fruit with and after a main meal that contains animal protein as this may cause digestive problems. Have fruit ½ hour before a meal or 2-3 hours after.

*Drink 6-8 cups of water/herbal tea per day. If you feel thirsty, this is a sign that you are already dehydrated.

Source: Julie Mancuso, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Toronto

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Importance of Breakfast

Your breakfast meal has a tremendous effect on how your body starts up in the morning and sets the tone for the remainder of the day. Eating a big (healthy) breakfast will actually help you lose weight, as contradictory as that sounds. So how does it help you lose weight? Let's take a look at some facts about the benefits of a proper breakfast.

Breakfast provides your body the much needed energy in the morning. When you wake up, your body is deleted of energy, since you have not eaten anything in the past 8-12 hours. It needs the energy to recharge itself.

Having proper energy levels will help improve your efficiency at work, as it will raise your alertness levels, concentration, and the ability to focus. It will also enhance your mood level, making you less irritable.
If you skip your morning meal, you will feel hungry later on during the day, and will be more likely to binge or make poorer choices on food, as you are feeling hungry and tired. A proper breakfast will keep you feeling fuller, making you eat less later on.

Increased energy levels mean you have more energy for physical activity. You will feel more inclined to go to the gym since you do not feel as tired.

One last reason why breakfast will help you lose weight is that when you wake up, your metabolic rate and blood sugar levels are low. A slow metabolic rate means that your body is burning calories slower. Providing your body the energy to kick-start your body will also kick-start your metabolism, speeding up the process of breaking down fat.

Contrary to what many people think, a good healthy breakfast can actually help you lose weight, not to mention provide your body with vital nutrition. Take the time to eat breakfast every morning, it will help you in more ways than you can imagine.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Safety Of Thermogenics

Thermogenics are weight loss supplements that speed up the metabolic rate and curb appetite. The supplements are popular among a wide array of people interested in losing weight quickly, especially athletes and bodybuilders.

How Thermogenics Work

Thermogenics contain ephedrine, caffeine, and other stimulants that speed up the central nervous system. Together, they increase body heat and heart rate to burn a greater number of calories. Thermogenics may also help curb appetite.

Side Effects

Caffeine and ephedrine can cause dizziness, nervousness, headaches, insomnia, and increased blood pressure, especially when taken improperly. These ingredients can also become addictive.


Thermogenics are most effective for up to six weeks, especially when taken alongside a healthy diet. According to, after about eight weeks of use, the body becomes immune to the effects of the ingredients, and weight loss begins to slow down. At this point, intake of the supplement should be discontinued.

Source: Krystin Peterson

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Calf Stretches

Calf stretches are important for the flexibility and range of motion of the calf and lower leg muscles. Good calf flexibility allows for the unrestricted and pain free movement of the calf and lower leg.

Sports that benefit from the calf stretches below include: Basketball and Netball; Boxing; Cycling; Hiking, Backpacking, Mountaineering and Orienteering; Ice hockey and Field hockey; Ice Skating, Roller Skating and Inline Skating; Martial Arts; racquet sports like Tennis, Badminton and Squash; Running, Track and Cross Country; running sports like Football, Soccer, Gridiron and Rugby; Snow Skiing and Water Skiing; Surfing; Swimming; Walking and Race Walking.

Calf Stretching Videos

Standing Calf Stretch

Stand with one knee bent and the other leg straight out in front. Point your toes towards your body and lean forward. Keep your back straight and rest your hands on your bent knee. Make sure your toes are pointing upward. Letting your toes point to one side will cause this stretch to put uneven tension on the calf muscles. Over an extended period of time, this could lead to a muscle imbalance. Hold the stretch position for a minimum of 20 seconds and then repeat with the opposite leg.

Standing Heel-Back Calf Stretch

Stand upright and then take one big step backwards. Keep your back leg straight and push your heel to the ground. Make sure the toes of your back leg are facing forward. Letting your toes point to one side will cause this stretch to put uneven tension on the calf muscles. Over an extended period of time, this could lead to a muscle imbalance. Hold the stretch position for a minimum of 20 seconds and then repeat with the opposite leg.

Leaning Heel-Back Calf Stretch

Stand upright and lean against a wall. Place one foot as far from the wall as is comfortable and make sure that both toes are facing forward and your heel is on the ground. Keep your back leg straight and lean towards the wall. Make sure the toes of your back leg are facing forward. Letting your toes point to one side will cause this stretch to put uneven tension on the calf muscles. Over an extended period of time, this could lead to a muscle imbalance. Hold the stretch position for a minimum of 20 seconds and then repeat with the opposite leg.

Source: The Stretching Institute