The Push-up. Switch it up.

Do you train at home and feel there is not enough variety? To help switch things up, change what muscles you stimulate during push-ups by changing hand and foot positions. A study conducted by scientists from the University of Athens compared standard push-ups (hands shoulder width apart, legs supported on toes) with modified push-ups (?women?s push-ups,? with legs supported on knees), hands wider than shoulder width, hands together, hands above the chest, and hands below the chest. Women?s push-ups decreased the overall load by about 15%. The wider hand position stimulated the pecs more, while the triceps were targeted more with a narrow hand position. Next time you do push-ups, decide which body parts you want to stimulate more and position your hands accordingly.
(J Strength Cond Res, 19:146-151, 2005)

If you want to increase the difficulty of the movement above that of a standard push-up, use a stability ball. Start with the ball just below your knees. To make the movement more difficult move the ball towards your feet making sure to keep your body rigid and straight throughout the movement.

Spring-Clean Your Diet

Men’s Fitness.com helps you get the crap that has been accumulating in your fridge since winter.

Things to Trash:

High-calorie dips, spreads, and condiments
Bye-bye, nacho cheese sauce, French onion chip dip, blue cheese dressing, and mayo. In their place, swap a couple of varieties of salsa, vinaigrette dressings, and mustards, and other low-carb steak, barbecue, and cocktail sauces that are free of added sweetners.

Fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt
It’s typically more sugar than anything else. Instead, stick with sugar-free, plain variety (mix in your own fresh fruit and nuts for flavor), or Greek, which is loaded with extra protein.

Extra Beer
Sure, you need one . . . maybe two . . . some nights. But unless you’re having a party, only chill a couple at a time. If the beer isn’t there, available and cold, you’ll be much less likely to overdo it on a nightly basis.

Things to Stock up On:

Lean proteins like chicken or turkey breast, fresh fish, and red meat
Buy in bulk at a wholesale grocery, split the family-size packages into smaller bags or containers, and freeze smaller servings to save money.

Lots and lots of produce
Strive to eat things with one ingredient, the food itself. Broccoli. Spinach. Apples. Get it? Buy precut veggies to save time on prep. But only buy what you can eat one week at a time. Otherwise, the excess is bound to go to waste.

A giant water pitcher
Get yourself a good water filter and keep it topped off at all times to prevent you from using those wasteful plastic bottles. Every time you pour a glass, top off the filter so you have cold water at arm’s reach when you’re thirsty.

Click here to check out things that you need to clear from your pantry, as well as things to stock it with.

America?s Unhealthiest Restaurants

YAHOO! Health handed out grades for the unhealthiest restaurants and some might surprise you:

D-
On the Border

On the Border is a subsidiary of Brinker International, the same parent company that owns Chili’s and Romano’s Macaroni Grill. It should come as no surprise then that this chain is just as threatening to your health as its corporate cohorts. The overloaded menu offers appetizers with 120 grams of fat, salads with a full day’s worth of sodium, and taco entr?es with an horrific 960 calories?and that?s the calculation without rice and beans. Border crossing is a decidedly dangerous enterprise.

SURVIVAL STRATEGY: The Border Smart Menu highlights four items with fewer than 600 calories and 25 grams of fat. Those aren’t great numbers considering they average 1,800 mg of sodium apiece, but that’s all you’ve got to work with.

D-
Baja Fresh

It’s a surprise Baja Fresh’s menu has yet to collapse under the weight of its own fatty fare. About a third of the items on the menu have more than 1,000 calories, and most of them are spiked with enough sodium to melt a polar icecap. Order the Shrimp Burrito Dos Manos Enchilado-Style, for instance, and you’re looking at 5,130 mg sodium?that’s more than 2 days’ worth in one sitting!

SURVIVAL STRATEGY: Unless you’re comfortable stuffing 110 grams of fat into your arteries, avoid the nachos at all costs. In fact, avoid almost everything on this menu. The only safe options are the tacos, or a salad topped with salsa verde and served without the belly-busting tortilla bowl.

D-
Baja Fresh

It’s a surprise Baja Fresh’s menu has yet to collapse under the weight of its own fatty fare. About a third of the items on the menu have more than 1,000 calories, and most of them are spiked with enough sodium to melt a polar icecap. Order the Shrimp Burrito Dos Manos Enchilado-Style, for instance, and you’re looking at 5,130 mg sodium?that’s more than 2 days’ worth in one sitting!

SURVIVAL STRATEGY: Unless you’re comfortable stuffing 110 grams of fat into your arteries, avoid the nachos at all costs. In fact, avoid almost everything on this menu. The only safe options are the tacos, or a salad topped with salsa verde and served without the belly-busting tortilla bowl.

Read the entire article, here.

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Wht’s Your Real Age?

Would you like to figure out how old you actually are? Taking the RealAge test and comparing your biological age with your chronological age can be a priceless tool to extending your life. RealAge experts have identified 125 different factors by reviewing 25,000 medical studies which can influence the rate of aging. Based upon your answers, RealAge provides personalized ?Grow Younger? strategies to improve your biological age. The RealAge test has received widespread consumer, medical and scientific acceptance. Curious about how old you really are and how to improve it? Go to RealAge.com. Best of all, it?s free.

Q and A with Mike Furci


Q: Mike,
I was told to do dumbbell flys on an incline bench (35-40 degrees). wrong? better? worse?

A: Better? No. Different? Yes.
As the angel of the incline starts to go beyond 30% the only difference is the degree to which the deltoids are used. And while we’re on the subject of angled benches, don’t even bother with decline bench. It is a myth that it stimulates the bottom portion of the pec muscles more than the flat bench.

Also, if you’re performing different angles to change the shape of your pecs, it’s not going to happen. Your shape is genetically predetermined. Train with 100% intensity and stick with the basics.

Read the rest @ Q&A

Boost Your Metabolism

Men?s Fitness.com details a couple ways to help give your metabolism a boost.

WaterDrink More Water
When researchers measured people’s metabolic rate before and after downing about 16 ounces of water, they found a rise in calorie-burning capability. The water had a lasting effect as well: Even after 30 minutes, drinkers were using 30% more calories than those who stayed dry.

Eat, Then Sweat
You must eat to get lean. Digesting food and absorbing and storing nutrients requires energy. Severely restricting calories dials back your metabolic rate. Plus, starving yourself eventually drives your body to break down muscle tissue to satisfy energy needs, further lowering calorie-burning. Boost the burn by working out just after eating a meal or substantial snacks.

And Eat Again
Divide daily calories into three meals and two snacks. Research suggests men who eat more frequently throughout the day are leaner than those who consume meals at irregular times.

Pack in the Protein
Protein keeps you fuller longer. Plus, your body uses more calories digesting protein than it does breaking down carbs or fat. High-quality protein from foods such as eggs, lean meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy also ups levels of the amino acid leucine in your body, which is essential for maintaining muscle and burning calories.

Consider Caffeine
A Harvard study of more than 19,000 men found those who got 200 milligrams of caffeine a day (the amount in four cans of cola or eight ounces of coffee) were less likely to gain weight over a 12-year period than those who didn’t. Caffeine helps stimulate fat use, especially during exercise.

To check out more nutrition articles from Men?s Fitness.com, click here.

Obesity tax on your freedom!

The state of New York is considering imposing an ?obesity tax? on its citizens or anyone who visits. The obesity tax would place an 18% sales tax on non-diet soda and other sweetened beverages with less than 70% fruit juice. Of course Governor Patterson is for it because it will generate an estimated 400 million dollars. State Health Commissioner Richard Daines made a You Tube video explaining why he thinks it?s a good idea. He points out obesity rates and shows a comparison of milk and soda consumption.

I personally think this is BS. It?s another example of big brother coming down on Joe Citizen and imposing their will. The state of New York is tying to take away a freedom of choice under the disguise they are concerned about our health. What?s next: The type of car you drive; the type of meat you eat; what kind of clothes you can buy? Government has no business making everyday decisions for us by taxation. These are legal products and this is a free nation. Don?t Tread on Me!

Test your strength with the Deadlift

Men?s Fitness.com put together a strength test using your one rep max for the deadlift exercise.

HOW IT’S DONE
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, your toes facing straight ahead. Squat down and grab the bar with an outside-shoulder-width, palms-down grip [1]. Keep your lower back in its natural arch, and drive your heels into the fl oor and push your hips forward, lifting the bar as you rise until it’s in front of your thighs [2]. Reverse the motion and return the bar to the fl oor. That’s one rep.

THE TEST
Estimate your deadlift one-rep max?the most weight you can lift for one rep?and compare it to the calculations below.

Your 1RM (one-rep max) is…
? Less than your body weight = Damn, you’re weak
? 1.25 x your body weight = You’re average
? 1.5 x body weight = You’re pretty strong
? 2 x body weight = You’re a beast!

A 200-pound guy who can deadlift 300 pounds for one rep is pretty strong. If your number falls in the weak or average categories, see below for tips on how to bring it up.

Click here to see MF.com?s guide to deadlifting more weight.

Motivation

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”

-Thomas Edison

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