It is of the utmost importance to any exercise-oriented individual that an adequate amount of cardiovascular exercise is completed regularly. Whether you are a bodybuilder with 22″ arms or simply a lean yoga enthusiast, the rule applies across all levels. Without a properly trained heart and lungs, your body misses out on a whole slew of health benefits and a decreased risk of heart problems; not to mention creating a disproportionate distribution of vitality within your body. Sure, your biceps have veins thicker than a garden hose, but what about what’s on the inside?
A dedicated gym goer may look at his/her six pack and scoff, “Cardio? My aerobic-free training has me leaner than ever and sweating it up on the Stairmaster for an hour isn’t my idea of a worthwhile workout.” OK, valid point, but a high performance vehicle is for nothing if the goods under the hood are garbage. Moreover, if you pack on muscle yet refrain to train your cardiovascular system, your physicality will resemble a hulking Toyota Tundra with the dinky engine of a Honda Civic. Struggling.
So, why rowing; better yet, why the rowing machine? Well, considering rivers that weave through your neighborhood with adequate boat houses are scarce, the rowing machine is the best substitute to mimic the movement and reap the rewards of such activity. Better yet, you never have to worry about bad weather, and even better than that, a great cardio workout can be accomplished in a fraction of the time that one may be looking at when getting on board an elliptical or treadmill.
The majority of people are under the assumption that rowing is an upper body intensive movement. Although there is some truth to that statement, the driving force in a successful rowing motion is derived from the lower body, where the body’s powerful leg muscles are able to sustain prolonged exertions that only they can deliver.
Need more reasons to try the rowing machine? How about the fact that the word impact can’t even be found in the same sentence as rowing machine, unless the word ‘low’ is front of it. Unlike running, which places unnecessary stress and trauma on the knees and ankles, rowing favors a far more fluid, floating sense of power and work. As your body moves back and forth over the rolling seat, your joints praise you as they are gently coerced into the flexion and extension of various limbs.
Still need more reasons? One of the greatest aspects of the rowing machine is that it is a cardio exercise that trains your whole musculature; not just your lower body, as many machines do. When stepping away on the Stairstepper, one can feel the sole distribution of strain compiling itself on your legs, while the upper body remains slack and in complete boredom. The rowing machine ties the two sides together, with the legs generating the massive power and force for each stroke and transferring it up the body, giving your abs, arms, shoulders, and of course, back, an awesomely toning workout.
If you have located and affirmed the presence of a rowing machine at your local health club, here is a great way to get introduced to the motion:
Adjust the foot stretchers: Each machine is equipped with a platform to strap your feet into, both in socks or with shoes, and it needs to be adjusted so that the strap rests atop where the balls of your feet are, and also so that your bending motion isn’t inhibited by the strap.
Set the fly wheel resistance: 10 is heavy, 1 is light – to put it simply. Personally, I like to warm up in the higher digits (7-10), and then commit to my workouts between 4 and 5, as most university programs suggest.
Set the clock: The rowing machine has a great computer for tracking your workouts, but for now, simply hit ‘Just Row’, or begin pulling on the handle and the clock will start on its own.
Of course, it isn’t so easy to master the rowing stroke on your first few tries, so keep in mind these pointers:
Always begin each stroke with lower leg perpendicular to the ground and your seat as far up as can be achieved. At this point, your should be fully outstretched and grasping the handle.
Legs first! When driving, press off with your glutes, quads, and calves and drive your legs down to full extension.
Back second! once the legs are down, lean back with a straight back and begin to transfer the speed of the fly wheel to your upper body.
Arms in third! Once you have achieved a slight posterior lean with your straight back, pull the handle into your nipple line with by retracting your scapulae and flexing your arms.
The ‘finish’, or end of the stroke goes exactly in reverse order: Arms back out, back over, then slowly move back up the slide with the legs, ready for another stroke.
20 strokes arms only
20 strokes arms and back only
20 strokes half leg extension
40 strokes full leg extension (full strokes)
Sample workout: 1 x 3000M, 1 x 2000M, 1 x 1000M, 1 X 500M, 1:00 rest in between each.
As you may notice this is a descending pyramid type of workout and it is great because mentally, the workload becomes easier and easier as you pass through each interval.
Select workout, then select Interval Variable, then enter the first distance, followed by the three others; then the rest.
The first 3000M should be done at 60-80% of your VO2 max, with that intensity increasing until the last 500M goes by at an all-out effort.
That’s it for now, I hope you can look into incorporating the rowing machine into your next workout and join the thousands who swear by rowing as the King of cardio.
Whoever thought that spider venom could could be the answer for erectile dysfunction, however, emergency room visits in Brazil with victims of spider bites displaying priapism, or unrelenting and painful erections, got doctors thinking.
Some research has led to the isolation of an alternative way to help men attain and sustain an erection.
Viagra, Levitra and other ED drugs on the market work by inhibiting an enzyme called PDE5. To get an erection, a man’s body must release nitric oxide, which relaxes the smooth muscle around the arteries of the penis, allowing for his blood vessels to dilate.
The nitric oxide is a first step in a series of chemical reactions that allow this muscle relaxation to take place. One step in the series is cGMP, a signaling molecule that acts to keep the muscles relaxed. PDE5 degrades cGMP. That’s a good thing for ensuring that erections don’t last forever, but too much PDE5 can mean an erection doesn’t happen at all. By blocking the enzyme, PDE5 inhibitors solve the problem.
The spider toxin works differently. Instead of affecting PDE5, the compound seems to trigger nitric oxide release, acting directly to relax the smooth muscles. Because about 30 percent of patients don’t respond to PDE5 inhibitors, the toxin could provide an alternative to ED treatments currently on the market, Nunes said.
The Body Mass Index (BMI) is generally used to assess overall fitness, however, a new study has found that weight concentrated around the middle can be more harmful than obesity itself.
The waist to hip ratio is proving to be a better predictor of heart disease and other illness than BMI alone.
Participants were divided into six groups based on which of the three BMI groups they fell into, and whether they had a normal or high waist-to-hip ratio. Men whose waist measurement was 90 percent or more of their hip measurement were considered to have a high hip-to-waist ratio. The same was true of women; those with waists that were 85 percent of their hip size were classified as having a high hip-to-waist ratio.
Participants with normal BMI but a high waist-to-hip ratio had the risk of dying of cardiovascular disease, and the highest risk of dying from any causes among the six groups.
The risk of cardiovascular death was 2.75 times higher, and the risk of death from any cause was 2.08 times higher among normal-weight people with “central obesity,” compared with normal-weight people who had a normal waist-to-hip ratio.
“The high risk of death may be related to a higher visceral fat accumulation in this group, which is associated with insulin resistance and other risk factors,” said study researcher Dr. Karine Sahakyan, also of Mayo Clinic.
Men can be highly susceptible to accumulating belly fat and inactivity, poor diet and stress contribute to visceral fat.
Keeping your abs toned and your middle “whittled” is the best way to avoid disease and keep your heart strong.
The hunter-gatherer Hadza tibemen studied, although more active than Westerners, expended no more energy than those who are sedentary.
Although it is tempting to use simple math when trying to manage weight, it seems that processed, genetically modified food have an incalculable negative on human biology and weight maintenance.
So, if you are not hunting for your food on a daily basis, the next best thing is to eat simple, seasonal, unadulterated whole foods in their natural form.
Not surprisingly, the Hadza were more physically active than Westerners. However, they didn’t expend more energy. The Hadza’s average daily energy expenditure was no different than that of Westerners, after controlling for body size, the analysis found.
“We hypothesize that human daily energy expenditure may be an evolved physiological trait largely independent of cultural differences,” they write.
Unlike a growing portion of the Westernized world, however, the Hadza are lean. This suggests obesity rates in Westernized countries stem from differences in energy intake — meaning more rich food than our human ancestors ate, they conclude.
It’s not easy to eat right all the time and even if you are you may not know that consuming fruit, for instance, with protein will inhibit your bodies ability to absorb the nutrients you are ingesting.
Taking certain supplements will help to insure that you are getting the nutrients you need everyday.
Bioavailability and absorption are two important factors when it comes to sufficient intake of micronutrients. For example, oxalates are a chemical found in tea. While herbal teas are good for you, this chemical can limit the bioavailability of several nutrients, like iron and calcium. Tea has become as much a staple in many diets as coffee or water – meaning your body may not be benefiting from your “perfect” diet.
Another common example is consuming milk with a meal containing eggs – it is highly unlikely you will absorb much of the calcium in the milk. Iron, found in eggs, binds calcium in the intestines, limiting absorption. Ideally, these two micronutrients should be consumed three hours apart, but do you really have time for that much planning and fretting?
Supplements, however, do not replace healthy eating and lifestyle choices.
Don’t let these feelings get in the way of your fitness goals. Instead, get your iron levels checked. Low-iron or iron deficiency anemia can lead to a host of symptoms including: tiredness, low-motivation and poor circulation.
While there is no magic bullet to shrink your belly fat, choosing the right beverage is a step in the right direction.
Avoiding added sugars and including ingredients like pineapple, loaded with bromelain which aids in digestion and reduces inflammation, as well as coconut oil, avocado, green tea, and dark chocolate, you can increase your belly busting odds.