Explosivelyfit Strength Training

Explosivelyfit strength training builds powerful bodies!

Archive for the month “September, 2013”

300913 Taking control of your sleep

Taking control of your sleep

The experts at Tuffs University make the following recommendations for getting a better night’s sleep.

Finish your last meal or snack at least two to three hours before you go to bed at your regular time.

Keep your daily diet clean with healthy well-balanced meals and snacks. Avoid, as much as possible, or keep to a minimum refined sugars because they stimulate the body thus making it harder to sleep.

Avoid nicotine in any form from any source. Not only does it keep you awake but it is harmful and highly addictive.

270913 Healthy ideas that may be worth considering for a healthier life-part five – Switching from white to brown rice could potentially lower your diabetes risk

Healthy ideas that may be worth considering for a healthier life-part five – Switching from white to brown rice could potentially lower your diabetes risk

Scientific research never ceases and constant investigations into what makes us healthy are no exception. Some of the recent research and subsequent reports result from observational studies. These observational studies were not designed to prove a cause and effect. Nonetheless, they still may point the way towards improving your health by decreasing your disease risk.

Some of these findings may already be common knowledge to you, whereas others may be a surprise. In any case, all of them may be worthwhile paying attention to in the future.

In the majority of the world’s advanced nations, many avoidable diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity could be prevented or at least decreased in number if their citizens would simply follow a healthier lifestyle. Getting 30 minutes of exercise per day and eating nutritious foods would go a long way towards easing the healthcare costs and improving the lives of uncounted millions of people.

Switching from white to brown rice could potentially lower your diabetes risk

Harvard researchers have made a connection between white rice consumption and the risk of developing diabetes. They found those eating the most white rice were 27% more likely to develop the disease than those who were eating less. They found this association to be the greatest, 55%, amongst the Asian populations. These same research specialists combined the results from four prior studies with a total of 352,384 participants who were followed from 4 to 22 years.

Even though the added diabetes risk of the non-Asian participants was at a borderline statistical significance of 11% it still does not bode well for eating excessive amounts of white rice. Further analysis of the statistics discovered a dose response relationship whereby the more white rice eaten, the greater the diabetes risk which rose even higher with an additional daily serving. This increased the chances of developing the disease by an additional 11%.

According to the information provided in the study white rice and brown rice are not processed the same. Brown rice, unlike white rice, retains its whole grain nutrients during the processing.

250913 Healthy ideas that may be worth considering for a healthier life-part four – The health benefits of fiber to your heart

Healthy ideas that may be worth considering for a healthier life-part four – The health benefits of fiber to your heart

Scientific research never ceases and constant investigations into what makes us healthy are no exception. Some of the recent research and subsequent reports result from observational studies. These observational studies were not designed to prove a cause and effect. Nonetheless, they still may point the way towards improving your health by decreasing your disease risk.

Some of these findings may already be common knowledge to you, whereas others may be a surprise. In any case, all of them may be worthwhile paying attention to in the future.

In the majority of the world’s advanced nations, many avoidable diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity could be prevented or at least decreased in number if their citizens would simply follow a healthier lifestyle. Getting 30 minutes of exercise per day and eating nutritious foods would go a long way towards easing the healthcare costs and improving the lives of uncounted millions of people.

The health benefits of fiber to your heart

“Swedish researchers compared the dietary habits and prevalence of cardiovascular disease among more than 20,000 adults.” They found that fiber, particularly for women, may help protect them against heart disease. In this examination of the 20,000 adults the reported that women consuming the most fiber, which came principally from fruits, vegetables, and bread were at almost 25% lower risk for developing heart disease when compared to those eating a low fiber diet.

This association between high and low fiber in the diet was not as great in men however those eating a high fiber diet seem to have a lower incidence of stroke.

These research scientist scrutinized the self-reported answers in the questionnaires of the reported heart disease and thirteen nutritional variables within this large group of adults. This scrutiny covered over thirteen years of follow-up.

The results published in PLOS One eventually included 8139 men and 12,535 women, aged between 44 and 73 from the Swedish city of Malmo. None of the participants had a prior history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

None of the researchers could say why fiber may be a protective mechanism against heart disease but did note that due to the gender differences found in the results that more investigation is warranted.

230913 Healthy ideas that may be worth considering for a healthier life-part three – Using a tape measure to assess your risk for sudden cardiac death

Healthy ideas that may be worth considering for a healthier life-part three – Using a tape measure to assess your risk for sudden cardiac death

Scientific research never ceases and constant investigations into what makes us healthy are no exception. Some of the recent research and subsequent reports result from observational studies. These observational studies were not designed to prove a cause and effect. Nonetheless, they still may point the way towards improving your health by decreasing your disease risk.

Some of these findings may already be common knowledge to you, whereas others may be a surprise. In any case, all of them may be worthwhile paying attention to in the future.

In the majority of the world’s advanced nations, many avoidable diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity could be prevented or at least decreased in number if their citizens would simply follow a healthier lifestyle. Getting 30 minutes of exercise per day and eating nutritious foods would go a long way towards easing the healthcare costs and improving the lives of uncounted millions of people.

Using a tape measure to assess your risk for sudden cardiac death

A person with excess belly fat, as determined by the waist to hip ratio formula has a 40% greater risk of dying due to a sudden heart problem. A sudden death means dying within an hour of the onset of symptoms.

In a presentation to the Heart Rhythm Society, 301 cases of sudden cardiac death within 15,156 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study who were between the ages of 45 and 64 died over 12.6 years. At the beginning of the twelve-year period each individual was tested using the three common measures of obesity, which are Body Mass Index (BMI), waist circumference and waist to hip ratios.

Originally, all three measures were linked with a higher risk of suffering a sudden cardiac event. After making adjustments for other conditions also linked with obesity such as high blood pressure and diabetes it was found that the waist to hip ratio was a “significant predictor of risk.” Those in the top 1/5 of the ratio had waist to hip measures of 0.97 or higher for women and 1.01 or higher for men, indicating a waist roughly as big as the hips.”

Those in “the lowest 1/5 had ratios of less than 0.82 for women in less than 0.92 for men.”

The danger of too much belly fat, according to the researchers, is due to the “effects of inflammation, which in turn can lead to fibrosis in the heart muscle.” Additionally too much belly fat puts unneeded pressure on the kidneys which by the very nature of their makeup is one of our body’s fragile organs.

The take-home message here is to calculate your waist to hip ratio by dividing your waist measurement by your hip measurement. Healthy numbers are:

  • “Women with waist-to-hip ratios of more than 0.8 are at increased health risk because of their fat distribution.
  • Men with waist-to-hip ratios of more than 1.0 are at increased health risk because of their fat distribution. “ (1)

If it is too high then do something to alter it by changing your diet and getting more exercise.

(1) The National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)).

200913 Healthy ideas that may be worth considering for a healthier life-part two – Raisins

Healthy ideas that may be worth considering for a healthier life-part two – Raisins

Scientific research never ceases and constant investigations into what makes us healthy are no exception. Some of the recent research and subsequent reports result from observational studies. These observational studies were not designed to prove a cause and effect. Nonetheless, they still may point the way towards improving your health by decreasing your disease risk.

Some of these findings may already be common knowledge to you, whereas others may be a surprise. In any case, all of them may be worthwhile paying attention to in the future.

In the majority of the world’s advanced nations, many avoidable diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity could be prevented or at least decreased in number if their citizens would simply follow a healthier lifestyle. Getting 30 minutes of exercise per day and eating nutritious foods would go a long way towards easing the healthcare costs and improving the lives of uncounted millions of people.

The effects of eating raisins on your blood pressure

Take for example the simple and tasty raisin; in ¼ cup (41 g) of seedless uncooked raisins, there are 120 calories, 0 fat and 0 cholesterol from any source, and only 5 mg of sodium. Additionally, each ¼ cup contains 18 g of high quality carbohydrates, (10% of the daily requirement), 2 g dietary fiber (6% of the daily requirement), and 1 g of protein. The potential downside to these healthy numbers is the fact that in this small amount of raisins you will also find 24 g of sugar. These percentages are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Now that we know about the amount of raisins we are talking about, let us get back to what the researchers found in their clinical trial testing of the effects of eating raisins. They were looking at the effects on the blood pressure of those with prehypertension who ate a handful of raisins three times a day. This study, presented at an American College of Cardiology conference, showed that eating such a small amount of raisins each day “sharply reduced their blood pressure.”

The study compared snacking on cookies or crackers with raisins amongst forty-six participants, each with slightly elevated blood pressure. The individuals in the study had blood pressure levels between 120/80 up to 139/89 mmHg.

The results indicated that over the 12 weeks of the study those eating the raisins lowered their systolic (1) blood pressure , the top number, by as much as 10.2 mmHg. This would lead one to believe that in a number of cases, participants in the study would then have had normal blood pressure readings because the drop of 10.2 mmHg would have put them below the prehypertension numbers of 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 m.

The research group from the Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center commented that raisins have a high potassium content approximately 212 mg in only 60 raisins. Potassium is noted for its ability to lower blood pressure.

Another contributing factor for raisins ability to lower blood pressure is the amount of dietary fiber, which in this case is one gram for 60 raisins along with their antioxidants. If you are concerned about the calorie content, consider this, 60 raisins or approximately an ounce contain about 85 calories.

(1) Systolic pressure is the force of blood in the arteries as the heart beats

180913 Healthy ideas that may be worth considering for a healthier life-part one – Combining mental and physical activities to keep your cognitive abilities sharp

Healthy ideas that may be worth considering for a healthier life-part one – Combining mental and physical activities to keep your cognitive abilities sharp

Scientific research never ceases and constant investigations into what makes us healthy are no exception. Some of the recent research and subsequent reports result from observational studies. These observational studies were not designed to prove a cause and effect. Nonetheless, they still may point the way towards improving your health by decreasing your disease risk.

Some of these findings may already be common knowledge to you, whereas others may be a surprise. In any case, all of them may be worthwhile paying attention to in the future.

Combining mental and physical activities to keep your cognitive abilities sharp

If you are a health-conscious person, as many are, you are already aware that exercising both your body and mind can help keep your memories sharp as you age. A recent study out of the Mayo Clinic reinforced this synergistic mind body connection.

These researchers found that by combining mentally stimulating activities, in this case computer use, and moderate exercise, the participants decreased their odds of incurring memory loss more so than singling out either activity. The definition of moderate physical exercise, for the purposes of the study, is “brisk walking, hiking, aerobics, strength training, golfing without a golf cart, swimming, doubles tennis, yoga, martial arts, using exercise machines, and weightlifting.” They used the computer as an example of mental activity simply because it is a popular means of mental exertion used by this population sample.

In the study, researchers observed and tested 926 Minnesotans aged between 70 and 93. Each of these people completed questionnaires concerning the amount and time of their physical exercise and computer use.

The results indicated that the study participants who did not use a computer or exercise, 37.6% showed mild cognitive impairment signs and 20.1% remained cognitively normal. Of those who did both mental and physical exercise, they found that 36% were cognitively normal and only 18.3% were showing signs of cognitive impairment.

Based on the results, it certainly seems reasonable to stimulate your brain with mental activities and exercise to improve your physical health in order to provide a protective barrier for your memory during aging process.

160913 Lifting weights is associated with positive cognition and memory area changes in the brain

Lifting weights is associated with positive cognition and memory area changes in the brain

A new study, conducted by research scientists and led by Teresa Liu-Ambrose, PhD from the University of British Columbia stated, “exercise is a promising strategy for combating cognitive decline.” She pointed out that other studies have found aerobic and resistance training increase the cognitive ability in older adults and others with mild cognitive impairments. Nevertheless, she noted there is no data comparing the effectiveness of aerobic or resistance training to one another in helping seniors with mild cognitive impairment.

Not having this data makes it difficult to understand which of the two forms of exercise could be the most beneficial and according to Dr. Liu-Ambrose, “understanding this is crucial to using exercises as a strategy for altering the trajectory of cognitive decline in seniors with mild cognitive impairment.” Therefore, she and her researchers placed 86 women, aged 70 to 80, into three groups.

The groups were divided up thusly:

Group 1 trained twice a week both machines and free weights
Group 2 exercised with an outdoor walking program
Group 3 did only balance and stretching activities

Each person in the three groups was measured with the Stroop test. This is a standard cognitive test used to measure selective attention and the individual’s ability to deal with conflicting information. In the latter instance, it would mean being able to read out loud the word blue, when it is actually printed in red.

A secondary group of tests “measured the individuals working memory, associative memory, problem-solving,” “visual attention and task switching.”

The results of the six-month study found that even though the aerobic group got physically fitter and improved their balance while doing so they realized no increased cognitive benefits. However, those in the weightlifting group “significantly improved their average performance on the Stroop test and tests of associative memory.”

In fact, there were significant functional changes within the areas of the brain that were associated with cognitive and memory as noted in the MRI scans of 22 participants.

Dr. Liu concluded that the results of the study provided “novel evidence” that strength training provided the beneficial results for those individuals that were suffering mild cognitive impairment. She did caution that these results might be different when tested with men or women of a different age group.

130913 Is it possible to stop the arthritis in your knee from progressing?

Is it possible to stop the arthritis in your knee from progressing?

There is more and more scientific research identifying actions that can help prevent the progression of arthritis in the knees. The one main recommendation that holds steady throughout all the studies is to reduce the weight your knees are carrying by losing excess body fat. This means maintaining an ideal weight or perhaps even a little less to ease the stress on your knees. The other common thread, when it comes to protecting your knees, is to avoid activities that create stress on them and running is a prime culprit when it comes to damaging the knees.

Since exercise is an important activity that helps improve and maintain the quality of life and perhaps even prolong it, it is important to know which exercises are going to be the most beneficial when it comes to protecting your knees. The basic assumption here is you have to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee joint, specifically the quadriceps, your hamstrings, and even your calves.

Strengthening each of these muscles helps keep the knee more stable, keeps the joint lubricated, and helps to absorb some of the stress your knee encounters with each step.

Recently, a Harvard study presented at the annual American College of Rheumatology, found that drinking pop, could be associated with knee problems in men. According to Dr. Bing Lu, an assistant professor at the Harvard Medical School, “based on our analysis, consumption of more than 5 diet soft drinks per week is related to significant osteoarthritis progression in men.” Osteoarthritis damages the joint cartilage.

Knee osteoarthritis is a deterioration of the cartilage in the knee. Cartilage is a smooth tissue at the tips of the bones that prevent the bones from rubbing on one another. Without this cartilage, the bones would rub together. Such a condition causes a person to have pain, sometimes excruciating pain, each time they move the joint.

As mentioned previously, a common factor in many instances of knee osteoarthritis cases, is the person is overweight, not just a little, but a lot. Couple this up with the excessive number of sugar, junk filled soft drinks consumed by the average American and you have a situation just made for poor health and in this instance it is poor knee health.

The scientists are not exactly certain why these drinks were associated with making the osteoarthritis progress faster but they did have some thoughts on it.

Phosphoric acid interferes with the absorption of calcium, which leads to imbalances that can further exacerbate loss of calcium. Most of the soft drinks on the market today contain phosphoric acid. A second possibility is those who are drinking this much pop are probably neglecting to drink healthier, eat healthier or exercise. According to Dr. Lu, “soft drink consumption may be associated with decreased intakes of protein, milk and dairy products, fruit, and a variety of vitamins and nutrients.

110913 Exercising to lose fat

Exercising to lose fat

There is evidence that more body fat, rather than sugar, is burned with prolonged easy to moderate exercise. This conjures up the vision of untold hours on a boring bicycle, elliptical, or treadmill machine. However, just because the body may be using more fat than sugar during these long exercise periods, it has not been determined whether there is much of a physiological difference in the body’s use of these two fuels.

This specifically relates to how much fat or weight you are going to lose with either method.

It is a well-known fact that in order to lose fat and increase your lean muscle mass you have to exercise. It is also a fact that if you exercise consistently and if you burn more calories than you take in from food or drink you will lose weight.

Perhaps one of the reasons people lose weight on a moderately intense but prolonged type of exercise is that they stick with it. It is much easier to plod along than it is to really hit it hard with a vigorous, intense exercise session. Either type of exercise will help you lose weight. You just have to stick with it.

If you are the type of person that wants to hit it hard and lose weight, try interval training. Exercising in this manner means you are going to intersperse bursts of high intensity vigorous activity with much easier activity. The reason interval training works is because the extra high intensity bursts generally do not last very long and this allows your body to catch up during the moderate activity.

Interval training offers a challenge enabling the exercise session to continue longer than it would be if it were all high-intensity movements. Because of the high intensity periods combined with the moderately paced times, your overall calorie usage is higher than when simply doing moderate paced activities.

But keep in mind you will NEVER be able to exercise enough to lose weight if you have a poor diet unless you have an eating disorder. If this is the case, then seek professional help.

The truth about unstable surface training.

This is a repost of a blog posted on August 14, 2013 by nbuchan.
Nick makes a strong argument for training on stable surfaces despite all the talk about the pseudo-benefits of training on unstable surfaces. Training on an unstable surface makes as much sense as doing a sumo dead lift on the ice. If you want to do stupid stuff in your training, at least keep it to yourself and don’t talk about it. It only confirms the fact that the training was or is stupid.
Danny M. O’Dell

The truth about unstable surface training.

One of the most important things in training is to questions. To ask, for example, what are my goals? Is this helping me achieve my goals? Is this the best method I have to get the job done?

Unstable surface training (UST) has become an integral and expected part of many strength and conditioning programs, particularly in golf. Indeed magazine covers and articles are abundant promising a better swing, longer drives and lower scores from a few simple exercises performed on a swiss ball.

Slide1

Claims have been made for the effectiveness of UST for injury prehab, rehab, increasing power in the golf swing, increasing balance in the swing and improving swing mechanics. What follows is a brief synopsis of research into UST in performance settings, examining these claims and asking weather the use of UST in golf strength and conditioning programs is really appropriate.

Beginning in rehab circles, UST has been shown to be effective in aiding recovery, improving balance and enhancing performance in injured athletes. So when dealing with injured golfers there is little doubt as to the effectiveness of UST as long as the difficulty  level of the exercises used is also appropriate.

However, there is no evidence that UST reduces the likelyhood of injury or improves performance in healthy, trained athletes. Indeed a study by Cressey et al in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that replacing 2-3% of overall training volume with UST didn’t improve performance. More importantly, UST minimised improvements in plyometric and agility tests. In other words, the subjects who weren’t doing UST made bigger gains in power and speed.

The other issue highlighted by the  UST research is the specific nature of improvements made by trainees. Put bluntly, classic core work on unstable surfaces, such as swiss ball crunches, doesn’t really  carry over to anything at all.

A study from Stanton et al (2004) found that measure of core stability improved in athletes after 6 weeks of stability ball training, but it did not favourably effect running economy, posture, or favourably modify EMG activity of abdominal or erector spinae musculature, in other words it didn’t carry over. A comparable result was found by Tse et al (2005). After 8 weeks of stability ball training in collegiate rowers, while core stability, as they tested it, improved, no performance increases were shown over several key measures of athletic performance, including vertical jump, broad jump, overhead med ball throw, and 2000 metre row.

There is considerable opinion amongst strength and conditioning professionals that balance is best trained in the parameters it is to be used. Golf is a game played with both feet, on a stable surface and should be trained this way. Additionally, significant anecdotal evidence is beginning to emerge that attempting to replicate sporting tasks on unstable surfaces actually impairs the learning of the actual skill, through competing motor demands. In a technical sport like golf, this is absolutely unacceptable.

In short, do your mobility/ activation work to improvement movement efficiency and stability, then apply that efficiency and stability throughout a full range of motion to a solid strength training program that develops reactive ability, rate of force development, maximal strength and speed strength. If your a healthy, injury free athlete why waste your time with UST?

Post Navigation