Monday, June 13, 2016

Slow Reps Produce Fantastic Results

Most people get in a routine when they are lifting weights and they often end up not making the progress and growth they were expecting.  You might be one of the people who show up at the gym and go through the same weights and reps and get out of there.  Then you complain that you are not seeing the results.

One of the problems with muscles is they have a memory and once you keep doing the same weight every time the muscle doesn't have to strain to achieve the sets you are doing.  Muscle memory can keep you from making strides in your strength and fitness level.

One of the innovative methods of building muscle is not hard to incorporate into your workout.  It involves using light weights but using very slow and controlled movements.  Let's say you normally lift about 200 lbs with the bench press and do five reps.  With the controlled bench press you could drop that weight down to 120 lbs and do a 10 second count bringing the bar up and a 10 second count bringing the weight down.

Most people are surprised how tired they get by doing light weights in a slow and deliberate manner.  People starting out on this type of weight lifting regimen often have a hard time adjusting because they are not doing the fast reps they are used to.

When you do regular sets of heavier weights, there is usually lots of excess movement and this takes away from keying on just the muscles you want to use.  You can probably remember seeing someone straining to do a rep on a bench press in which they a arching their back and basically straining their whole body.  These types of reps don't really allow you to make the improvements you can make when you do slow, controlled reps.

If you plan to start using the slow, controlled program of lifting, you will have to adjust your time spent at the gym.  These workouts will take longer and you won't be able to work on all the different muscles because of the time and fatigue factors.

Make sure you give your body enough time to recover from this innovative type of workout.  You can start out with maybe on day a week of doing this type of workout and slowly increase your number of slow rep workouts as your body adjusts to this type of weightlifting.  Let your body tell you when you are ready to do another workout with slow reps.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

How is Your Fitness Level?

More and more people are aware of the importance of getting and staying fit.  There is no doubt about the health advantages of keeping at a high level of fitness.  Studies have shown that physically fit people have a longer life expectancy than people who are not fit.

An important point to remember is it is never to late to start a fitness program, and this includes senior citizens.  There are many success stories of older people who went through life being overweight and in poor health who turned their lives around by taking that first step and starting a fitness regimen.

The easiest way to start a fitness program is to start walking.  This is one of the least stressful exercises on your body and you can start with small walks, several times a week.  Any kind of movement increases your metabolism and helps with your heart.

When starting out on a program it is important to follow three key warm-up steps.  These three steps are:

  • stretching - loosen up your muscles but don't strain them before beginning your workout
  • make sure you have proper attire, especially comfortable shoes
  • check your heart rate and know what your maximum heart rate is for your age
Beginning a fitness regimen can seem daunting, especially if you are overweight.  The key is to start slow and don't overdo it.  You should try and incorporate a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic activity. Your aerobic activity can be walking, jogging, swimming, aerobics classes, or using elliptical machines. 

Many women and even men like to use Pilates classes as one of their main fitness programs.  Pilates involves doing controlled movements to help with flexibility, strength, body alignment, breathing, and coordination.

For an anaerobic workout, the best one would be weight training.  You can use free weights or weight machines.  You want to put some stress on your muscles and begin to tone them.  Start out with a weight that you can do 10 reps with without too much strain and gradually increase the amount of weight.  The key here is not to overdo it and end up with a strained or torn muscle. 

A popular fitness schedule is to do an aerobic activity 3 or 4 times a week and anaerobic activity 3 times a week.  You can modify your training to suit your fitness level and time available.  But, do not skip a week if possible because you will lose the consistency you need to see results.  

I personally lift weights 3 times a week and the days I don't lift weights I usually jog.  You can pick one day a week to rest from training to help your body recover.  

Keeping a journal is a great way to gauge your progress and keep you focused on specific goals. Some people want to start training for a marathon while the majority of people just want to lose weight and feel fitter.  The only limitations are your current health status and how much time you want to devote to your fitness goals.  

Before starting your workout program, it is a good ideas to see your doctor and make sure there are not limitations health wise.  In just a week you will start feeling more energetic and looking forward to each workout.  

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Is the Vegan Diet Right for You?

Many more people are switching over to a vegan diet and lifestyle for various reasons, including weight loss, improving energy, fighting diseases, and wanting to avoid animal food products.  Does a change to a vegan diet help in dealing with these issues?  The answer is yes, but there are still concerns that need to be addressed.

Many people think of a vegan diet as just eating anything that is not an animal food product like, meats, dairy products, and animal fats.  While a vegan diet revolves around a plant-based diet, many vegans abuse the diet by eating unhealthy, foods like chips, deserts, and other processed foods.

People who eat a lot of processed foods end up gaining weight and developing health issues.  They decide the diet doesn't work and the end up trying many other diets, not realizing they were not following the diet correctly.

There is a difference between a vegan diet and a vegetarian diet, with a vegetarian diet being a more flexible diet, often including cheeses, eggs, and other dairy products.  A vegan diet is more restrictive than a vegetarian diet and that is why many people don't stay on the diet.

Whole grains, lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds are the main staples of a vegan diet.  Whole grains include wheat, oats, brown rice and several other lesser known grains.  A common problem is that many vegans "cheat" on this diet by eating white breads, white rice, and unhealthy snacks like doughnuts, rolls, cakes, and pies.

One of the biggest concerns with having processed foods is the higher risk of developing diabetes because of the stress put on the pancreas with an overflow of sugar in the bloodstream.  The diabetes epidemic has been traced to diets high in carbohydrates, especially processed carbohydrates.

This can be a problem for vegans who consume large amounts of carbohydrates.  The controversy over whether whole grain carbohydrates are just as bad for you as processed carbs rages on, with low carb dieters, including people on a Paleo diet, claiming all carbohydrates are bad and that is the reason for the diabetes epidemic.

Another concern for vegans is the lack of vitamin B12, since this vitamin is mainly found in animal products.  Vegans need to supplement their diet with vitamin B12 and also essential fatty acids that are important for brain function.

Amid all the controversy is the fact that studies have shown that people who follow a healthy vegan diet with a moderate amount of whole grain carbs and lots of vegetables, are extremely healthy, when they make sure they are getting fatty acids, and vitamin B12.

Most of the claims from people who have seen success fighting diseases like cancer are on a vegan or vegetarian diet.

A vegan diet is one of the healthiest diets you can be on, but you must make sure you stick to whole grains and don't cheat with processed foods.  You will lose weight, avoid constipation, and have a high energy level.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

High Energy Exercise Better than Endurance Conditioning

While the importance of getting an exercise program is key to maintaining a healthy life, recent research has shown that too much exercise can be harmful to your health, especially your heart.

In the past it was thought that athletes like marathon runners were some of the healthiest people on the earth, but many endurance athletes are showing up with cardiovascular problems, including extensive scar tissue in the heart.

People who are endurance athletes are prone to have a weakened immune system, muscle fiber tears, increased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, and higher chances of having your body break down from overuse.

Many of the studies done on exercise have shown that long distance runners are most prone to develop many of these health problems and results of testing endurance runners has shown there is a good percentage of the runners that have suffered heart damage because of too much stress on the heart.

While exercise programs have shown to help build cardiovascular conditioning, people running a marathon are shown to have a much higher risk of a cardiac episode during the run.  This all boils down to the fact that exercise is vital, but overexercising is detrimental to overall health.

This problem has shed a new light on what kind of physical activity is best for a healthy body. Studies have shown that you don't need to spend hours of exercising to achieve good results, in fact, doing only 20 minutes of a workout will do just fine if you make it high energy.

Doing short busts of all out effort for about 30 seconds, followed by about 90 seconds of recovery time with moderate exertion is proving to be one of the best ways to improve your health and conditioning.  Do this workout for about 15 to 20 minutes and you will reap the benefits.  You can pace yourself and when you get physically exhausted, you can stop.  You can slowly work up to getting from 4 to 7 of these energy bursts per workout.

Doing a high energy fitness workout has shown to increase your hormone levels, endorphins, cardiovascular conditioning, and your immune system.   These benefits, along with the short period of time needed for a full workout, make this type of exercise a great choice for improving your overall health level.  It is also important to make sure you are taking certain supplements if your diet is not as good as it should be.

The lesson to be learned is that your need a exercise program, but moderation is the key to keep you from developing health problems.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Is the Paleo Diet Safe?

The diet getting the most news and unbelievable testimonials is the Paleo diet.  This diet keys on eating food that the caveman ate during the Paleolithic era.  Their diet included meat and any wild vegetables or roots they could find.  What you won't find on the menu are any grains.  Most Paleo diet experts claim most of our health woes started when people started eating grains as a main food staple.

But is this diet just another low carb diet or does this diet really help people lose weight and stay healthy? With the state of the health of our country, there just might be some good reasons to try this diet.  Diabetes is a full-blown epidemic, with more and more children and adults developing this condition.  Is is no secret that the typical diet consists of plenty of processed foods, tons of sugar, and a lack of nutritious vegetables.

Some of the advantages of a Paleo diet include omitting all those processed foods, eating more vegetables, and eating healthy fats.  Alas, they also omit the whole grain foods like brown rice, whole wheat bread and whole grain pasta.  You can add potatoes to that list of exclusions.  It is a tough change for most people who have been eating these carbs most of their lives.

There can be some problems when you start the Paleo diet, especially the dreaded condition called the "low carb flu," which can happen to people starting the diet when their body is cut off of the supply of glucose it is used to having.  The body must now adjust to using fats for fuel instead of glucose and you can get some nasty side effects like headaches and basically feeling lousy.  This condition can last for days or even weeks.
While many people who have started the Paleo diet have seen great results in losing weight and lowering their blood sugar levels, the real concern is the risks of being on the diet for extended periods of time.  Many Paleo supporters claim that the diet is a possible way to cure cancer, since cancer cells feed on glucose and this diet eliminates glucose.  But several doctors and researchers have reported that the long-term use of the diet does not bode well for eliminating cancer.

Another problem with this diet is the stress it puts on the kidneys because of the high levels of ketones produced as the body switches over from functioning on glucose to using fat for maintaining body functions. Ketones are produced in the liver to supply the body with energy but if ketone levels get too high there is the risk of developing ketoacidosis, a serious condition that is especially risky for diabetics.  With ketoacidosis, your body has too many ketones and this can lead to coma or even death.

So what's the verdict?  The Paleo diet is a healthier diet than your typical fast food diet and you can see great results as far as losing weight and lowering blood sugar.  If you want to switch to this diet, try and find meats that are grass-fed and raised without antibiotics.  Don't overdo your protein amounts, and instead focus on vegetables, especially cruciferous ones.  You could see some great results.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The One Supplement You Must Take is CoQ10

One of the most important supplements you need to take but are probably not is CoQ10.  This nutrient is initially made in the human body, but as you age, the ability of your body to make this supplement diminishes. So why is CoQ10 so important?  Every single cell in your body uses CoQ10 for energy and if you are lacking in this substance, it can affect your energy and overall health.  If we don't have this nutrient, we can't survive. It's as simple as that.

CoQ10  is also an important antioxidant that helps protect your organs.  The importance of CoQ10 can't be overstated since it is involved in all of your cells.  Many doctors have recommended it to their patients who have heart problems or if they are taking statin drugs.  It has been shown that statin drugs reduce your CoQ10 level in the blood and you need to take a CoQ10 supplement to keep your levels from getting too low.

One of the tricky problems with taking supplements of CoQ10, which is not soluble in water, is that it is not easily absorbed in the bloodstream, especially if not taken with some kind of fat.  This is one supplement you must take with some form of fat.  Many times it is important to get a blood test to see what your levels are of this important substance.

CoQ10 comes in two forms - ubiquinone and ubiquinol.  The most common type used in a supplement is ubiquinone, but recent advances have allowed ubiquinol to be available as a supplement.  In the past, ubiquinol was not viable as a supplement because it was too unstable to be kept in a gel or capsule. Ubuquinol is also a preferred type because of its role in the body as a free radical scavenger.  Recent studies have also shown that ubiquinol is better absorbed that ubiquinone and that is why many health professionals are promoting ubiquinol.

Where you get your CoQ10 is important because there are many companies that sell inferior CoQ10 products, and if you buy your supplement from a lesser known company you might not be getting all the CoQ10 that it states on the label.

There are two main sources of CoQ10, with once source being from China and the other from the Japanese company called Kaneka.  The gold standard for CoQ10 is Kaneka because you know you are getting the best product.  Kaneka even has a manufacturing plant in the U.S. so they don't have to import it from Japan.
Most of the cheaper brands of CoQ10 are using the Chinese product and you can never be sure what purity you are really getting.

Your list of must have supplements should include the highly researched vitamin D3, a multimineral, a multivitamin, and CoQ10.

If you haven't been taking this vital supplement you need to start if you are over the age of 40.  The normal dose is 100 mg a day, but if you are taking statin drugs, you need to double that dose.  Remember it is vital you take your CoQ10 with some type of fat for proper absorption.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pycnogenol is One Powerful Supplement

One of the more powerful antioxidants is a plant extract that has a lot of clinical studies behind it and it is pycnogenol, which is extracted from the French Maritime pine tree.  There are more and more positive results from studies involving this extract.

 Several revelations dealing with pycnogenol show that it helps rejuvenate your skin by helping with skin elasticity, restores collagen levels, improves capillary strength, reduces blood pressure and lowers glucose levels.

What these studies have shown is pycnogenol is one of the most powerful supplements you can take and probably should be part of your regimen.

Research on aging has shown that some of the biggest reasons we age are inflammation, cellular damage to your DNA, glycation, and oxidative stress.  What is exciting is the fact the pycnogenol seems to help control these aging causes and possibly reverse some of the damage that has been done.  That is quite amazing.

Pycnogenol's effect on your skin has many beauty companies trying to incorporate it in their beauty products. Studies have shown that this special bark lessens free radical damage on your skin and it also blocks harmful UV rays that are so damaging to your skin.  So, in effect, it is a type of sunscreen that you take internally.

With pycnogenol protecting you from sunburn, your skin retains healthier levels of elastin and collagen and retains that youthful elasticity.  So you are healing and protecting your skin from the inside instead of on the surface with lotions and creams.

There is also good news with pycnogenol with regards to heart disease, because it helps prevent endothelial damage and keep your blood flowing normal without risks of blockage.  This can help prevent strokes and heart attacks.

You can get all these health benefits by taking as little as 50 to 75 milligrams of pycnogenol daily.  There are many knockoff products out there that are tree bark, but not the original pycnogenol.  There is little research that has been done on these other tree barks, and only pycnogenol has the lengthy research behind it.