Wednesday, 30 September 2015

How to Get Lean Muscle



how to get lean muscleThere are many ways to build lean muscle that will make you look toned and athletic. The key is to keep up with whichever method fits you best. Fitness is not something that happens in x-amount of days. Instead, fitness is a lifestyle that is lived through diet, exercise, mindfulness and activity.
“I’m too busy” is a common excuse when it comes to fitness. Investing an hour a day to fitness three to six times a week will give you more physical and mental health benefits than you can imagine. If you really break it down, what’s four hours a week to spend on exercise? When you look at devoting just four hours a week to exercise, it really doesn’t seem that intimidating.
For those with busy lives who don’t know where to start with their fitness, we offer a course that is specifically for those on the go. Not only does it help you to get fit with exercise, but it offers healthy diet options so you can start working toward that lean muscle.

Running

One of the best exercises for building lean muscle is running, and it’s one of the most affordable. All you need is proper shoes and clothing and you’re good to go. While it may not be the easiest at first, as long as you keep pushing and aiming for goals, running will become easy, rewarding and fun. And the more you keep with it, the more you will see your body change. That’s because running burns more calories than most types of cardio. If you have a gym membership, skip the bike, eliptical or stairstepper and hit the treadmill for 30 minutes. On average, you burn 100 calories per mile, which makes tracking calories easy. Running is an aerobic exercise, which is an exercise that burns fat, a key component in getting that lean muscle you want.

Diet

Diet is just as important as exercise when it comes to losing fat and gaining muscle. Lean protein is the key to building lean muscle. Switch your diet from carb-heavy to lean-protein heavy and you will start seeing the changes in your body that you are aiming for. That’s not to say take carbohydrates out of your diet altogether, as they are important for energy. It is protein that helps rebuild muscle, so if it’s muscle that you’re looking to build, there should be more servings of protein in your diet than carbohydrates. A popular diet that many athletes and fitness enthusiasts use to look their best is the paleo diet. The diet (based on that of the Paleolithic humans) focuses on eating fish, grass-fed meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots and nuts. With this course, you will learn more about the diet, as well as how it will help you get rid of fat and gain muscle.

Weight Training

Many people think that weight training is an exercise that will make them bulk up. That is actually not true. You will not bulk up unless you add supplements and extra calories in the form of protein in your diet. As long as you keep with your balanced diet, you will see lean muscle start to emerge. Strength training actually makes your body work harder to maintain muscle over fat. This, in turn, helps to boost metabolism and burn more fat and calories throughout the day. As we age, we lose lean muscle and need to replace the muscle loss or else it will turn to fat. Weightlifting is a great way to replace the muscle loss and prevent fat. With this course, you will learn the importance of strength training, as well as the tools to gain muscle and lose fat.

Yoga

Until you try yoga, you have no idea what an entire-body experience it really is. Yoga helps bring all your work — whether it’s running, biking, weightlifting, swimming — together. There are many health benefits you get from practicing yoga on a regular basis. Yoga is not only good for your body, but it reduces stress and depression, as well as helps you to sleep better. When it comes to body benefits, practicing yoga will strengthen muscles to help aches and pains, tone your body to get that lean muscle you’re looking for, improve flexibility, increase endurance (which will help with your cardio exercises), help your posture and more. A good yoga session leaves you feeling relaxed and replenished. If you’re interested in beginning yoga, don’t be intimidated. Yoga is a practice where nobody is perfect. You can always set goals for yourself and get better with your practice. This course we offer is yoga for everyone, which introduces yoga to beginners. In it, you learn sitting, standing and lying practices, as well as the importance of meditation. If you’ve got the hang of yoga and want to dive into the practice further, we also offer this course, which has more than 30 hours of techniques.

 Putting It All In Practice

Once you start a routine of diverse exercises and healthy eating, you will start seeing changes in your body over time. Losing fat and building lean muscle is not something that happens immediately, so we recommend keeping a journal of your progress and taking a photo of yourself at the beginning of each month to see how far you’ve come. It’s important to remember that in order to keep your lean muscle you’ve worked hard for, you need to create a healthy and positive lifestyle for yourself. It takes effort, but once you start seeing the changes in your body and in your mental health, you’ll want to keep going forward. The confidence that you get from maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle is something that is worth all that hard work.

Source

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Top Three Exercises For Stress Relief



Whether coming from our jobs, personal life, incompetent drivers, or the soaring gas prices stress seems to be all around us, bombarding us with an over load that has us over worked, cranky, and restless. The effects of prolonged stress on the human body can be devastating to our health resulting in migraines, muscle aches, insomnia, digestive problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain, asthma, and heart disease along with a wide range of other health problems. Learning to effectively manage stress and adding regular exercise to your routine is a valuable part of stress relief which is vital to good health. But do not worry, you do not have to make time to go to the gym or worry if your fitness level is not up for that aerobic work out, here are three of the best exercises for stress relief than can be done by just about any one at any fitness level, of course as always, before beginning any new exercise program you want to be sure that your health care provider has cleared you for exercise if you have any recent injuries or health care concerns.

Tai Chi:
Tai Chi is an ancient martial art form. This Chinese art has been practiced for centuries and is a perfect exercise for stress relief. Tai Chi uses very fluid and graceful movements that are slow and precise, focusing the mind and strengthening the body. It can be done just about anywhere by people of all ages and is fairly simple to learn. People who practice Tai Chi experience a better sense of balance, over all improvement in health, sleep better, and feel a since of clarity and improved mental focus along with the stress relief.

Pilates:
Pilates was originally developed as a method of rehabilitation for injured dancers and soldiers. Incorporating simple moves similar to yoga in parts, pilates stretches and lengthens your muscles, improves the strength and stability of your core (the torso), and is also very calming and soothing making it a great choice for stress relief. Stress relief is not the only benefit of pilates, you also get a longer, stronger spine, better posture, more graceful muscle tone, and stronger abs. And because a large portion of pilates can be done as a mat work out, it is great for people with special needs to consider that may make traditional exercise more difficult.

Water Aerobics:
If you would like something to get your heart beat going and improve your over all tone and health, along with giving you stress relief, water aerobics is another great choice. Unlike traditional aerobic classes, being in the water lessens the impact of the movements on your joints, legs, and spine. Being in the water makes your motions effortless, yet the resistance of the water provides a better, stronger work out. The calming sensation of being in the water offers great stress relief and gives you a wonderful work out for your muscles, weight loss, and cardio building along with the stress relief.

Whichever routine you choose, or perhaps some combination of the three, you will find great stress relief from starting a regular routine and the stress relief will only enhance the other great health benefits you will obtain.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

4 Easy Tips on How to Make Healthy Recipes

Discover quick healthy recipe tips to cook healthy meals for you and your family. Learn how eating healthy is simple with easy healthy recipe ideas.

For many people, making healthy recipes seems too difficult and time consuming...
 
 But with some advance planning and some basic knowledge of nutrition, it is easy to create a week's worth of healthy meals that you and your family will love. The key to creating delicious and healthy meals for the family is planning ...and lot's of it!

Planning ahead of time an entire week of healthy recipe meals is the best way to create dishes you can be proud of, while keeping cost and time commitment to a minimum.  So below are amazing tips you can use to make healthy meals all the time.

 
 Healthy Recipe Tip #1

Using convenient appliances such as slow cookers and microwaves can be a huge time saver when planning and preparing meals.  There are many delicious and healthy recipes that can be started in the morning and left to cook all day in a crock pot or slow cooker.  These are great choices for working families.

In addition, making the meals ahead of time on the weekend and heating them in the microwave is a great way to stretch both your food and your time.  There are many microwavable healthy meals you can make at home, and single serving microwave safe containers allow every member of the family to eat on their own schedule.

When planning the meals for the week, it is a good idea to create a chart listing each day's menu and each days' schedule. Here's a smart tip...plan the quickest and easiest to prepare meals for the busiest days of the week.

Healthy Recipe Tip #2

Get your family involved in creating the week's meal plan by asking for their input and noting everyone's favorite foods. It is still very important to eat healthy meals, so that (of course) does not mean eating pizza every night or having ice cream for dinner.  But involving your spouse and children in healthy recipe planning, you'll help to increase their interest in healthy eating right away.

It is also a good idea to get your entire family involved in the preparation of the meals.  Even children too young to cook can help out by setting out the dishes, chopping vegetables, clearing the table and washing the dishes.

Healthy Recipe Tip #3:

Cooking large quantities of healthy food recipes - and freezing the leftovers - is a easy way to save time.  Cooking large amounts of stews, soups, pasta, chili and casseroles can be a huge time saver.  Making double and even triple batches of these staple foods, and freezing the leftovers for later use, is a great way to save both time and money.

When freezing leftovers, however, it is important to label the containers carefully, using freezer tape and a permanent marker.  Try to keep the oldest foods near the top to avoid having to throw away expired items.

Stocking up on meats when they are on sale is another great way to use that valuable freezer space.  Stocking up on such easily frozen foods as chicken, turkey, ground beef, steaks, roasts and chops is a great way to make your food dollar stretch as far as possible while still allowing you and your family to enjoy delicious healthy meals every day.

Healthy Recipe Tip #4:

Keeping a well stocked pantry is as important as keeping a well stocked freezer.  Stocking the pantry with a good supply of staple items like canned vegetables, canned fruits, soup stocks and the like will make healthy recipe preparation much faster and easier.

Stocking the pantry can save you money as well as time.  Grocery stores are always running sales, and these sales are a great time to stock up.  Buying several cases of canned vegetables when they are on sale, for instance can save lots of money and provide the basic ingredients for many nutritious, easy to prepare meals.

Examples of great staples to stock up on include whole grain cereals, pastas, tomato sauce, baked beans, canned salmon, tuna and whole grain breads.  It is easy to combine these staples into many great meals on a moment's notice.
healthy recipe

I hope you found these easy !!




Damian@FitnHealthy

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Great Home Workout Exercises For Fast Muscle

Recommended muscle building at home involves total body workout targeting the entire body; chest, back, shoulders, arms, legs and abs. One should note that people with co-existing injuries, illnesses or other condition, a doctor should be consulted beforehand to avoid further aggravation of the condition.

Equipment Needed
A barbell, dumbbells of various weights, an exercise ball, a weight bench, and an exercise mat.

Few examples of workouts to try at home:

Before starting, do a warm-up session of 5 minutes of light cardio. For beginners, start with no weight for 1 set of 14 -16 reps and upgrade to 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps with enough weights as you progress

1. Bench press (chest)

Lie on a bench, step or floor, and hold a medium-heavy barbell straight up over your chest. Bend your elbows and lower the weight until elbows are at 90 degrees. Press back up and repeat.

1. Lateral raise (shoulders)

Hold light-medium dumbbells and, keeping elbows slightly bent, lift arms out to the sides to shoulder level. Lower and repeat.

2. Barbell row (back)

Hold a medium-heavy barbell and tip forward to 45 degrees, keeping your back flat. Squeeze back to pull the weight in towards the belly. Lower and repeat.

3. Back entension (lower back)

Lie face down and squeeze the lower back to lift your chest a few inches off the floor. Lower and repeat.

4. Hammer Curls (Biseps)

Holding medium-heavy dumbbells, perform hammer curls with your palms facing each other. For added intensity, stand on one leg for a balance challenge, switching legs with each set.

5. Kickbacks (Triceps)

Bend forward, keeping back flat and abs in, and hold light-medium weights, elbows bent. Straighten the elbows to engage the triceps. Lower and repeat.

6. Deadlifts (Glutes, hamstrings and back)

Stand with feet hip-width apart, and hold weights in front of your thighs. Tip from the hips and lower weights towards the floor, keeipng your back flat and shoulders back. Return to start and repeat.

7. Static lunge (quads, hamstrings, glutes)

Stand in split stance and bend both knees, lowering into a lunge while keeping your front knee behind the toe. Lift back up and repeat before switching sides.

8. Squats (quads, hamstring, glutes)

Place a medium-heavy barbell on the upper back/shoulders or hold dumbbells in either hand. Bend the knees and lower into a squat, knees behind the toes. Push back to start and repeat.

9. Bicycle (abs)

Lie on the floor and bring the knees into the chest. Straighten the right leg as you twist the body, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee. Repeat on the other side in a cycling motion.

 Damian@FitnHealthy






Monday, 21 September 2015

30 Minute Cardio Tabata Workout

This 30 minute workout uses tabata intervals to get a high intensity cardio workout that works your full body. Both low impact and high impact options available so appropriate for all fitness levels. Great for calorie burning and losing fat, all while toning your whole body!


Sunday, 20 September 2015

Coconut Oil and Weight loss

Coconut oil and weight loss.

Many people think that because virgin coconut oil has a high proportion of saturated fat it is bad for you to eat. This is one of the greatest myths surrounding coconut oil and now turn to dispelling this myth and seeing how you can use coconut oil as a an aid to weight loss.

 The chemical make-up of coconut fats 90% of coconut oil is saturated fat. Sounds like a nightmare, doesn't it, but a closer examination reveals the surprising truth.

This is because most of the saturated fatty acids in coconut oil are what are known as medium chain triglycerides. Medium chain triglycerides are actually easier for your body to break down than other saturated fats. Especially those found in fast food and other artificially created products. This is because there are fundamental differences in the chain composition in these fats which mean
they are harder for your body to breakdown - which in turn means they are more likely to accumulate in your arteries and in your skin tissue. 

Further, the saturated fats in coconut oil - especially the Lauric acid actually increase the body's metabolism and promote optimal health of the thyroid and enzymes systems. Having a high metabolism means that the body burns calories at an increased rate. This is due to the acidity of your stomach acid and how effectively it can convert food to energy. Having a healthy gut will greatly
increase your chances of having a high metabolism and help you start shedding weight.

The enzymes contained within coconut oil actually act as catalysts to your stomach acid and help you break down fat at an increased rate- and as your metabolism is also increased you can burn a higher proportion of the calories you take in. They also help to promote a healthy gut by fighting bacteria and strengthening the stomach lining. Hence coconut oil actually is much better for you to use in cooking and food than other alternatives as it has added benefits not found in vegetable and olive oil.

Virgin coconut oil as it contains 50% Lauric acid is definitely well worth including in your diet. The easiest ways to do this are to replace your cooking oil with coconut oil - which incidentally is much more complimentary to the tastes of many foods, especially curries and stir-fry’s. Alternatively you can also use coconut milk more regularly in your cooking as it can be a key ingredient in
a variety of delicious curries.

Damian@FitnHealthy







Friday, 18 September 2015

The Benefit of Keeping Your Body and Mind Active through Fitness Workout Program

When you try to follow a dependable fitness workout program, it is also necessary to prepare the exact garment and footwear. This is crucial to make sure that when you exercise or train, you feel comfortable doing your routines.

When it comes to keeping the body healthier, we can say that effective fitness programs are the best choices today. Of course, it is very important to choose the most suitable training scheme that meets your fitness requirement. Remember that we all have different perceptions on why we need to stay fit and look athletic. This is the reason why you need to determine that the results of your training depend on your performance and determination. 
 
When you are trying to follow a dependable fitness workout program, it is necessary to prepare the exact outfit and footwear. This is crucial to make sure that when you exercise or train, you feel comfortable doing the routines. Just like many experienced fitness gurus out there, they invest quality footwear designed for fitness training. This is aside from buying healthy foods and supplements to improve their daily diet better. 

It is very important to perform the techniques properly to avoid any unwanted injury during the process. You have to follow the exact guidelines of the program to complete your training efficiently. This is the only way to reveal the best fitness results once you notice that your body starts to develop or tone up. During your free time, spend about 40-60 minutes to walk and jog because this particular strategy will help you lose weight gradually. 
Like what many professional gym instructors do, it is important that you give yourself a nice break and not forcing to exercise 7 days in a week. Remember that if you are busy working daily, your body and mind require proper resting to regain your energy better. If you force yourself to exercise daily, you may not discover positive results because of fatigue. Again, the best fitness workout program becomes effective if your mind and body function properly to complete your training. 

Do not lift heavy dumbbells just to develop muscles without following the guidelines of your fitness program. Stretching and breathing will also help you relax your body to execute your training correctly. Breathing helps in relaxing your mind while stretching flexes your muscles and bones to avoid strain before you start the routines. 

Once your body became used to this method, you can perform your training better even through regular basis. 
A dependable fitness workout program guarantees you the best wellness through proper workout discipline. The moment you start the training, you may also consider getting information using the Internet to increase your knowledge. The online world is the most dependable resource today that offers countless information for various purposes. Regarding fitness programs, we can reveal thousands of options available for both average and experienced fitness enthusiasts. 

Lastly, when you follow the best fitness regimen, you have to plan in reaching a positive goal to live healthy. Think about improving your stamina, physical strength and burn off those undesirable fats. If you have a goal like this, it is not impossible that you will see yourself enjoying a remarkable and healthful lifestyle.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Balance Training and Co-ordination




The definition of Athletic Intelligence is - the organized thought process of an athlete to increase athletic qualities which can include: speed, agility, endurance, balance, rotation, and determination. Athletic Intelligence is not limited to those who are currently participating in Sporting events. Average Joes and Pro Athletes alike can strengthen their athletic intelligence to increase multiple athletic qualities. When someone mentions functional training, you start to think about lifting heavy, jumping high, and moving fast, but what about the mental aspect?

Here are 5 ways to Improve Athletic Intelligence from body to thought:

Promote Balance Training & Coordination – Balance and Coordination are the building blocks of Athletic Intelligence because of their ability to increase performance of multiple athletic qualities. There are simple, yet effective exercises that can be worked into any current workout programming to promote these foundational skills. To take it one mental step forward, think about how you are balance your outside the gym obligations with your working out schedule and your free time.

Building Better Body Awareness –Within each exercise or drill you perform, break down the movement into slow motion and observe your position and how your body is aligned. Ask yourself questions: Does this look/feel uncomfortable? Am I turning too much? Can I perform this move more effectively? This will help you begin to understand how your body functions. Taking things slower, not only can improve your posture and position but also give you a greater appreciation for lifting when you are able to move with greater ease and fluidity.


Non-Dominant Side Training – After observing your body, you may notice that you have a Dominant and a Non-Dominant Side. Elevating the less coordinated side of your body through Non-Dominant Side Training will not only strengthen the skills of that side, but will encourage symmetry within the body. Symmetry within the body will help overall communication and coordination with your thought and functions in the gym.

Strengthen Core Muscles – Powerful and explosive movements start with strong core muscles. Incorporating workout and training styles that focus on pelvic, hip, and abdominal muscles like the WeckMethod RMT Club will give you an added oomph in each speed and agility stride.

Think Like An Athlete – The moment you decide to improve physical abilities is when you should start thinking like an athlete. Getting your mindset into the idea that you can continue to increase skills is the first step to improving Athletic Intelligence. Just having the desire and drive and want to do better can create a power mental and physical reaction.



 Source


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Does Acupuncture Help With Aches and Discomfort?

Acupuncture constitutes one of the oldest forms of alternative medicine that is still being practiced. It is popularly attributed to Traditional Chinese Medicine of the sixteenth century.

The Primitive Take on Acupuncture
The ancient science believed most of the health issues stemmed from the imbalance of energy. The fine, stainless steel needles were used to stimulate the 14 major energy channels in the body, building immunity and resistance to illnesses while helping the patient overcome apparent problems. Acupuncture was known to be an effective remedy for different health concerns ranging from minor aches and discomfort to major health problems.

The Modern Take on Acupuncture
The conventional science today explains the same phenomenon with different words. Instead of talking about "chi" (energy), the modern science explains the process of acupuncture as a means to stimulate specific anatomic sites or nerves in the body. This process seems to have profound impact on the health and well-being of the patient.
 
The modern science has accepted acupuncture as an unparalleled mode of treatment. The process is extremely intricate, demanding years of learning and expertise to locate specific target points on the body. Even the slightest miscalculation can have drastic consequences. This is why it is recommended to seek reputed professionals for acupuncture treatments. The process is now covered under the medical insurance offered by most companies, which explains the modern viewpoint on acupuncture.

Here's how acupuncture is known to help with aches and discomforts.

Acupuncture for Aches and Discomforts
Acupuncture is known to help with aches and discomfort just the way it works for other health problems. The acupuncturist starts by analyzing the body for problem areas, identifying the root cause of the ache. S/he may use additional equipment to identify other characteristics of the body in order to devise the correct treatment.

Small, fine and sterile needles will be used to reach and stimulate the nerves under your skin. This process is usually painless or may be accompanied with minor discomfort. The needles are left for a period of 5 to 40 minutes depending on the need. This does not only help invigorate the nerve cells and muscle tissues, it also steadies the blood flow, ensuring appropriate flow of nutrients to and from all parts of the body.

 In some cases, placement of needles in one part of the body may be able to help relieve tension in another part. The treatment is known to help in managing the pain associated with arthritis, stress, inappropriate posture, fibromyalgia, dental treatment and post-surgery problems. Although the relationship between acupuncture and pain relief is unclear, it nevertheless has helped several thousands of people in achieving optimal health.

In chronic cases, acupuncture will most likely be recommended in addition to other treatments. Acupuncture is not a holistic cure for all health problems. It may, however, be able to help you keep numerous complications at bay. Acupuncture does help in relieving aches and discomfort by revitalizing internal body functions for overall betterment.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The Fit Way to a Woman’s Health

Fitness, muscle-building and gym workouts have gone beyond the traditional all-male club. With the hype over fitness and health and a healthy lifestyle, women have joined the club as well. However, men and women have different fitness needs.

Women’s fitness and exercise needs are focused on the muscles of the upper back. Most of their exercise work-outs are also designed for the stomach muscles, especially those who have just given birth. At the same time, exercises for women are usually designed for weight loss. And while men tend to focus on muscle building whereas women work on toning their muscles, strength training is important for both.

Here are a few things to make you women out there go out and start building up your muscle strength.

Make the performance of your usual tasks easier with a physically strong body. Chores will be easier, lifting your kids, the grocery or the laundry will be a piece of cake. Consequently, it will reduce possible strain on the muscles and injury. Training can increase a woman’s strength by 30 to 50 percent.

Lose fat at the same time. A strength training done 2 to 3 times a week for a span of two months can result to two pounds of muscles and would mean a reduction of 3.5 pounds of fat. The more muscles and less fat, the faster is the metabolism, which ultimately means your body burns calories faster than normal.

Fight osteoporosis. Weight training increases spinal bone mineral density which means lesser chances of the risk of osteoporosis.

Fight heart disease and diabetes. Weight improvement improves cardiovascular health by lowering the bad cholesterol and blood pressure. It also improves glucose use in the body by 23 percent which reduces the risk of diabetes.

The road to a healthier you. Not only does it promote a healthier body, but it also develops a healthier attitude and a healthier heart. Women who engage in regular strength training are more confident, with a more positive outlook in life.

So how do you get started?

For those who lead very busy lifestyles, hitting the gym and starting on a regular fitness plan may seem the perfect way to keep fit. But for most, starting out on a regular walking exercise is the way to go. Start at a manageable rate. A 10 to 15 minute walk is a good way to start. Prior to a workout, make sure to stretch your major muscles. Work your muscles on the front of your thighs. Stretch your shoulder muscles by standing straight and rolling the shoulders backward in a circular motion. And of course, don’t forget to observe proper nutrition. Load up on water to prevent dehydration. Consume carbohydrates before starting on your work-out.

For those with joint and bone diseases, swimming may prove to be a less stressful activity for your muscles.

But the most important is, make time for your exercise. If you can’t hit the gym or start on a regular workout plan, make sure that your day is filled with enough physical activity that keeps you going and always on the go. Women’s fitness is the key to your beauty!

Brigi G | FitnHealthy

Monday, 14 September 2015

Lower Body Workout Routine Options, Machines, Dumbbells or Body Weight?

Many women and men think taking up a lower body workout means heading off to the gym and chewing up hours each day. 

This doesn’t have to be the case. 
You can train effectively using the hints below at home, while travelling or even at work.

Developing a lower body workout routine that actually works for your body can be challenging. 

You may identify with some of the most common obstacles that ordinary people come across when they decide to start working this area of the body:
Limited access to weight machines and other equipment.
Lack of knowledge about what exercises are effective and which ones are a waste of time.
Limited information about different movements and modifications of harder movements.
Inaccurate beliefs.

Lack of motivation
Inaccurate beliefs and the lack of knowledge about what exercises to perform are big problems for many people who want to start a good lower body workout routine. One of the most common inaccurate beliefs is that you have to use weight machines or other fitness equipment to work the lower body effectively.

It's true that the machines you see at gyms can be great tools for working the lower body muscles. But that doesn't mean that they’re vital for getting in a great workout. Far from it. You can use the weight from your own body to strengthen, tone and challenge the muscles in your lower body.
Here is just a small sampling of classic exercises that can be incorporated into a lower body workout routine with great results:

Squats. 
Stand with your legs about shoulder width apart. Have your hands either out in front or folded in front of your chest. Have your toes pointed slightly outwards. Keep your chest out, your midsection firm and head facing frontwards. Now squat as if you were going to sit down, leaning into your heels, until your backside is inline or parallel to the floor. Then using your thighs and butt push yourself back up again. Do not lock your knees out when returning to standing position. Keep your knees soft and the movement flowing. Continue with the second squat, then third etc until you have completed the set.

Lunges. 
Stand with your feet together. Keep your chest out and midsection firm, do not arch your back. With your hands on your hips or by your sides, step forward with a large stride. Bend both your knees. Your front leg should be at a 90 degree angle (your knee and shin should be in a straight line with your ankle). Your back leg should be extended behind you and your knee should be nearly touching the floor. Now with your front foot push up carefully to starting position. Keep yourself steady throughout the exercise. After you have performed the required amount of reps on that leg, swap to the other leg.

Step-Ups, along with various floor and mat exercises.
With just these exercises alone you can create a lower body workout routine that is very effective for sculpting and shaping your legs, hips, butt and thighs. And of course there are modifications you can also implement for each of these movements.
For instance, you can do a variety of different types of squats to target different lower body muscles in different ways:

Sumo squats with your legs very wide apart, squats with legs placed together, single-legged squats that exhaust the muscles one side at a time. 

Including a wide variety of floor exercises that mimic the work done on larger weight machines can really work wonders for your thighs and butt. You may need to do more reps than you would do of a movement with weight machinesFree Reprint Articles, but a lower body workout routine using only body weight can be highly effective.

Those who don't want to add bulk to the thighs and butt are often better off working with very light weight or no weight at all with this area of the body.

Damian@FitnHealthy


Sunday, 13 September 2015

Too tired to exercise ?

Too tired to exercise: Have your iron levels checked

If you already exercise and find you’re approaching your daily workout with excessive fatigue and lack of motivation, see your doctor and have your iron level checked. Your doctor can do a blood test called a ferreting level which measures your body’s stores of iron. Aerobic exercise can cause slow depletion of iron levels with iron being lost through sweating and through leakage of small amounts into the gut with sustained movements. Plus, it’s not uncommon for women of child bearing age to be iron deficient. If you’re iron deficient, iron supplementation may make all the difference in your energy levels and your attitude towards exercise.
   
Too tired to exercise: Exercise when you awaken in the morning

If you feel tired and less motivated to exercise in the evening, try setting your alarm thirty minutes early and get your exercise session out of the way before the day starts. An early morning exercise session can help to energize and motivate you for the rest of the day. Plus, you can look forward to an evening of relaxation knowing you’ve accomplished your goal. This can be a simple solution to the problem of being too tired to work out.

 Too tired to exercise: Do it anyway

Sometimes the best cure for fatigue is a vigorous exercise session. Have you ever noticed how you can walk into the health club exhausted but after thirty minutes of motion you feel energized and invigorated? There’s nothing like exercise to get your blood flowing and zap fatigue. If it’s difficult for you to get motivated to make that trip to the club, promise yourself a small reward after you finish your session if you follow through. Just make sure it’s not a jelly donut!

Too tired to exercise: Lighten up your workout

On nights that you’re too tired to work out, follow a lighter, less rigorous routine. To motivate yourself to take the first step, tell yourself you’ll only exercise for ten minutes. After ten minutes have elapsed chances are you’ll feel so invigorated that you’ll want to keep going.

Too tired to exercise: Change your exercise format

If you feel fatigued with a lack of motivation towards exercise on a particular evening, change your workout entirely and substitute something fun. Instead of walking thirty minutes on the treadmill at the club, take your dog for a brisk walk or do thirty minutes of stretches while you watch your favorite T.V. show. You can get back on schedule the next time you exercise and the variety will be good for you both physically and mentally.

Give these tips a try and soon you’ll no longer need the old excuse of being too tired to work out. Plus, you’ll look and feel like a new person

Damian@FitnHealthy

Saturday, 12 September 2015

7 Ways to Boost Your Energy

Everyone would like to feel more energetic during the day.  You naturally go through periods of higher activity which contrasts with times of relaxation. 



The problem occurs when more energy and concentration is required than we can give. Or when we try to sleep and can’t. Follow these invaluable tips to a new you!

1) Stay on a regular sleep schedule.  You can’t stay up late during the week-end and suddenly on Monday morning wake up refreshed.  If you do enjoy later nights on Friday and Saturday vow to get to bed early on Sunday to wake up rested.

2) Avoid the sugar and caffeine roller coaster.  Eat some protein and foods with a bit of fat in the morning.  The brain needs protein and the body does not store it.  You don’t have to eat very much- a glass of low fat milk, a piece of cheese, or a  handful of nuts will get you going instead of pure carbohydrates like a plain bagel. 

3) Take a 5-10 minute power nap around lunch.  Even if you just close your eyes and let your mind drift you will be refreshed for the afternoon.  This is also effective anytime you feel yourself not concentrating, reading the same material over and over.  Give in to the urge and completely relax for a few moments.

4) Drink more water and liquids.  I know, everyone says to drink more fluids.  But most Americans are in a constant state of dehydration from filling up on coffee, tea, and sodas with caffeine.  This is very stressful to the kidneys and can cause irritation to the bladder.  Keep a sports bottle filled with your favorite flavored water or just plain and keep it with you at all times.  Set a goal- empty by lunch, refill, empty again by the time work is over. Carry plenty of water in the car too for you and your family.

5) Exercise regularly.  This is easier said than done with a busy schedule.  A poor conditioning level causes you to be short-of-breath and your heart to race when just doing simple things like climbing a flight of steps or doing household chores.  Park farther away when shopping and walk Dust off that exercise machine or get an exercise tape to play when weather is bad. Set an example for the rest of your family and maybe they will join in too!

 
6) A joke a day keeps the doctor away.  Seriously, laughter has many beneficial effects on the body.  The brain chemicals for experiencing pleasure, happiness, and peace increase with good, hearty  laughs.  Live alone?  Get a funny movie or watch a light-hearted comedy on tv.  Nothing sarcastic or put-down, however.

7) Avoid confrontations and situations with negative people.  You know who they are.  They are not going to change but they will bring you and your mood down.  The complainers, gossipers, and generally unhappy souls we all have to deal with on a day-to-day basis drain our energy if we allow them. Be polite but avoid arguing or getting hooked into listening to their constant problems.

8) Take regular, daily supplements of the highest quality.  Our food and diets simply do not meet the amounts needed for maximum health.  There is a difference between avoiding nutritional deficiencies and optimum performance.

Damian@FitnHealthy

Friday, 11 September 2015

Five Ways to Make Your Indoor Cycling Workout Fun and Entertaining

   
 It's no secret that exercise is a critical element in a healthy lifestyle. It's also no secret that time devoted to working out at home can be tedious and easy to avoid. This article presents a few ideas for putting a little necessary spark into an indoor cycling routine. It will leave the reader looking forward to the next opportunity to take their indoor cycle for a spin.

Anyone with an eye on maintaining their health and fitness knows the importance of regular exercise. This knowledge is the major motivation behind the robust sales of home exercise equipment over the past few decades. 

Everyone starts out with abundant enthusiasm about how they plan to get on that treadmill, rowing machine or indoor cycle every day and finally get into the best shape of their lives. After all, they reason, if the equipment is readily available right inside their home, what possible reason could there be for them to fail at meeting their goals?
Reality sets in when treading, rowing or cycling gets to be monotonous and tedious. One workout looks depressingly like every other workout and the scenery never changes. This could be a recipe for failure.
Before you turn on the 6:00 news while you pump out another grueling session on the indoor cycle, consider a few more interesting options to add a little more fun to your time.
1) Buy a DVD on location. There are literally hundreds of cycling videos available. Many are road trip excursions where you can ride through the streets of Paris or along the Pacific Coast Highway. You get to enjoy the sights and sounds of another venue while you take care of your health. You can either listen to the music on the DVD or turn down the sound and use your own playlist for inspiration.
2) Buy a classroom DVD. These DVDs are instructor-led classes where you are actually part of a cycling class in a gym. Other students are exerting themselves right alongside of you as the instructor prompts you to stand, sit or increase the tension on your bike while offering words of encouragement. Some of these instructors can be hypnotically inspirational.
 
3) Create a proprietary area in your home for your cycling. Skip the living room or family room where other people and distractions abound. Create a secluded area where you can shut the door, turn off the lights, light a candle, set up the DVD player and get into the mood for your activity. Make it a special time devoted to you alone.

4) Find an exercise app or website where you can log your progress. Accountability is a great way to add inspiration to any endeavor. Find like-minded people on social media and set up challenges for each other. A competitive spirit can push you further than any sense of obligation you may feel to your exercise program.

5) Dress for success. Avoid the faded old shorts and torn tee shirt. Proper biking shorts and jersey will make you feel like the athlete you are. If you were willing to put your money into buying your own indoor cycle, you should be willing to extend your commitment by investing in one or two sets of appropriate workout garb. Looking the part will inspire you to act the part.
Working to achieve a fit and healthy body begins with a fit and healthy mental attitude. Anything you can do to add interest and spark to your workout routine will pay off in huge benefits on your cycle.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

How to balance indulgences and fitness


Indulge and Get Fit
The key to a healthy and happy life lies in finding balance, not in denying yourself life’s basic pleasures like comfort food and TV. Provided you can balance things out with exercise and healthier food choices, you can and, arguably, should indulge yourself.
The basic principle of it is familiar because we’ve all had it drummed in us when we were growing up: if you worked for it – you can have it.


It’s all about whether you deserve to have an extra hour of playing a video game or eating a chocolate or not. And it works, if you pay for it, first.

Food Indulgence
Food indulgences are tricky since you can’t let yourself have something nice and comforting after every training session otherwise you’ll cancel all out all of your hard work. It really comes down to using a simple formula correctly. If your body is getting the extra food = energy to burn in, it has no reason to dig into your reserves. So it’s not a good idea to have a chocolate after each run unless you have run over 10K and will have a calorific deficit even after a mars bar, for example. You can, however, make your “payment” in installments over several training sessions. So three full training sessions earn you a meal of your choosing or a treat. It doesn’t mean you can have a bucket of ice-cream, of course, but it does mean that in moderation you can have anything you want.
Food indulgences are important for keeping your spirit strong. If you have something to look forward to, it’ll be easier to put up with your training regime and you’ll feel happier and not deprived all the time. I suppose you could say that by doing it this way you can have your cake and eat it - sort of.

TV & Video games
These are fun, especially good quality series and good quality games not something you watch and play out of boredom. The TV or games aren’t the problem, the constant sitting down and idleness is. Our bodies are designed to work and are their happiest when they have been exercised. This is indeed the situation of “use it or lose it”. And most of us spend a lot of time sitting down all day so we need a lot of extra activity to compensate for that already.
There is a good way to fix that, get fit in the process and still indulge in viewing and playing: pay in exercise in advance. As a matter of fact, make a price list for yourself consisting of basic routines that you have to perform before you get to have your fun. So to watch one episode of your favorite series you have to first do 20 burpees or you can’t play a game until you do 40 squats. Every fun, but idle activity has to have a pricetag on it so that all of the sitting down is accounted for.
It's all in the balance
Eventually you get used to the daily exercise and won’t even think about it twice. It’ll become as normal as brushing your teeth; and to be fair it should be just as much part of your life as that for you to get and stay fit.
It’s all in the balance and in being accountable for everything you do. Eating lots of sweets and fries and then promising to be good “on Monday” doesn’t work because come Monday, you’ll be saying “I meant next Monday”. What’s better? To promise be better tomorrow, eat fries and feel good for five minutes or work for your fries first and then feel good long-term? And if everything else fails and things get out of hand, you can always use Scarlett o’Hara’s wise words “I’ll eat it tomorrow” (yes, I am pretty sure that’s what she said).
Earn your play time and you’ll never feel guilty about it ever again.

Source

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

A Guide to Natural Sleep Aids

Everyone has experienced occasional lost sleep. But, lost sleep on a regular basis is a cause of concern and might be a symptom of insomnia. If you are one of the many suffering from insomnia, you can choose from a wide variety of sleeping aids.

One such option you can choose is by using natural sleep aids. These all-natural sleeping aids are usually herbs, foods, or methods that are used to promote sleep. Some of the most popular natural sleeping aids include the following:

Valerian

This herb's use as a sleeping aid can be traced back to centuries ago. Interestingly, valerian works similarly to conventional sleeping pills. By increasing the levels of GABA, a calming neurotransmitter in the brain, valerian induces drowsiness and sleepiness.

You can take valerian an hour before bedtime as an extract, tea, or capsule. You can experience its full effect after a week or two of regular intake. 

Light

The level of light the body is exposed to produces different reactions. A lot of light signals the body to wake up while a decrease in it induces the body to sleep. However, slight differences in the level of exposure may confuse the body and cause irregular sleep. For example, if you stay indoors with minimal lighting during the day, the body might not recognize the shift between night and day. To increase chances of better sleep, expose yourself to more light by walking around the neighborhood in the morning or early afternoon.

Aromatherapy

This form of therapy relies on your body's response to certain olfactory signals. Scents like lavender, chamomile, and ylang ylang work well in calming your body and mind. You can try putting lavender sachets in your pillow or adding lavender oil to your bath water. You can also try sipping chamomile tea before going to bed.

Relaxation Techniques

Insomnia or lack of sleep is often due to the stress you feel. Practicing relaxation techniques prior to your bedtime increases your chances of having a better sleep. Some methods you may want to consider include deep breathing, visualization, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation.  

Sleep-friendly Diet

Different foods have varying effects on your sleeping pattern. Whereas caffeine and sugar-rich foods can disrupt your sleep, foods rich in tryptophan and magnesium can help you sleep better and longer. Including foods like milk, turkey, legumes, dark greens, and nuts in your diet is a good way to boost your body's tryptophan and magnesium levels.

Music

According to studies, slow and soft music can soothe and relax the body. By playing soft tunes before bedtime, your body becomes primed for sleep. Sounds of nature like water flowing through rocks or chirping birds are also good choices.

Exercise

Regular physical activity boosts your body's endorphin levels. Endorphins, also known as the body's feel-good hormones, relax and soothe the body. Exercise also relieves muscle tension and stress which promotes deep sleep. However, keep in mind not to exercise close to one's bedtime as this can increase adrenaline levels and induce insomnia.

Damian@FitnHealthy

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Why Measuring is Important to Fitness

Improving fitness is a performance-based concept. Fitness is generally related to improved health and wellness, both physically and mentally. Most people associate fitness to lower weight. This is not always the case.

 Let us begin by reviewing a definition of fitness:
 "Total Fitness is the ability to combine disease avoidance, efficiency in everyday life, ability to do desired activities, (e.g. sports, dancing, playing with children), healthy mental attitude, and good social behaviors, in order to achieve an optimal quality of life.

[1]
  This definition of fitness calls for enhancing both the physical and mental qualities of life. For a review of how psychological activity relates to fitness, see "Do Not Underestimate the Psychological Affects of Fitness". The best way to determine fitness is to establish measurements that relate to the above definition. Measurements are the best way to determine performance.
Why are measurements so important? Measurements are the premise for feedback. Feedback links directly to improving performance. In a research project conducted by Miriam Erez it was found that feedback, "Facilitates the display of individual differences in self-set goals on the basis of knowledge of individual past performance. Then when self-goals are set, it provides knowledge for future performance to be consistent with the self-set goals.

[2] " Feedback begins with a study of your current reality, e.g. current body fat percent, body circumference. The next step is to create a vision that establishes a desired future state. Once this is done you need to define the measurements for the future state using the same measurement criteria you used to determine your current reality. After completing this step, it is easy to compare the two measurements and realize the performance gap. It is important to realize that knowing this information (knowledge) does not ensure a change in performance. How you use the information (monitoring & action) dictates change that leads to performance that is more effective.
 

Now that we understand knowledge alone does not lead to performance improvement, it is important to understand how monitoring can lead to action resulting in performance change. This concept becomes more important as you learn to take accountability for sustained fitness.

Many people hire personal trainers because of their ability to establish measurements and monitor the progress of their clients. Unfortunately, this can lead to dependence on the trainer. This is bad for two reasons. First, the dependency is costly. Second, it transfers the client's performance accountability to the trainer. When the client decides to cease using the personal trainer, there has not been enough learning on the client's part, to transfer the skill sets of monitoring and action planning for continued fitness performance. Consequently, the client often abandons their monitoring resulting in non-performance. This often leads to abandoning fitness development and a regression back to the previous state.

Performance improvement accountability rests with the individual. When hiring a personal trainer it is important to make sure the trainer's focus is to educate the client on the monitoring process and provide them with the skills and tools to monitor their own performance. There are several internet and PDA tools available via the internet. These tools provide goal setting, body measurements, food monitoring, calorie tracking, activity tracking, and behavioral tools, e.g. mood monitoring and journals. Monitoring tools establish feedback, e.g. calories burned vs. calories consumed, activity calorie expenditure, and comparison of mood-to-calories. Individuals who establish fitness goals and use such tools have a better chance of achieving the self-fitness goals than those who do not.

Monitoring and feedback also establish effective performance behavior patterns. Once the link between feedback and successful results are established, people make the connection between what they did, and the improved performance results, i.e. when a person sees a correlation between reduced body inches and intense resistance training; they are more likely to continue the resistance training on their own. Over time, a person who monitors his protein, carbohydrates, and fats soon recognize the foods that provide the right balance of these nutrients. 
They then instinctively begin to select the right foods and portions that keep their nutrition program on track. Monitoring is self-regulated and feedback is done on an exception basis, i.e. a person realizes they have eaten too much for the holiday and records the data for that holiday, sees how much they have detoured from their nutritional program, and what they need to do to correct the situation.

Feedback through monitoring becomes less cumbersome and frustrating as you move to a maintenance program vs. a progressive fitness program. The people who sustain fitness and continuously improve fitness always have well established feedback-monitoring systems in place. These tools have become second nature to them, because of the repetition. You never want to eliminate monitoring and feedback. As you reach your goals and establish a maintenance program, you will use these tools less, but never abandon them. 

You need to find the right monitoring and feedback tools that work for you. Everyone has different needs and different circumstances. The important point is to find monitoring and feedback tools that you will use. Once the tools become second nature you will become more proficient at designing and implementing a strategy for fitness.

Source:Vic Vogel

Monday, 7 September 2015

5 Components of Physical Fitness

While the definition of physical fitness can be a little complex or unclear and the definition of physical fitness can vary, most government health agencies and exercise scientists agree that there are 5 components of physical fitness related to health. 

These components provide a fairly accurate representation of how fit and healthy the body is as a whole (total or overall fitness). 

The 5 components are cardiovascular fitness (also referred to as cardio-respiratory endurance or cardiovascular endurance), muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition.
Let's take a closer look at these components individually.
 
 1.) Cardiovascular fitness (or cardio-respiratory endurance or cardiovascular endurance)
Of the 5 components, cardiovascular fitness is the cornerstone that creates the pathway to improving your other fitness levels.
Cardiovascular fitness is the efficiency with which the body (the heart and lungs) delivers oxygen and nutrients to the required working muscles and transports waste products from the cells over a sustained period of time. Or to put it another way, it's the ability of your heart and lungs to work together to provide the necessary oxygen and fuel to your body without quickly reaching a high level of fatigue and tiredness.
In our daily lives, we need cardiovascular fitness to handle the physical tasks and all of the "running around" we do.
A common test of cardiovascular fitness usually involves some type of sustained running. But typical examples of physical activities that relate to cardiovascular fitness are jogging, swimming, cycling, brisk or speed walking and any type of aerobic exercises. Aerobic exercise is the best way to improve cardiovascular fitness.

2.) Muscular strength
Muscular strength is the maximum amount of force (weight or heavy resistance) a muscle or muscle group can generate in a single effort to the point that no more repetitions can be done without rest. Muscular strength is quite the opposite of cardiovascular fitness in regards to the fact that cardiovascular fitness is measured over a certain period of time. While on the other hand, muscular strength is measured in one repetition.
In our daily lives, we need modest levels of strength to be able to perform everyday physical tasks like lifting, moving, carrying, etc.
A common test to measure upper body strength is some type of weightlifting exercise, such as the bench press. Anaerobic weightlifting exercises like the bench press, leg press, shoulder press, or bicep curls are examples of the best ways to improve muscular strength.
 
 
3.) Muscular endurance
Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to perform repeated movements (or to hold a particular position) with less than maximum force for an extended period of time or until muscular fatigue. Or, to put it simplistically, it's how long your muscles can do something before getting too exhausted to finish.
Be careful not to confuse muscular endurance with muscular strength. While they can work together, they are definitely not the same. For many athletes, there may be a need to distinguish between muscular strength and muscular endurance. But for everyday people who want to easily perform their daily routines, are trying to stay healthy and fit, and just want to enjoy physical activities like hiking, biking, or just playing in the park with their children, muscular endurance plays a major role in fitness.
Common testing for muscular endurance can be dynamic (the ability to repeat contractions) or static (the ability to sustain a contraction). Dynamic tests would be to see how many push-ups or sit-ups, for example, a person can complete in a designated amount of time (e.g. 30 seconds, a minute, or maybe longer). Or, without being timed, the person could do as many repetitions of the exercise as they could until they couldn't do anymore. An example of a static test would be the flexed-arm hang whereby the performer hangs on a bar until the designated stopping time or until they become too weak to continue hanging.
Muscular endurance can be improved by both aerobic and anaerobic exercises. Some examples would be biking, step machines and elliptical machines.

4.) Flexibility
Flexibility is the ability to move the joints or any group of joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons through their full, normal range of motion without hindrance, discomfort, or pain.
Flexibility is actually more important to physical fitness than people realize. Not only does flexibility play a big role in performing many daily tasks, but maintaining or even increasing your flexibility is critical to protecting your joints and keeping them healthy. In addition, being flexible contributes to improving your lower back health, reducing the appearance and effects of arthritis, and reducing muscle-tendon injuries.
Not everyone has the same flexibility or flexibility requirements. Your flexibility tells you how limber you are. And, when it comes to testing your flexibility fitness level, the sit-and-reach test is most often used.
Stretching is the best way to improve flexibility. And, most fitness experts recommend a daily routine of static stretches for each joint.

5.) Body composition
Body composition is the percentage of fat in your body compared to your lean body mass (muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, organs, etc.).

Body composition is a better indicator of your overall fitness condition than body weight. So understand that your total body weight or what you see on your bathroom scale does not tell you how much fat or lean body mass (muscle) you have.
Body composition is useful in helping to determine health risks. Therefore, knowing your body composition and how it relates to your overall fitness level is essential. An optimal ratio of fat mass to lean mass is a clear indicator of good fitness.
 
Your body composition is a consequence of the extent that you perform the other components of physical fitness. In other words, when you improve the other four components, it will have a positive impact on body composition resulting in less body fat. Alternatively, when you have a high body fat content ratio, you are considered overweight or possibly obese. And, it negatively affects the other fitness components as well as your daily performance, your appearance, and your overall health.
There are several methods that can be used to calculate body composition. The best method is underwater weighing. But due to the expense, this isn't practical for the everyday person. Incidentally, if you can go to a university or some other place that is set up to do it, it would be well worth your time to check it out. Therefore, the most common method of determining your body composition is skinfold readings - using skinfold calipers and taking measurements from certain areas of your body.
A regular program involving aerobic exercise and strength training can help you decrease your body fat and increase your muscle mass; and thereby, significantly improving your body composition and general overall health and fitness.

In conclusion, you now know that being fit is not just about being able to bench press a lot of weight, but you also need to know how well you can handle running a mile, for example, and a few other things. The key is that by understanding the 5 components of physical fitness, you'll be better able to assess your fitness level and determine what specific health and fitness goals you'd like to achieve.

Source:Donald Holland Ezine

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Are You Overdoing It?

Have you started to dread working out? Not the normal, "I don't feel like it today," but a deeper, "I can't do it" signal coming from your muscles themselves? While most would blame it on laziness, you may be pushing yourself too far; it happens more than one might think. So often, in fact, that it actually has a name: overtraining. "Exercise is like taking two steps forward, and rest is one step back," says C.C. Cunningham, owner of PerformENHANCE Sport and Adventure Athlete Training in Chicago and a spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise. "In order to take the next step forward, you need to take one step back with rest. If you overtrain, you never get past step one and your workouts become hard."
The irony of exercise is that while it's so good for your body it actually causes damage to the muscles. Not damage in the conventional negative sense but a "good" kind of damage that the body adapts to, overcomes, and gets stronger because of. Namely, when weight training, you cause small tears—known as microtears—in the muscle, which stimulate muscles to adapt both in size and chemistry. During aerobic exercise, another kind of damage occurs, because the muscles utilize oxygen to make energy from fuels like glucose and glycogen. When you're exercising extra hard or for a long time, the body goes into anaerobic cell metabolism, where the muscles use only glucose for energy and produce lactic acid. This buildup of lactic acid causes your muscles to feel fatigued. Between workouts, your muscles clear out the lactic acid and rebuild themselves and their glucose and glycogen stores. The effects of overtraining manifest themselves when you don't give your body enough R and R between workouts. The next time you exercise, your muscles' energy levels won't be refurbished and your body won't be ready to handle the "good" damage. The more run-down your body becomes, the less you'll gain from your training activity. Workouts that were once easy become hard, because your body simply lacks the energy to perform.
As for the exact cause of overtraining, some researchers attribute it to a low energy supply to the muscles, which forces the body to discourage more exercise until stores can be replenished. Others blame free radicals—groups of atoms that build up during endurance training and damage muscle cells. When you start accumulating a lot of free radicals, you may start damaging tissue faster than you can repair it—thus your power, speed, and endurance may decline.

So, how much is too much? While there is no specific quantity of exercise that will induce overtraining, "It would be just as normal for a marathoner who usually runs ten miles a day to overtrain on fifteen miles as it would for a sprinter to overtrain after running straight through for an hour," says Cunningham. Overtraining is much more common, she notes, in athletes who train six to seven days per week than those working out only three to four times per week. "The condition is common among fitness enthusiasts who work out more than once a day and those who do high-impact exercises, like running," notes Declan Connolly, Ph.D., director of the University of Vermont's Human Performance Laboratory. Cunningham adds, "We see it in a lot of people who are exercising to lose weight and who may train one hour a day, seven days a week."

To anyone who works out on a regular basis, the effects of overtraining are quickly noticeable. "Overtraining makes you unable to exercise at your customary level," explains Michael Kellman, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Sports Science, University of Potsdam, Germany, and author of Optimal Recovery: Preventing Underperformance in Athletes. The physical symptoms include impaired performance, vulnerability to injuries, loss of appetite, weight-loss, disturbed sleep, an increased susceptibility to illness, an elevated resting heart rate and possibly hormonal changes. "Rather than feeling like you want to slow down or take a few days off," Connolly says, "you'll feel like you want to quit altogether."
 
 The most obvious remedy is downtime. "As soon as you start to feel symptoms, take at least one week off," advises Cunningham. "Gradually go back to what you were doing before, but start with lighter, shorter workouts and slowly work your way back." Taking a day or two of rest between workouts won't set you back either, says Connolly. In fact, it will improve your performance. "Alternate your workouts between low and high intensity," Connolly advises, "or do something you wouldn't normally do—take a swim or go for a slow bike ride." Make lifestyle changes by concentrating on getting a good amount of rest and eating a balanced diet. "The repair process requires protein to rebuild tissue, and carbohydrates and fat to fuel it," says Cunninghan.

How to avoid it? Listen to your body. "If a workout feels bad or if you just don't have the energy, then go home," urges Cunningham. Or try a workout that stresses a different muscle group or that incorporates cross-training into your fitness program. "Cross-training develops better all-around fitness," says Connolly. "It addresses aerobic fitness, anaerobic fitness, and strength while at the same time helping you maintain better functionality of movement." Cross-training also helps to balance muscle strength, making it less likely that you'll reach an overtrained state. The bonus, says Connolly: "It really prevents boredom"

Source Laura Kenney

Friday, 4 September 2015

7 Principles of Healthy Eating

The remedy for eating better isn’t deprivation, blandness, or a rigid diet―it’s incorporating good habits into your life. The key to eating right and maintaining weight is a plan that fits your life. Consider these points…


1. Know Yourself

Some people revel in the art of food preparation. For others, the microwave is a lifesaver. What matters is that you find a healthy way to cook and eat that works for you. If you love a large, sit-down dinner, for example, ignore conventional wisdom that says it's best to eat lots of small meals (just be sure not to snack all day if you plan to feast at night).

Do You Need to Worry About These 12 Health Symptoms?

Knowing yourself also means planning for pitfalls. If, say, you often nosh while you work, keep food as far from your desk as possible or bring in a healthy snack from home. If your downfall is salty junk food, don't eat directly from a multi-serving package; take out a handful and put the rest away.

Slight changes don't feel like sacrifice, says Brian Wansink, a professor of marketing and nutritional science at Cornell University, but they do make a difference: "Eating 200 fewer calories a day can mean 20 pounds of weight lost in a year."


2. Mix It Up

It's easy to say "Eat more vegetables," but what about people who don't like spinach and broccoli? With a little attention to food prep, even vegephobes should be able to find greens (and oranges and reds) that are appealing.

"People, when they cook, focus on the recipe for meat," says Margo Wootan, the director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "Then they serve plain steamed broccoli on the side. And that's boring. You need to put the same care into vegetables." Wootan suggests dipping Brussels sprouts in Dijon mustard or sautéing spinach, collards, or Swiss chard with garlic―or bacon.

Think about using leftover or fresh vegetables in risottos, soups, casseroles, and stews and putting leftovers in breakfast frittatas or pureeing them with olive oil to make a spread or a dip for a sandwich or an appetizer, suggests Laura Pensiero, who co-wrote The Strang Cancer Prevention Cookbook.

Another benefit of piling on the vegetables is that you can pump up the volume of a meal, even as you trim calories. By adding water-rich vegetables and fruits and substituting leaner cuts of meat in a recipe, you can create lower-calorie, healthier meals--and trick yourself into thinking you're eating as much as you always have.




3. Eat Less Meat

The mainstays of a healthy diet should be grains, nuts, and seeds, as well as non-starchy vegetables and fruits, rather than meat. Whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat bread) provide fiber, which aids the digestive system and makes you feel fuller, and B vitamins, which can boost energy and aid metabolism. Nuts and seeds contain nutrients, such as vitamin E in almonds and sunflower seeds, that are otherwise hard to come by. Legumes―including beans, soybeans, peanuts, and lentils―provide fiber, too, along with protein, iron, folate, and other nutrients. Replacing meat with legumes as a protein source is a good strategy for reducing saturated-fat intake.



It's easier than you think to work these foods into your day. Open up a can of kidney beans or chickpeas and add them to soup, chili, or pasta. Or try a bowl of fortified breakfast cereal, 1 1/2 ounces of shelled sunflower seeds on a salad, or two ounces of almonds. You'll be one of the less than 3 percent of Americans who get the recommended daily dose of vitamin E.




4. Eat Less Meat

When it comes to fats, there's perhaps no other area of nutrition in which researchers have learned so much and confused so many consumers in the process. What you need to know is this: Fat has more calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein, so if you're trying to maintain or lose weight, limit the amount of fat you eat.



That said, not all fats affect the body equally. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are the "good" fats; they're found in nut and vegetable oils and oily fish, such as salmon, trout, and herring. They don't raise blood cholesterol levels and may even reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems. According to the American Heart Association, eating seafood with omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and sardines, twice a week may reduce the risk of certain forms of heart disease.

Saturated and trans fats, also known as the "bad" fats, are found in dairy and beef products and palm and coconut oils. The more of them you eat, the higher your risk of cardiovascular disease. Trans fats are also found in French fries and many commercially baked products, such as cookies and crackers, but are becoming less common.




5. Watch Those Portions...

Even as you try to eat foods that are loaded with nutrients, pay attention to the overall amount you consume. Brian Wansink, a professor of marketing and nutritional science at Cornell University, explains that people have three measures of satiety: starving, could eat more, and full.

"Most of the time, we're in the middle," he says. "We're neither hungry nor full, but if something is put in front of us, we'll eat it." He suggests announcing out loud, "I'm not really hungry, but I'm going to eat this anyway." This could be enough to deter you, or to inspire you to eat less.

Restaurants bring challenges, because portions are huge and tend to be high in fat and sodium. "Eating out has become a big part of our diet, about a third of our calories," says Wootan. "When eating out, we should apply the same strategies we do at home―not on your birthday, but on a Tuesday night when there's no time to cook."

One strategy: Share an entrée. You'll eat a healthier portion size and also save money.

6. Eat, Don't Drink, Your Calories

Beverages don't fill you up in the same way that foods do: Studies have shown that people eat the same amount whether or not they wash down their food with a 150-calorie drink. And most beverages don't contribute many nutrients.

In fact, all you really need is water, says Barry Popkin, head of the division of nutrition epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill. "In a historical context," says Popkin, aside from breast milk, "we drank only water in the first 190,000 years of our existence.

7. Cut-Out Packaged Foods and Read Labels

Be aware that three-quarters of the sodium and most of the trans fats and added sugar Americans ingest come from packaged foods.

The trick is to turn a blind eye to all the enticing claims on the fronts of packages―low-fat, low-net-carbs, zero trans fats!―as some are empty, some are unregulated, and some are misleading. Instead, cast a critical eye over the nutrition-facts box. Look first at calories, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium.

Saturated fat and sodium are presented in grams and milligrams, respectively, and as a percentage of the recommended limit of what we should eat in a day; calories and trans fats are listed simply as amounts. If the numbers seem high, check out a few competing products to see if you can do better.

Note that you may need to multiply if there's more than one serving in a package and you realistically expect to eat two or three servings. Also read the figures for fiber, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and E. These are the nutrients you need to be eating more of every day.

Source