Archive | May, 2014

Prevent Sore Neck / Neck Strain During Ab Workout.

29 May

It’s fairly common to hear exercisers complain about neck soreness or strain from abdominal workouts. This discomfort is most often caused by improper form and it’s very easy to correct.When the head is pulled forward during abdominal exercises, immense strain is placed on the posterior neck muscles. Many exercisers lace their fingers behind their head and pull forward during crunches, for example, thereby making the crunches easier – but also placing unnecessary pressure on the neck muscles.

To prevent neck soreness, change the placement of your hands. Instead of placing your hands behind your head, fold them across your upper abdomen. Alternatively, keep them by your sides. If you want to keep your hands by your head, just touch your ears lightly with your fingertips to prevent any forward pull. In addition, it may be helpful to concentrate on the ceiling. Doing so prevents your head from lifting forward. It may also be helpful to imagine an apple tucked under your chin allowing for space between your chin, neck and chest.

Alternatively, you can try exercises such as the reverse crunch that work the abdominal muscles without involving much upper body movement. Beyond preventing neck soreness or strain, you’ll also be increasing the effectiveness of your abdominal workout. Because lifting your head forward makes the exercise easier, some intensity and effectiveness is lost in the process.

If muscle soreness persists, it’s always a good idea to consult with your physician.

Add Kettlebell to your workouts

10 May

The kettlebell is a cast-iron or steel weight used to perform ballistic exercises that combine cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training. They are also the primary equipment used in the weight lifting sport of girevoy sport.

Benefits of kettlebell training:

  • Improves Explosive and Maximal Strength.
  • Improves strength, power and endurance.
  • Taxes both aerobic and anaerobic systems.
  • Positively impacts cardio respiratory endurance and promotes changes in body composition.
  • Increases musculoskeletal health by reducing neck, shoulder and low back pain, and increases trunk extensor strength.
  • Is transferable to traditional weight training and bodyweight exercises and is an excellent alternative to traditional weight lifting.

Prime movements in kettlebell:

Kettlebell Swing: The kettlebell swing is a basic kettlebell exercise that is used in training programs and gyms for improving the posterior chain muscles. The key to a good kettlebell swing is effectively hinging at the hips, creating stability through the frontal plane.

Clean and press: The Kettlebell Clean and Press combines 2 exercises the Kettlebell Clean and the Overhead Press. Combining these 2 exercises into one fluid movement will work most muscles of the body as well as putting large demands on your cardiovascular system.

Turkish Get-up: A kettlebell exercise that combines the lunge, bridge and side plank to build strength. With a vertically-extended arm, the athlete transitions from laying supine on the floor to standing.

Kettlebell Snatch: Before performing the Snatch you should be proficient in the Swing, the Clean and the Press. The Snatch is a modified swing where as the kettlebell swings up above the head, the bell flips over the hand and ends up in the same overhead position as the press. Do this in one complete fluid motion.

Kettlebell training as cardio endurance and strength endurance: Like with most exercises, we can change the kettlebell swing’s effectiveness for our goals based on load. Imagine I asked you to perform one hundred swings non-stop, how much load could you use? And what kind of workout would that give you and what would its benefits be? But now imagine I gave you a much heavier bell, one you could barely swing for ten reps and made you do eight to ten sets. How different do you think that would be?

NUTRITION FACTS LABEL: ARE YOU READING RIGHT?

9 May

The following is a quick guide to reading the Nutrition Facts Panel.

START WITH THE SERVING SIZE
Look for both the serving size (the amount for one serving) and the number of servings in the package. Compare your portion size (the amount you actually eat) to the serving size listed on the panel. If the serving size is one cup and you eat two cups, you are getting twice the calories, fat and other nutrients listed on the label.

CHECK THE TOTAL CALORIES & FAT
Find out how many calories are in a single serving and the number of calories from fat. It’s smart to cut back on calories and fat if you are watching your weight.

LET THE PERCENT DAILY VALUES BE YOUR GUIDE
Use percent Daily Values (DV) to help evaluate how a particular food fits into your daily meal plan. Daily Values are average levels of nutrients for a person eating 2,000 calories a day. A food item with a 5 percent DV of fat provides 5 percent of the total fat that a person consuming 2,000 calories a day should eat.
Percent DV are for the entire day, not just one meal or snack. You may need to consume less or more than 2,000 calories depending upon your age, gender, activity level, and whether you’re trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight. In general, as you think about the amount of calories in a food per serving, remember that for a 2,000-calorie diet:

40 calories per serving is considered low;

100 calories per serving is considered moderate; and

400 calories or more per serving is considered high.

THE HIGH & LOW DAILY VALUES

  •  5 percent or less is low. Aim low in total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium. Limit Total fat to no more than 56–78 grams a day — including no more than 16 grams of saturated fat, less than two grams of trans fat, and less than 300 mg cholesterol (for a 2,000 calorie diet).
  • Eating less fat, cholesterol and sodium may help reduce your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.
  •  20 percent or more is high. Aim high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  • Eat more fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron to maintain good health and help reduce your risk of certain health problems such as osteoporosis and anemia. Choose more fruits and vegetables to get more of these nutrients.

ADDITIONAL NUTRIENTS

* Protein: Eat moderate portions of lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese, plus beans and nuts.

* Carbohydrates: There are three types of carbohydrates: sugars, starches and fiber. Eat whole-grain breads, cereals, rice and pasta plus fruits and vegetables.

CHECK THE INGREDIENTS LIST:
Foods with more than one ingredient must have an ingredient list on the label. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Those in the largest amounts are listed first. This information is particularly helpful to individuals with food sensitivities, those who wish to avoid nuts, gluten grains or limit added sugars or people who prefer vegetarian eating.

STRESS BUSTERS!

7 May

Many of us have a tendency to reach for unhealthy comfort food when stressed or depressed, but some foods really can help relieve stress and anxiety. It’s a win-win proposition, because not do these foods help combat stress, which in turn may improve heart health, but many of these foods are also known to have a more direct effect on heart health.

TOP 9 STRESS- FIGHTERS:

1. SPINACH

Spinach contains magnesium, which helps improve your body’s response to stress and may prevent migraine headaches.

2.  ASPARAGUS

Asparagus is a good source of folic acid, which produces serotonin and helps stabilize mood.

3.  MUTTON/BEEF

Helps stabilize mood by supplying zinc, iron, and B vitamins.

4.  DAIRY PRODUCTS

Milk & Milk Products, including skim milk, is high in antioxidants and vitamins B2 and B12 and also provides protein and calcium, which can reduce muscle spasms and tension and soothe PMS.

5. NUTS & SEEDS

Nuts and seeds are good stress-fighting snacks. In addition to containing vitamin B12, magnesium, and zinc, almonds also provide vitamin E, which, like vitamin C, fights stress-related free radicals that cause heart disease. Walnuts and pistachios are known to lower blood pressure. Sunflower seeds include folate, which helps produce dopamine, a pleasure-inducing brain chemical.

6. FRUITS

Fruits such as oranges and gooseberries (amla) contain vitamin C, which fight cancer-causing free radicals. Blueberries counteract the effect of hormones such as cortisol (“stress hormone”), and bananas provide potassium, which lowers blood pressure.

7.  FISH

Fish containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as mackerel, can boost serotonin levels and limit the production of anxiety hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.

8). AVOCADOS

Avocados are a good source of monounsaturated fat and potassium, which lower blood pressure.

9. CEREALS

Oats, corn flakes, rice offer B vitamins and folic acid, which reduce stress. Have a bowl of whole-grain cereal with milk for a stress-fighting breakfast.

 

THE EVIL FORCE:

The following are foods that trigger/ worsen Stress:-

1. CAFFEINE

Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate, can cause anxiety and raise stress hormone levels.

2.  SUGAR

Sugar causes spikes in blood glucose levels and increases insulin. This affects your adrenal glands, which regulate stress hormones and help the thyroid regulate body weight.

3. TRANS FATTY ACIDS

Trans fatty acids such as hydrogenated vegetable oil are found in many baked goods and can hinder the immune system and increase the risk of heart disease.

4. ALCOHOL

Alcohol puts more sugar in the body, and excessive consumption can damage the adrenal glands.