Bad eating habits can affect everyone – even avid runners

running at sunrise

Conventional wisdom says you can pretty much eat whatever you want if you’re an avid runner, as your body is burning off all of the excess calories. But is that really true? New research now suggests that avid runners need to pay attention to their diets as well when it comes to the potential for heart disease.

As a 10-mile-a-day runner, Dave McGillivray thought he could eat whatever he wanted without worrying about his heart. “I figured if the furnace was hot enough, it would burn everything,” said McGillivray, who is 59.

But a diagnosis six months ago of coronary artery disease shocked McGillivray, a finisher of 130 marathons and several Ironman-distance triathlons. Suddenly he regretted including a chocolate-chip-cookie recipe in his memoir about endurance athletics.

“My first reaction was, I was embarrassed,” he said.

As race director of the Boston Marathon, McGillivray is a high-profile exhibit in a growing medical case against the devil-may-care diets of many marathoners. Their high-mileage habit tends to lower their weight, blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol levels, leading them (and sometimes their doctors) to assume their cardiac health is robust regardless of diet.

“‘I will run it off’—that attitude clearly prevails among the marathoners themselves, almost sometimes to an arrogance,” said Paul Thompson, a veteran marathoner who is chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital.

A growing body of research shows the error of that thinking. A study published in the current edition of Missouri Medicine found that 50 men who had run at least one marathon a year for 25 years had higher levels of coronary-artery plaque than a control group of sedentary men. A British Medical Journal study published this year compared the carotid arteries of 42 Boston Marathon qualifiers with their much-less active spouses. “We hypothesized that the runners would have a more favourable atherosclerotic risk profile,” says the article. As it turned out, that hypothesis was wrong.

Many assumed that extreme-endurance sports could help prevent heart disease, but now the research suggests this extreme activity may actually cause problems.

We should be careful of course to jump to conclusions after several studies, but certainly this raises questions and challenges old assumptions.

It also brings us back to some common sense notions that moderation in diet and excercise can be the best combination. Pushing anything to the limit – whether its your diet or your activities, can lead to risks.

Adriana Lima – Workout warrior

Everybody needs to work out! Even supermodels like Adriana Lima.

Workout programs and losing weight

women in workout class

There are many good reasons to add workout programs to your daily routine. The best reason involves improving your health of course, and that should always be the top priority when trying to craft a workout program that’s best for you. Other reasons usually have to do with appearance and losing weight. For many of us, that’s usually the biggest motivator, unless of course we’re dealing with a health crisis like high blood pressure that forces us to become focused on our health.

As you consider different workout options, you need to be honest with yourself about what exactly you want to achieve, and that will help you make better decisions.

But, choosing workouts is only part of the process. When considering your health and your weight, your diet can be just as important, if not more important, than your workout routine. The harsh reality is that for many people, exercise will not make them thinner. The fact is that many people end up eating more when they exercise. Perhaps they want to rewards themselves, or maybe the workouts make them hungrier. So while they might be getting healthier, these people who don’t consider diet and start eating more might actually gain weight.

For many of you, hearing this may be frustrating, but you have to understand that there is no “silver bullet” when it comes to weight loss. Drugs are a bad idea, and niche diets just don’t last.

The key is developing a sound plan that includes exercise along with a rational, sustainable diet plan that feeds your hunger but also helps you keep the pounds off.

So, when considering workout options, keep in mind that there’s much more to consider. For example, a daily walking routine, combined with a sensible approach to reducing your sugar intake makes a ton of sense. Also, replace processed foods and white flower bread with more fruits and vegetables and whole grain products is also a great idea. Take a more holistic approach, and you’ll be much more successful in achieving your weight loss goals.

Evaluating stability training – is it right for you?

Is stability training right for you? It’s getting a lot of hype these days, and you’ll see all sorts of new exercises out there.

Mike Furci cuts through the hype and gives you his perspective on the new fitness trend of stability training.

Unstable surface training (UST), also referred to as stability training (ST), has gained tremendous popularity in the last several years. Unfortunately, for the average person just trying to improve themselves physically, the popularity of stability training has exploded into the mainstream. Why do I think this explosion in popularity is unfortunate? Because, like any industry, the fitness industry is full of people trying to make a buck anyway they can.

The fitness industry preys upon people’s insecurities; the fitness industry is always looking for something new because of the ease at which they can hook consumers with an “easier”, “faster” way to look better. UST is not popular because it is more efficacious than traditional training, but because of a tremendous media campaign. They know there’s huge money in marketing a piece of equipment and/or workout program, especially when it’s backed by pseudo-scientific studies.

Read the entire article and see what you think.

The 6 Most Useless Stretches and Exercises – and Better Alternatives

Exercises

Unlike stretching, (below) which only takes only a couple of seconds, exercising takes a fair bit of time out of your day. So you want to be sure that you are selecting the absolute most efficient exercises available. No one wants to waste time burning energy if it’s not going to result in a loss of fat, or an increase in muscle mass.

Click on the “Underrated” links for a video version of the exercise in question.

1. Overrated: Pull Ups

Putting aside the fact that pull ups are hard, and not many people can manage to hammer out more than like two or three, it turns out the exercise is not even all that great for the body, putting unnecessary and sometimes dangerous pressure on your shoulder muscles and bones.

Underrated: Inverted Row

Instead of starting from an absolute dead hang like some kind of orangutan, Ben Hendrickson, NSCA-certified master-level trainer, suggests instead the inverted row pull up. This approach has the participant pulling themselves up to a bar from a 30 degree angle.

2. Overrated: Leg Press

No one even likes doing the leg press. It’s painful to pump out those reps and it makes you knees feel like they are about to burst out of their sockets. That aside, the leg press only targets one muscle group. In other words, “the strength you gain on a leg press doesn’t translate into everyday activities,” says Lauren Gould, ACE-Certified personal trainer.

Underrated: Clockwork Lunges

Unlike the above, clockwork lunges target multiple muscle groups and provide functional real world strength. After a couple sessions doing clockwork lunges you will notice that things like climbing the stairs or carrying those heavy groceries have suddenly become a lot easier.

3. Overrated: Crunches

Crunches are really pretty simple when you start crunching the biological numbers. You just lie down on the ground and start lifting your head, which is not very thought through. Case-in-point: crunches are actually one of the least effective strengthener of any abdominal area because they do not target any major abdominal muscle group.
Things can be improved.

Underrated: The Plank

The plank is just as easy to do as a crunch (easier, actually) and provides a host of benefits that the crunch does not. In addition to targeting multiple abdominal areas, research has actually shown that this position can help lower the risk of lower back pain developing later on in life because it almost completely bypasses all stress on the spine while simultaneously strengthening the muscles that constitute back strength and stability.

Stretches

The main thing to take away from this is the fact that when it comes to pre-workouts, the idea of the static stretch—that is, holding a limb in place for an extended period of time— is a thing of the past. Those types of stretches are fine for a post-workout scenario, but if are not warmed up yet, you want to be using dynamic stretches.

Let’s look at a couple right now.

1. Overrated: The Quad Stretch

Shying away from this stretch works out well because it is the one that most people seem to have some degree of trouble with anyway. Instead of staring at that one spot on the ground as you try to maintain your balance, give up this stretch all together.

Underrated: Butt Kicks

Stretching is moving away from static holds and more toward variable-motion options. Butt kicks involve “jogging” forward while kicking your heels back toward you butt before landing on the balls of your feet. It’s easier on your body, and easier to do without falling over.

2. Overrated: The Butterfly Stretch

You know the butterfly stretch where you push the bottoms of your feet together and push down on the inside of your knees while sitting on the floor? It is a common stretch that works your groin and inner thighs.

Yeah, don’t do that one.

Underrated: The Dynamic Groin Stretch

This variation is fairly similar to the above stretch with one big difference: you are standing up. You still spread your legs and keep your back straight, but this time you simply squat down, stretching out your groin and inner thighs without the need to press on the sides of your kneecaps.

3. Overrated: The Standing Hamstring Stretch

The standing hamstring stretch is the consummate “runners stretch” where you lift your leg up onto something and lean down towards the foot with your hands, attempting to touch your toe. As it turns out, this one wreaks havoc on your hamstring.

Underrated: The Leg Hugger

The leg hugger stretch involves standing on one foot, bringing your other knee up to your chest so that you can “hug” it inwards and upwards, touching your quad muscles to your sternum.

Simon is a writer and content specialist who is addicted to being on the front page of anything. A graduate of Dalhousie University, he specializes in using the em dash too often. Currently, Simon rests his typing hands in Vancouver, Canada. Check out his recent thoughts on gaming.

4 Healthy Ways to Handle a Midlife Crisis

Studies have shown that as many as one in every 10 Americans over the age of 35 experience what is called a “midlife crisis.” The simplest explanation of a midlife crisis is that point where a person starts to questions the past decisions he has made and tries to alter his lifestyle to accommodate his new perceived desires and goals. While these questions and decisions can alter one’s life, there are ways to deal with it that can save a marriage and preserve the family savings account.

Make Calculated Changes

golfing at sunset

People who go through a midlife crisis often take unnecessary risks such as quitting their jobs to seek out adventure. Instead of making rash decisions that you could regret later, a healthier way to handle the situation is to plan your own business and make a smooth transition from your current job to something new. If you take the time to plan your changes, then you’ll be able to support your family while satisfying the need for change that a midlife crisis creates.

Talk To Your Spouse

These uneasy feelings about aging, especially in men, are normal. A healthy outlet for these kinds of feelings is to talk to your spouse and let her know what you are feeling. This will give her a chance to do some research on her own and help determine the best plan of action to take. In most cases, men who go through a midlife crisis and allow their marriages to dissolve regret it later. If you let your spouse know what is going on, then she has a chance to transition with you.

Get It Out Of Your System

One of the ways to deal with a midlife crisis is to allow yourself one binge to satisfy these feelings. Head down to look at used cars for sale in Miami can help you to satisfy the urge for a sports car. By purchasing a used car, you get the kind of vehicle you want and you can still save money. You can also try a weekend in Las Vegas as a way to let off steam. These can be healthy ways to eliminate those initial anxious feelings that could drag on for months if they are not dealt with.

Exercise

In many cases, remaining active is a great way to combat the feelings of a midlife crisis. Men who start exercising can get their aggressions and frustrations out in a healthy manner that can make them feel better instead of worse. You can also start to eat a healthier diet and drink more fluids. All of this will help to boost your energy, as well as giving you the sense of accomplishment that you’re looking for.

When a midlife crisis comes around, it’s potentially very unhealthy to ignore it. Instead of making decisions that you’ll regret later, the healthiest thing to do is to meet the transition head on and turn it into something positive. With some good planning and support from your family, you can conquer a midlife crisis and become a better person because of it.

Author Bio:
George Root has been a published author since his college days in 1985 at SUNY at Buffalo. Throughout a long career, he has had thousands of titles published to his credit both online and offline. His work can be seen on websites such as the Houston Chronicle, Business.com and Answers.com.

Work your back and biceps

Here’s a video fro Power Up with a super set for your back and biceps.

Bikini bodybuilding journey

Here’s a very interesting story as a reporter goes through a training cycle to compete in a figure competition. Wall Street Journal reporter Alyssa Abkowitz took on a more intense project after toning up for her wedding by entering into a fitness competition and discovering the world of bikini bodybuilding. In the video she discusses the process along with her diet and workout routines.

Modern tricks to help you lose weight

women in workout class

If you’re anything like this author and most other people in the world you wouldn’t mind if you had a little more control over your weight. The advice we hear is simple of course – eat less calories and exercise more and the weight will come off. Unfortunately putting this into practice successfully is often easier said than done. The following hints and tips are directed at helping the modern human drop their body fat percentage and get into healthier shape in a way that synergises with the time limited modern lifestyle of juggling a full time job and a family. I hope you can use some of these tips in your every day life as you will definitely see some results if you stick to it.

Eat right – even when it’s difficult

The ideal way to eat healthily all the time is to be prepared in advance. If you wait until the last minute to cook dinner or do your grocery shopping you are much more susceptible to making poor dietary choices. Take time out of your schedule in the evening to make a legitimate plan of what you’re going to eat and what your calorie budget is. Go out shopping on a full stomach (to avoid impulse naughty purchases) and stick to exactly what’s on your list. If you don’t have time to make your meals fresh from scratch every day then ensure you make the time during the weekend time to cook an array of healthy meals that you can freeze or store in the fridge to call upon when hunger strikes. Taking this extra preparation time will make it much easier to stay disciplined. The other major challenge most of our belly’s face is the proneness to snacking during work hours. If you don’t have the time to eat a proper breakfast in the morning you should consider grouping up with your co-workers and actually have fresh fruit delivered to your office on a daily basis. There are loads of companies that offer this service, such as fresh fruit delivery company ‘fruitfuloffice’ -which serves the whole mainland of the UK, these guys are one of many who will be happy to deliver custom made fresh fruit packages to wherever you’re working and it will really help fend off those sugar cravings we’re all susceptible to.

Work out at the office

Just because you are stuck at your desk working doesn’t mean you are unable to have a work out! There are all manner of strength and conditioning techniques you can perform at the office. You just need to get creative with your approach. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, do abdominal contractions at your desk, give your arms a workout with some of your heavier piles of paperwork! All you need is the enthusiasm to see the potential workouts in the space around you and you’ll never be short of something to do.

Chart your progress online

We’re lucky in our modern era of online technology because it’s never been easier to gauge progress and connect ourselves to a support network of like-minded individuals. There are many fantastic websites exclusively dedicated to helping you map your weight, calorie intake, workouts and routine. Most of them are available for free, and you’ll find having this resource to fall back upon for support will really help you remain disciplined and focused on your goal.

The best of luck to you on your mission to look and feel healthier!

One Quick Chest Workout That Leaves You Crying

The chest is composed of large, powerful muscles, capable of withstanding intense force and trauma. That being said, it usually takes extra focus and effort to significantly wear them out and leave you with that lingering, ever-so-sweet soreness.

Since added work is necessary for peak chest stimulation, workouts are often structured with Arnold-style immensity, from the countless numbers of sets, to the fine-tuning exercises that can go on ad nauseum. All of the aforementioned can mean a serious time commitment in the gym, but what about if you only have a few minutes to tear it up before you have to head out?

The answer is: The Nemen (Nee-men) Special, which can reduce your mighty chest musculature straight down to rubble; all in one exercise.

What you will need: A bench, 45 lb barbell, eight – 10 lb plates (these weights may vary due to individual strength), preferably a partner, and a hearty appetite for suffering.

The exercise resembles that of a lightweight bench press drop set, with maximum repetitions being executed at each weight increment. If done correctly, meaning you attack each interval intensely and are 100% unable to complete a repetition on your own, you will be getting double takes from your fellow gym-goers as they walk by and chuckle at the image of you painfully struggling to rep out with just the bar.

Set 1, Four tens per side: To failure.

A spotter should help you with the last one or two reps, then once the bar is racked, remove the weight with as much speed as possible – time is of the essence!

Set 2, Three tens per side: To failure.

Set 3, Two tens…

Set 4, One ten…

Set 5, Just the bar!

By set 5, you should be working up a sweat, perhaps be slightly winded, and defintiely have a hearty exhaustion permeating your upper body. Although the bar is, well, the bar, the load should be adequate enough to reduce your pecs to a whimpering mess and you should get to the point where you need a spot to rack it.

Congratulations, you now know one of the most time-efficient chest nukes; next time you are lookign to quickly shred your pecs before class/work/a night out, give the Nemen Special a try!

 

 

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