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10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Health Club Membership

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10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Health Club Membership

 

You’ve decided you want (or need) to get work out more and get fit. You’re thinking about joining a health club, but you’ve heard too many stories about people who sign up, go one or two times, and never go back. You’re not really sure which type of club to join: a low-cost chain, a more expensive, exclusive fitness center, or a club that caters to only women or men.

Before you choose a fitness center, you should first know what your needs are as far as physical fitness is concerned. This will determine the kind of fitness center that you will find.

For example, if you are so much into sports fitness rather than the typical physical fitness activities like aerobics, then it would be better to choose a fitness center that has sports facilities and not just treadmills.

10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Health Club Membership

Buying and maintaining a health club membership can be pretty complicated, but if you follow these 10 tips, you’ll save money and be on your way to greater fitness.

1. Make a list of your specific fitness needs and wants. Will you be comfortable working out in a large club with both men and women? Will you need access to more than one club? Are you looking for one-on-one personal training services? How often do you think you’ll work out each month? Do you think you’ll be able to keep up your fitness regimen? How much can you afford to pay for a membership each month?

2. Once you’ve identified your requirements, visit health clubs that meet your needs. Get a free pass for each club (at least a one-week’s pass) and work out at each club as often as possible during the free periods.

3. Don’t sign up for a membership at any of the health clubs while you’re using free passes. You’ll be under a lot of pressure from salespeople and managers, and they will tell you that you need to sign up today in order to get discount pricing. Don’t. Health clubs offer discount pricing all the time.

4. When you’ve decided on a health club, go back and speak with a salesperson about membership choices. Don’t feel pressured to sign a long-term contract at any health club. Remember that long-term contracts are really installment loans with high-interest payments. If you don’t think that you’re going to keep up your workouts, don’t even think about signing one of these contracts. Gather all the written information about each type of membership, then go home and review it at your leisure. Don’t feel pressured to sign up for any membership at the club.

5. When speaking with the salesperson, ask all the questions you want. Don’t feel rushed or pressured. Never forget that any contract you sign supersedes any promises a salesperson gives you. Even if the salesperson writes it into the contract, it probably isn’t legally enforceable. The contract is king. Read it carefully before signing.

10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Health Club Membership

6. Compare the costs of each membership type, and remember that you should make the ultimate decision based on your own needs, not on short-term discounts that may sound like you’re saving money, but will end up costing you more money in the end.

7. Make sure you fully understand the cancellation requirements of each membership type. Many long-term health club contracts are almost impossible to cancel. A month-to-month agreement may be a better solution.

8. Don’t sign up for automatic payments via credit card. If you no longer want a membership, and you’re able to cancel, you may find it difficult to get payments stopped.

9. Keep track of all your payments in case there are any disputes with your health club.

10. If you do cancel your membership, make sure you get the cancellation in writing from your health club.

By following these 10 tips, you will certainly set yourself up for fitness success.

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5 Reasons Why Alcohol Will Destroy Your Muscle Gains

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5 Reasons Why Alcohol Will Destroy Your Muscle Gains

 

I receive emails every single day from aspiring muscle-builders all over the world, and one of the most common questions I’m asked is “does drinking really affect the muscle growth process?” I’m sorry to say it, but yes, too much alcohol will almost definitely have a significant negative impact on your muscle-building results. Alcohol is far more harmful than most people think, and it’s very important that you understand how this drug (yes, alcohol is a drug) is affecting your progress. This is not an anti-drug speech, but if you’re serious about achieving a truly impressive physique, you should definitely be aware of the 5 main ways that alcohol is slowing down your gains…

1) It negatively affects protein synthesis.

Protein synthesis is the process where amino acids are joined together to form complete proteins. Excessive alcohol consumption slows this process down by up to 20%, and since your muscles are made up of protein, you can see how this is a problem.

2) It lowers testosterone levels and increases estrogen.

Testosterone is the most important muscle-building hormone in your body. One of the limiting factors that determines how much muscle a person can gain is their level of free-flowing testosterone.

5 Reasons Why Alcohol Will Destroy Your Muscle Gains

3) Alcohol causes dehydration.

The kidneys must filter very large amounts of water in order to break down the alcohol, and this can result in severe dehydration within the body. Water plays an absolutely crucial role in the muscle-building process, and being even slightly dehydrated is a recipe for disaster. The muscles alone are comprised of 70% water.

4) It depletes the body of vitamins and minerals.

Alcohol consumption causes vitamins A, C, the B’s, calcium, zinc and phosphorus to all be drained at rapid rates. Vitamins and minerals keep every little process in your body functioning properly, and many of these processes involve muscle growth and maintenance.

5) Alcohol increases fat storage.

With 7 empty calories per gram, alcohol can actually be quite fattening. Alcohol also disrupts the Kreb’s Cycle, which plays an important role in fat burning.

It’s important to have fun in life, but too much fun can lead to problems. If you’re serious about achieving significant muscle-building results, you definitely need to monitor your intake of alcohol and make sure that you are consuming it in moderation. A few drinks here and there shouldn’t be a problem, but if you find yourself drinking every weekend you can almost certainly kiss your muscle gains goodbye.

If you do decide to go out and party, make sure to drink plenty of water and to properly nourish yourself with vitamins/minerals and a protein rich meal.

5 Reasons Why Alcohol Will Destroy Your Muscle Gains

I don’t recommend revolving your entire life around your muscle-building program, so don’t be afraid to go out and have a good time once in a while. Just make sure to keep your drinking nights infrequent (no more than once a month) and properly nourish yourself to lessen its effects. As long as you monitor what you’re doing you can achieve an impressive physique and have a social life at the same time.

Well, to maintain peak performance in the gym, all alcohol should be avoided. However, some studies show if protein consumption is high and alcohol is consumed, the protein does seem to slightly blunt the damaging effects of alcohol.

Carbohydrate consumption combined with alcohol consumption seems to have no benefit in preventing muscle breakdown. The only benefit it will provide is to decrease the rate at which alcohol is traveling to the liver to prevent excessive alcohol in the bloodstream.

Overall, alcohol is not the most beneficial beverage when it comes to enhancing strength or performance. While it should be avoided, it’s also very prevalent in the diets of almost every culture. So, drink responsibly and drink in moderation!

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5 Helpful Things to Do to Start Your Personal Fitness Program

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5 Helpful Things to Do to Start Your Personal Fitness Program

 

The most common challenge that people I talk to face is how to incorporate fitness into their lives. They know they have to do something to get in shape but they really don’t know how. It can be discouraging because of the abundance of information out there. So much that you may not know where to begin.

Our society has so many food choices that it is easy to pack on the extra pounds. Also our day to day jobs are less physical as they where 100 years ago so we have more sedentary life styles. We know there are benefits involved when we exercise and cleaning up or diet. However, most of us know don’t know how or where to start.

So where do we begin? Or is the question: How do we begin?

The very first thing you need do is go to your doctor and get the approval to start exercising. Your doctor may also provide some helpful tips as well.

After you get the “OK” from your doctor, try these 5 things to help you get started:

5 Helpful Things to Do to Start Your Personal Fitness Program

Making the decision to do something provides a form of commitment you made to your self. Deciding that you need to change behavior creates new possibilities. When you say to your self “I need to get in shape”, it means something. You should be answering these questions in your mind: When can I work out? What exercises do I need to do? What foods should I be eating? Make your self think about the commitment you just made. Only then you can let go of the past and take steps to move forward.

Write Down What You Do

You need a reference that is realistic towards your weekly activity. Write down everything you do during the week. This should include work hours, commuting hours, nights spent with your spouse, your child’s activities and anything else you can think of that you do. You should also include what you do on weekends. You should make a list for each day of the week. Here’s why…..

Some people set lofty goals like working out for 2 hours a day. This can be due to an old saying, “More is Better”. However, this is not the case. Knowing your schedule will help you set realistic goals and help you find a few hours a week to start exercising. You’ll have a visual perspective on what you can and can’t do with your routine.

Research and Get Information

Most people do not have enough information before they start a work out program. So how do we get the information we need? The good news is we live in the information age. Take advantage of your favorite search engine and learn a little bit about fitness and nutrition. However, do not go overboard and lose focus. Find a source of information you like and take notes. Find the simplest and easiest workouts and nutrition tips. Don’t over load yourself with information.

If you have the money, hire a personal trainer for a few sessions to help you get started. Hiring a personal trainer is a great way to get started because you have made a commitment to meet someone to workout. Your goal is to have the trainer show you the basics on exercise and eating healthier. It may also be safer to learn how to perform the exercises (especially if you have not exercised for a while).

5 Helpful Things to Do to Start Your Personal Fitness Program

Keep it Simple! Following a simple plan while on a hectic schedule is much easier than following an elaborate plan. You should have a plan of which days you want to work out and one goal to change your eating habits for the next few weeks. For example, “I will work out for a half an hour for 3 days this week. I will eat a little less each meal.” Simple is success.

Execute Your Plan

Now that you have a plan, all you need to do is follow it. This is another big step. You should look at your plan every day upon waking. You need be mentally prepared for the great day ahead of you. Having your daily schedule in hand will help you achieve your goals for the day. When you complete your workout for the day, highlight it or cross it off your list. It will show you that you accomplished something for yourself. No matter what you must execute. This will be the hardest (and most rewarding) step.

I hope these things help you get started on a new life of physical fitness. Life is filled with making decisions, knowing your commitments, getting information, planning and execution. Try these approaches for yourself and you will see that having your own workout and nutrition program is not as far fetched or complicated as you think.

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Common Cardio Exercise Workout Mistakes

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Common Cardio Exercise Workout Mistakes

 

Cardio exercise machine workouts are great and fun for burning excess body fat and building good cardiovascular health. These exercises not only help to burn body fat fast it will also strengthen your heart and lungs and thus reducing your chances of getting high blood pressure, stroke and heart diseases. Regular cardio exercises can also reduce bad cholesterol and raise the level of good cholesterol.

However, are you getting the most out of your cardio machine workouts? Are you using the cardio workout machines efficiently to gain maximum benefits of the exercises?

Well, you probably are not if you are an average gym user without any personal trainers to guide you because you will probably commit common cardio machine mistakes when exercising.

We shall now examine the more popular cardio workout machines and the common mistakes people commit when using these machines for their workouts.

Common mistakes when using cardio workout machines are :-

• Step up stair climber – This is perhaps the most common mistake for not getting the most out of the step up stair climber machine. Almost invariably, everyone when exercising with this machine will rest their arms on the railing. By doing so, the railing now becomes sort of like a crutch as it will now support some of your body weight making the exercise less intensive.

• Treadmill – The treadmill is perhaps the most popular cardio workout machine in the gym. A careful observation will show that many treadmill users run with too much up and downs. This mistake will wear out the person’s ankle and knee joints over time. The correct method is to take long, smooth and purposeful strides during the exercise.

• Stationery Bike – When exercising on the stationery bike, do adjust the height of the seat to a comfortable level. I really don’t understand why many stationery bike users adjust their seats to be either too high or too low. I mean, why be uncomfortable when exercising when you can be comfortable.

When the seat is too low, it adds strain to your knees and spine. When too high, your will butt will rock from side to side. So besides not getting the best from your cardio workout on the stationery bike because your body weight will be involved when you peddle, you will also look weird. It is such a silly workout mistake right?

Another common mistake is that I often see stationery bikers reading a book when exercising. That means that they exercise at a very low intensity level. Hey, how can low intensity cardio exercises work your heart and lung effectively?

• Elliptical Trainer – This is also another bewildering common cardio workout mistake. You use the elliptical trainer to tone your body and to exercise for your cardiovascular fitness right? Then why is it I often see people who use the elliptical trainer exercising at a high speed? So what is the mistake? The mistake is that they have set the resistant level too low.

Common Cardio Exercise Workout Mistakes

You see, if you do not puff, pant and breakout in sweat, you are not getting the best out of your cardio exercises. Is it any wonder then that people are not losing weight and not improving on their cardiovascular health even when they are doing their cardio exercises regularly?

Now that you know how to avoid these common cardio machine exercise workout mistakes, you can now head for the gym and get the best out of these exercises. In a very short time, you will see your body toning up nicely, improvement on your cardio health being felt and visibly losing excess body fat.

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Cholesterol – Good, Bad…Huh?

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Cholesterol – Good, Bad…Huh?

 

What IS Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance that’s stored in the fat (lipid) content of one’s blood stream. It’s actually important to have a certain amount of “good” cholesterol in one’s system.

Cholesterol, and our other body fats, cannot dissolve in our blood. They must be transported by special carriers called lipoproteins. While there are numerous kinds (too many to cover here), the two that are most important are the high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and the low-density lipoproteins (LDL). There is a third kind, which is referred to as Lp(a), which can increase one’s risk of heart attack and stroke. We’ll cover that one here, as well.

HDL, LDL, & Lp(a)…What ARE These?

High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are known as “good cholesterol”. Most experts agree that HDL moves the cholesterol from the arteries to the liver, where it is broken down and leaves the body through the natural evacuation process. A higher HDL level seems to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. Keep in mind, though, that a lower HDL level in one’s body (-40 mg/dL in men, -50 mg d/L in women) is a warning signal of greater risk of one or both.

HDL seems to remove excess cholesterol from the plaques which build up in one’s blood vessels, thereby inhibiting or slowing their growth. This is what makes it so important to the human body. Approximately 1/3 to 1/4 of the cholesterol in our bodies is carried by the HDL.

Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are the major transporters of cholesterol in our blood. One can experience a build up on the walls of the arteries which supply blood to our hearts and brains, if too much LDL enters the blood stream. When combined with other substances, it forms plaques. Plaques are hard, thick coatings that can clog one’s arteries and decrease blood flow to the heart or the brain. Should the blood not move swiftly enough, there is danger of a blood clot forming near the plaques. When this occurs in the arteries leading to the heart, one is at greater risk of a heart attack. If it happens in the arteries which lead to one’s brain, there is a higher risk of stroke.

If one’s LDL level is 160 mg/dL or higher, this is an indication of a greater risk of heart disease. And if one has already been diagnosed with heart disease, it is strongly recommended that one maintain a level of less than 100 mg/dL.

A little known (by the general population) lipoprotein that can also cause a greater risk is the Lp(a) cholesterol lipoprotein. This is a generic variation of plasma (the “fluid” which carries the blood cells through one’s blood stream) LDL. When one’s Lp(a) level is higher, one can more quickly develop the plaque build up which physicians and specialists refer to as “arthersclerosis”. Although there has been no conclusive evidence drawn as to WHY Lp(a) contributes to the increased risk of heart disease, it is commonly believed that the natural lesions which occur in our artery walls may contain substances that interact with it. This may lead to the build up of the fatty deposits.

From Where Do We Get Cholesterol?

The general consensus is that the human body is capable of producing the cholesterol that one needs to remain healthy. The body – most especially the liver – produces roughly 1,000 mg per day. Therefore the cholesterol consumed (by the average person eating the typical foods such as whole milk dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, fish and seafood) is not really necessary to maintain the healthy level which one needs.

Two of the biggest culprits which contribute to the excessive consumption of cholesterol are transfats and saturated fats. But other fats consumed in foods can also raise blood cholesterol. While some of the excess fat is removed from the body by the liver, most heart specialists recommend that the average person limit himself/herself to less than 300 mg daily. And if one has been diagnosed with heart disease, that level should be less than 200 mg daily. If one has been diagnosed with extremely high cholesterol, even more drastic measures may be necessary to bring it under control.

How Do I Control My Intake?

A proven and accepted measure of control is to limit one’s intake to no more that 6 ounces of lean meat/fish/poultry daily, and to consume only low fat/no fat dairy products. Effective substitutes for the protein necessary for good health can be found in beans and vegetables with high protein content.

It is also recommended that one adopt a regular exercise regimen. Even a moderate amount of daily activity can help to increase the movement of blood through one’s body. Physical activities such as leisurely walking, gardening, light yard work, housework and slow dancing are often prescribed as ideally suited for those who need a daily routine to help control the cholesterol levels.

A more intense regimen can include brisk walking, jogging, swimming and weight-lifting. Aerobic exercising is an excellent way to increase one’s breathing and heart rates.

Side benefits of a regularly scheduled exercise program can include weight control, reducing one’s risk of developing diabetes, and helping to keep one’s blood pressure at a healthy level. Regular moderate to intense exercise can also help to strengthen one’s heart and lungs.

To Smoke or Not to Smoke…

Most physicians and specialists recommend that no one smoke. And it has been proven that tobacco smoking increases the risk of heart disease. One’s intake of oxygen, which is a necessary component for good vascular circulation and health, is drastically reduced. Plus, smoking is detrimental to HDL cholesterol levels and increases the possibility of blood clots, not to mention the risks of causing cancer in one’s body.

The Effects of Alcohol on Cholesterol Levels

The moderate consumption of alcohol has shown, in some studies, to actually promote higher HDL cholesterol levels. With that said one must weigh the risks of alcoholism, obesity, stroke, high blood pressure, some forms of cancer, and sometimes depression. Exercise moderation (not more than 1-2 drinks daily for men, not more than 1 drink daily for women). And if you don’t drink, don’t start. There are better and safer alternatives for controlling one’s cholesterol.

Synopsis:

– HDL is “good” cholesterol
– LDL is “bad” cholesterol
– An exercise regimen can help in lowering LDL and increasing HDL
– Cholesterol can be controlled with a sensible diet, for many people
– Smoking can increase the risks of lower HDL levels and the possibility of blood clots

Consult your physician or health care provider before embarking on any exercise regimen, or the consumption of alcohol, as a method to control one’s cholesterol. He or she can direct you to what steps you need to take in order to ensure the best results for your efforts.

Have an annual screening (usually a blood drawing) to determine your cholesterol levels. Be sure to discuss family history and other issues which your doctor may want to know before deciding whether or not you should be checked for the Lp(a) lipoproteins. He or she can better determine your risks, the diagnosis, and possible treatment (which may include prescription medication) when fully informed.

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Correct Your Acid / Alkaline Balance with the Water You Drink

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Correct Your Acid / Alkaline Balance with the Water You Drink

 

In health circles there has been much recent talk about acid /alkaline imbalance. Let’s see if we can clarify how experts recommend we correct this imbalance.

The problem
Your body functions best when neither too acid nor too alkaline. Unfortunately almost all of us have become acidic due to diet, drinks and stress — both psychological and from pollution. Acids can build up in our body, causing systems to be out of balance.

The effects
According to Dr. Stefan Kuprowsky, “Acid wastes build up in the body in the form of cholesterol, gallstones, kidney stones, arterial plaque, urates, phosphates and sulfates. These acidic waste products are the direct cause of premature aging and the onset of chronic disease.”

When this occurs, the body will restore its optimal pH by depleting certain minerals, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium, from organs and bones. In addition, your immune system may become fatigued from dealing with an excess of acid. Your body then stores acidic wastes in ‘hiding places’ such as muscles etc. rather than releasing the acids into the bloodstream.

As Dr.Robert Atkins, the well-known author, health and diet expert, notes: “Just about every condition I can think of, from arthritis to diabetes to cancer, is associated with acidity.”

“The countless names of illnesses do not really matter. What does matter is that they all come from the same root cause…too much tissue acid waste in the body!” Theodore A. Baroody, ND, Ph.D.

Correct Your Acid / Alkaline Balance with the Water You Drink

What can be done?
A vast body of research reveals that you can help neutralize acid build-up in the blood and maintain a balanced pH, by taking some simple steps, such as:
— Exercise
— Avoiding highly acid-forming food and drink
— Drinking the right water

What is the “right” water?
“International studies show that populations with little or no history of illness, such as cancer, drink higher pH (alkaline) waters. After all potential risk factors were considered and factored out, it became evident that they had been drinking waters with a pH of 9.0 to 10.0.” Dr. Leonard Horowitz in “Aids and Ebola”

Alkaline ionized water “first came to notice in Japan, where researchers noted that people drinking water that came from certain fast- moving rocky mountain streams enjoyed extraordinarily good health. It turned out that this naturally occurring water was alkaline and had a different structure and electrical properties.” Larry Clapp, PhD. in “Prostate Health in 90 days”

Alkaline water is produced at home with a small kitchen appliance called a water ionizer (long in use in Japan and Korea). As water ionizers have become popular in North America, more health professionals have had the opportunity to evaluate their effects on clients:

Sue Pollock, N.D. writes, we can “assist the body in being more alkaline with …drinking alkaline water.”

“I believe that the best water is water that is alkaline (reduced) and purified using a small device known as a water ionizer.” (Dr. Stefan Kuprowsky)

“It is my opinion that ionized water will change the way in which all health practitioners and the public approach their health in the coming years.” Dr. T. Baroody in “Alkalize or Die.”

Correct Your Acid / Alkaline Balance with the Water You Drink

Why not just rely on a change of diet?
According to Sang Whang, researcher and author of “Reverse Aging”, the danger is that we might omit important foods:

“Since the waste products that we are trying to discharge are acidic, the right kind of water is alkaline water…My personal recommendation is to enjoy the foods that we like, but do not over-eat or exclude any food. Eat in moderation following the professional dieticians’ “balanced diet” concept, and let alkaline water do the job of cleansing acidic wastes.”

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Cardio May Be a Waste of Time Without This Knowledge

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Cardio May Be a Waste of Time Without This Knowledge

 

The most important factor for improving cardiorespiratory fitness (cardio or CR) is the intensity of the workout. Changes in cardio fitness are directly related to how “hard” an aerobic exercise is performed. The more energy expended per unit of time, the greater the intensity of the exercise, the greater the effect on cardiorespiratory fitness.

You have to know how hard is “hard” to determine if an aerobic exercise like running is producing a CR training effect or if it’s just burning a few calories. The heart rate during work or exercise is an excellent indicator of how much effort you are exerting. Only by keeping track of your heart rate during a workout can you be sure that the intensity is enough to improve your CR fitness level. In other words, your ability to monitor your heart rate is the single most important key to success in cardio training.

Cardio May Be a Waste of Time Without This Knowledge

THR is the heart rate at which you need to exercise to get a training effect. The U.S. Army fitness gurus have given us two methods to determine THR. The first method, percent maximum heart rate (%MHR) is simpler to use, while the second method, percent heart rate reserve (%HRR) is more accurate.

%MHR Method

With this method the THR is figured using the estimated maximal heart rate. You can estimate your maximum heart rate (MHR) by subtracting your age from 220. Thus, a 20 year old would have an estimated maximum heart rate (MHR) of 200 beats per minute (220 – 20 = 200).

A person who is in poor shape should exercise at 70 percent of his MHR; if he is in relatively good shape, at 80 percent MHR; and, if he is in excellent shape, at 90 percent MHR.

Examples:

A 20 year old in good physical condition would have a THR of 160 beats per minute (BPM). 220 – 20 = 200 * .80 = 160 BPM.

A 30 year old in good physical condition would have a THR of 152 beats per minute (BPM). 220 – 30 = 190 * .80 = 152 BPM.

A 40 year old in poor physical condition would have a THR of 126 beats per minute (BPM). 220 – 40 = 180 * .70 = 126 BPM.

%HRR Method

A more accurate way to calculate THR is the %HRR method. The range from 60 to 90 %HRR is the THR range in which people should exercise to improve their CR fitness levels. If you know your general level of cardio fitness, you can determine which percentage of HRR is a good starting point.

for you. For example, a person in excellent physical condition could start at 85 percent of his HRR; if he is in reasonably good shape, at 70 percent HRR; and, if he is in poor shape, at 60 percent HRR.

Most CR workouts should be conducted with the heart rate between 70 to 75 percent HRR to attain, or maintain, an adequate level of fitness. A person who has reached a high level of fitness may derive more benefit from working at a higher percentage of HRR, particularly if he cannot find more than 20 minutes for CR exercise.

Exercising at any lower percentage of HRR than 60 does not give the heart, muscles, and lungs an adequate training stimulus. Exercising at more than 90 percent can be dangerous. Before anyone begins aerobic training, he should know his THR (the heart rate at which he needs to exercise to get a training effect).

Cardio May Be a Waste of Time Without This Knowledge

The example below shows how to figure the THR by using the resting heart rate (RHR) and age to estimate heart rate reserve (HRR). A 20 year old in reasonably good physical shape is the example.

STEP 1: Determine the MHR by subtracting your age from 220. i.e. MHR = 220 – 20 = 200.

STEP 2: Determine the resting heart rate (RHR) in beats per minute (BPM) by counting the resting pulse for 30 seconds, and multiply the count by two. A shorter period can be used, but a 30 second count is more accurate. This count should be taken while you are completely relaxed and rested. For this example we use a RHR of 69 BPM.

STEP 3: Determine the heart rate reserve (HRR) by subtracting the RHR from the estimate MHR. i.e. HRR = 200 – 69 = 131 BPM

STEP 4: Calculate THR by (1) multiplying HRR by the relative fitness level as a percentage and (2) adding the result to the HRR. For example, our 20 year old in good physical condition will exercise at 70% HRR.

(1) .70 * 131 = 91.7
(2) 91.7 + 69 = 160.7

In summary, a reasonably fit 20-year-old with a resting heart rate (RHR) of 69 BPM has a training heart rate (THR) goal of 161 BPM.

During aerobic exercise, the body will usually have reached a “Steady State” after five minutes of exercise, and the heart rate will have leveled off. At this time and, immediately after exercising, is when you should monitor your heart rate to see if you are within your desired THR range.

If your pulse rate is below the THR, you must exercise harder to increase your pulse to the THR. If your pulse is above the THR, you should reduce the intensity to reduce the pulse rate to the THR goal.

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Raw Food Diet

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Raw Food Diet

 

Eating raw foods is natural. Our bodies thrive on all that is fresh and vital. A raw food diet (or increasing the amount of raw food that you eat) is bound to bring a feeling of increased wellbeing.

Raw food diets are based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, preferably organic, such as a variety of fresh fruits and vegies, nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruit, fresh juices and purified water.

Why Raw Foods?

Basically a vegetarian diet, the raw food diet promotes eating and drinking ‘living’ foods. Living foods and juices contain the maximum amount of fibre found in raw produce, fibre that can be lost in processing. Such foods are easily metabolised and tend to be lower in calories than the average diet.

Heating food above 116°F destroys enzymes in food that aid in digestion and in absorption of food, diminishing its nutritional value.

Benefits of a Raw Food Diet

A diet of at least 75% raw food offers numerous health benefits, such as increased energy, improved skin appearance, better digestion, weight loss and reduced risk of serious illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

A raw food diet contains little or no saturated fats, is low in sodium, high in potassium, magnesium, folate and fibre.
Raw food diets are also excellent detox diets. Different combinations of raw, living foods and juices can be used for colon cleansing, liver cleansing, kidney cleansing and skin cleansing.

The Basics of a Raw Food Diet

Any fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, beans, nuts, legumes, young coconut milk – even seaweed – can be menu items of a raw food diet. Your choice of foods may depend on your reasons for dieting, for example:

– sprouted brown rice slows glucose absorption and improves the metabolism

– cabbage supports healthy cellular function; radish leaves act as an anti-oxidant, as does Shitake mushroom

-carrots are a great source of vitamin A as well as encouraging healthy vision and a healthy cardio-vascular system

You can use a sprouter such as the Easy Green automatic sprouter to sprout seeds, grains, beans – even wheatgrass. Sprouts could be called a ‘super food’ – organic sprouts contain enormous levels of proteins, vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, chlorophyll pigments and enzymes, and are the ideal natural supplement.

Sprouts can be used in salads and soups, or can be juiced. Fresh juices are a great ready energy supply and a good quality juicer, such as the Kempo Greenpower juicer, produces living juices that are full of essential nutrients.
A great juicing recipe to complement a raw food diet is carrot juice with potato, fennel and apple. Simply juice 4 medium carrots, 2 apples, 1 small potato and 1 small stalk of fennel.
Fennel has been shown to reduce and control inflammation of arthritis, it evens mood fluctuation and depressive states and has the rare nutrient called manganese, plus zinc and vitamin B complex.
The nutritional value of grains and seeds is impressive. They contain most of the vitamins – particularly A, B, and E. They’re also fantastic natural sources of unsaturated fatty acids and lecithin, and an excellent source of proteins.

You can even use soy milk makers (such as SoyQuick) to make non-dairy drinks from different beans, rice, nuts, seeds and grains to have with breakfast. If you want something a little more substantial than soy milk you can make your tofu (or, of course, visit a good health food shop).

Essentially, the idea of a raw food diet is to eat unprocessed foods for at least 75% of the time. If the idea of raw food isn’t very appetising to you, you can warm the food a little as long as the food isn’t heated above 116°F.

Cautionary Note

As with any major change in diet, it’s wise idea to consult your doctor before beginning a special diet. This is especially true for children, pregnant women, anyone with anemia and anyone with a pre-existing medical condition.

Even natural foods can conflict with certain medications, so please ask your doctor or pharmacist if you’re taking any medication.

Because a raw food diet is detoxifying some people suffer a mild detox reaction including mild headaches, nausea and cravings. These symptoms may last for several days and you’ll get more enjoyment out of your raw food diet if you cut down on things like meat, sugar and caffeine a week or so before commencing the diet.

Last But Not Least…

A raw food diet is certainly a good way to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Like anything worthwhile it takes time, energy and commitment. Because many of the foods for this particular type of diet are made from scratch there is some preparation time involved. There are many great products on the market that can help you prepare your own living food and save you some time as well.

Combined with regular exercise, a raw food diet is also an excellent weight loss method. If you’ve been feeling ‘a little off’, or just need a pick-me-up and some extra energy, then a raw food diet is certainly a good way to go.

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15 Muscle Building Rules For Skinny Guys And Gals! (Part 2)

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muscle building

15 Muscle Building Rules For Skinny Guys And Gals! (Part 2)

 

In part 1, I touched on general weight gain rules and reasons why you can’t gain weight. Now it’s time to get into workout specifics…

WORKOUT RULES

4. Stop listening to every ridiculous piece of advice you hear in the gym or read on a message board.

Recently a client of mine informed me that someone in the gym stated that he was training all wrong and he needed to train 5-6 days a week, and aim for more reps during his workout. Somewhere in the range of 15-20 reps per set.

The person giving the advice was quite confident about his recommendations, and he had an impressive physique that typically elevates him to the elusive “listen to me if you want to look like me” level in the gym. He was bigger than my client, so even though my client’s “intellectual” mind knows that advice is absurd; his “unrealistic dreamer” mind took this information very seriously. So seriously that he changed his program and didn’t inform me until a week or so later. This particular person had been making great progress on his current program, yet he allowed this one person’s comment to overshadow that progress and convince him that his program was inadequate. This is a mistake and it showed in his lack of further progress.

In addition, don’t judge the validity of what a person says by how they look. Just because the guy is huge doesn’t mean he is spewing pertinent advice for you. Many people that have big physiques are big despite of their training, not because of it. I know some huge guys that know very little about training and dieting correctly. They can do whatever and still gain muscle; unfortunately we are not that way, so we much approach things in a more intelligent way.

5. Workout Infrequently

This is the most difficult concept for many to grasp simply because it involves less action, instead of more. When we get motivated and start a new program, it’s natural to want to do something. We want to train and train and train. Thinking all along that the more you train, the more muscle building. Unfortunately, this could not be farther from the truth.

15 Muscle Building Rules For Skinny Guys And Gals!

More training does not equal muscle building. Understand that the purpose of weight training is to stimulate muscle growth. That takes very little time. Once that has been done, the muscle needs to be repaired and new muscle needs to be built. That only happens when you are resting. You do not build muscle in the gym, you build muscle when resting! If you never give your body any essential “non active” time, when will it have a chance to build muscle? Think about that.

Now, add in the fact that you have a difficult time gaining weight and the importance of rest increases. Individuals who are naturally thin and have difficulty building muscle tend to require less training and more rest.

6. Focus on Multi-Jointed Lifts

Multi-jointed exercises are those that stimulate the most amounts of muscle fibers. Unlike isolation exercises which only work individual muscles, multi-jointed lifts work many different muscle groups simultaneously. For those needing to gain weight, this is ideal because these lifts put your body under the most amount of stress. This is the stress that will shock your nervous system and cause the greatest release of muscle building hormones. This results in increased muscle building all over the body.

You can still do some isolation work; however it should not be the focus of your workouts, and should only come after your multi-jointed lifting is complete.

7. Focus on Using Free Weights

Free weights are preferred over machines for many reasons, but most importantly because they allow the stimulation of certain supporting muscle groups when training. Stimulating these stabilizer and synergistic muscles will allow you go get stronger, and ultimately build more muscle faster. Yes, some can most likely still build large amounts of muscle using machines, but why make it more difficult if you already have a difficult time gaining weight?

8. Lift a weight that is challenging for you

Building mass involves lifting relatively heavy weight. This is necessary because the muscle fibers that cause the most amount of muscle size growth (called Type IIB) are best stimulated by the lifting of heavy weight. A heavy weight as one that only allows you to perform 4-8 reps before your muscles fail.

Using a lighter weight and doing more reps can stimulate some Type IIB fibers, but again if you have a difficult time gaining weight, why make it more difficult? You need to try and stimulate as many as you can with the use of heavy weights.

9. Focus more on the eccentric portion of the exercise.

When you lift a weight, it can be divided into three distinct periods. The positive, the negative and midpoint. The concentric or “positive” motion usually involves the initial push or effort when you begin the rep. The midpoint is signaled by a short pause before reversing and returning to the starting position. The eccentric, or “negative” portion of each lift is characterized by your resistance against then natural pull of the weight.

15 Muscle Building Rules For Skinny Guys And Gals!

For example, when doing push-ups, the positive motion is the actual pushing up motion. Once you have pushed all the way up, you hit the mid point. The negative motion begins when you start to lower yourself back down. Most would simply lower themselves as fast as they pushed up, but I recommend extending and slowing down this portion. Slowing down the eccentric part of the lift will help to stimulate more muscle growth. It actually activates more of the Type IIB fibers mentioned about in Rule 7.

10. Keep your workout short but intense.

Your goal should be to get in, stimulate your muscles and then get out as quickly as possible. It is not necessary to do large amounts of exercisers per body part trying to target every muscle and hit every “angle”. This should only be a concern of someone with an already developed, mature physique who is trying to improve weak areas.

If you have no pec, don’t concern yourself with trying to target inner, outer, upper, lower or whatever. Just work your chest. You should do no more than 2-3 exercises per body part. That’s it. Doing more than that won’t build more muscle, faster. In fact it could possibly lead to muscle loss. Long training sessions cause catabolic hormone levels to rise dramatically. Catabolic hormones are responsible for breaking down muscle tissue resulting in MUSCLE LOSS. While at the same time, long training sessions suppress the hormones that actually build muscle.

If you don’t want to lose muscle during your workouts, I suggest limiting your sessions to no more than 60-75 minutes MAXIMUM. Less if you can.

11. Limit your aerobic activity and training

Honestly, I do not do any aerobic activity when I am trying to gain weight. This is mainly because it interferes with the important “non-active” time my body needs for muscle building and recovery. I do understand that people have lives and other activities that they don’t want to give up, so it must be kept to a minimum. It won’t hurt your progress as long as you don’t over do it. If you find that you are doing more aerobic activity weight training, that’s overdoing it.

I also don’t recommend it because people tend do it for the wrong reasons. Many start aerobic activity because they believe it will help them to lose fat. While that is true, it won’t do so on a high calorie mass diet. To lose fat, you need to be eating fewer calories.

12. Don’t program hop

Here’s how it usually happens. You’ve just read about a new exercise or workout that is supposed to pack on the mass. Now, even though you had already started another training program a few weeks ago, you are tired of it and really want to start this routine instead because it sounds better.

I call these people, “program hoppers”. They are very enthusiastic when starting a new program, but they never follow it long enough to actually see any results. They are easily distracted and love to drop whatever they may be doing to follow the latest “hot” workout or exercise.

My advice is don’t do it. This is a bad habit that never leads to a positive outcome. Understand that it takes time for any program to work. To be successful, you must follow your program consistently. Yes, there are many different training methods and interesting routines out there, but you can’t do them all at the same time and jumping around won’t allow enough time for any of them to actually be effective for you. Pick one that is focused on your current goal and stick with it. There will be plenty of time to try the others later, but NOT NOW.

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Weight Gain Rules For Skinny Guys And Gals! (Part 1)

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muscle building

Weight Gain Rules For Skinny Guys And Gals!

 

WHY CAN’T YOU GAIN WEIGHT?

Though there may be many reasons why you may be thin, the most apparent reason is because of your genetics. If your parents are naturally thin or have a small body frame, then you will most likely have the same small body type.

To some degree, your size can also be controlled by your metabolism. If you have a difficult time gaining weight of any kind (fat or muscle) then you most likely have a fast metabolism. That simply means that your body burns calories at a faster than normal rate. You must take this into account whenever you are considering a particular diet or training program. Is it geared towards someone with your metabolism and goal?

Now as you know, there are many ways to train. Hundreds, thousands even. Some work and some do not, but for the specific goal of gaining weight, there are a few UNIVERSAL things that all skinny guys must do.

Though much of the information I cover here is not as “magical” as you may like, I consider these rules to be the basics with regard to weight gain. These are not all of the answers, but they are definite elements that MUST be addressed in any successful weight gain program.

Weight Gain Rules For Skinny Guys And Gals!

You should be able to easily integrate these rules into your current program to make it more suitable for your particular body and goals.

GENERAL RULES

1.Get the proper information that pertains to your SPECIFIC condition and goals.

The first big problem I find in most people is the lack of correct information. Yes you are motivated and doing things, but your effort is wasted on incorrect dieting and training information. Basically, skinny guys are taking advice from people who have never had a weight gain problem. Want to know how to gain weight? Then find someone who has walked your shoes. Someone who has been where you are.

2.Set a specific goal and create a plan of attack.

If you were to drive cross country to another city, would you just start driving randomly, or would you plan a route that would get you quickly and efficiently?

Think of your plan as a road map and your goal as your destination. Without a plan and a specific goal you will be without focus and can easily get lost or side tracked. This happens more often than you know. I see many people in the gym just doing whatever, or just eating whatever — no plan or specific goal. They wonder why they don’t make progress. They have no focus.

Having a specific program to follow allows you to take action each day. This action is focused on specifically getting you to your destination quickly. There is no thinking, debating or guessing. You just do it. A specific plan provides necessary daily structure that not only keeps you on the road moving forward, it also helps to develop good eating and training habits that will benefit you long after you have reached your destination.

3.Have confidence in yourself and belief in what you are doing.

Let’s face it; we live in a cruel world. Hate and jealously is everywhere. For most people who begin a fitness program to improve themselves, getting started will be half the battle. The other half will be staying motivated throughout the constant onslaught of negativity from others. A few negative words can do serious damage if you allow it.

The most insulting things you hear may be from friends, co-workers and acquaintances at the gym. People hate change. It makes them insecure, because they suddenly discover there’s more to you than they were probably willing to admit. They fear that you may actually achieve your goal. It makes them look less “superior”.

Weight Gain Rules For Skinny Guys And Gals!

Once you have begun your plan, you must have faith and believe in what you are doing. Stay focused and avoid overly critical or negative people. If you have to, keep your business to yourself. When I first began my program, I stopped talking about what I was doing because I got tired of hearing things like “you can’t do that”, “that’s impossible”, “you’re wasting your time and money”. Funny thing is, now those people are constantly bugging me for advice.

It’s your life. It’s your body. It’s your dream. Don’t allow your success or failure to rest in the hands of others.

In Part 2 of this article, I will cover your workout rules and guidelines to MAKE SURE you gain muscle.

 

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