Do the muscles you worked out a favor and serve them up some carbohydrate with that protein. Protein powder is all the rage, right? The protein you feed your muscles following a workout serves to aid in muscle recovery and repair that starts happening the minute your workout ends. But tired muscles want food fast and carbs get the job done faster, protein. Carbohydrates break down quickly to feed muscles the sugars they are craving and a banana eaten right after a strength training session has the power to reduce next day muscle soreness.
Did you know? Carbohydrates break down and are digested faster than proteins and fats so they’re the best source of energy for an athlete. Athletes competing in all day tournaments will do well eating foods that are high in carbohydrates and low in fat. Let go of your fear of carbs!
Athletes know that carbohydrates are the superior source of energy. Carbs break down quickly.
Carbs begin to break down in the mouth when saliva enzymes and chomping teeth start breaking sugars down. Protein digestion begins in the stomach where stomach acid uncoils protein strands. In the race to leave the stomach, fat finishes last. Bile from the liver attacks fat in your stomach, preparing the fat for digestion by first making it water soluble. Fat digestion occurs beyond the stomach in the intestines.
Connecting the dots. What you put into your body directly affects your body’s ability to perform.
Take note of the foods that make you feel sluggish and heavy. Are they foods that are high in fat? Fat sits around in your stomach for a long time, waiting to digest. Are there foods that contain carbs that give you a short-lived burst of energy that you wish didn’t leave you feeling so drained? Research the difference between simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates and pay attention to the kinds of carbohydrates that make you feel good.
Your blood pumps throughout your body carrying oxygen and nutrients. Working muscles need oxygen for energy production, and blood moving through muscles helps keep muscles strong by clearing toxins like lactic acid. When you are dehydrated your blood is sludge. Stay well hydrated and imagine your blood racing through your body giving your hungry muscles what they need exactly when they need it. Be a quicker athlete and improve your stamina by staying hydrated.
Did you know? If you are thirsty you are already dehydrated. Headache? Number one cause is dehydration.
Not a lot of room to workout? When you don’t have the room or cardio equipment to burn calories the way you like to burn calories, don’t just skip the cardio workout. The secret to low impact cardio is performing exercises that use both upper body and lower body movement. When fresh oxygenated blood is in high demand from multiple muscle groups, the heart and lungs work hard to accommodate. Incorporate overhead arm movement while your thigh muscles are engaged and working and feel your workout kick into high gear.
Trainer tip: For clients you can’t run, make workouts brutal by incorporating combination exercises. Your client will get all the benefits of doing cardio without the mental anxiety of knowing they are doing it.
During a workout, what do muscles need to do in order to get oxygenated blood delivered? Muscles need to move. Movement is the heart’s queue to get blood moving through a muscle, during a workout or otherwise. In with blood comes oxygen and nutrients. Toxins flush out.
SORE MUSCLES DON’T WANT INACTIVITY
If your muscles are sore from an intense workout, dynamic and static stretching will loosen up the muscles in repair, get blood pumping through them, and put you on a faster track to feeling stronger. Inactivity, surprisingly and perhaps disappointingly, isn’t the best strategy for getting over muscle soreness.
GIVE SORE MUSCLES WHAT THEY NEED.
Active rest takes will power. Knowing that inactivity prolongs the soreness in your muscles might not be incentive enough to get off the couch but know that moving your body protects your mobility and range of motion while improving your circulation.
Waist size, pant size and heart health – here’s what you need to know.
A women’s waist size larger in circumference than 35 inches is at a heightened risk of developing heart disease. A man is at risk of heart disease when his waist size exceeds 40 inches. The bigger the body, the harder the heart works. How does it play out in clothing size? Pant size 40 for men and 14 for women means the brink of obesity and a heart that’s really struggling.
Waist width and obesity are closely correlated.
Women with a waist larger than 35 inches are obese women who shop for XL clothing, wear jeans size 14 or larger, represent the average American woman, and have hearts that have a hard time pumping blood.
A healthy waist has a healthy pant size.
Men with a waist size larger than 40 inches are obese men who wear pant size 40 or larger, represent the average American man and could one day die of heart disease. Drop to a healthier pant size and achieve a healthier heart, gentleman.
Pant size is a great indicator of heart health and risk of disease or stroke. Shoot for size 8 and you’ll find yourself in healthy company.
Life as an ogre isn’t all swamp splashing and baby eating, as you know if you’ve seen any of the films documenting the life of Shrek, America’s most beloved ogre. Fairy tales and story books have Americans believing ogres and countless other fantastical humanoids were innately strong in their day – born to super human strength and endurance. Consequently, they believe similar “truths” of strong and able bodies of this day and age. Shrek would be the first to tell you that there’s a direct correlation between his health and happiness and three basic truths about his existence. Those three truths are as follows.
Shrek hunts and forages for food.
He comes and goes where his feet take him.
Shrek must protect and defend his home and territory.
Have you figured out where I’m going with this yet? You don’t get a body like Shrek without working for it. Period. Regardless of whether or not it’s the body you want, you earn the body you have. The fact of the matter is, in this day and age, the realities of every day living are quite different from 16th century times when ogres like Shrek roamed the earth. (They still roam the earth of course, but they’re confined to hidden swamps and underground caves – In hiding, completely repulsed and overwhelmed by the sense of entitlement sweeping the globe. If there were enough of them they’d wipe us off the planet, no doubt.) Population growth, urbanization and demographic transition have taken the three truths of Shrek’s existence and turned many of us into lazy, entitled, confused and unhappy human beings. How do we get back on track? Easy. Save your own life with these 3 tips.
Be consciously aware of what, when and how you put food into your body. Hunting, scavenging and foraging hold little appeal for me, personally, but I still have two hands with which I prepare and cook my food. You can do the same. Preparing your own food has countless health benefits.
Move with intention. If your primary means of transportation isn’t your feet or legs and you’re in a position to make a switch, make that switch. Walking, riding a bike, long boarding, whatever – commute another way. If your destination is less than a mile away, stay off the bus, leave the car in the driveway and save even more gas by leaving your fuel efficient scooter at home. Those of us not in a position for such a lifestyle switch need to make the effort to move the legs for 30 minutes every day. Too much to ask? Imagine yourself telling that to a caveman. Laughable.
Make your home a sanctuary. Protecting your home and defending your territory like Shrek doesn’t easily translate to 21st century America. But if you take pride in your dwelling, maintaining its appearance, structure and cleanliness, you will live a healthier, more fulfilling life. Rid your house and your life of toxins that cause mental, physical or emotional stress – be it abusive lovers or harmful substances.
Follow my three foolproof tips for bettering your health and wellness (adapted from the lessons I’ve learned from Shrek’s exemplary example) and your existence on this earth will improve dramatically. It’s that or go on being a skeptic, a pessimist, a doom and gloomer. Do nothing, come and go as you are, wait until you think you’ve read the perfect formula and then act. Wait for life to hand you happiness. whack, whack, whack. I’m banging my head against the wall here! Change isn’t easy. I know that. Change comes slowly then suddenly. Producing results is uncomfortable. But you earn the body and the life you lead so stand up and take pride in what you have to show for yourself or take the necessary steps to do so. Your fitness is at stake. Not all star athlete fitness, not super human Shrek fitness, but fitness for life. How fit are you for life?
What does it mean to be flexible? Flexibility is a measure of one’s ability to operate their joints and muscles through normal range of motion without injury. Check yourself. Take 10-15 minutes and move every joint in your body. Explore your range of motion to the fullest extent. Are you shocked to discover stiffness? pain? discomfort? Are you tight in the shoulders? Does standing upright against a wall require effort or force? Can you snow angel your arms overhead maintaining contact with the wall? If you think flexibility is just for gymnasts, think again. Move your joints daily and reclaim the range of motion you’re losing living a static lifestyle because there’s more at stake than tight muscles. When your muscles pull your skeleton out of alignment you’re inviting nerve interference to wreak havoc on your health.
Warming up a muscle prior to stressing it out with a heavy load is always a good idea so before you drop and give me 20, try the following chest exercise to loosen the pecs.
Swing the arms
The easiest exercise to loosen the chest muscles is a no equipment necessary, do anywhere dynamic stretch. Simply opening and closing the arms, moving with intention, is enough to get the pectorals loose. As the gentleman to the right is demonstrating, when the arms cross in front of the chest, alternate which arm crosses over the top. When the arms go back (not shown) the elbows press back and squeeze while the arms remain parallel to the earth. Arms retain a slight bend throughout. Feel the chest cavity open and close. Using your chest muscles is all it takes to loosen the chest and lubricate the necessary joints. Little work is being done but that’s all a warm up is – using the muscles you’re going to tax so they aren’t coming into the workout cold.
Sometimes I like to swing my arms like limp noodles, backward and forward, focusing on popping my chest out, then letting it cave as I squeeze my back muscles and throw my arms behind me. Focusing on the opening and closing is effective for warming up the chest and back. With stronger clients I generally warm up the chest by having the individual perform 10-15 inclined pushups against a countertop or bar.
Heavy Headed. Your head, when sitting perfectly atop your skeleton, exerts a specific and measurable force upon your spine and nervous system. A forward head posture changes that force and the added impact stresses out the joints of your spine – where nerves flow in and out. When the structure that houses your nervous system is under postural attack, nerve flow is impinged. Vertebrae squeeze and misalign, subluxations result. Forget sloppy posture and sore upper back and neck muscles, your nervous system is in distress! When nerve flow between the brain and your muscles, organs, and tissues is interrupted, any number of health concerns can arise. So ask yourself, how heavy is your head?
To demonstrate the effect, think of giving a young child a ride on your shoulders. When the child sits upright, holding onto your skull without squirming, you feel balanced and confident in your skeleton’s ability to hold you both upright. When the child leans, in any direction, you immediately feel unstable. Muscles contract, some spasm even, to keep you both from toppling. Imagine the effects of holding that adapted posture for an extended period of time. No thank you!