Five useful tips on muscle growth

couple with tight abs

Bodybuilding is a science. Our growth in knowledge about how our bodies work and how to maximise their performance continues to expand with every new piece of research. The tips in this article offer proven, evidence-based strategies for bodybuilding success.

1. Get good sleep regularly

Consistently good sleep is probably the single greatest determinant of your success a bodybuilder. Good sleep does more than just make you feel better, it releases Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which is one of the most essential hormones your body releases to aid in the recovery and growth of muscle. In men, 60% to 70% of daily HGH is secreted during deep sleep, which happens early in your sleep cycle, that is, about two hours after you fall asleep.

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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.

Spices and hot sauces can replace salt in your diet

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For many people, salt is a huge part of their diet, and cutting back can be very difficult. Unfortunatley, when battling heart issues or high blood pressure, cutting back on sodium intake is critical.

The firts step is identifying all the foods in your diet loaded with sodium. You might be shocked as to how many foods, particularly procressed foods and breads, are loaded with sodium. Things like soups are obvious culprits.

Then you need to consider how much salt you use with cooking. And this is one of the toughest adjustments for people, as salt makes food taste great.

But there are alternatives. This article has the excellent suggestion of using spices and hot sauces to augment the flavor of foods.

I’ve been using hot sauce for years. It works great with many dishes, and soup happens to be one of them. A bland lentil soup for example can taste incredibly good with some chili pepper sauce. Even with canned soup, you can buy the low sodium options and then splash in some hot sauce to make it taste better.

So educate yourself, but also be open to new flavors. You cna eat healthier but also make things more delicious.

12 Foods that Will Lower Your Cholesterol

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Medication isn’t the only way to fight cholesterol. You can help control your levels by eating foods that are linked to decreasing cholesterol. Medical News Today lists the following scales as an indicator of high cholesterol levels. If you’re above 200 mg/dl, you should consider changing your eating habits.

Total Cholesterol: Milligrams/Deciliter (mg/dL)

• Less than 200 mg/dL – Desirable
• 200 to 239 mg/dL – Borderline High
• 240 mg/dL and Above – High

Medical News Today also lists the following scale as an indicator of high LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which is often referred to as the “bad” type of cholesterol. It’s important to keep these levels low as well.

LDL Cholesterol Millimoles/Liter (mmol/liter)

• Less than 5 mmol/liter – Optimum
• 5 to 6.4 mmol/liter – Mildly High
• 6.5 to 7.8 mmol/liter – Moderately High
• 7.9 mmol/liter and Above – Very High

You can keep both of these numbers at a good level with a low cholesterol diet and LDL reduction. Here are a few foods that can help get the job done.

Spinach

Sautéed and raw are the most common ways to eat and prepare spinach. Saute and eat it as a side to a protein like salmon or chicken. Then anytime you can, substitute lettuce, which has few nutritional values, for spinach. And if raw or sautéed spinach isn’t your thing, blend it into a fruit smoothie in small quantities.

Oats

Check the labels of your favorite cereals and select the one with the highest amount of natural oats. Or go big with a bowl of straight oatmeal in the morning. You can also make oats a side item by tossing them in a cup of yogurt or a smoothie or make them the main ingredient in oatmeal cookies and snackbars.

Red Wine

Red wine is good for fighting cholesterol but it must be done in moderate. One glass a day is recommended for woman, and two for men. When sitting down for dinner and a drink, select a glass of red over a white wine, a beer, or a cocktail.

Lentils

If you want to sneak some lentils into your diet, find soup and casserole recipes that incorporate them. Or mix them with rice and stuff them into vegetables like peppers. Or you can simply add them to a salad or bake them into a loaf of bread.

Tea

Oolong tea is said to fight against cholesterol as well as obesity, diabetes, and eczema. It can also boost the immune system giving it an added bonus.

Chocolate

Dark chocolate is the best type of chocolate if you’re looking for health benefits. To get the health benefits of eating chocolate, you can’t overdo it. Eat a piece of chocolate a day, not an entire candy bar.

Avocado

Avocados can be crushed into guacamole and added to pretty much any food. Avocados also make great replacements for mayo on sandwiches and in egg salads. They’re tasty in salads or sushi and dishes both hot and cold, making the avocado recipes almost endless.

Garlic

Garlic is a seasoning that can make your food full of flavor and cholesterol levels better. Try garlic roasting your proteins or mixing garlic to make a spread for bread and pita chips. Or chop up garlic and add it on top of side dishes or in soups.

Salmon

Salmon can be paired with a few other items on this list to make a full meal (with sautéed spinach, in a salad with avocado, served over lentils). Bake the salmon over a cedar plank to get the best flavor out of this healthy, fatty fish.

Fruits

Certain fruits can also help lower cholesterol levels. Look for citrus fruits, grapefruits and oranges, as well as grapes, strawberries, and apples when finding healthy choices.

Edamame

Edamame, or fresh green soybeans are a great steamed snack. Or they can be added to side dishes, salads, stews, and stir-frys.

Nuts

Snack healthy; put away the chips and reach for walnuts, cashews, and almonds instead. These mixed nuts fight cholesterol and are a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, and phytochemicals that are linked to a healthy heart.

What Not To Eat

These 12 foods are easy to prepare and mix into your regular eating habits. Make sure to select those healthy items instead of foods that raise your cholesterol:

• Egg Yolks
• Butter
• Shrimp
• Cheese
• Fast Foods
• Processed Meats

So if your cholesterol levels are getting a bit too high, considering changing your diet and incorporating these 12 foods that lower cholesterol.

Author Bio: Samantha Ducati is a loving wife and a mother of 2. She loves reading and writing so much that during her free time she writes about anything and believes that a pen is mightier than a sword.

People eat more when they’re together

woman having upscale lunch

Married people are more prone to obesity. That’s one of the negative health realities of marriage, though there are positives as well. In trying to understand why this is so, here’s an interesting nugget from a recent article.

People eat more when they’re together. A 1992 study that asked participants to record their food consumption for a week found that eating with one companion increased meal size by 41 percent compared with eating alone, while breaking bread with six or more people increased an individual’s caloric intake by a whopping 76 percent. Other studies have found somewhat more modest increases, but the effect is remarkably consistent.

Why do we eat more when we eat with others? It may be a result of social norms. Communal meals tend to last longer than eating solo, and people who sit in front of food can’t resist eating it. Another possible explanation is our habit of mimicking our dining companions: When they take a bite, we take a bite. More people means more cues to eat. The habit may, alternatively, lie deep in evolutionary history. Chimpanzees and marmosets spontaneously share food, probably to help form social bonds. From the innocent, altruistic act grew a regrettable human custom. Perhaps you feed (and feed, and feed) your spouse to strengthen your marital bond, even if you’re ultimately shortening its duration.

Think about your own eating habits. You might be able to make a real difference in your food consumption and overall health just by being more conscious of who you eat with and how often you do that. Finding more opportunities to eat alone can potentially have significant results!

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