Top 10 Reasons for Stretching

Top 10 Reasons for Stretching

Flexibility is a serious health component. That said, stretching should become habitual for many reasons including injury prevention.

Here are our top 10 reasons for stretching before a workout.

 

1. Properly stretched muscle groups sustain less tension in turn allowing you to feel less pressure.

2. Decreases the danger of lower back pain. Flexibility in the hamstrings, hip flexors and muscle tissues connected to the pelvis relieves stress on the lumbar backbone.

3. Stretching before an exercise allows muscles to lighten up and grow to be better capable of withstanding effects of your activities.

4. Reduces the risk of fitness-related injury. Active and flexible muscles are far less likely to become injured following an exercise. Stretching increases the range of motion in muscles and joints allowing for versatility when working out.

5. Decreases muscle stiffness and will increase range of movement. Stretching facilitates improve your range of motion, which may additionally gradual the degeneration of your joints.

6. Promotes recovery, strength and functional performance. Regular habitual stretching (before and after workouts) allows for flexible joints, ultimately improving overall function and potential for growth.

7. Stretching muscle tissue maintains alignment and improves your posture.

8. Relieves aches and pains following an exercise (particularly after a period of atrophy). After a hard workout with your personal trainer, stretching muscle tissues will lessen the tightening.

9. Stretching increases room for growth while promoting healthy blood circulation in muscle tissues and joints. This permits for healthy nutrient transportation throughout the entire body.

10. Minimizes muscle tension and encourages muscle relaxation. Tense muscles tend to cut off their own circulation which can result in a lack of oxygen and a hindrance to the natural process of replenishing nutrients.

 

All in all, stretching is highly necessary before and after working out. This will give you the best chance for a speedy and wholesome recovery while eliminating risk for injury and pain sustained as a result of a workout routine.

Moral of the story… ALWAYS stretch!

Top 5 Dietary Trends to Watch for in 2020

Top 5 Dietary Trends to Watch for in 2020

Thanks to the wonderful world of the web, we are all far more susceptible to learning new information and following trendy new lifestyles. Among these new trends and lifestyles, fresh new dietary trends are emerging and breaking through to the mainstream.

 

Here are the top 5 dietary trends to watch for in 2020.

 

1. The Ketogenic Diet

The ‘keto’ diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet which has been proven to be far superior to the often-recommended low-fat diet.

There are a few different types of Ketogenic Diets, but one thing they all have in common is the fact that it is a low-carb diet based around the idea that you get more calories from protein and fat and less from carbohydrate.

This diet is typical for individuals who are looking to lose excess fat, however there are many other health benefits which include improved insulin sensitivity, reduced risk for diabetes/prediabetes and a reduced risk for cancer, among others.

More information about The Ketogenic Diet can be found here.

2. The Primal Diet

This diet is more of a lifestyle than anything… a lifestyle based on eating only the foods that primitive humans would have eaten… and wherever possible, raw and unaltered. As you may have guessed, this means absolutely NO processed foods and no farmed foods (such as grains).

Even milk should be consumed in its raw form… unpasteurized. This concept is relatively new and therefore has not been thoroughly researched yet.

More information about The Primal Diet can be found here.

3. The MIND Diet

MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. The goal here is to reduce dementia and overall decline in brain health. This diet places emphasis on consuming berries, but not all fruit in general.

Currently, while there are no set guidelines on how to follow the MIND diet, more information can be found here.

4. The Plant-Based Diet

As the name suggests, this diet limits or avoids animal products. The focus is on plants including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. This diet can help with weight-loss while improving overall health.

This diet (which is also known as the “WFPB” diet, meaning Whole-Foods Plant-Based) shares some common ground with the typical vegan and vegetarian diets, however there is a bit more flexibility as the WFPB diet allows for limited consumption of animal products such as dairy, meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and honey.

More information about The Plant-Based Diet can be found here.

5. Intermittent Fasting

Often paired with the Ketogenic Diet, Intermittent Fasting is quite simply explained. You’re essentially fasting for 16 hours total, per day. 8 of these hours are typically spent sleeping, while the other 8 hours are spent going about your day.

No food is allowed during the fasting period, and one may only consume water, tea and coffee (among any other non-caloric beverages).

More information about Intermittent Fasting can be found here.

5 Things Making You Gain Belly Fat

5 Things Making You Gain Belly Fat

Aside from being visually unappealing, excess belly fat is also extremely unhealthy. Now while this may sound a bit extreme, let’s consider the facts.

Belly fat can factor for diseases such as:
– Metabolic syndrome
– Type 2 diabetes
– Heart disease
– Cancer

 

In the world of medicine, unhealthy belly fat is known as “visceral fat”. This type of fat surrounds the liver among other organs in the abdomen.

Here are 5 of the more common things which are causing you to gain belly fat.

 

1. Not Enough Sleep

Sleep is crucial to your health. Over the years, researchers have directly linked weight gain to inadequate sleep. Sleep deprivation can make you gain fat because it increases levels of a hunger hormone, while decreasing levels of a fullness hormone. Without enough sleep, maintaining your ideal weight is nearly impossible.

2. Stress

Cortisol is a hormone essential for survival. It’s produced through the adrenal glands and enables the human body to activate a strain response. Unfortunately, it could result in weight gain (especially in the abdominal region) if produced in excess. Various methods have been used to combat heightened stress levels such as mindfulness meditation practices, a reliable routine and a healthy work environment (among other solutions).

3. Fruit Juice

Fruit juice is a sugar bomb. Even unsweetened fruit juices (typically marked “100% juice”) contain copious amounts of sugar. Daily sugar intake should not exceed 37.5g for men, and 25g for women. In a nation who favors sweet and salty, this can be difficult when watching weight. Mixing fruit juices with water can prove to be a healthier alternative.

4. Inactivity

Over the past few decades, humans have generally become much less active. It’s no wonder there has been a parallel increase in obesity. A major survey observing societal habits in the US between 1988 and 2010 concluded that there was a huge boom in inactivity, weight gain and abdominal girth in both men and women. A healthy, proven workout regimen accompanied by a nutritional diet plan is crucial in this day and age.

5. Alcohol

Habitual alcohol consumption can lead to inflammation, liver disease and many other health issues. Excess calories from alcohol are stored as belly fat (hence the “beer belly”). Recent studies have shown that men and women consuming over three drinks per day are 80% more likely to have excess belly fat. The only solution here is less alcohol!

 

All in all, maintaining a healthy routine with a regular sleep schedule and residing in a low-stress environment can prove to be extremely beneficial to your health. Let’s tackle that belly fat by limiting sugar intake and controlling portions when consuming alcohol.

Setting Fitness Goals and Achieving Them

Setting Fitness Goals and Achieving Them

So… presumably if you’re reading this article, you are geared up and ready to embark on your fitness journey!

 

Now, the questions you should be asking yourself are: “Why?” “…What are my goals? What am I capable of?” …and most importantly… “What do I want for myself?”

Setting goals can be tough. There is a lot of room to overthink things and get caught up in the ‘instant gratification’ side of things. This can be discouraging!

First and foremost, you must let this go… Nothing worth working for will happen overnight, and no one can just bestow upon you the ‘physique of your dreams’.

 

Physical fitness is something that you must work at, but I can promise you that it will be worth it in the end.

Now, your journey begins when you do… so you should start small to avoid overwhelming yourself. “One of the biggest mistakes is that people try to do too much at one time,” Kellen Scantlebury, D.P.T.

What do you want for yourself? To gain mass. To build strength. To lose weight. To optimize agility. To increase activity-specific performance.

The choice is yours… however, if you have no direction (or too many directions) to move toward, you are likely to remain stagnant or to progress very little.

 

Once you have some sort of a vision… once you’ve identified what you would like to work toward, you can then focus your ambitions on a specific set of smaller goals to bring you closer to that bigger achievement you’ve envisioned.

It is important that you make sure these smaller goals are measurable and specific… and most importantly, you must give yourself a deadline for each bite-size milestone.

In the business world, they call this ‘eating the elephant’.

 

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

Mind Over Matter

Mind Over Matter

What if I told you that… you are always reaching your full potential…?

 

What I mean by that is, if you spend your time… ‘upstairs’ believing that you are only capable of performing a certain exercise under certain conditions OR if you believe that you will ALWAYS plateau at a certain weight, those beliefs will typically come to fruition.

Once these beliefs break through the blast doors of manifestation, they become your reality. Then you will have a whole new set of challenges… challenges that could have been avoided altogether.

 

“Those who think they can and those who think they can’t are both usually right.”Confucius

Willpower can be trained much like any other set of muscles… just in different ways.

 

Here are just a few ways you can strengthen your discipline and maximize potential:

 

1. Delay Instant Gratification

A significant part of impulsivity is the innate desire for instant gratification. Especially in today’s day and age. If we can learn to delay our gratification little by little, we can then learn to live in a place of gratitude meaning that we are never ‘dissatisfied’ with where we are currently. This is a beautiful thing. If we can learn to delay instant gratification, then we can learn to work toward our goals without becoming obsessive and reliant on a certain accomplishment for self-worth.

 

2. Set Realistic Goals

Ambition is a beautiful thing… there is great value in pushing yourself by setting the bar higher and higher. However, if goals become too grandiose (or unrealistic) then you are essentially planning to fail. Set goals that are big enough to break down into sub-tasks, but small enough to yield completion in a timely manner. Ultimately, the accomplishments following goal achievement will boost your self-esteem and empower your willpower. The feeling of making progress can be powerful!

 

3. Work On Stress Levels

A rational mind is a good friend of willpower. When fight-or-flight signaling is active, actions are impulsive and emotional. The goal is to manage and reduce stress levels to keep a level-head and maintain control over your actions. Focus on things like diet, mindfulness and overall moderation.

 

We’ve heard it before, and we’ll hear it again and again throughout life… it’s always mind over matter. A healthy mental fitness regimen is vital to resisting distraction and impulse as well as boosting productivity. Therefore, if you want to optimize your performance in fitness, maintaining a healthy mind is vital.

Exercising When Sick

Exercising When Sick

Is your “healthy” exercise program compromising your immune system? Or is exercising under the weather sabotaging workouts?

 

Let’s face it: the gym is a great tool and exercise can significantly boost energy. However, if the gym participant is stricken with a seasonal illness or respiratory disease, is exercise the simplest course of action?

Aspects of our system react adversely following a significant exercise, like the skin, higher tract, respiratory organs and muscle tissue… and therefore, the blood. Many immunologists feel that in this window of inopportunity when intense exercise, viruses and bacterium could potentially gain an edge, elevating the danger of catching an infection may include going to a public gym.

Mild to moderate physical activity is safe even with the presence of a cold or seasonal illness, provided there’s no fever resulting from the pathogen. Exercise could even potentially relieve delicate congestion within nasal passages.

 

If a client’s symptoms are present above the neck — liquid nose, inflammatory disease or physiological — most physicians will only endorse delicate to moderate exercise. However, once symptoms occur below the neck, such as wheezing, coughing or stomachic distress, athletes may consider skipping the gym — thus removing the potential of spreading germs — and choosing rest prior to returning. Reducing the intensity of an exercise can also prove useful, as long as the exercise doesn’t require clients to overexert themselves in any way.

While it is tempting for trainers to encourage clients to “work through” their seasonal symptoms in an attempt to keep up with scheduled training and maintain what results have already been obtained through dedication, it is proven that taking one to three days off (in a row, nonetheless) will not make a significant impact when sustaining a current fitness goal. Strength as well as the appearance of one’s physique will likely remain unchanged. However, a client/gym participant DOES risk the possibility of going out there and become significantly worse-off than before.

 

All in all, we should shift our gears to understanding when the best option is to counsel rest for an active gym participant… and clients should have a decent read on their overall health and whether or not the gym is a good idea at a time. Remember, the goal is to become healthy and advance in the area of physique… we should be doing this without compounding any problems when a seasonal illness has been contracted.