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Monday, December 21, 2015

Never Too Old to Start Weight Training

The older I get, the more I realize how important weight training is. It now makes up the majority of my workouts, and if you’re middle-aged or beyond, I encourage you to make this a regular part of your exercise routine.
The fact is, even though you might not care as much about how your muscles look as you did in your 20s (but then again, you might!), you certainly care about how your muscles function.
Without weight training, your muscles will atrophy and lose mass. Age-related loss of muscle mass is known as sarcopenia, and if you don’t do anything to stop it you can expect to lose about 15 percent of your muscle mass between your 30s and your 80s.

Slow Down Muscle Loss and Boost Your Strength Three-Fold
Muscle loss happens gradually, so you probably won’t notice it occurring at first. But by the time you’re in your 70s, when sarcopenia tends to accelerate, you might start to feel weaker and find you can’t do things, physically, that you used to do. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
A gradual loss in muscle cross-sectional area is consistently found with advancing age; by age 50, about ten percent of muscle area is gone. After 50 years of age, the rate of loss accelerates significantly.
Muscle strength declines by approximately 15 percent per decade in the sixties and seventies and by about 30 percent thereafter. Although intrinsic muscle function is reduced with advancing age, age-related decrease in muscle mass is responsible for almost all loss of strength in the older adult.'
By helping you maintain your muscle mass and strength, strength training can, quite literally, give you the ability to keep on living. On the contrary, if you stop working your muscles, the consequences of sarcopenia are steep and include..
  • Increased risk of falls and fractures
  • Impaired ability to regulate body temperature
  • Slower metabolism
  • Loss in the ability to perform everyday tasks
Now, what do you have to gain by starting weight training – even if you’re already “older?” As ACSM explains:
Given an adequate training stimulus, older adults can make significant gains in strength. A two- to three-fold increase in strength can be accomplished in three to four months in fibers recruited during training in older adults. With more prolonged resistance training, even a modest increase in muscle size is possible.
…With increasing muscle strength come increased levels of spontaneous activity in both healthy, independent older adults and very old and frail men and women. Strength training, in addition to its possible effects on insulin action, bone density, energy metabolism, and functional status, is also an important way to increase levels of physical activity in the older adult.”

The Many Benefits of Weight Training for Older Adults

Weight training is important throughout your life, but in many ways it becomes even more important as you age. Even if you’re in your 90s, it’s not too late. One study found a group of nursing home residents with an average age of 90 improved their strength between 167 and 180 percent after just eight weeks of weight training.What are some of the other benefits?
  • Improved walking ability: After 12 weeks of weight training, seniors aged 65 and over improved both their leg strength and endurance, and were able to walk nearly 40 percent farther without resting.
  • Improved ability to perform daily tasks: After 16 weeks of “total body” weight training, women aged 60 to 77 years “substantially increased strength” and had improvements in walking velocity and the ability to carry out daily tasks, such as rising from a chair or carrying a box of groceries.
  • Decreased risk of falls: Women between the ages of 75 and 85, all of whom had reduced bone mass or full-blown osteoporosis, were able to lower their fall risk with weight training and agility activities.
  • Relief from joint pain: Weight training strengthens the muscles, tendons and ligaments around your joints, which takes stress off the joint and helps ease pain. It can also help increase your range of motion.
  • Improved blood sugar control: Weight training helps to control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It can also reduce your type 2 diabetes risk; strength training for at least 150 minutes a week lowered diabetes risk by 34 percent compared to being sedentary.
Weight training can also go a long way to prevent brittle bone formation, and can help reverse the damage already done. For example, a walking lunge exercise is a great way to build bone density in your hips, even without any additional weights. Strength training also increases your body’s production of growth factors, which are responsible for cellular growth, proliferation, and differentiation. Some of these growth factors also promote the growth, differentiation, and survival of neurons, which helps explain why working your muscles also benefits your brain and helps prevent dementia.


Is Super-Slow Weight Training Best if You’re Older?

By slowing your movements down, it turns your weight-training session into high-intensity exercise. The super-slow movement allows your muscle, at the microscopic level, to access the maximum number of cross-bridges between the protein filaments that produce movement in the muscle.
This is a beneficial and safe way to incorporate high-intensity exercise into your workouts if you’re older and have trouble getting around. You only need about 12 to 15 minutes of super-slow strength training once a week to achieve the same human growth hormone (HGH) production as you would from 20 minutes of Peak Fitness sprints.
The fact that super-slow weight training gives you an excellent boost in human growth hormone (HGH), otherwise known as the "fitness hormone," is another reason why it’s so beneficial if you’re older. As you reach your 30s and beyond, you enter what's called "somatopause," when your levels of HGH begin to drop off quite dramatically.  This is part of what drives your aging process. According to DRS, there's also a strong correlation between somatopause and age-related sarcopenia. HGH is needed to sustain your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which produce a lot of power. It's also needed to stimulate those muscles.
"What seems to be evident is that a high-intensity exercise stimulus is what triggers the body to make an adaptive response to hold on to muscle," DRS" says. "We have to remember that muscle is a very metabolically expensive tissue… If you become sedentary and send your body a signal that this tissue is not being used, then that tissue is metabolically expensive. The adaptation is to deconstruct that tissue…
People of all ages can benefit from super-slow weight training, but this is definitely a method to consider if you’re middle-aged or older. I recommend using four or five basic compound movements for your super-slow (high intensity) exercise set. Compound movements are movements that require the coordination of several muscle groups—for example, squats, chest presses and compound rows. Here is my version of the technique. I'm also going to demonstrate a number of exercises in my YouTube channel .
  • Begin by lifting the weight as slowly and gradually as you can.  Like doing this with a four-second positive and a four-second negative, meaning it takes four seconds, or a slow count to four, to bring the weight up, and another four seconds to lower it. (When pushing, stop about 10 to 15 degrees before your limb is fully straightened; smoothly reverse direction)
  • Slowly lower the weight back down to the slow count of four
  • Repeat until exhaustion, which should be around four to eight reps. Once you reach exhaustion, don't try to heave or jerk the weight to get one last repetition in. Instead, just keep trying to produce the movement, even if it's not “going” anywhere, for another five seconds or so. If you're using the appropriate amount of weight or resistance, you'll be able to perform eight to 10 reps
  • Immediately switch to the next exercise for the next target muscle group, and repeat the first three steps
If you’re just starting out, consult with a personal fitness trainer who can instruct you about proper form and technique. He or she can also help you develop a plan based on your unique fitness goals and one that is safe for any medical conditions you may have. Just keep in mind that while you need to use caution, you do need to exercise at a level that is challenging to your body. Many make the mistake of exercising with not enough intensity, and this will result in many of your benefits being forfeited.
It’s important before you start to adjust your mindset as well. You can use the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to let go of any negative beliefs you may have about exercise or your body’s ability to grow stronger at an older age. Once you’re open, mentally, to becoming fit and strong, your body will follow suit. Do start slowly and gradually increase your intensity while listening to your body. And be sure to give your body ample time for recovery, as well as the proper nourishment to help build your muscles. Amino acids are extremely important as they form the building blocks for muscle. Leucine is a powerful muscle builder.
However, you should avoid amino acid isolates of leucine because, in its free form, it’s been shown to contribute to insulin resistance and may lead to muscle wasting. It’s far better to get leucine from whole foods, and the best source is a high-quality whey protein. Consuming a high-quality whey protein shake after your workout may help to maximize muscle protein synthesis. Finally, in addition to strength training, you should round out your exercise program with other beneficial exercises, including DRS Fitness, balance training, core work and flexibility training. Add this on to regular daily movement – aim for 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day – and you’ll soon see your fitness level soar.
Source : fiitnessplus.com

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Interesting Fitness Facts About Human Body

Here are some of the interesting fitness facts about human body and health that you probably never knew. Knowing these should give you yet another reason to love your body and take care of your health.

15 Interesting Fitness Facts

1. It takes 70 muscles to speak a single word.
2. Your body has more than 650 muscles.
3. What is your body’s strongest muscle? It’s your heart – which beats approximately 100,000 times per day. That means that in just 10 days, your heart beats one million times. If you do sustained, intense exercise daily, you’ll reach a million even more quickly.
4. People who cross-train with a variety of exercise are more fit and less injury-prone than those who exercise using only one or two exercise modalities.
5. Visualization can help to improve your workout. By visualizing yourself completing the exercise before you actually perform it, then you will be able to perform the exercise with more intensity and effectiveness.
6. If you had every single muscle in your body work together at the same time, you could lift about 50,000 pounds.
7. If you are not a regular exerciser, by the time you are 65 you may experience as much as an 80% decrease in your muscle strength.
8. By the time you have reached old age, you will have walked approximately 70,000 miles.
9. Walking either in water, against the wind, or wearing a backpack burns approximately 50 more calories an hour. 
10. Watching yourself in a mirror while running on a treadmill, will make your workout go faster. 
11. Only 13% of men are physically fit.
12. After the age of 30, women lose minimum 0.5% muscle mass every year.
13. Every time you go for a one hour walk your life expectancy increases by 2 hours.
14. Only about 22 percent of INDIAN adults engage in regular, sustained physical activity for at least 30 minutes five times a week, and only 15 percent exercise both regularly and vigorously.
15. Standing up straight burns more calories than slouching – just one more reason for good posture. Stand up straight. Good posture burns more calories than slouching
By utilizing these interesting fitness facts, you can pump up your workout, get to know your body and make your way to the best shape of your life.
Source : fiitnessplus.com

Circuit Training Improves Flexibility, Strength And Endurance

Circuit training is a form of training which alternates between different physical activities and rest periods. Each segment is completed within a time limit. The four types of circuit training are timed, competition, repetition, and sport-specific. From beginners to experienced athletes, many individuals use the circuit method because of the low investment in resources. A workout session can be completed within thirty minutes. It can be done with no equipment or with inexpensive equipment like stability balls or dumbbells.
The benefits of circuit training include improved flexibility, coordination, strength, and endurance. Weight loss is another benefit. In addition, it provides participants with both resistance training and a cardiovascular workout. In a WebMD article, a fitness research director stated that circuit trainers receive an extra third of calorie burn after their sessions.

Main Types Of Circuit Training

There are four main types of circuit training — timed, competition, repetition, and sport-specific. In timed circuit training, individuals perform each exercise in conjunction with a rest period within a time limit.
Competition circuit training involves repeating one physical activity as many times as possible, increasing the reps within the same amount of time.
Participants in repetition circuit training are a group with varying fitness levels. Each member of the group performs the workout at the intensity relative to his ability.
Sport-specific circuit training consists of exercise elements focused on a particular sport like running/boxing/swimming.

Some Circuit Training Exercises

Circuit training can include any number and combination of physical activities. These are a few circuit training exercises for getting into shape.
– Walking Lunges;
– Jumping Jacks;
– Push ups;
– Squats;
– Abdominal Crunches;
– Jump Rope;
– Calf Raises;
– Running;
– Jogging;
– Weightlifting.
Source: fiitnessplus.com

Monday, December 14, 2015

Branch-Chained Amino Acids ( BCAA )

BCAA comes from the term “branch-chained amino acids”, and it’s very popular these days in the world of fitness enthusiasts. When it comes to working out and building muscles, BCAA is a key element in our biological structure as it helps protein to be absorbed and to contribute to developing the muscles. Let’s have a closer look at what BCAA’aand what it can do for you.

Why Would I Take BCAA Supplements?

I’m not trying to build a case for BCAA, as taking it or not will in fact be your option, as with everything fitness-related, but I do want us to have a look at some of the advantages of BCAA. After reading this take a moment to see if you feel they are necessary to your level of fitness and to achieving your goals.
Our bodies need over 20 essential amino-acids just to develop muscles and to produce other molecules which are essential to growth and development. Most of these amino acids are produced naturally by the body, but some of them need to be ingested, either from our food or from supplements.
Some natural sources of BCAA are all protein sources in our food: dairy, red meat, chicken breast, canned tuna or wild salmon. Yet there are several factors that can cause amino deficiencies, and which require taking supplements, such as veganism or lactose intolerance.

What Does BCAA Do?

Well first of all, contrary to all labels, BCAA does not go straight to the muscles. It need to be synthesized, which means that it passed through the liver, and a part of the amino acids are used for other processes. So only part of them are used to build muscles.
What it does do is to act as a signal to the body to stop synthesizing protein during workouts, and instead to reverse the process and to begin producing protein and developing muscles. The theory says that when you diet, you should take BCAA to make sure that your muscles are maintained, and that you’re only shedding fat.
Source : fiitnessplus.com 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

How To Count Calories To Lose Weight Fast

One of the most common question that you guys ask on Facebook or Twitter when you want to lose weight or to put on weight or even to maintain your weight is: “How much calories should I consume or burn in a day? How to count calories?”
In this article I want to get down to the details for you to understand how to count calories and how much calories you need to consume ans why. Before we start I want you to be as truthful as you can in regards to your measurements, in order for us to see results and for this process to work.
There is no secret to losing weight. If you want to lose weight, the calories you burn need to be greater than the calories you consume. And if you want to put on weight is vice versa. Calories come from your fats, carbs, protein and alcohol.

How To Count Calories?

Grab a pen, a calculator and a piece of paper because we’ll be doing some mathematics to count calories. I’ve broken the process down into 5 steps which is also what I call 5 As. The first A is:

1. Attainable Goals

What you need to do before you start losing weight is to set yourself an attainable goal. So ask yourself 2 questions:
  • “How much do you want to lose?”
  • “By when?”
Make sure they are realistic. Just so you know, in order to lose one pound of fat you need to burn 3500 calories. So if your goal is to lose 5 pounds of fat, that’s 17,500 calories.
The safe and recommended way to lose weight is to lose no more than 1 to 2 pounds of fat per week. That is safe and sustainable. If you were to lose weight quick, the chances are you will put on weight quickly as well.

2. Aware

Be aware and understand your basic metabolic rate (BMR). By understanding your BMR you will know how much calories do you need to consume a day in order to keep your progress moving. Your BMR is how much calories your body burns in a day without you doing anything.
So get your calculator ready as you’ll be finding out what your BMR is. There are 2 formulas to this. The first is called the English BMR Formula where we use pounds and inches. The second is called the Metric BMR Formula and it uses centimeters and kilograms.
There are 4 factors in calculating BMR:
  • gender;
  • weight;
  • height;
  • age.
Here is the English BMR Formula:
  • Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
  • Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in year)
Here is the Metric BMR Formula:
  • Women: BMR = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kilos) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years)
  • Men: BMR = 66 + (13.7 x weight in kilos) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)
After all this calculation, my BMR is 1316.8 calories.Remember that this is just an estimation. What is telling me is that my body burns about 1300 calories without me doing anything. And therefore if I would to consume this amount of calories without doing anything, I would not put on weight. If I would to consume less I would lose weight and if I would to consume more, I would put on weight.

3. Activity Level

This is very important to know how much calories you need to consume because obviously we don’t just lie in bed and do nothing. So what you need to do is to take your BMR and multiply it with your activity level.
  • If you’re the kind of person that has very little exercise or no exercise at all, your activity level is 1.2.
  • If you’re lightly active and you workout 1-3 times per week, your activity level is 1.375.
  • If you’re moderately active and you workout 3-5 times per week, your activity level is 1.55.
  • If you’re very active and you workout 6-7 times per week, your activity level is 1.725.
  • And if you’re extra active, you’re activity level is 1.9. And if you’re extra active there is no way you’re putting on weight so you won’t need this.
The calories needed to maintain your current weight are equal with your BMR x Activity Level. So my calories are:
  • 1316.8 x 1.55 = 2041 calories.
So if I would workout 3-5 times per week, I could consume about 2000 calories in a day and I would maintain my weight.

4. Application

This is the time for us to apply everything in order for you to achieve your goal. First application is to calculate how much calories should you eat if you want to lose weight. Remember, this is just an estimation, there are many other factors to consider. I’m gonna take a case study to give you an example of how to calculate and apply this. So let’s consider these factors:
  • female;
  • 28 years old;
  • 165 centimeters;
  • 75 kilograms;
  • goal: lose 5 kg in 8 weeks;
  • lightly active (1.375).
Let’s start by calculating her BMR and you can do this by calculating your own BMR as well:
  • BMR = 655 + (9.6 x 75) + (1.8 x 165) – (4.7 x 28) = 1540.4 calories.
Remember that the heavier you are the more your body burns, and the lighter you are, the less your body burns.
Let’s calculate her daily calories she can consume to maintain her weight:
  • 1540.4 x 1.375 = 2118.05 calories.
But that’s not her goal. Her goal is to lose weight, not to maintain it. She wants to lose 5 kg, which is 11 lbs. Let’s calculate how many calories means this:
  • 11 x 3500 = 38,500 calories.
So she needs to burn 38,500 calories and this is not possible to do in a day or in a week. But this is very possible to burn in 8 weeks. So let’s calculate how much calories she needs to burn in a day:
  • 38,500 / 8 = 4812.5 calories per week;
  • 4812.5 / 7 = 687.5 calories per day.
There are 2 ways to burn your calories:
  • 1. Consume less than you currently are.
  • 2. Exercise more than you currently are.
I would recommend to do both.When you combine both, that’s when you see quicker results and that’s when you will be able to maintain your weight.
The key to remember is that the more muscles your body put on, the higher your metabolism become. And muscles can only be gain through working out, not through dieting or your eating habits.
So back to our study case. The maximum calories for the woman to consume in a day to lose weight would be:
  • 2118.05 – 687.5 = 1430.55 calories per day.
So how can she do this?
First is to watch her diet, and not consuming more than that.
The second option is to workout. So if she were to workout for 3 days, in her non workout days she would need to LIMIT her calories to 1430. But in her workout days she can ad 300 calories (if she burns 300 calories when working out) to her calories intake in that day. When you’re working out your body uses much more energy and you need food to get that energy to build muscles.
But do not over consume! Avoid eating more than your body needs. When people start working out, they start eating more too.

5. Attitude

If you want to lose weight, you got to make a start. Start taking action and change your mindset. Remember that the weight loss process takes time, so don’t give up! Make your journey a fun one and have a positive attitude. Don’t just workout for the sake of working out.
Always keep your goal in mind! People that see results are the people that never give up. Help your friends to get in the right direction and learn to count calories. Share this post with them and stay fit!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Beginner’s Guide To Start A Successful Exercise Plan

You want to start an exercise plan and lose weight. Where do you start? How and what exercises should you do? To be perfectly honest I don’t have one straight answer for all of you because an exercise plan varies based on your age, fitness level, time you have and more.
So what I’ll be sharing with you today is the foundation for beginners to start a simple and effective exercise plan. This might sound complicated, but once you know the basic and build from there, it is not difficult and it can be really exciting.

How To Start An Exercise Plan

I’m going to try to keep it really simple, so I’m going to break it down into 5 simple steps.

1. Assess Your Situation

Only you know what’s best for yourself. So the questions to ask are:
How much time can you dedicate to exercising? How many days in a week? What time of the day?
If you can dedicate one hour of exercising everyday, that’s great. However, if you can dedicate only 15-30 minutes a day, that is absolutely fine as well.
Working out for a longer period of time, doesn’t necessarily mean quicker or better results. Instead, it is about how consistent and efficient your workout is, in order to achieve the best results.
For instance if you’re a busy, working mother, and you can only spend 10-20 minutes every day, well… start with that! A short workout is better than none. No matter how short your workout is, you will still be burning calories and you will still build lean muscles.
So whatever your time commitment is, work with that, stay consistent and have discipline. Successes do come with hard work, determination and giving yourself no excuses.
Before you start a workout program you need to be physically and mentally ready and willing to make changes in your life. Another common question is:
What is the best time to workout?
Again, this goes back to assessing your situation. There is no such thing as “the best time to workout”. Workout when it is most convenient to you, because then you are more likely to stick to your routine.
So start by assessing your situation and see how you can make small changes in your lifestyle. I am not asking you to take drastic measures or to make huge sacrifices, but to work with the situation, adapt and create a workout time that is most efficient for you.
Now that you know your commitment and you’re ready to make changes, the next step is to figure out what exercises should you do?

2. What Exercises Should You Do?

This can be the confusing part. A typical workout should start with a warm up, the actual workout and end with a cool down. For beginners it is important to work on total body workouts focusing on major muscles to burn fat, build lean muscles and lose weight efficiently.
It is important to know that we can not spot reduce fat! This means doing 100 crunches every single day will not give you a flat belly. Instead, doing total body workouts, focusing on all major muscles including your core will help to burn belly fat and to give you a flat tummy.
For example a workout plan can be:
Monday,Wednesday, Friday – strength training: Upper Body Gym Routine
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday – cardio: Most Effective Cardio Exercises
Sunday – rest day.

What is the difference between strength training and cardio?

Strength training or weight lifting are exercises aimed at improving your strength and to build lean muscles. Strength training is important because the more lean muscles you have, the higher your metabolic rate will be and your body will be burning fat more efficiently even when you’re at rest. This include squats, lunges, pushups, tricep dips, pull ups and more.
Cardio or aerobics are exercises that are intense enough to increase your breathing and heart rate at a continuous and consistent pace. Cardio exercises are important to increase stamina, to burn calories and excess fat from the body. This include running, cycling, swimming, hiking, dancing and more.
A combination of both cardio and strength training is key to losing weight and also to achieve quicker results. If you do your workout on alternate days (3-4 times weekly), then combine both cardio and strength training into each session.
Source: fiitnessplus.com
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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

When you have to make small changes to a fitness workouts?

Yes, there is the possibility that at some point, a fitness workout that gave amazing results in the first instance, now only give you … headaches. And not saying that is bad, any kind of movement is more than great for health. There are chances that your training doesn’t helps you anymore to achieve your goal. Or simply is not suitable to your body or the level at which you are in physically exercises.
So if your current fitness workout causes discomfort, it is essential to not give up, but to make small changes in structure. Here are the key moments that we should rethink training:

Permanent muscle soreness
It is perfectly normal to have muscle soreness, especially if you’re in the beginning. But when you feel it from a workout to other and do not even remember what it is like painless muscle, is time to ask yourself if maybe recovery breaks are too small or too rare. What can you do? After an intense workout, watch as the next two workouts to be easier, or increase recovery period.

Training does not work

It is normal to achieve so-called “plateau” where the scale no longer offers you any joy. And one of the reasons may be the overuse I talked about above. So you can take a few days break and then you can resume training, to see if there are improvements. On the other hand, new or increased exercise time / intensity exercise (not more than 10% per week!) can help considerably.

Joint pain

The most common cause of joint pain is the lack of warming and stretching exercises before training. 5-10 minutes of warming up is essential to prevent such injuries and pain. Inappropriate footwear is another major cause of joint pain. Make sure you wear a pair of shoes good for your feet, especially if you like to run. If pain persists, maybe it would be good to take a break from the exercises that put excessive pressure on the joints (jumping, jogging).  Try, for example, swimming or weight exercises.

Skip workouts

Always something prevents you from getting to the gym or out for a run: either you have a extra work, or you’re too tired. Idea is actually you have no time! You’re full of excuses. Establish a workout program, consult a specialist and try to get over the first 3-4 workouts. Then the 30-40 minutes of exercise will be a true joy every day!

Nervousness and irritability

Sports increases the release of endorphins, makes us happier and removes stress. Perfect really, with a small correction: when we over trained! Workout  Intensity / frequency is too much. Too little importance is given to recovery leads to restlessness, nervousness, and even insomnia, especially if the training is conducted in the evening. Do not push your body like you will not soon meet the objective!
Source: fiitnessplus.com