What Is The Difference Between Wheat Free and Gluten Free Diets?

Submitted by speedfitnessca,

The terms ‘gluten free’ and ‘wheat free’ are often used interchangeably, which is one of the biggest causes of confusion when you finally discover that they are not, in fact, the same thing. Both diets are on the rise as we are starting to see new sensitivities to mass-produced food arise, and it’s not uncommon to see gluten free and wheat free selections on more and more restaurant menus or grocery store shelves. Roughly around 15% of people are intolerant to gluten or wheat in North America. It also seems to be exactly the same types of food that boast being gluten free or wheat free: generally things made with flour.

In both cases they seem to cause the same negative symptoms. Neither wheat nor gluten is inherently unhealthy or harmful to the human body as a rule. However, as with other allergies and sensitivities, wheat and gluten can both cause adverse reactions, but their effects differ depending on each individual’s immune system and its capabilities. People generally adopt wheat free and gluten free diets to whatever extent they experience the symptoms. Some common reactions to gluten and wheat that can be avoided by changing your diet are constipation, gastrointestinal issues, cramps, headaches, skin rashes, bloating, unexplained allergies and nutritional deficiencies.

So, if there is a difference between wheat free and gluten free diets, what is it?

Wheat Free 101

We all know what wheat is, right? It’s a staple food in the modern human diet, and the third-highest produced cereal grain in the world – just behind maize (corn) and rice. Barn, germ and endosperm are the three major parts of the wheat kernel, and between the three of them it provides us with protein, nutrients (Vitamin B and fiber) and carbohydrates.

We use it most notably to make flour – the basis of baked goodies, breads, cereals and pastas – and to ferment beer and other alcoholic beverages. Things made from barley and rye grains are generally safe for wheat free diets so long as they are not used in combination with wheat. Read those labels carefully if you’ve got a wheat free guest coming. It’s a very difficult thing to avoid, and if you take a minute to paw through your kitchen, you’ll probably be amazed at how many things contain it.

If we take a more scientific look at the wheat grain, its four major components are revealed:

Globulin

Gliadin

Albumin

Gluten

Aha! So, now we know that Gluten is a major component of wheat and that all wheat has gluten in it. Now, what’s gluten free?

Gluten Free 101

Gluten, when compared with wheat, is much more pervasive. If you feel like you just crossed off half your shopping list when you read the list of foods containing wheat, just wait until you learn about the gluten free requirements!

Gluten is basically an elastic protein which is found in wheat – but it is also found in additional foods! For example, gluten is commonly found rye, barley, and some types of oats. Sort of crosses off the last of the breads and cereals, doesn’t it?

Gluten on its own does not cause as many reactions as the wheat cereal does. However, what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. Gluten is the major offender for the unfortunate 1% of people suffering from Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to negatively react to gluten and block nutrient absorption leading to malnutrition, depression, slowed growth and delayed puberty, hair loss, itchy skin, fatigue, easy bruising, and a host of other symptoms if left untreated. Luckily, this disease can be managed well by simply adjusting one’s diet.

The Big Explanation

Having looked at both, it’s clear that the gluten and wheat are related, but not interchangeable. Wheat has gluten in it, but not all gluten products contain wheat.

Put simply, a gluten free diet is always totally wheat free plus it has the additional restrictions of rye, barley, and oat products and derivatives.

A wheat free diet excludes all wheat products, but allows gluten products that are wheat free, and allows the consumption of rye, barley, and oats.

Gluten Free (and Wheat Free) Foods:

If you’re looking for some solid gluten free foods, you’re safe with the following. Remember that since gluten free is the more restrictive of the two, all of these foods can also be safely consumed by someone who is wheat free:

Fish, Poultry, & Meat (unless breaded, or in gravy)

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Dried Fruits

Olives

Eggs

Milk, Cream, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products

All Types of Oils

Corn flour /meal/starch/chips

Butter *check for additives

Corn Chips

Rice Cakes

Nuts and Beans

Vinegars

Vitamins

Fresh Spices

Jams & Jellies

Vanilla

Honey

Wine

Quinoa

Rice

Beans

Dal

Almond, brown rice, taro, bean, pea, corn, potato and soy flour

Additionally, there is a good selection of gluten free cereals and other foods that will be labeled as such in all health stores and most large grocery store chains. Keep your eyes peeled for the bright gluten free signs as you wander the aisles next time you’re doing the weekly food shopping.

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Hydration: What Exactly Am I Drinking?

Submitted by rebekahRD,

Some of you may have heard about the scary ingredients found in common sports drinks like Gatorade already. For those of you who havent, this blog post is for you.

Hydration during physical activity is incredibly important- we all know that. Low levels of electrolytes can cause dehydration, muscle cramps, heart irregularities, and more.

Beverage companies all have their own versions of drinks supposedly formulated to replete electrolytes and help refuel after workouts. The problem with these drinks is that aside from the essential electrolytes and glucose the body requires after strenuous activity, they also contain additional sugars, dyes and other ingredients that have no health benefit. In fact, some ingredients, like propylene glycol and food dyes have been shown to be detrimental to health.

When you think about it, something used to de-ice airplanes should not be in anything you eat or drink. Propylene glycol can potentially cause cell mutations as well as skin, liver and kidney damage if ingested in high enough amounts. Increasing research is coming forth on many food dyes (although, not all, which important to note) having links to cancer and behavioral changes. Proponents of sports drinks say the amount of propylene glycol one would have to ingest to cause health concerns is so large its impossible to consume enough. The same with food dyes. While its true more peer-reviewed, hard science has to be executed before we can truly prove these claims, I cant see any reason to consume a chemicals like these when its possible to achieve the same effects from your own homemade sports drinks. Aside from that, extra sugar, even glucose, beyond what the body needs to help muscles recover can add to weight gain, insulin production issues and more.

Need more proof? Do a quick google search for “bromated vegetable oil” or BVO. If I havent convinced you yet, try these recipes below to make your own sports drinks- you’ve got nothing to lose. They contain ingredients you have around the house, and several are items that have their own health benefits. For example, green tea has been proven to have antioxidants and other components that help fight cancer. Cherries have been shown to reduce inflammation, which makes it the perfect post-work out drink. Coconut water, while expensive, has been found to deliver up to 12 times the electrolytes of sports drinks. The best part of all- youll save tons of money. See how you feel and how much money you save, and I bet I’ll have you convinced then.

If you’re not working out at a pace where you’re out of breath and profusely sweating for one hour or longer, you probably don’t need a sports drink at all. In fact, good ol’ tap water has been proven time and time again for being the best way to rehydrate for light to moderate physical activity. That can be boring, so check out this article with fun ways to flavor your water. Of course, many medical conditions and other factors can chance this, so always consult with a medical doctor when determining your hydration status.

One final thing- if youre an endurance athlete competing in an event, or undergoing intense training, you may not be able to consume a drink in sufficient quantities without affecting your time and performance. In these instances, I would encourage you to consider adding EnduroPacks Electrolyte Spray to your regimen.

You should also consider consulting with a trainer and/or dietitian to create your own hydration regimen if you don’t have one yet.

Recipes:

*Green Tea Berry Quencher*

Serves: 1

Adapted from WellnessMama.com, photo also from WellnessMama.com

1 quart green tea, brewed and cooled to be slightly warm

tsp Himalayan sea salt or other sea salt variety*

tsp crushed calcium-magnesium tablets or powder**

cup juice (suggestions: cranberry, blueberry or cherry)

1-2 TBSP sweetener*** (agave, sugar, honey, stevia, etc.)

Instructions:

Brew tea, add sweetener if desired, and let cool until warm. Add sea salt, and if using add calcium-magnesium tablet/powder. Add juice, and mix or shake well until dissolved. Cool and store in fridge until ready to use.

*Sea salt must be used to provide trace minerals that table salt does not. I like cheaper sea salts, like Fleur de Gris.

**Calcium-magnesium powder is optional. It helps prevent magnesium losses and has other vitamins and minerals to increase the utilization of calcium. These two nutrients help to prevent muscle cramping and helps to reduce lactic acid build-up.

***Use of sweetener is also optional, as is the type. The natural sugar in the juice provides sufficient glucose if you don’t opt to add a sweetener. Its important the drink is palatable and enjoyable to you, so experiment until you find something you like. Make sure to test during training and not an event.


*Coco-Motion Quencher*

Serves: 1

By Rebekah Langford, RD, CDN

3 cups unsweetened coconut water

1 cup green tea, warm

cup mango juice (NOT nectar)

1 TBSP honey

Measure out coconut water into container. Brew green tea, and while still warm, add honey and stir to dissolve. Add to container with mango juice, then shake/mix well and chill until ready to use. Note, you can make this without coconut water and save money by using 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and and 1/2 tsp calcium-magnesium powder to add the electrolytes.

Remember, play around with what you like and find something you enjoy that fits your needs.

Eat Well, Live Well.

-Rebekah Langford, RD, CDN

Rebekah is a Registered Dietitian/Culinary Nutritionist from the NYC area. She earned two culinary degrees at Johnson & Wales University, followed by a dietetic internship and fellowship at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. She has worked in hotels, restaurants, top hospitals and private homes in Washington, Rhode Island, Tennessee, New York City and more. She specializes in eating disorders, sports nutrition, food allergies, vegan/vegetarian nutrition, and culinary nutrition. Her favorite past-times are gardening, trying new restaurants and bars, television and playing with her Frenchie, Penelope Tuesday.

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Natural fixes for joint pain and arthritis

Submitted by colnetteva,

There are a lot of herbs and spices that have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with arthritis and joint discomfort.

Herbs for arthritis relief

Aloe vera: This succulent perennial plant is a natural joint healer. There are over 250 species of aloe, but only five of them have any nutritional value. Aloe vera is loaded with vitamins A, B, C and E. These vitamins are anti-inflammatory as well as strong antioxidants.

It also contains bradykinin, salicylate, and other natural steroids that help reduce inflammation. Aloe vera also contains glucosamine, a natural compound found in the cartilage of joints. You can take aloe vera either as a juice or as capsules. An aloe vera gel can be applied directly on the swollen and painful joints for topical relief. Any way you take this joint-friendly plant, it can help reduce the inflammation and pressure around the joints, making movement easier.

Boswellia: In ancient times, boswellia was considered so valuable that it was one of the choice gifts brought by the wise men to baby Jesus. For centuries, this resin, also called frankincense, has been used in perfumes, incense sticks, and for therapeutic purposes.

The resin, which is derived from the gum of boswellia trees, has also been used in Ayurvedic medicine. Ancient medical texts suggest the resin of boswellia has good anti-inflammatory and joint supporting properties. Modern clinical research has identified that certain acids, especially acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA) from this plant help counteract inflammation. In preclinical research, AKBA has been shown to help regulate immune functions and reduce inflammation in joints.

Ginger: Like Boswellia, ginger has been used medicinally for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine as a natural anti-inflammatory food. Recent research on the therapeutic effects of spices, conducted at Odense University in Denmark, confirms what the ancient Indian doctors knew.

In the clinical studies done at the university, people suffering with arthritic pain showed significant improvements in pain, swelling and morning stiffness by eating ginger daily.

The research also found that ginger was superior to non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Tylenol or Advil in addition to blocking the formation of the inflammatory compounds, ginger also has antioxidant effects that break down existing inflammation and acidity in the fluid within the joints.

Gingers active ingredients, gingerols, possess anti-inflammatory characteristics responsible for its medicinal actions. Gingerols work by preventing the formation of cytokines, an immune chemical that triggers inflammation.

Fresh or dried ginger can be added to stir-fries, curries and soups. But if that doesnt appeal to your tastes, try this simple ginger tea: Add chopped ginger (a one-inch piece) to a quart of water and boil on the stove for 30 to 60 minutes. Add one to three drops of stevia to sweeten each cup of tea. Drink three cups daily to reduce arthritic or muscle pain.

While on the subject of tea, its good to know that green tea helps reduce inflammation in the body.

Willow bark: If youve seen the Harry Potter movies, you would have seen the willow tree on the grounds of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In fact, the way the bark of a two- to three-year-old willow tree helps relieve aching joints, well, you might think its magic. It isnt. Its pure science.

The main chemical that gives willow bark its therapeutic effects is salicin. Experts say that when the body processes salicin, it turns it into salicylic acid, which is the chemical precursor to Aspirin. No wonder many people refer to willow bark as Natures Aspirin. There are many studies that willow bark provides effective relief for lower back aches and the aching of arthritic joints.

And the good thing is, willow bark does not have any of the harsh side effects of Aspirin.

Cats claw: A Peruvian vine, cats claw gets its name form pairs of large curved thorns that grow on the side of the vine. Natives of the South American jungles, have used cats claw for thousands of years as a medicine to treat inflammatory conditions like arthritis and joint aches.

Cats claw was first popularized by the German natural scientist, Arturo Brell, who migrated from Munich to Peru in 1926. While living in Peru, Dr. Brell found that the natives of the rain forests used it to treat inflammatory conditions. When Dr. Brell used cats claw to treat his rheumatic pain, he found considerable relief.

Modern researchers found that cats claw is a rich source of phytochemicals like alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids, and phytosterols that can help prevent and fight inflammation.

Caution: Please do not confuse the Peruvian herb with another cats claw that grows in northern Mexico and southern Texas. The Mexican cats claw has no known health benefits and its bark may even be poisonous.

Avocado-soybean extract: Nowadays, as the trend is more toward natural remedies, theres a great deal of interest in the use of botanical material for the relief of joint aches and arthritis. Of these, a class of biologically active compounds classified as unsaponifiable lipids are proving to be highly effective especially the unsaponifiables from avocado and soy beans. Avocado-soybean unsaponifiables, or ASUs as they are commonly called, are a natural vegetable extract made from one-third avocado oil and two-thirds soybean oil.

ASU blocks pro-inflammatory chemicals, prevents deterioration of synovial cells (which line the joints) and may help regenerate normal connective tissue. ASU has been researched extensively and has been proven as a safe natural alternative for the relief of arthritis symptoms. In fact, the French government has tracked ASUs safety record for more than 15 years and has yet to find any significant problems.

In addition to the above herbs for arthritis relief, there are a lot of herbs that have been used as a natural support for joint health. Some of these, like eucalyptus, green tea, thunder vine, turmeric, and garlic have also been proven as natural herbs for treating joint pains. Also bromelain, an extract from the pineapple plant, demonstrates anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, and is being researched as a cure for joint pain.

Of course, the thing with most of these herbs is that you have to be patient for results. In most cases, the speed of action depends on how long the arthritis has been present in the joints.

And yes, before you start replacing your meds, with these herbs for natural pain relief, make sure you talk to a doctor first. They will not only advise you on how to taper off your drugs, they will also be able to track the prognosis of your symptoms.

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Just How Important is Getting Your 5 A Day?

Every week seems to bring the latest health fad, the must-try diet, and the gizmo that promises to shed inches off your waistline. There’s no denying that leading a healthy lifestyle is beneficial for many reasons, but it can often be hard to ensure the plan or diet you’re following is one that truly has your best interests at heart.

However, with the UK Government and supermarkets countrywide backing it, few people can claim not to have heard about the ‘5 a day’ fruit and vegetable plan. So, just how important is getting those five a day, and how can it really benefit you?

1. Give your hearing a boost

If you’re worried about hearing loss and having to wear hearing aids, or want to make sure you’re giving your ears a helping hand when it comes to them doing their job properly, it’s important to eat healthily.

Foods high in potassium and folic acid have beneficial properties for your hearing. That’s because potassium is needed in order to ensure the amount of fluid that travels around your body (including your inner ear) is at the correct level. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, spinach, oranges, and apricots amongst others. Folic acid, meanwhile, is vital for keeping up your body’s cell growth. The amount of folic acid in our bodies can drop significantly once we’re over 50 so it’s particularly important to include folic acid-rich foods in your diet in later years. Asparagus, spinach, and broccoli are good sources of folic acid.

2. Boost your body’s defences

Nobody likes a cold – all that endless nose blowing, the sore throat, and the achy head never made anyone feel on top of the world. So help your body help itself by ensuring it’s stocked up with plenty of vitamin C. Research has shown that people with good vitamin C levels in their bodies have fewer sick days than those who don’t – by 34% in fact. Blueberries, oranges and lemons, and raspberries are particularly high in vitamin C so stock up and fight off those colds.

3. Aid weight loss

If you’re trying to drop a dress size, shift post-baby weight, or simply slim down into that suit you wore two years ago, keeping your intake of fruit and veg up is a great way to significantly help with weight loss. This is because they’re high in fibre, weigh a fair deal (which helps to bulk out your diet), and they aren’t laced with calories. What’s more, they’re also low in fat – which is key to a diet that allows you to lose weight! Try bulking out your meals with carrots, peas, and cauliflower and you won’t be piling on unwanted calories but you will be getting a meal that helps fill you up.

4. Reduce your risk of lung cancer

Eating plenty of fruit and veg is a great way to help ensure you’re best protected against illnesses such as lung cancer, but you need to make sure you’re fighting on all fronts. That means, if you smoke, you need to stop. Then it’s time to let the antioxidants in the fruit and vegetables get to work. They’re great at coming down hard on cancer causing cells – even ones that have already started hanging out in your lungs. Apples, berries, and cruciferous veggies such as kale, cabbage, and broccoli have all been shown to help tackle cancerous cells.

5. Combat Stress

Stress is responsible for so many health concerns, and it has a habit of getting in the way of a healthy, happy life. Too much stress can affect relationships, your mental health, and leave you feeling unable to cope. However, fruit and veg can help – especially if it’s high in vitamin B6. Add dried prunes, bananas, cooked spinach, and avocados to your diet and stress can hide no more.

There’s no denying that a diet rich in fruit and veg can have countless positive benefits. From mental health concerns like stress to physical ailments such as hearing loss, fruit and vegetables can help. What’s more, it doesn’t have to be hard to boost your intake. Slice a banana onto your morning bowl of cereal, have a handful of raisins as a snack, or swap that coffee for a fruit juice and you’ll already be up three portions.

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Should I Be Worried about My Knee Clicking?

Submitted by colnetteva,

When you walk down the street, climb a flight of stairs, or even sit down to watch your favorite television program, do you occasionally hear a clicking or popping sound coming from your knee?

Knee clicking tends to occur when the joints are being extended, and at times, it can be accompanied by severe pain. The knee starts to click because, more often than not, there is a part of the knee that is not in its proper position.

As a result, there may be other portions of the leg that are being used more frequently to compensate for the part of the knee thats out of place.

But I often get asked, Why do I experience knee clicking? Should I be worried?

Why Do We Experience Knee-Clicking?

There are various reasons why you can experience knee clicking. Below are some of the most common causes:

1. Unnecessary tissue around the knee: After a serious injury to the knee, if it is not treated or if it does not heal properly, you can develop unnecessary tissue or plica around the knee. When this happens, the tissue gets tangled between certain parts of the joint, which causes the clicking noise when you extend the joint.

2. Runners knee: You might think that constant running is beneficial for your health, but if you put a lot of stress on the tibia, you can develop runners knee. This occurs when the kneecap is out of line and does not track properly along the femur. The tibia and lower bones in the leg protect the kneecap, but when these bones are not aligned properly, the knee will click when you bend it.

3. Severe damage to the meniscus and shock absorber: The meniscus is a lubricator between the bones of your knee, and if damaged and not healed properly, the balance of your knee is thrown off and can also cause the knee to turn when you put force on itthis can cause the knee to develop a clicking sound.

4. Arthritis: Arthritis in your legs can spread to the knees. The knees can become inflamed and align differently, which will cause a clicking sound.

5. ACL tear and MCL tear: Both tears will cause the knee to click; the tears can also lead to chronic pain, knee stiffness, and tenderness.

Source: http://www.doctorshealthpress.com/pain-articles/knee-clicking-causes-and-exercise

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BENEFITS OF CHAMOMILE TEA FOR SKIN

Submitted by sonia,

It has an abundance of amazing healing, antioxidant, cleansing and moisturizing properties and is considered a full-fledged skincare treatment.

Infused with great healing properties, chamomile tea accelerates the healing process of minor wounds and also disinfects the wounds.

Chamomile tea is an excellent all-natural skin bleach. It lightens the complexion and renders it a healthy glow.

It is found to be very effective in soothing skin irritation and sunburns.

This magic potion is a powerhouse of antioxidants that help you fight acne and breakouts. It also works wonders to eliminate acne scars.

It protects your skin from free radical damage, a chief contributor to premature aging, hence help retaining your youthful charm for long.

Placing cooled down chamomile tea bags under the eyes can help reducing under-eye dark circles and eye puffiness. It also soothes your tired eyes.

When blended with powdered milk, chamomile tea provides you a great body and facial scrub. It sloughs off the dead, dry skin cells revealing the underlying cells which are new.

If consumed on a regular basis, chamomile tea nourishes and moisturizes your skin from deep inside. You may also want to use chamomile in your homemade beauty recipes to draw its beauty benefits.

A chamomile tea rinse brightens up the blonde hair instantly. If combined with henna, it makes natural highlights for dark hair as well.

It is a wonderful hair lightener. Using chamomile tea as final hair rinse adds a stunning bright-golden light to the brown hair. Use the treatment regularly to lighten your hair gradually.

Chamomile is also found to be highly effectual in preventing and eliminating dandruff. In addition, it also soothes irritated scalp.

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Weight Training for Dummies

Submitted by ascentadventures409,

Deciding on what your goals are, is maybe the single most important part of a program. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know how to get there and if you’ve arrived? Different goals need different methods and protocols to achieve them. Are your goals: absolute strength, relative strength, explosiveness and power, jumping ability, muscle size, muscle endurance, cardio endurance, or joint stability? Some of these are prerequisites of the other but some are somewhat of a trade off at more elite levels. So, let’s discuss a few of them.

Muscle Size Gain (Hypertrophy)

If your program is just to get really strong then there are going to be elements of everything in your program but muscle size and strength must be your main goals. First, let’s discuss how to make a muscle bigger. For a muscle to get bigger there are a few things that must take place. The muscle cell must be activated and fatigued. The methods to do this are called the Repetition Method and the Submaximal Method. You’re taking a weight that you can move 5-12 repetitions. With the Repetition Method the weight you choose should push you to failure within the repetition range of 5-12. The reason for going to failure is this, your body activates smaller muscle cells before larger ones. When you need more force or the smaller ones get fatigued it activates bigger and bigger muscle cells. These bigger cells produce more force but fatigue quicker. So, if you are not going to failure then those biggest muscle cells are not being activated or fatigued because they are only activated at the very end. This method however is strenuous and shouldn’t be used much by less experienced people. The Sub-Maximal Method will be your method of choice. It is the same principle only you will stop just short of actual failure. For example, you might stop with 8 when you could have actually done 10, but not 16. It must still challenge you.

Absolute and Relative Strength

For muscle strength the most effective method is the Maximum Effort Method. This is not for a beginner and someone should have a few years of weight training experience prior to using this method. That is not to say you cannot get stronger using the Repetition Method and or Submaximal Effort Method alone, however once you have the experience, the most effective method, once again is the Maximum Effort Method. The Maximum Effort Method is when you lift the most weight possible for one repetition. This method is used once a week. Two things should be realized when using this method. First, you must switch exercises frequently (once a week preferably). The change needs to make the exercise different but still keeping it close enough to the main movement you want to train so that there is high transfer of the training effect. Second, this is a training max, not a competition max. What this means is this, during a competition your heart rate elevates and you feel adrenaline. This helps you lift more weight, however after competition you are worn out from the adrenaline. During training you should keep your heart rate normal and not psych yourself up. So the actual 1 repetition max, in training, turns out to be about 90% of what you can do in competition, which is where you want to be for strength training. But, since you aren’t psyching yourself up to lift the weight there is less chance of suffering from neurological fatigue.

Explosive Power and Jumping Ability

Plyometrics are a great way help produce more force in a short amount of time which a necessary to be able to jump well. There is an explosive strength deficit (ESD) between the maximum amount of force you can lift with no time constraints and a movement (i.e. jumping) which only allows a short time to generate force. The ESD for jumping is around 50% of maximum force without time constraints. “In principle, there are two ways to increase the force output in explosive motions- to increase maximal force without time constraints or decrease ESD. The first method brings good results at the beginning of sport preparation,” (Science and Practice of Strength Training). However once achieving a good amount of muscular strength one must also work to lower ESD. An example of someone who does not do this is the very strong person in the gym but he can’t jump very well. This is because there simply is not enough time to access all that strength but with plyometrics it will lower ESD and allow you to tap into more of that strength. Although absolute strength is a prerequisite to jumping ability, after that another prerequisite following it is speed strength. This is accomplished by using the Dynamic Effort Method. This method improves the rate of force development and explosive strength. In this method one uses a non-maximal load with the highest speed possible. Typically around 50% of maximum is used with many sets possibly 6 to 12 sets of 1 to 3 repetitions moving as fast as possible.

Local Muscular Endurance

Local muscular endurance is different than cardio endurance in that, it is specific to the muscles involved. Some good examples of this would be how many push-ups or sit-up you can do without stopping. If you need to raise endurance the type of training you will use depends on the difficulty of the task. If the task is greater than 25% of your maximum then strength training will still be beneficial. For instance, doing a push-up on the floor uses about 60% of your body weight, so if someone weighed 150 pounds, 60% of that is 90 pounds, so as long as their bench press is under 360 pounds then strength training can still be beneficial for strength and endurance. The strength training can be alternated with some endurance training to further increase muscular endurance. Now, if the task if less than 25% of maximum, then absolute strength does not play much of a role and one should focus more exclusively on endurance. The typical endurance training protocol for weight training is 15-30 repetitions, 2-3 sets per body part with 30 seconds or less of rest between sets.

Cardio Endurance

When doing cardiovascular training different types of training will elicit different training effects. Here is a list of the different methods: Long Slow Distance Training (LSD), Interval Training, Pace/ Tempo Training, Repetition Training, and Fartlek Training.

Long Slow Distance Training of LSD Training is most likely the method that comes to mind when thinking of cardiovascular training. The protocol here is a steady state training of 20 minutes to several hours with a heart rate no higher than 80% of heart rate maximum. However, depending on the shape of the individual they might need to train at a heart rate even as low as only 30% of maximum. But for the athlete most likely they will train between 70-80% of maximum. The benefits of LSD training include: enhanced cardiovascular and thermoregulatory function, improved mitochondrial energy production and oxidative capacity of skeletal muscle, and increased utilization of fat as a fuel. All that to say your body gets more efficient at moving for longer periods of time. So the same intensity that you used before will seem easier.

Interval Training is when you have harder interval of time between three to five minutes, however they can be much shorter, followed by an easier interval of time of the same duration. Your interval day should not be longer than what you can maintain during LSD training. The benefits of this type of training include: an increased V.O2max (or how efficient your body uptakes oxygen) and an enhanced anaerobic metabolism. This type of training should not be used until a firm base of aerobic endurance training has been established.

Pace/ Tempo Training is performed at an intensity at or slightly higher than what you would do in a competition. The intensity corresponds to the lactate threshold; so it is often called aerobic/ anaerobic interval training. You may perform this type of training steady state (the same speed throughout), or intermittent. This type of training is done for about 20-30 minutes. “The primary objective for this type of training is to develop a sense of race pace and enhance the body systems’ ability to sustain exercise at that pace. The benefits derived from this type of training include improved running economy and increased lactate threshold.” (Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning) Lactate threshold is when your body is doing more than you can sustain aerobically so lactate starts to pour into the blood stream.

Repetition Training (REPS) is done usually very intense for 30 to 90 seconds. Your rest intervals will be five times as long as the “rep” or work interval. “The benefits of REP training include: improved running speed, enhance running economy, and an increased capacity for and tolerance of anaerobic metabolism. This type of training is also beneficial for the final kick or push of an aerobic endurance race.” (Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning)

“Fartlek Training is a combination of several of the previously mentioned types of training. A sample Fartlek run involves easy running (70%) combined with either hill work or short, fast burst of running (85-90%) for short time periods. This type of training is likely to enhance V.O2max, increase the lactate threshold, and improve running economy and fuel utilization.” (Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning)

Joint Stability

Joint stability is very important in order to stay healthy and injury free. One of the ways to build a more stable joint is by building up all the muscles surrounding that joint. As a side note, disproportional strength or flexibility on one side of a joint leads to a less healthy, less stable joint. You must build up the muscles that stabilize a joint. If those muscles are weak you won’t move well, causing undue stress on the joint. One great example is this, step up on a large stair or do a lunge. Did your knee move to the inside? If so, you have unstable knees. You must work the muscles of your outer hip in order to correct the problem. There are other example like the shoulder or back. All are important to take in consideration and fix any imbalances and or weaknesses in order to stay health and have stable joints.

I hope that this article helped you first, decide exactly what are your current goals, whether they be muscle endurance, cardio endurance, muscle size, explosive power or different types of strength. And second what methods are used to get there. Because you must know where you’re going in order to start going in the right direction. And you must know the right methods if you ever wish to get to your goals.

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Got Knee Pain?

Submitted by fitnessfoundry,

If you are reading this, you may have had knee pain or are looking for some exercises to prevent this condition. My essay is a basic corrective exercise approach to common knee pain usually caused by lack of ankle & hip mobility. Most individuals will either have knee discomfort underneath the knee, also known as “Jumper’s Knee” or “Runner’s Knee” e.g. discomfort on the side of the leg/knee. Please recognize the difference between “discomfort” and “pain”. As I always tell my clients “we do not work through pain,” but discomfort is a red flag. Stop the exercise and learn how to address and prevent the pain.

The discomfort is the precursor to a bad situation becoming worse. Fortunately, attending to the discomfort and applying some exercise science and common sense, we usually can reverse the ailment.

If you have had consistent knee pain, I would suggest seeing a medical professional. Lastly, I highly recommend getting a thorough fitness assessment/ movement screen by a fitness professional. The information from the assessment will be used to address your posture, flexibility, movement patterns & muscle imbalances. This in turn will help you become more efficient in your workout which will lead to achieving your goals without compromising your joint health.

Most knee pain is the result of sedentary lifestyle (8-10 hours of daily sitting and/or inactivity per day), muscle imbalances, poor form while performing exercises and repetitive movements (overuse). There are other possible factors such as flat feet, posture, age, weight, type of shoes, past surgeries etc . . .

Generally, people who sit all day will have tight hamstrings, hip flexors, calf muscles, weak gluteus (buttocks) and underactive inner thigh muscles. Please note, other preventable muscular pain may arise from overuse (repetitive movement) or a sedentary lifestyle e.g. low back pain, hip drop/hike, shoulder pain, tennis elbow & neck pain.

When you have tight/overactive muscles, its’ primary functional movement might be altered. This is called reciprocal muscular inhibition. For example, tight hamstrings and tight lower back usually signal a weak gluteus muscle. The weak gluteus (buttocks) muscle’s function of being an extensor muscle will be overridden by the hamstring and lower back. This will limit your range of hip joint movement and affect the joints above and below: spine, shoulder blades, rotator cuff and also the knee.

This idea of muscle reciprocal inhibition applies to overactive calf muscles too. The joint below the knee is the ankle. Tight calf muscles, whether from sitting down all day or wearing high heels may alter you ankle mobility. The shin muscles will be unable to perform its primary role because the opposing muscle ‘the calf’ is overpowering it via its tightness. Many people get shin splints and plantar fasciitis because of tight calf muscles and limited ankle mobility.

It’s important to note that no muscles work independently. Secondly, if you have tight muscles, the opposing muscles are usually weak and needs to be strengthened. Remember, muscles wrap around our joints. When they are tight, our joints’ range of motion is affected and it travels throughout our posture and kinetic chain.

Some symptoms from overactive hamstring & calf muscles:

Jumper’s knee- underneath the knee

Runner’s knee- muscles on the side of your hip/leg down to your knee. (ITB,TFL)

Plantar Fasciitis

Shin Splints

Achilles Tendonitis

Low back pain

Visualize what you do when you get out of bed. The first part of your body to touch the floor is your feet. If you ever stubbed your toe, you will quickly notice the importance of ankle mobility and how it affects your posture. You will change the way you walk to protect your tender toe, unconsciously leaning on one side of the body, which stresses your hip, low back muscles and/or knee joint.

Now I will show you a few exercises to treat the source, not the symptoms, of your knee pain.

You can find these tools in your gym. Always start with foam rolling.

Pre-Workout:

Foam Roll/Trigger Point:

If on a scale of 1-10, 5 being uncomfortable, you score higher than a 5, you have overactive/tight muscles. Stay on top of the painful area (trigger point) for 10-15 seconds & repeat on the other side. Do this 3 times.

Foam Roll Piriformis: Bend your left knee with your left foot under your knee. Cross your right foot over the left knee. Your right hand will be behind you for support. Place your left hand on your right knee and pull the knee towards your chest. Slowly roll over the hip on an angle. Find the trigger point and hold for 10-15 seconds. Do 3 sets.

“TFL” foam roll: Set yourself up as if you are going to do a elbow plank. Place the foam roll under the front part of your left hip, underneath your hip pointer bone (ASIS). Lift your left leg off the floor and slowly roll over the area which is the size of your pants pocket. Find the trigger point and hold for 10-15 seconds. Do 3 sets.

Stability ball hamstring curls & bridge up: Place your feet on top of the ball. Arms by your side, head resting on the floor. Lift your hips off the floor and slowly pull the ball underneath your hips. While the ball is directly under your hips, begin to press your hips towards the ceiling. Slowly, reverse the movement and repeat. Do 3 Sets of 10 Reps.

Advanced single leg stability ball hamstring curls & bridge up: Place your feet on top of the ball. Arms by your side, head resting on the floor. Lift your hips off the floor, followed by lifting your right leg off the ball and keep it raised in a 45 degree angle. Slowly pull the ball with your right leg underneath your hips. While the ball is directly under your hip, begin to press your hips towards the ceiling. Slowly, reverse the movement and repeat. Do 3 Sets of 10 Reps.

Ankle Rocks on a Foam Roll: Stand in front of a wall arm’s length away. Step on to the flat side of the foam roll. Feet hip width apart. Try to balance while minimizing using the wall to stabilize. Rock forward till your toes touch the floor then rock back till your heels touch the floor. Repeat 10 Reps for 3 sets.

Standing leg abduction on foam roll (pigeon toe): Stand on the foam roll round side up. Left foot on the foam roll and your right foot by it side in a “pigeon toe” position (foot turned inward). You may stabilize yourself by tapping on a wall with your left hand. Slowly bring your right leg laterally outward with the foot turned in (pigeon toe). Repeat 10 reps for 3 sets. For more challenge try this exercise with foam roll flat side up!

Bonus! Ball rolling with a baseball: You can do this at home or work. While sitting, place a baseball under the arch of your foot and roll till you feel a trigger point, hold for 10-15 seconds. Roll the ball underneath the arch of the foot for at least 2 minutes 2-3 times per day.

The knee is a marvel when you think how much pressure/shock it absorbs from our regular walking to work, walking up stairs, jogging and even abrupt stopping. Without a stable knee, our easiest everyday tasks become a challenge.

Incorporate these drills into your pre-workout, and with time and practice you can say “Got NO knee pain!”.

Be well and stay ACTIVE!!!

Julio Salado, NSCA-CPT., USAW Coach

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Making The Perfect Post Workout Protein Shake

Submitted by kennyd,

It is important to remember not to reduce the calories intake right after a workout when your metabolism is high. It is during the post workout that you body requires quality source of protein and carbohydrates to start the rebuilding process and the best moment to ensure your body have the right protein source to cater to you workout routine.

Below are the steps you need to take to make the perfect post-workout protein shake.

– Know your type of protein source

– Making the Perfect Post Work Out Protein Shake

– Determine how much protein you require

For the average workout consisting of between 2 to 3 hours like weight lifting (20 or 30 sets), you’re going to need approximately 45 grams of protein, which equates to two scoops of your whey protein powder. If you’re a heavier individual (above 180 pounds) you can increase this to 70 grams of protein.

Include creatine

One study by US National Institutes of Health indicates the Creatine is most commonly used for improving exercise performance and increasing muscle mass in athletes and older adults. There is some science supporting the use of creatine in improving the athletic performance of young, healthy people during brief high-intensity activity such as sprinting or weight lifting. So these is a great addition to your post workout protein shakes especially those who are on resistance-training workout.

To your protein shakes, add five grams of creatine powder to help replenish the creatine stores in the body that have just been used up.


Get your carbohydrate source

Once you’ve figured out your protein needs, then you must look at carbohydrates. Fat in this time period is to be avoided since it will slow down the release of the nutrients to the muscle cells, which is exactly what you don’t want.

In order to get the best results, you should aim to take a fast-acting carbohydrate right after the workout, and then follow that with a slower carbohydrate in the hour afterward. This will help to spike insulin levels and drive the glucose into the muscle cells for quick recovery.

Dextrose is the best choice; however, any simple glucose food product will also work. One word of caution is to avoid fructose as much as you can because it is handled slightly differently in the body, being directed to the liver first, rather than straight into the muscle cells.

The last tip on making the perfect post-workout shake next


Determine how much carbohydrates to use

To maximize muscle glycogen resynthesis in the post-workout period, you will want to add five grams of carbohydrates for every two working sets performed. Using our illustration of a workout consisting of 20 to 30 sets, this means you’re taking in 50 to 75 grams of dextrose.

Keep in mind that if you are looking to build more muscle mass, you can go higher with this intake to boost your calories and encourage building of lean tissue. You will be most anabolic in the time right after your workout, so making use of this by placing a large portion of calories at this time is a very smart move.


Revive and restore

To summarize, to create your post-workout shake you need:

50 grams of whey isolate protein powder

5 grams of creatine

50-75 grams (or more) of dextrose

Mix all of this together and consume immediately after your cool-down has finished. Follow this with another meal that consists of a solid protein source, a slower digesting form of carbohydrates and a small amount of healthy fat an hour afterward.

If you want to maximize the results you get from your workout, the post-workout shake cannot be skipped. By getting this right, you’re one step closer to realizing your goals.

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Fat Burning: A Different Approach

Submitted by Billmarks,

No more cardio? Well, not quitebut if you train with weights correctly, you wont need to visit that boring treadmill quite as often to keep your abs sharp.

And Im not talking about interval cardio, although the weight-training method Ive been preaching has an HIIT feel to it. Thats the F4X method, (featured in Old School New Body) which is moderate-weight, high-fatigue training with short rests between sets. It burns more fat and pumps up your muscles like crazy too. Heres the drill:

You take a weight with which you can get 15 reps, but you only do 10; rest 30 seconds, then do it againand so on for four sets. On the fourth set, you go to failure, and if you get 10 reps, you increase the weight on the exercise at your next workout. Notice how those sets are like intervals with short breaks betweenyou can even pace between sets to burn extra calories, but theres more.

Fat-burning pathway 1: While that training style does great things for muscle growth, via myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic expansion, you also get loads of muscle burn. That lactic acid pooling has a spiking effect on your growth hormone outputand GH is a potent fat burner. Fire up muscle burning to get your GH churning. (GH also amplifies other anabolic hormones, so it effects both muscle and rippedness.)

Fat-burning pathway 2: If you do the reps correctly on every set, youll also get myofibrillar trauma. The myofibrils are the force-generating strands in muscle fibers. By damaging them with slower, controlled negative strokes, you force the need for extra energy during recovery. In other words, your body runs hotter while youre out of the gym as it revs to repair the microtears.

To attain that extra fat-burning trauma, use one-second positives and three-second negatives on all 10 reps of all four sets. On a bench press thats one second up and three seconds down. Its the slow lowering that will produce the metabolic momentum after your workout. (That rep speed will also give you 40 seconds of tension time on every set, an ideal hypertrophic TUT.)

Fat-burning pathway 3: Now if you really want to get some blubber-busting microtrauma, try your last set of a F4X sequence in X-centric style. Thats one-second positives and six-second negatives. You may have to reduce the weight, but it will be worth it. Try for eight of those, 56 seconds of tension time, and you should feel the results the next day. Your muscles will be aching, but its a good indication that fat is baking.

F4X for a GH surge, slower negatives for fat-burning micro trauma and X-centric for even more time under tension and fat extinction. It all adds up to faster leanness with less meannessbecause youll need less cardio. Prepare for acid-etched abs! Yes!! Even as you age this system works, in fact it is the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth.

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