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_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.

bookmark_borderStrength From Within

First, consider the abdomen as only part of the core. Your core musculature extends into your pelvis and hips. Think of it as your center of gravity, the place where your upper body connects to your lower body. A system that essentially, allows you to accelerate, decelerate, transfer and resist forces throughout your body. Why should you worry about these stabilizing muscles, if you want to have a flat stomach?

Your core stabilizes your spine to allow movement of your legs and arms. Without proper stabilization there is a decrease of efficient movement. If there is a decrease in any movement pattern, compensation must occur leaving you open to a higher rate of injury. Most of us think of a “strong abdomen” or core as having a “six-pack.” However, the primary function of the rectus abdominus (six-pack) is flexion (bending forward) of the trunk (upper body). The external obliques run along your ribs and attach to your pelvis, allowing you to bend
and twist. Although these two groups of muscles allow movement about the spine, they do not stabilize the spine.

For example, doing sit-ups and leg lifts without a strong core will create a compensation of the iliopsoas musculature to provide most of the work in flexing the trunk. The iliopsoas is a muscle group that originates in the lumbar spine and attaches to the femur (thigh). If this muscle becomes over developed it could have an adverse effect on your low back, creating lordosis (arch) in your low back. Excessive lordosis is generally a lack of control in the pelvis, which can develop into low back pain.

Some of the major core musculature, the transverse abdominus, internal oblique, multifidi and pelvic floor muscles surround the spine to provide stability. Think of it as your internal safety belt, when strapped in, it protects your spine from numerous forces.

Activating the core muscles, or bracing your mid-section, if never done before requires some practice. One of the best methods to activate this muscle is to “cough” or “suck in your bellybutton.” Start by performing a pelvic tilt. While lying on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, tilt your pelvis so that your back flattens against the floor. Brace your mid-section by sucking in your bellybutton or coughing to activate the deep transverse abdominus. Next, activate your pelvic floor muscles much like you are stopping yourself from going to the bathroom, hold for a count of 10, relax and repeat for 5 repetitions. Make sure to keep breathing while performing this exercise.

bookmark_borderImprove Joint Flexibility

Trigger Points and Stretching

A muscle originates on a bone, crosses over a joint, and inserts onto a bone that will move when the muscle contracts. This is the way the body moves, and it functions perfectly until a trigger point forms in the muscle. As the muscle shortens it is pulling on the insertion point and when you try to move in the opposite direction you feel stiff, inflexible. You may decide to stretch, however, people sometimes complain about feeling worse after stretching than they did before doing the stretch. To stretch a muscle, while it still has an active trigger point, could cause tiny tears to occur in the fibers, and could cause even more pain.

Consider this analogy. If you tied a rope onto a strong tree and then went straight across and tied the other end of the rope onto a flexible tree, the smaller tree would continue to stand straight. If you then tugged on the rope the flexible tree would bend. However, if you tied a knot, or two, or three, into the rope, the flexible tree would be leaning over. If you then pushed the bent tree so it was again standing up straight, you would only cause the knot in the rope to tighten, and you would be overstretching the fibers on either side of the knot. This is exactly what happens when you try to stretch a muscle that is shortened by knots in the fibers, without first releasing the trigger points.

Tips to Effectively Treat Trigger Points

As mentioned, the trigger points caused knots to form in the muscle and the shortening of the fibers put a strain on the insertion point on the other side of the joint. You can reverse this situation by doing the following steps:

  • Treat. Hold the pressure on each trigger point. In order to effectively stretch a muscle you need to first press on each trigger point, holding the pressure for 30-60 seconds.
  • Understand the Muscle Movement. Look at the muscle that you will be treating. To best treat and stretch a trigger point, you need to know what movement the muscle makes. For example, the muscles in the back of your neck will pull your head back so you can look up at the ceiling, and the muscle on your shoulder blade raises your arm. To stretch, you need to go in exactly the opposite direction as the movement of the muscle.
  • Stretch. Move so the muscle needs to stretch. For example, the trapezius muscle will raise your shoulder, so to stretch it you want to move your head away from your shoulder. You can accomplish this by dropping your head in the opposite direction while pulling your shoulder down toward the floor.
  • Press and Stretch for Optimal Benefit. To optimize the treatment, whenever possible, continue the pressure on the deactivated trigger point and then move your body so the muscle is forced to lengthen.
  • Slowly Move the Joint in a Smooth Circle. Slowly rotate your shoulder in a circle, move your leg so your hip joint loosens, curl and open your fingers fully, circle your neck, and arch your back like a cat. Finally, stop pressing on the trigger points but continue the slow, relaxed movement of your joints.

bookmark_borderWorkout Routine for Starters

Start by performing the following deep breathing exercise. Researches have shown, that during exercising most people forget to breath deeply or they are unable to integrate their breathing pattern with the exercises causing them muscle pain and fatigue after the workout. So, in the first week and whenever you like, start breathing deeply. Inhale for 3 seconds, exhale for 3 seconds and start inhaling again after a short while. Take about 5 to 10 breaths as deeply as you can and in a slow pace. During a normal working day our breathing is very flat. The breathing exercise is relaxing and cleans your lungs. While you are breathing you can visualize yourself working out. Important: Use visualizations, which can become reality in the near future. Imagine you enjoy the fitness exercising and the satisfaction as well as the physical feeling you will have after exercising. You may also hear relaxing music while breathing. This way you quickly develop enough motivation to get started.

When you feel ready, do the deep breathing exercise and start by taking a medium fast walk for about 5 to 10 minutes, don’t run. You should sweat, but at this stage you shouldn’t be out of breath, while exercising. If you haven’t trained your muscles for a long time, then this is enough for the beginning. While walking you can say affirmations like:

Every breath gives me new energy.

While breathing (walking) I connect to the messages of my body and mind.

My movements follow my body.

I trust the wisdom of my body and mind.

This way you slowly increase your physical tolerance, you expand your mind and you focus more on exercising. After walking stretch yourself, it relaxes your muscles. You can do this while taking a hot shower it contributes to the relaxation effect. This way you get a good start at fitness exercising and you develop a good workout routine.

After a week you may increase your walking time by 5 minutes every week, provided you feel comfortable doing so. Don’t forget to breath before and to stretch after exercising.

Keep a positive attitude towards exercising even if there are weeks when you can’t increase your walking time, your body is still progressing by building up the necessary muscle tissue. Researchers came to the conclusion that a slow increase has a longer lasting effect on your overall health, than a quick one.

Moreover it helps to collect friends while working out. You enjoy the exercising more and it substantially increases your motivation. The same goes for tracking your progress. Write down the days you are working out, the amount and the feelings you had while doing so. This way you create an enjoyable workout routine for yourself.

bookmark_borderPlan To Fantastic Health

  • Detoxify your body. Over time we all accumulate toxins in our bodies. They can come from polluted air, water, and the food we eat. Toxins and pollutants of all kinds have a very detrimental effect on health. They provide the necessary environment for disease to thrive. Detoxifying your body is the single most important thing you can do.

You can accomplish this full body detoxification using juice fasting, clay baths, herbal cleanse products, and enemas. You should really do a mixture of all of the above if you want the best results. Don’t skip this step, as it is critical in the health restoring process.

  • Increase your water intake. This is especially important while detoxifying your body. The extra water helps to carry all of the harmful toxins out of your system in the most efficient way possible. Your body is made up of over 70% water. Imagine the health benefits you can receive by constantly flushing fresh water throughout the body. This will greatly aid in weight loss, improve joint pain, and clear up skin, along with many other health benefits. To find out more about the vital importance of water, read the book, Your Bodies Many Cries for Water.
  • Supplement with omega oils. Omega 3 and 6 oils are absolutely essential for great health. They help the whole body run properly and perform its best. Most Americans have excessive levels of omega 6 oils and not near enough omega 3s. You cannot reach optimum health and wellness with low levels of omega 3s. Luckily it is extremely easy to supplement with omega 3 fats.

I like to grind up 2 tablespoons of flax seeds per day and add it to cereal. They taste great and are a very rich source of omega 3, fiber and lignans. If you don’t want to grind seeds you can supplement with flax oil or fish oil. These will work properly if they are of high quality and have not oxidized. These oils are highly susceptible to oxidation so great care must be taken during processing and storage. With oils, it only takes ten seconds to get your day’s dose.

  • Begin to exercise. Exercise will greatly enhance the power of the steps we have covered so far. You will become stronger, more fit and age at a much slower rate with proper exercise. You can easily find an extra 15 minutes during your busy day to allot to some time to this step.

The more you are able to exercise, the better the results you will get. Exercise will also prevent chronic diseases from forming. Do what you can to work at increasing the amount of time you spend exercising each month. This will pay rich rewards.

  • Get proper nutrition. Most people are depleted of vital nutrients. This is mainly because of an unhealthy diet consisting of nutrient poor foods. Multi vitamin tablets are of little help because the body cannot properly absorb them. Many of these pills pass right through digestion without breaking down at all. This means you absorb very little of the vitamins and minerals your body needs and that you are paying for. You can avoid this entirely by taking a natural liquid nutrient supplement such as wheatgrass juice or goji berry juice. These will give you all of the nutrients and antioxidants you need to reach great health.