bookmark_borderRecovery From Exercise

Cool-down

After exhaustive exercise, don’t stop and rest immediately. You can speed up the removal of lactic acid from your muscles by continuing to exercise at a low intensity for 10-20 minutes. Cooling down can help reduce the feeling of stiffness that often occurs after a workout and is especially important if your next training session or event is scheduled a few hours later.

Stretch

Static stretching before exercise puts you at risk for damaging the very tissues you are trying to protect and as such should be avoided. Research has shown that stretching causes lengthening of the tendinous fibers within the muscle-tendon unit. Such lengthening causes the tendon (or passive) component to lose much of its shock absorbency, thus, placing the muscle fibers at greater risk of trauma. However, stretching after exercise may help minimize muscle soreness and may even help prevent future soft tissue injuries. Thus, before activity, more active-type stretching routines that promote range of motion and increased blood flow are recommended. Conversely, after exercise, the emphasis should be on passive or static stretching to allow the muscles to relax and return to their resting lengths.

Carbohydrates

The muscles are primed for quick restoration of their carbohydrate fuel reserves (glycogen) immediately after exercise, so don’t wait too long to start eating foods and drinking beverages rich in carbohydrate. Fruits, energy bars, and sports drinks all contain large amounts of carbohydrate. From a nutrition standpoint, post-exercise is one of the only times where you want to be consuming high-glycemic index foods for they will stimulate a quicker release of insulin and, thus, carbohydrate storage in the muscles. Ideally, these fuels should be consumed as quickly as possible upon finishing your exercise session.

Protein

Most forms of exercise lead to the breakdown of proteins within the muscles. This breakdown-repair process stimulates the muscles to rebuild and become stronger. Moreover, some of our muscle proteins continue to be broken down during the recovery phase after exercise. For a faster buildup of muscle proteins during recovery, include a small amount of protein in the foods you eat. Milk, cheese, eggs, whey protein shakes, sandwiches, nuts (almonds, walnuts) and energy bars provide carbohydrate and protein. Look for easily digestible protein sources (such as the ones listed above) following strenuous exercise. Avoid saturated fats.

Fluids

Replacing lost fluid is crucial to the recovery process. Having adequate fluids within your body promotes the removal of toxins and waste from your muscles. Top off your supply of fluids by drinking before exercise, continue to hydrate every 15 or 20 minutes during a workout, and replace any body weight lost during exercise by drinking while you recover. Remember, 1 L of water is equivalent to 1 kg of body weight. Therefore, if the difference between your pre- and post-exercise weight is 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) you would want to rehydrate with 1.5 L of water to bring your body fluid back to homeostasis. Before, during, and after exercise, the rule of thumb is that if you’re thirsty, it’s too late! Therefore, be sure to have a water bottle throughout the day to sip on. On a daily basis (at rest), the number of ounces of water you should be consuming should equal half of your body weight (in lbs). Thus, if you weigh 200 lbs, then you want to be drinking 100 ounces of water (almost 3 L).

Salt

Your body loses water and minerals – mostly sodium chloride, some potassium – when you sweat. Drinking water alone during exercise and recovery will make it difficult to replace body fluids rapidly because much of it will pass through the kidneys to become urine. Replace the salt along with the water to counteract dehydration. If you have to compete again within a few hours, consider sports drinks that contain water, sodium chloride, or fruits such as bananas which are high in potassium. Add extra salt to foods at mealtime if you are susceptible to cramps. Consider using condiments, sports drinks, and fitness waters instead of salt tablets.

Damage Control

Inflammation, swelling, and muscle soreness are possibilities following strenuous exercise. To minimize the effects, consider cold packs around joint areas, alternating cold and hot whirlpool baths, and the use of specially designed magnets to speed the recovery process. Light massage is also a good option for promoting toxin removal from the tissues and reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). A study by Hilbert et al. showed that a 20 minute massage 2 hours following exercise helped to reduce the intensity of soreness 48 hours post-exercise in subjects who underwent 6 sets of maximal eccentric hamstring contractions. Minimize foot contact with the ground. Engage in light activities that increase blood flow while not taxing the nervous system. Swimming, cycling, walking, and light jogs are alternatives, but minimize foot contact with the ground.

bookmark_borderInstant Fitness

Get a schedule

I can not stress this enough. The first two weeks is that hardest part of any new aspect of your life and going to the gym is no different. If you want to work out everyday before work, do it everyday! Don’t skip a day, because that will quickly turn into skipping every other day, and before you know it, you’re back to making a New Year’s Resolution. Seventy percent of people who sign up for a gym membership stop going after two weeks. Seventy percent.

Get a difficult workout

OK, I’m sorry, but there’s nothing in the air that will magically make you reach your fitness goals. If it is to lose weight, you need to hit the cardio at a relatively fast pace, increase the difficulty periodically, and combine a safe weight training routine. The correct weight training done at a faster pace will burn just as many, if not more, calories than cardio.

Write down everything you eat and drink

And I mean everything! Those margaritas on a Friday night still count against your diet, and they do add up! If you go to Staples and get a composition book and write down everything you eat daily, along with the total number of calories, you’d be amazed at where you can make changes.

Buy measuring devices

This is the single most important tip you will receive. Everyone (should, at least) knows where the nutrition information is on all the food we eat. But 2 ozs. of pasta? How much is that? The only way to know is to buy a digital scale (I bought mine for less than $30) and weigh your food. I know, it sounds strange, but it will help melt the weight right off.

bookmark_borderStomach Exercises

Unfortunately, the stomach is one of the hardest areas to work on, which is why we see so many chubby guts in older people. Not only is it the hardest area to tone up, but most stomach exercises are a painful and unpleasant form or workout to perform.

When exercising in a gym, pushing a few weights to build up muscles like the biceps and triceps, often give immediate results in as much as you can see the rewards for your efforts almost instantly. The stomach on the other hand can be a thankless task because there is plenty of pain but little immediate gain to show for all those unbearable, back breaking, gut wrenching crunches.

There’s a bit of a misconception about how to reduce belly fat and stomach exercises alone do nothing to give you a flat pack. I worked on my abs for over 6 months and was frustrated to see that I still had a beer gut. I could feel my strengthened abdominal muscles under the blubber but that was no good as they were buried under the layers of fat!

In my ignorance I watched a few info commercials on the TV and thought that I just had to do what they did to get what they had, which was an impressive looking 6 pack in just 6 weeks of rigorous workout. Wrong! Ok, yes, the exercises will strengthen your abs without any question of doubt, but to fight the flab, there’s only one sure way and that is do some form or aerobic exercise.

Loosing that jelly belly is perfectly doable with aerobic exercise (skipping is very good for this), and is the fastest way to shed those extra pounds, but just remember that doing sit-ups and crunches alone will only work the abdominal muscles and have absolutely no effect on the surrounding fat. Your newly developed muscles will be hidden under your layer of lard, and that is a very frustrating experience.

The best plan of action is to let the dog see the rabbit. Once you can see your feet again from the stand up position, you will get an enormous physiological boost, and this is the time to begin work on your abdominal muscles. Don’t do what I did and think that a few sit ups and crunches alone will get rid of your excess weight as it’s extremely demoralizing.

Get a plan of action together which includes aerobic exercise followed by a stomach workout, and then you will definitely be able to get that look you so desperately desire. But stomach exercise is no different to any other form of exercise in that it will only work if YOU work it, so remember to follow through. Good luck!

bookmark_borderStart an Exercise Program

If you’re happy with this program, you don’t need to go any further. However, if you want to improve, follow the training methods that competitive athletes use. When a 30-minute session is easy for you, you are ready to begin training for fitness. Try to increase the intensity of your exercise on one day a week. Do your jogging, cycling or whatever you have chosen as your sport at a slow pace to warm up. Then gradually increase the pace until you start to feel short of breath and your muscles start to feel sore, and then slow down. Then when you recover, pick up the pace again. Repeat these surges until your muscles start to stiffen and then quit for the day. Take the next day off and go easy the rest of the week. Then once a week, keep on making your one-day-a-week hard workout harder and harder. You will be continuously increasing your level of fitness.

Before you start any new exercise program, check with your doctor to make sure that you do not have anything wrong with your heart or blood vessels. Intense exercise won’t hurt a healthy heart, but it can increase your risk for a heart attack if you already have a damaged heart.

bookmark_borderMedicine Ball Exercises

Medicine ball exercises are key to use in pilates, as training aids, in physical therapy, with trainers and as timing balls that develop accuracy and timing for kicks in martial arts. Physical therapists use them frequently to treat low back pain and to develop core muscles that stabilize the spine.

The size of the ball is important. When the client sits on the ball the hips should come level or just slightly higher than the knees. Medicine ball exercises can also be done with people who are overweight. Medicine balls are made that are burst resistant that can hold over 600 pounds.

Medicine ball exercises work by putting the body in an unstable situation. With each bounce the legs and abdominal muscles must contract and relax to prevent the body from falling. Coupled with simple exercises like chest presses or crunches you’ll increase the intensity of your workouts and you’ll find you’re engaging more muscles to work and keep balance.

Medicine ball exercises can be used for cardiovascular work by bouncing on the ball for 30 minutes each day. Clients can be doing some upper body movements during the bouncing to increase core body muscle work. Try medicine ball exercises in the evening in front of the television or while you’re talking on the phone. Medicine ball exercises are flexible and versatile for use with weight training, abdominal training, lower back exercises and flexibility.

Other exercise programs also use medicine ball exercises such as yoga and pilates. The medicine ball is used to increase the intensity of the program and to increase the flexibility of the client. Because using a medicine ball is often less intense than say, running, people tend to overuse the ball and it can lead to injury.

Golfers also find that using a medicine ball exercise program is great to improve golf fitness and improve core-stabilizing muscles. Golfers can use a dumbbell with chest presses to make it more effective as your core muscles work to stabilize the body. These muscles are very important to golfers as they work through the swing.

bookmark_borderSpeak with Mindfulness

Whenever, you engage another person in conversation, always think before talking. This may sound simple, but everybody knows someone who does not think before talking. Hence the saying, “Putting his/her foot in his/her mouth.” Children do this, but it is innocent, and they do not yet understand all the rules of etiquette.

Your mind has many random thoughts, and there is no need to expose them to the world. Good politicians, sales people, and diplomats are masters at saying enough to stay out of a conflict, but still manage to get a particular point across. What is the technique they use? In a “nut shell,” it is mindfulness.

Try to avoid conversation when you are not focused, tense, or not in the present moment. If a situation seems potentially volatile, you should pick the time to engage the other party in conversation. Set the tone of the conversation by using a relaxed approach and listen carefully.

When you maintain an air of good will and positive thoughts, it becomes difficult to pursue a conflict with you. Be aware that when you slow down and relax, most people will respond the same. Therefore, you can control a meeting by radiating thoughts of kindness. You do this by showing respect and thinking positively about the other person, despite your differences.

There are exceptions to every rule, and I do not endorse complete surrender, unless you are wrong. However, when you listen emphatically and are fully present for the other party, you will most likely resolve, or avoid, a conflict.

All of us need to learn to laugh at ourselves and develop a sense of humor. This will give you a completely different perspective of yourself, and you won’t worry about feeling embarrassed or making a mistake. This perspective will also allow you to be mindful of yourself and your words.

If you take the time to speak with gentleness, mindfulness, and loving kindness, the world will respond in kind. At the same time you won’t waste energy defending your ego. Always remember the old saying, “Life is too short to waste time fighting.”

bookmark_borderNo Gym, No Problem

No need to go to the gym, you can become physically fit in a matter of weeks if you just know the little secrets that the gym owners and equipment manufactures don’t want you to know.

Do what people did many years ago- train using bodyweight only exercises. Don’t think that bodyweight only exercises are a waste of time, because they can be are very, very demanding if done the right way.

Take 2 very simple exercises like pushups and situps and try to do these exercises for 5 minutes alternating back and forth ( do as many pushups then do as many situps as possible with no rest in between exercises) unless you are fit you probably won’t be able to finish this workout, and actually the so called fit person probably could not finish a simple workout like this.

After a 5 minute workout you will know that you will never again need a gym to get in to great shape and if you have any doubt try it.