Archive for May, 2014

10 Tips to a Great Weight Workout

Weight workouts can be tough and you may be wondering what you can do so that you can get the most out of your workouts. The last thing that you want after working so hard is to not get all of that last bit of muscle from the workout.

When doing training it is very important to make sure you are doing the following 10 things to get the most out of your workout.

Before Your Weight Workout

Pre Workout food

1. Eat a big meal 2-3 hours before your workout.. It is important for you to make sure that your eating is right, this includes a good sized meal before your evening workout. You want your meal to be high in complex carbs (grains, potatoes or rice instead of sugar) so that you will have the glycogen that you need in your muscles in time for your workout.

As soon as your workout ends your body will need to recover and if you are expecting that pre workout drink to heal you then you will be very disappointed.

2. Drink lots of simple carbs 30-60 minutes before your workout. At one time I used to drink some sugar water before my workout but later tried to switch to a good quality pre-workout drink. The reason you want this sugary liquid in your system before your workout is to make sure that you have the energy you need in your muscles or at least close to them as you start to weaken during your workout.

3. Stretch Always. Before starting your workout be sure to stretch and warm up well so that you will have the flexibility and looseness in your muscles to get a good workout without hurting yourself. do not stretch really hard as this can casue muscle strains if you are cold, wait until you are fully warmed up to get a great stretch in.

During your Weight Workout

4. Drink lots of water. We all know that it is a good idea to drink a lot of water during our workouts but the added short break is great to. Taking that few seconds to get a drink and rehydrate yourself will force you to refocus your concentration on your workout and you will definitely feel it on your next set.

5. During your workout be sure to breath deep between sets. Your body is craving oxygen and those deep breaths between sets will be a big help to oxygenate your blood.

6. Compose yourself. Before every set make sure to take a few seconds to compose your concentration and take some deep breathes. You need to be able to visualize the reps that will take place in your set and know exactly how many reps you will be pumping out.

7. Watch the clock between sets. When you first start working out in a gym it is not difficult to keep your time between sets down but as you get to know people at the gym there are more and more interruptions. If you allow it to happen your quick 60 minute workout will stretch closer to two hours and the real pounding of the muscles will not occur because they are being rested to long between sets.

After your Weight Workout

8. At the end of your workout stretching is a must. You may not be able to stretch very well with the swelling in your muscles but you need to stretch as much as possible to start to release the lactic acid from your muscles and keeping that blood flow going that will get rid of the pollutants and bring in the nutrients and oxygen needed to heal.

9. Right after your workout you will want to have lots of carbs and protein. Many people seem to like to go with 100 grams of carbs and 40 grams of protein post workout as this will kickstart your body recovery and your body is able to take in more nutrients post workout then at any other time.

10. Sleep and rest. Rest is critical for you to recover from a workout. The stress that you put your muscles through is very difficult for your body to recover from and the better your diet and rest the faster you can recover in time for another workout on those muscles.

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How to Avoid Effects of Overtraining

Almost anyone that’s picked up a set of weights has or will experience effects of Overtraining at one point in there muscle building program. Overtraining can lead to serious injury, chronic fatigue, and even muscle loss.

Overtraining is very common amongst athletes and particularly bodybuilders, since they figure that training as much as possible is the fastest way to massive muscle gains.

This couldn’t be any further from the truth however…

Training too much, or at too high of an intensity will lead to the effects of Overtraining.

Effects of Overtraining

According to Vince Delmonte who is a competitive fitness model and personal trainer, as well as the author of No-Nonsense Muscle Building,

Now this doesn’t mean you don’t have to put plenty of effort in to see some decent results… Whether you are a bodybuilder, athlete, or just someone that wants to add some additional mass to your frame, you need to train hard and be consistent-that’s a given. In order to get the most out of your genetics, you have to progressively overload the muscles by increasing the and / or intensity of each training workout.

The problem is however, that many of us increase the intensity of our workouts or get insufficient amounts of rest, or even worse, a combination of both. The trick is finding the right balance between workout volume and intensity, and rest and recovery. And that is exactly what I’ll cover in this article.

The Effects of Overtraining on Bodybuilders

First, let’s take a look at some of the effects of overtraining and how one can prevent over-training from happening in the first place.

The Effects of Overtraining on the Nervous System

Overtraining effects both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems in the following negative ways:

  • Higher resting heart rate
  • Weak appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Weight loss
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased metabolic rate
  • Irritability
  • Early onset of fatigue

If you are experiencing more than one of the symptoms outlined above, you may be in a state of over-training, and should evaluate your routine as soon as possible.

The Effects of Overtraining on Hormone Levels

Many studies have indicated that over-training negatively effects the levels of hormones, as well as the hormone response in the body. Since hormones play such an important role in the muscle building process, this can have a detrimental effect on your training progress.

Overtraining has been show to:

  • Decrease testosterone levels
  • Decrease thyroxine levels
  • Increase cortisol levels

The increase in cortisol levels along with the decrease in testosterone levels is a deadly combination, since this leads to protein tissue break down. This will ultimately lead to a loss of muscle tissue.

The Effects of Over-training on the Immune System

Perhaps one of the most alarming effects of over-training is it’s negative impact on the immune system-you’re bodies first defense against harmful viruses and bacteria.

Over-training can drastically decrease the levels of antibodies and lymphocytes in your body, making you much more susceptible to illness. Simply put, this means that if you are in a state of over-training, you are much more likely to get sick. Since you will have to skip workouts while you are sick, your muscle building progress will slow considerably.

The Effects of Over-training on the Metabolic System

Here is a list of how over-training can effect the metabolic system. These symptoms are the ones that are most commonly discussed, and are ones we can’t ignore:

  • Micro tears in the muscle
  • Chronically depleted glycogen levels
  • Slow, weak muscle contractions
  • Depleted creatine phosphate stores
  • Excessive accumulation of lactic acid
  • Extreme DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
  • Tendon and connective tissue damage

So you must get the point by now… Over-training effects the entire body, and can seriously impact the results of your muscle building program.

Now let’s take a look at the different types of over-training, and what we can do to prevent it.

Is it Worse to Over-Train With Cardio or Weight Training?

Any form of over-training is a bad thing, however, I’ve personally experienced both types of overtraining and can honestly say that over-training in the room is much worse, and much more prevalent than over-training through cardiovascular training.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  1. In order to grow, muscles must fully recover from their last workout, every workout. If you are over-training and work the muscles before they have fully recovered, you will break down the muscle tissue before it has rebuilt-making it impossible to build muscle!
  2. Over-training with weights makes you more susceptible to nervous systems hormone and immune system issues, which all pose serious health risks.
  3. It can lead beginners down the wrong path, perhaps wasting money on unnecessary supplements, or even worse, steroids.

I personally believe that only competitive athletes such as swimmers, runners and bikers run a serious risk of reaching a state of cardiovascular over-training, since there are often training for two or more hours daily.

The bottom line is that it is much easier for the average person to over-train while training than while cardiovascular training, and I think the effects can be more serious.

How do I Determine if I’m Over-training?

Determining if you’re currently over-training is fairly simple. If you’re in tune with your body, you can often see the signs of over-training before they get serious. If you are losing interest in workouts, are having trouble sleeping, and feel weak and irritable, you may be in a state of over-training and should take a week or more off.

If you are experiencing two or more of the symptoms outlined earlier in the article, this should raise a red flag.

Another variable you can use to determine if you are over-training is by tracking the performance of your workouts.

Has your physical performance improved compared to your last workout?

For example, let’s say last workout you were able to perform 8 pull-ups using your body-, but were only able to perform 6 pull-ups the following week. This means that you have not “out done” your previous workout, have not fully recovered, and therefore are likely over-training. You nave to re-asses your program and make modifications so that you see progress every workout.

How Can I Prevent Overtraining?

n order to avoid over-training, you need to take a multi-facited approach. Determining the correct training volume and intensity, eating the right foods, and getting the right amount of rest and recovery must all be taken in to consideration. Now let’s take a look at each of those factors in more detail.

Correct Training Volume

Determining the correct training volume can be difficult, especially when you are first starting out. You have to determine how much to lift, how many repetitions and set to perform for every single workout.

You need to use your own judgment in this case, based on your recovery ability and your recovery methods. Remember that the goal is that you improve every single workout, and if this isn’t happening, you have to decrease the intensity of your workouts.

This is where many people go wrong though. You begin your workout and realize that you have not fully recovered. You can either continue to train at a lower intensity than the previous workout, or skip the workout entirely.

As hard as it may be, skipping the workout is the right way to go. Just turn around and go home! Your body is telling you that it needs more rest, and you must listen to it!

There is no point in training at a lower intensity, further breaking down the muscle tissue. By doing this you will increase your risk of injury, and make it harder for your body to fully recovery for your next training session.

Proper Nutrition

Your diet plays a huge role in your muscle building program. It helps regulate hormone levels, provides energy, and provides the raw building blocks that are used to create new tissue.

Here are some dietary recommendations that will limit the chance of over-training:

  • Do not skip breakfast. This is one of the most important meals of the day. Skipping breakfast is very catabolic, and can promote muscle loss.
  • Never let yourself get hungry. If you’re trying to build muscle mass, you have to constantly feed your body quality foods so that it never has the chance catabolize muscle tissue.
  • Unless you are trying to build muscle and lose fat, make sure you have eaten prior to your training session and are not hungry.
  • Have the largest meal of the day within an hour after your workout. Do this every single workout!
  • Consider taking proven supplements like creatine, and antioxidants to increase performance and fight free radicals.
  • Eat every 2-3 hours to ensure that your body remains in an anabolic state.
  • Keep glycogen levels at full capacity to inhibit muscle tissue breakdown.

Rest Recovery

Rest and recovery is essential when it comes to avoiding overtraining. Make sure that you get at least 7 hours of sleep each night, and that you are on a consistent schedule. As for recovery time, it’s important that you have days off between training workouts. Try to have one rest day between training workouts, and never train the same muscle groups on consecutive days.

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Natural Pain Relievers

Pain is a feeling that all of us would want to avoid, but often end up experiencing. Be it in the form of a headache, period pain, muscle ache or joint inflammation, an ache never leaves our side for too long a time.

The method that most of us follow to get rid of a pain is to pop an over-the-counter (OTC) painkiller into our mouth. While OTC medicines are effective in treating pain, they are also associated with a number of side effects, especially if used regularly or on a long-term basis.

Though many of us are unaware of this fact, there are a number of natural pain killers that can help relieve aches, without presenting the danger of side effects. In the following lines, we have listed some of the most effective natural remedies for pain, including the herbal ones.

Natural Pain Killers

Boswellia is the name of an Indian herb that has been found to be effective in treating the pain occurring from rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Boswellic acids, the active constituents in boswellia, are responsible for bringing relief from the ache. This particular herb is available in the form of supplements as well as topically-applied creams.

Devil’s Claw
Devil’s claw, scientifically known as Harpagophytum procumbens, is also an herb that is believed to relieve pain associated with arthritis. Apart from that, it has been seen that the herb helps reduce pain intensity, muscle spasms and muscle tenderness. Native to South Africa, Devil’s claw contains chemicals called iridoid glycosides and has been found to be effective in lower back pain as well.

White Willow
A supplement of white willow bark has been found to provide the pain-relieving effects that result from the use of aspirin, without the latter’s side effects. Though there are no major negative effects associated with white willow, people with peptic ulcers or gastritis are advised against using it.

Feverfew, an herb, has been in use as a remedy for inflammation and period pains since the time of the ancient Greeks. Studies have indicated that the herb reduces the frequency, severity and duration of migraine headaches, if consumed over a long period of time. Still, it cannot be taken as an effective treatment for an acute migraine attack.

MSM (methyl-sulphonyl-methane) is the term used in reference to the naturally-occurring sulphur compound, like that found in sulphurous springs. The compound has been known to benefit aching joints. It is available in the form of dietary supplement as well as creams, for topical application.

Consumption of magnesium-rich foods has been believed to provide relief to those suffering from migraine headaches. Available in whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and green leafy vegetables, the mineral is said to reduce both, the intensity and the duration of attacks. It can also help ease lower back pain, muscle cramps and the muscle tenderness associated with fibromyalgia.

Fish Oil
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil, have been known to inhibit the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body. In other words, the oil can help bring relief from numerous pains, including those occurring from rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, gout and sinusitis.

Bromelain is the term used in reference of a group of protein-digesting enzymes. It is found naturally in the stems of pineapples and serves as an anti-inflammatory agent. Available in the form of cream, it can be topically applied to treat strains, sprains and muscle injuries. It has also been associated with relieving pain and headaches associated with sinusitis as well as pain, bruising and swelling that follow surgical procedures (episiotomy) in women in labor.

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