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Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, place your left hand on a bench in front of you, and assume a staggered stance, left foot forward. Hold your elbow in as you row the wight to the side of your torso. Do 10 reps, switch arms and leg positions, and repeat the movement.

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Grab a pair of dumbbells, bend your knees and lean forward so your torso is nearly parallel to the floor. Tuck your upper arms next to your sides, bend your elbows, and hold your forearms about parallel to the floor, palms facing up. Simultaneously extend your arms straight back and rotate the weight so your palms end up facing each other. Return to the starting position. Do 15 reps.

Dumbbell Hammer Curl and Press

Dumbbell Hammer Curl and Press

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a pair of dumbbells at arm's length by your sides, palms facing each other. Without moving your upper arms, curl the weights to your shoulders, and then press them overhead until your arms are straight. Reverse the move to return to the starting position. Do 10 reps.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Energy and Metabolism

Energy and Metabolism

Metabolism is the word used to describe the chemical and physical processes in the body that provide energy for the maintenance of life.

Energy is neither created nor destroyed; rather, there is a transfer. You can think of your body as a bank, an efficient investment system. Many transactions are made each day.

Food is the initial investment you bring to your bank. It provides a continuous supply of energy for the body cells, but it is not used directly. Digestion breaks down the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into the simple forms of glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids, and these are deposited into different “accounts” in your body “bank.” Some glucose is processed and used quickly for energy, like paying cash for a purchase. The remaining glucose becomes glycogen and is stored in the muscles and liver, part of your body’s bank.

This is similar to a checking account that you can get funds out of whenever you need them. Fatty acids are long-term investments, similar to a savings account. They are not meant to be “cashed in” immediately.

Protein provides amino acid building blocks for growth or repair of body tissues and to synthesize enzymes and hormones. It is used as an energy source only during periods of starvation at the expense of other needed functions. Your body bank thinks of using protein to prevent going bankrupt but at the expense of other important functions in the body.

When your body bank cashes in some of the saved glycogen or fatty acids, they release energy to form a compound that is abbreviated ATP. This is the “currency” that is used to buy your body’s activity. All biological work requires that ATP be broken down or spent. The body cashes in its savings and produces ATP either anaerobically or aerobically.

Aerobic production of ATP is for activities requiring sustained energy at a slower pace. Your body bank cashes in either glycogen or fatty acids over a long period of time, similar to cashing in a savings bond and spending it slowly. Because of the negative publicity excess body fat gets, it’s hard to realize that from your body’s point of view, fat is the gold standard for potential energy.

Carbohydrates provide four calories of energy per gram. It is stored in the body as glycogen in sufficient quantity for a 10-mile run or about 1200 calories. Fat, which provides 9 calories per gram, is stored in almost unlimited abundance. A woman who weighs 120 pounds with 25 percent of her weight stored as body fat has enough stored energy to run 1000 miles.

The comparison of your body to a bank is a very simple way to explain the complicated process of energy use, or metabolism. As it pertains to exercise, the anaerobic and aerobic energy systems are not mutually exclusive. They can work together or the body can alternate between them. The intensity of an exercise period dictates the fuel, whether mostly glycogen or fatty acids are used.

People who love to exercise for fun and fitness can appreciate how effective the metabolic systems operate to allow the enjoyment of activity. If you need to decrease your energy investment and lose some body fat, go on a spending spree!

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Exercise Safely in Summer Heat

Exercise Summer Heat

I like to write about exercising in hot weather every year because you can make your summer workouts effective, fun, and SAFE!! More exercise injuries occur during summer because of the hotter temperatures for two reasons:

  1. Many people start activity programs during warm weather and participate only one or two days a week (Weekend Warriors)
  2. Many exercisers neglect the increased need for water when the temperature is high.

Warm weather often motivates people to increase their activity, even after a winter of being sedentary. Weekend warriors are individuals who participate in sports or outdoor activities only once a week or so. The human body needs time to adapt to changes in the climate and it may take several weeks. Your fitness level and your amount of body fat are physical factors that affect how fast you adapt to higher temperatures. The fitter you are, the quicker you will adapt to changes in the climate. If you have excess body fat, it acts as insulation and slows heat loss. Therefore, summer weekend warriors are entering their favorite activities with two possible strikes against them.

Starting a program of regular activity now will prepare you for your summer weekend sport. Train yourself with a cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, running, biking, etc. at least three times a week for 30 minutes. Add some strength exercises such as pushups and squats. Follow this minimal program for 3-4 weeks and you will notice how much better you feel when the weather gets really hot.

Whether your are a weekend warrior or a regular exerciser, when that 100+ temperature does make its debut, follow your body's need to reduce the intensity of your workout. In very hot, humid weather, the intensity of exercise lasting 30 minutes or more should be reduced and you should monitor your heart rate carefully. As the summer progresses, you will acclimate within two or three weeks and be able to resume your normal intensity.

Whenever possible, try to exercise in the cooler times of the day, wearing light colored, well-ventilated, loose fitting clothing. Never wear plastic or nylon jogging pants or suits. They prevent the evaporation of sweat and retain body heat. Wearing them is asking for a heat injury.

The body's need for water is greater in the summer because hot weather presents two challenges: preventing dangerous elevations in your internal body temperature and avoiding dehydration. Heat related injuries are often caused by inadequate water intake.

Exercising muscles generate heat. As the body temperature rises, sweating begins. When sweat evaporates from the skin, it cools and lowers the temperature. Exercising under extreme environmental conditions, such as heat and humidity, increases cardiovascular stress. In hot weather, it is harder to dissipate internal heat.

The larger you are, the more you sweat. Women sweat less than men. Conditioned athletes sweat more than beginning exercisers and at a lower body temperature. (Athletes also lose fewer electrolytes from sweating than less conditioned people.)

Sweat is made of water. The body's water is an essential nutrient composing 55 - 60 % of an adult's weight. During an average day a person loses up to two or three quarts of water. Excessive sweating during intense exercise can cause a loss of as much as two or three gallons of water a day.

Never restrict water during exercise. Stay well hydrated by drinking a lot of cold water. Do not rely on thirst as an indicator of the need for water. You can become dehydrated before you feel thirsty. Drink 1 or 2 cups of water 15 - 30 minutes before exercising, then another cup every 15 - 20 minutes during your workout. Drink one or two cups more after your workout.

Cold water is best because it empties rapidly from the stomach and lowers the body's core temperature. Sports drinks and sugared fluids are absorbed much slower and are less efficient at preventing dehydration. The electrolyte replacement is needed only by endurance athletes, such as marathon runners. If you eat a nutritious diet, you will get all the electrolytes you need. Drinks with caffeine or alcohol act as diuretics, which cause even faster water loss, so avoid them.

Outdoor athletes sometimes have difficulty carrying the amounts of water they need. Mount several water bottle holders on bikes. There are some wearable water bags that are great for any activity and free your hands. Remind children to have water available and drink often. Kids can overheat a lot faster than adults.

During your summer sports and fitness activities it is important to recognize your own individual heat tolerance and limits so that routine will be effective and safe!

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Vacation Fitness

Vacation Fitness

However, new exercisers may not have established the habit securely enough to prevent post-vacation dropout from their exercise routine.

Pre-vacation planning can help your students and clients to stick to healthy lifestyle activities and enjoy their time off. Encourage them to research the following while making their plans.

  • Is there an exercise area and swimming pool?
  • What additional recreational activities are available? - biking trails, inline skating, parks, walking/jogging paths.
  • Is there a fitness facility (YMCA, etc) nearby that services the hotel guests?
  • What kind of exercise clothes and accessories for planned exercise activities will be needed?
Time for Exercise
  • Encourage your clients to plan at least 30 minutes 3-4 times a week for exercise.
  • If driving long distances is part of the vacation - walk briskly for a few minutes at each rest stop.
  • Walk briskly through the terminal during long layovers.
Workout in a Suitcase
  • Rubber resistance bands or tubing for strength training.
  • Jump rope for cardiovascular exercise.
  • Pushups, squats/lunges, abdominal exercises can be done withoug equipment.
  • Stretch daily.
Help your students and clients brainstorm for ways to include fitness in their vacations. Do a "practice" vacation workout with them before they leave on their trip. Write their workout on a log and encourage them to use it.

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Ultimate 30's Workout

Increase the amount of testosterone and growth hormone your body produces by working multiple muscle groups and keeping rest periods short. For cardio, your lactate threshold can still be increased throughout your thirties, so intervals are king to counter any loss of lung power.

Ultimate 40's Workout

Short, sharp shocks are the way to fire up your body in your middle years - which means you can forget long-winded weights workouts. Vary exercises, intensity and timings to keep your muscles guessing.

Ultimate 50's Workout

You may not be able to lift the heaviest weight, but that's okay. Instead, stretching and yoga should be part of your training, and body-weight moves can replace heavy workouts. Do three sets of 10 reps of the following exercises to protect your joints and maintain muscle mass and testosterone.