Achievement

“Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”
- Conrad Hilton

Racquetball for Weight Loss

Any type of exercise is good exercise, but some forms of exercise are better for greater weight loss than others. Group sports, and other types of exercise that work the body from head to toe, burn hundreds of calories per hour and they also challenge all muscle groups. Not only can this help you lose more weight, it can also help you keep it off. Just a few uber effective forms of exercise are swimming, cardio boot camp, running, basketball, and racquetball.

Racquetball is similar to handball. The game is played on a four walled court with a short-handled racket and a larger ball. The game is usually played by two players, but four players is also common. The amount of calories burned during an hour long game varies by weight and whether or not the game is casual or competitive. To give you an idea of just how many calories you can burn, a person that weighs 125 pounds can burn around 400 calories during a casual game or 568 calories during a competitive game. A 170-pound person can burn 541 calories during a casual game or 773 during a competitive game.

Racquetball can help you lose weight if you make smart food choices and commit to playing at least three times a week. Once you lose the weight, if you want to keep it off, stick to a sensible diet and try play on most days of the week.

So where are the Racquetball Courts?

If you’re looking for a place to play racquetball, look no further than your local health club, tennis club, community center or park district. If you’re looking for the cheapest place to play, try a community center or park district where public courts are typically no more than $10 an hour.

MSG and obesity

The food additive monosodium glutamate (MSG) could lead to obesity. Recent research found that people who eat more MSG are more likely to be overweight or obese. What’s more, the link between high MSG intake and being overweight held even after accounting for the total number of calories people ate.

MSG is a widely used food additives. It is often present in processed foods although it is frequently not clearly labeled. MSG is frequently seen hiding behind such innocent-sounding names as hydrolyzed protein,
vegetable protein, soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, whey protein, and natural flavoring, spices, enzymes, autolyzed yeast extract, stock, broth and carrageenan. If MSG was as benign as the food industry says it is, why do they have to disguise the name.

Reuters reports:

“In the latest research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, He and his colleagues followed more than 10,000 adults in China for about 5.5 years on average.

The researchers measured MSG intake directly by before-and-after weighing of products, such as bottles of soy sauce, to see how much people ate. They also asked people to estimate their intake over three 24-hour periods.

Men and women who ate the most MSG (a median of 5 grams a day) were about 30 percent more likely to become overweight by the end of the study than those who ate the least amount of the flavoring (less than a half-gram a day), the researchers found. After excluding people who were overweight at the start of the study, the risk rose to 33 percent.”

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Abe and success

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other one thing.”

-Abraham Lincoln

Free weight bench press VS smith machine bench press

Measuring upper body strength is common in high school, college and professional level sports. Arguments have been made for and against this practice, but that’s for another day. The prime movers in the bench press are the pectoralis major, triceps brachii, anterior deltoid and medial deltoid. However the medial deltoid acts more like a stabilizer than a prime mover. Just for the record, the deltoid is one muscle; Anterior, medial and posterior simply describe areas, they aren’t separate heads.

Two of many ways one can perform a bench press is with a free weight barbell or a smith machine. The free weight bench forces the lifter to balance while exerting force to lift the weight. This higher level of instability is essential for a lifter who wants to engage the stabilizing muscles while training. A smith machine guides the bar in a fixed path and requires almost no balance by the lifter. The almost total lack of instability is thought by many to allow for increased force production of the prime movers. If this were true, bodybuilders or powerlifters who want to concentrate on the development of the prime movers, would be able to accomplish this with the smith machine. More-over, a lifter involved in rehab, novice lifters and elderly lifters may find the smith machine fits there needs because of the lack of instability.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared the muscle activation between the free weight bench and the smith machine. The purpose of the study was to compare the muscle activation of the pectoralis major, anterior deltoid and medial deltoid during both exercises.

14 experienced and 12 inexperienced subjects were used in the study. Testing took place in two visits one week apart from each other, each consisting of either smith machine or free weight benching. Electromyography was used during the concentric phase of each lift at a lower intensity (2 reps at 70% of 1 rep max) and higher intensity (2 reps at 90% of 1 rep max) to compare muscle activation.

The study found no difference in the activation of the pectoralis major and the anterior deltoid between exercises regardless of load or experience. If the lack of instability of the smith machine allows the lifter to create more force production in the prime movers compared to the free weight bench press, it was not supported in this study. The authors surmise this may be due to the unnatural bar path of the smith machine in contrast to the free weight bench. Also, activation of the medial deltoid was significantly greater during the free weight bench regardless of load and experience. The instability of the free weight bench causes a greater activation of the medial deltoid as a force producer and stabilizer.

(J Strength Cond Res 24(3): 779-784,2010)

From a practical standpoint, according to the findings of this study, the free weight bench press may lead to a greater requirement of stabilization of the glenohumeral joint (shoulder). Increased shoulder stabilization is not only important for athletes but anyone involved in weight training, which requires strength and stability about the glenohumeral joint.

Do the findings of this study suggest dropping the smith machine from your training program and concentrating on free weight bench pressing? Absolutely not. The best thing one can do in regards to exercise choice, is mix things up. There are many exercises one can use in order to build their chest and shoulders. Don’t get caught in a rut using the same exercise over and over.

Benefits of Health Food Stores

First Lady Michelle Obama launched a worldwide campaign to fight obesity. The White House launched a campaign that focuses on prevention and the weight loss industry is worth more than $61 billion. One would think that with all of the campaigns and billions of dollars poured into weight-loss products and plans, America would be well on it’s way to becoming the healthiest nation in the world. Not so. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), despite recent reports stating that the obesity rate for Americans has leveled off, nearly 34 percent of adults are obese, more than double the percentage 30 years ago. The share of obese children tripled during that time, to 17 percent.

So why is it so difficult for Americans to lose weight or stay healthy? Could it be the large number of food deserts across the nation? Or maybe the lack of grocery stores isn’t fully to blame. Maybe it’s the type of grocery stores that contribute to the problem. Maybe health food stores like Whole Foods, Mothers Market, and Wild Oats can help solve America’s obesity epidemic, or at the very least, help America develop better eating habits. Sure, traditional grocery stores do carry some healthy foods, but they also carry some of the unhealthiest foods you can find. Unless you’re committed to being healthy, it’s just too easy to choose Cocoa Puffs and whole chocolate milk over Kashi and rice milk. Health food stores don’t give you the option to choose one over the other. The only choice is “healthy!”

Health food stores rarely carry household names such as General Mills, Kellogg’s, and Wonder. You’re more likely to find health food brands such as Kashi, Muir Glen, Nature’s Path, Eden Organic, and Stonyfield Organic. Health food stores stock their shelves with foods that contain few to no chemicals, no additives, and no preservatives. Also, foods are mainly organic. Even the non-organic foods are made with healthy ingredients and without harmful chemicals. Meats, poultry, and dairy are usually organic, and the seafood is fresh and wild caught. If farmed, seafood is always antibiotic and hormone free, and raised in an environmentally conscious setting.

Health food store products can do more than just curb obesity. They can help those that are already healthy stay healthy, and they can help individual’s that may be an average weight, get healthy. Health foods stores are also the best places to shop if you have food allergies (peanuts, milk, gluten), if you are on special diet due to a medical condition (diabetes, heart disease, digestive conditions) , or if you’re a vegan, vegetarian, raw foodist, or follow a macrobiotic diet.

How to Locate Health Food Stores

If you live in a major city, chances you have a number of health food stores to choose from. Even some smaller cities have a local health food store. In some areas, finding a health food store may be a bit more challenging. Fortunately, several directories can help you search for health food stores by state. One of the best is GreenPeople.org. You can search for health foods stores by zip code or city, state, and country. The site lists thousands of health food stores. A search in Illinois alone returned more than 100 results.

Is obesity caused by overeating

Chronic overeating and inactivity is definitely a path to an obese, unhealthy life. But, are we as a nation really eating that much more? According to surveys conducted in 1977-78 and 1994-96, reported daily caloric intake increased from 2239 Kcal (calories) to 2455 Kcal in men, and from 1534 Kcal to 1646 Kcal in women. Are these really enough calories to cause such massive decreases in the health of so many people? I don’t think so. There is one factor; however, that I believe is responsible for the greatest portion of the unhealthy state of our union. It’s not necessarily how much we’re eating, genetics or even a virus: It’s what we’re eating.

If a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, as most dieticians, nutritionists and doctors claim, why doesn’t the percent of increased caloric intake match the percentage of increase in overweight or obese individuals? The increase in calorie consumption in men and women has increased 7% and 9% respectively since the seventies. The increase in the percentage of individuals who are overweight or obese has increased almost 20% in each category. And remember, this increase literally occurred in less than 30 years, which is less than a generation. Why such a discrepancy between calories consumed and weight gained? Because there’s more to this epidemic than the amount of calories people are consuming.

The food processing industry has dropped the ball when it comes to supplying healthy food for our consumption. It is blatantly obvious by the ingredients listed in food labels coupled with the downward spiral of ill health in the U.S., the food industry is obsessed with increasing the bottom line with no regard for the negative effects of its products. It would be naive to assume that this billion dollar industry has the best intentions for our food’s safety and nutritive value.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to make excuses for people who don’t exercise and overeat. I know that the vast majority of overweight individuals eat excessive calories, however as stated above, the numbers just don’t add up.

On the-other-hand, the obesity epidemic and its related afflictions do have a linear relationship to the amount of denatured, devitalized, processed food people consume, especially simple sugars and vegetable oil.
Bullz-eye.com

Beware of salmon

Unfortunately for Americans, the food industry has little or no oversight from the government and has thereby created a food supply almost completely devoid of any nutrition. Everything from beef to bread to milk is overly processed and stripped of its naturally occurring nutrients.

Take salmon, for instance. Most of what you see in the grocery store, unless it is labeled “wild caught,” is farmed. What they don’t tell you is the farmed salmon contains 60 percent more fat because they are in pens, but it has much less of the beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids.

Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that more than 100,000 salmon can be in one pen with no filtration system. These fish are excreting and living in their own wastes. Findings from a study show that farmed salmon have three to 15 times more organic pollutants than their wild caught counterparts. [1] In 2004, Science Journal warned that farmed salmon contain 10 times more toxins (PCBs, dioxin, etc.) than wild caught salmon. The study recommends that farmed salmon be eaten only once a month, perhaps every two months as it poses a cancer risk to humans. [2]

Moral of the story, Read food labels. Only buy salmon, any fish for that matter, that is wild caught.

1. Salmon, Wild-Caught. www.jigsawhealth.com/products/carvaiho_king_salmon_html

2. Tsang G. PCBs – Is Farmed Salmon Safe to Eat? www.healthcastle.com. November 2004. www.healthcastle.com/farmed-salmon.shtml

Health Benefits of Acai Berry Supplements

Acai (pronounced AH-sigh-EE) is a palm tree that can be found in South American and Central America. Countries such as Brazil and Belize are rich in acai. Other names for acai include acai extract, assai, assai palm, acai fruit, acai palm, cabbage palm, Euterpe oleracea, Amazon acai, Amazon acai berry, and of course, acai berry.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), acai contains chemicals that are antioxidants. Antioxidants are thought to protect body cells from the damaging effects of chemical reactions with oxygen (oxidation). According to some research, acai has more antioxidant content than cranberry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, or blueberry. Because the berries of the tree have such a high level of antioxidants, they are used to make medicine, supplements, powders, and drinks. The berries can be used in foods and they are also eaten whole.

Many people use acai berry supplements to improve arthritis, lower cholesterol, and improve general health. They are also used to promote weight-loss and they are used in anti-aging creams, shampoos, and conditioners. There are few studies to support the benefits of acai berry, but studies do demonstrate the protective properties of antioxidants.

So far, there are no studies to suggest that acai berry is dangerous. At the same time, there are no studies to support how it might interact with other supplements, herbs, or prescription medications. It is also unknown if acai berry supplements are safe for pregnant women. The issue is not acai berry, it’s the way it may be processed, the amount contained per capsule, if the supplements are made from pure acai, or if the supplements contain other substances or chemicals. Because of this, doctors recommend getting the antioxidants you need from food.

If you prefer acai, it’s best to eat the berries raw or make your own homemade juice as most store bought juices contain loads of sugar or additives. The problem is, finding raw acai outside of South or Central America can be tricky. Use your favorite search engine to seek out importers. It might be expensive, but if you want to enjoy the benefits of raw acai berries, this is your best bet.

Other Foods that Contain Antioxidants

Antioxidant substances include beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Antioxidants can be found in fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains, poultry, and fish. Some of the most antioxidant rich foods include:

-Red Beans
-Kidney Beans
-Russet Potatoes
-Black Beans
-Artichoke Hearts
-Pecans
-Black Plums
-Dried Prunes
-Pinto Beans
-Sweet Cherries
-Cereal (oats, barley)
-Cabbage
-Hazelnuts
-Spices (cinnamon, cloves, oregano, cayenne pepper)
-Apples

Antioxidants can also be found in some meats, such as beef. For more information about acai and other antioxidants, visit Medline Plus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

Tips for clean fruits and veges

Nearly 48 million people are sickened by contaminated food each year in the United States. Many people don’t realize that even produce can sometimes be the culprit in outbreaks of food-borne illness.

During the growing phase, fruits and veggies may be contaminated by animals, harmful substances in the soil or water, and poor hygiene among workers. After produce is harvested, it passes through many hands, increasing the contamination risk.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers the following tips for protecting yourself:

1. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce
2. Cut away any damaged or bruised areas
3. Gently rub produce while holding it under plain running water
4. Wash produce before you peel it
5. Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce
6. Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel
7. Throw away the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage

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