3 Supplements That Are Worth The Money

supplements-that-are-worth-the-money

Which Supplements Are Actually Worth Buying?

Ideally, we should be able to obtain all our vital nutrients from food. However, real life makes this challenging. If you’re a nutritionist, you have in-depth knowledge of the body’s needs and how to meet them. However, most of us don’t have this advantage

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) acknowledges that supplements are useful in filling nutritional gaps. [1] Still, you don’t want to overload your body or your budget with unnecessary nutrients. Which supplements offer the greatest benefit? Which ones are worth your money? There are three:

  • Multivitamins
  • Whey protein
  • Creatine

Read on for why these supplements merit a spot on your shopping list.

1. MULTIVITAMINS

The NIH recommends discussing supplements with your doctor first, so your health care is managed professionally. Your physician can also test for certain nutrients to see how much supplementation is needed. This is helpful for evaluating blood levels of calcium and Vitamin D

The NIH also suggests choosing a multivitamin tailored to your age, gender, and any special condition, such as pregnancy. [2] Following that guideline, here are the nutrients that should be present in supplements for women and men.

WOMAN’S MULTIVITAMINS

Childbearing Age to Age 50

According to Prevention magazine, a woman’s multivitamin should contain 100% of the following daily values:

  • Vitamin B6 – 2 mg
  • Vitamin B12 – 2.4 mcg
  • Vitamin D – 600 IU
  • Vitamin K – 90 mcg
  • Folic Acid – 400 mcg
  • Calcium – 1,000 mg
  • Iron – 18 mg
  • Magnesium – 400 mg
  • Selenium – 55 mcg
  • Zinc – 8 mg
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids – 2 gm [3]

Women’s Multivitamin Superheroes

The Livestrong Foundation gives high marks to the following women’s multivitamins:

  • Centrum Ultra Women’s
  • Nature Made Multi For Her
  • One-A-Day Women’s
  • Puritan’s Pride Woman’s One Daily
  • Rainbow Light Just Once Natural Women’s One [4]

PREGNANCY VITAMINS

Research shows that prenatal vitamins reduce the risk of pre-term birth, low birth weight, and birth defects.

According to WebMD, a woman’s prenatal multivitamin should contain:

  • Folic Acid – to prevent neural defects
  • Iron – to avoid anemia
  • Calcium – for proper bone development
  • Vitamin D – to assimilate calcium
  • DHA – an omega-3 fatty acid needed for the brain, eyes, and nervous system. Studies also suggest it promotes normal gestation length and supports a mother’s mental health. [5]

Promising Prenatal Multivitamins

  • Below are highly-rated organic prenatal supplements that are a great value:
  • Country Life Maxi Prenatal Multivitamins – good for sensitive mommy stomachs
  • New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin – Kosher, easily swallowed and digested
  • New Chapter Wholemega Prenatal – with 17 omega fatty acids, including DHA
  • Twinlab Prenatal Care Multivitamins – energizing, ideal levels of calcium and magnesium

MEN’S MULTIVITAMINS

The Institute of Medicine reports that men and women have the same basic needs for Vitamins B12, D, and E. Men require the same amount of iron as postmenopausal women, 8 mg. [6] They don’t need as much calcium. The Harvard Medical School reports that high consumption of calcium can contribute to prostate cancer. It recommends 800 mg of calcium per day for men. [7]

A multivitamin targeted to men may have lycopene. This is the red pigment found in tomatoes. It works as an antioxidant, protecting against cellular damage. Lycopene has been linked to a decreased risk of prostate cancer. A men’s multivitamin may also have higher selenium than a woman’s formula. This trace mineral is also associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer.

Men’s Multivitamin All-Stars

Men’s Health magazine highly rates the supplements below for men. Their findings are based on recommendations by two renowned dieticians, Dawn Blatner, dietary consultant for the Chicago Cubs, and Dave Grotto, nutrition author. [8]

  • Rainbow Light Men’s One
  • Nature Made Multi for Him
  • One A Day Men’s Health Formula

2. WHEY PROTEIN

What is Whey?

Whey protein is the watery component of milk that separates when cheese is made. It is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. It has the dietary advantage of being low in lactose, a milk sugar. It is also readily assimilated by the body.

Why Buy Whey?

Men’s Fitness cites six reasons:

  1. Increased muscle strength
  2. Hunger control
  3. Weight loss
  4. Improved immunity
  5. Cancer protection
  6. Reduced stress [9]

Types of Whey Protein

There are three types of whey – concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate. They differ in the way they’re processed.

Concentrate – contains some lactose and fat. It is about 70-80% protein and has the best taste. It tends to be the least expensive.

Isolate – has less lactose and fat. It is approximately 90% protein. It lacks many of the beneficial nutrients present in whey protein concentrate.

Hydrolysate – also called hydrolyzed whey, it is pre-digested for faster absorption. It causes a greater surge of insulin than isolate. It is the most expensive form of whey and less tasty than the other two.

Fitness experts vary regarding the best type of whey.

According to Authority Nutrition, whey protein concentrate is the best option. [10] It is the least expensive form of whey and retains most of the nutrients present in whey. Additionally, many people prefer the taste of whey concentrate. If you try concentrate and have difficulty digesting it, you may fare better with isolate or hydrolysate.

Muscle and Fitness suggests that isolate or hydrolysate are the preferred forms. [11] Isolate is the purest form of whey, with the highest protein percentage. Hydrolysate is the most easily digested.

Keeping both viewpoints in mind, digestibility is a prime consideration. Go with what goes down easiest.

Whey Dosage

A general recommended dosage is 1-2 scoops, about 25-50 grams of protein per day from protein powder.

Whey Protein Champions

Men’s Health salutes the following brand of whey protein powder:

  • Jay Robb Whey Protein Isolate – low in carbohydrates, lactose-free, no artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors. [12]

Bodybuilding.com cites the following as a wow-worthy whey product:

  • Now Foods Whey Protein Isolate – all natural, smooth flavor. [13]
  • BuiltLean.com gives three cheers for the following:
  • Blue Bonnet 100% Whey Protein Isolate – short ingredient list, great flavor.
  • Enhanced Life Extension Whey Protein – very low calorie, yummy.
  • Tera’s Whey Organic – high-quality concentrate, excellent taste, easily digested. [14]

More Info: Top 10 Whey Protein Powders for 2015

3. CREATINE

Creatine is a nitrogen compound made by the liver. It fuels cells with energy. Muscle cells are especially fond of creatine.

The International Olympic Committee permits the usage of creatine. [15]

Why Take Creatine?

Here’s the upshot on the benefits of creatine. As documented by bodybuilding.com, research shows.

  1. Creatine builds muscle.
  2. It enables high-intensity strength training.
  3. It enhances recovery.
  4. Creatine makes you a smart cookie. It enhances brain function and protects against nerve degeneration. Australian researchers report that creatine increases intelligence and improves memory.
  5. It facilitates bone healing.
  6. It improves glucose tolerance, of particular benefit to those with diabetes.

Note – Consult with your doctor before starting creatine. It must be used with caution with certain medical conditions. Also take care to not exceed the recommended dosage, which can result in side effects.

Creatine Dosage

The optimal dose of creatine depends on body weight and exercise intensity. For details on dosing, including ideal timing, go to: http://www.nutritionexpress.com/showarticle.aspx?articleid=61, or click here:

Creatine Celebrities

Bodybuilding.com gives high scores to the following creatine products. Kudos apply to the unflavored versions of each.

  1. Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder
  2. CreAde by RSP Nutrition
  3. Platinum 100% Creatine by Muscle Tech

THE BIG LEAGUES

Enter the big leagues of life with the three powerhouses – multivitamins, whey, and creatine. They’re worth your hard-earned money. Be at the top of your game emotionally, mentally, and physically.

To help decide on which supplements to buy in each category, check out this rankings website for some good info.

Here’s to your health!

References

[1] http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/aug2013/feature1
[2] http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/MVMS-HealthProfessional/#h6
[3] http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/natural-remedies/vitamins-women-best-multivitamins
[4] http://www.livestrong.com/article/122578-top-ten-multivitamins-women/
[5] http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrition-vitamins-11/prenatal-vitamins
[6] http://articles.latimes.com/2009/apr/06/health/he-skeptic6
[7] http://www.health.harvard.edu/family_health_guide/good-nutrition-should-guidelines-differ-for-men-and-women
[8] http://www.menshealth.com/health/best-multivitamins-men
[9] http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/6-reasons-you-should-be-using-whey-protein?page=2
[10] http://authoritynutrition.com/whey-protein-101/
[11] http://www.muscleandfitness.com/supplements/build-muscle/best-and-worst-whey-protein-powders
[12] http://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/best-whey-powder
[13] http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/tietge9.htm
[14] http://www.builtlean.com/2012/03/16/whey-protein/
[15] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263269.php
[16] http://top10supplements.com

What Yoga Gear Do You Need

yoga-gear-for-beginners

Yoga Gear for Beginners to Get You Started

I know, I know, I’m a yoga junkie.

Yoga offers more than increased flexibility and muscle strength. Practitioners quickly discover that it clears the mind, strengthens the lungs, improves posture and promotes deeper calm and an inner sense of centeredness.

When you choose to begin practicing yoga, finding the right gear will help you commit to this healthy lifestyle for the long haul.

But let me make it clear. You do not need ANYTHING to participate in yoga. The most important thing you need is commitment. Anyone can do yoga, from rich to poor. You absolutely do not need to buy any special gear or anything like that. You can do it outside or inside. That being said, having some gear is a good way to make the experience a lot more fun and fulfilling. Luxuries are always nice, there’s no need to deny ourselves if we have the means to purchase them.

So lets take a look at some of the essential yoga gear that a beginner might want to get

Yoga Mat

The yoga mat provides some cushioning from hard yoga studio floors and gives you some traction during poses so you can more easily avoid embarrassing falls.

Everyone slips or fumbles at first whether they have a great mat or not, so if you do fall, understand it is normal. It is easy to watch advanced practitioners go into the poses gracefully, and assume you can do the same on your very first try.

If you end up feeling like an ox among gazelles, take heart. With practice, you will achieve the grace shown by your instructor, but in the meantime, a good yoga mat will help cushion your ego. Mats come in many colors and different degrees of thickness.

Standard yoga mats are designed more for traction in mind than for cushioning, so in the beginning you may wish to choose a thicker mat. However, you should also note that eventually you should graduate down to the standard 1/8 inch thick mat to help you more firmly feel the floor beneath your feet. This will help you feel more rooted.

Speaking of traction and falling, for even more grip you might consider getting a pair of yoga no-slip, toeless socks.

Browse Yoga Mats on Amazon.com

Yoga Clothing

Unless you are practicing yoga naked – which is a thing – then you will need to buy some clothing to wear during yoga. Many people choose clothing marketed as yoga clothing, but you do not have to confine yourself to that if you do not feel comfortable with it.

The most important aspects to consider when buying yoga clothing include breathability, modesty and comfort.

When practicing yoga, you will work up a sweat, and the fabrics you choose should be moisture wicking to allow fast evaporation. Because you will be twisting your body in many positions, you need clothing that moves with you and does not expose parts you do not want exposed.

This is why most yoga clothing is form fitting. If standard tight yoga pants aren’t your thing, you can find pants that are form fitting around the hips but looser around the legs.

Don’t forget to invest in some headbands to keep the sweat out of your eyes. A small yoga towel made of soft microfiber is also a good idea, especially if you are doing hot yoga.

Browse Yoga Clothing on Amazon.com

Yoga Blocks and Straps

Yoga blocks and straps are important accessories used by both beginners and pros to aid stability and alignment. If you are attending classes at a yoga studio, this yoga gear should be available for you to use there, but if you plan to practice yoga at home, it is a good idea to purchase both blocks and straps for home use.

They allow you to more easily, and correctly, hold some yoga poses with less strain. As with many fitness forms, it is always best to take things as slowly as you need to so your body learns the correct alignment, rather than rush through poses.

Browse Yoga Blocks and Straps on Amazon.com

Final Thoughts

After you get your gear, you will be ready to hit the yoga mat and be on the road to deeper peace and much better health. Don’t forget to keep the mat clean with yoga mat cleaner specified by the manufacturer. It is formulated to clean without damaging the special materials.

sources

Blocks and Straps: Not Just for Beginners http://www.wsj.com/articles/blocks-and-straps-not-just-for-yoga-beginners-1415642392

From the Ground Up http://www.yogajournal.com/article/practice-section/from-the-ground-up/

Anyone Can Do Yoga: Don’t Limit Yourself

yoga-is-for-everyone-and-anyone

Yoga: Don’t Cheat Yourself

Regular yoga practice has amazing heath and mental benefits. Yoga can be done by anyone of any age level or health level.

One of the philosophies of yoga practice is to be kind to yourself, and to do your personal best. There is no competition in yoga, so you do what feels good without overdoing and hurting yourself. It is a program that increases your flexibility as well as building your stamina.

Besides physical benefits, yoga practice also has some great mental benefits, too. Some types of yoga are about building strength, while others are more about relaxation. So if you want an individualized workout that is good for your mind and body, choose yoga for an excellent all-body work out.

Yoga isn’t just for Women and Hippies

I hear this ludicrous stereotype ALL the time when yoga is brought up. Some people, especially manly men, are stuck on this idea that yoga is done by bored housewives and jobless hippies. Beside the fact that it’s completely untrue, it also makes no sense. It’s like saying that cardio is only done by skinny and fit people.

Yoga is not only beneficial for ANYONE and EVERYONE, it is also used by a diverse variety of people. From average men to professional athletes, bodybuilders, powerlifters, you name it.

I just wish this silly stigma would go away and more people would stop denying themselves the vast benefits of this amazing activity based on something so trivial as a crude stereotype.

Building Strength: Muscles Used in Yoga

If you need to build upper body strength but don’t want to lift weights, yoga is the choice for you. Many of the poses use the arms and upper body routinely to create the pose. Downward dog, plank, cobra and upward dog poses give your upper body a good workout and add smooth muscles to your arms.

Most of the poses used in yoga develop the body’s core, which is an area that nearly everyone needs to develop. Having a strong core prevents lower back pain and encourages good posture. If you want a workout to make you strong and make you sweat, there’s a yoga style for that, too.

Building Flexibility Through Yoga

Yoga is most known for stretching muscles and creating an increase in flexibility. Yoga poses are designed to cause your muscles to stretch, which also strengthens the muscles. One of the best aspects of yoga is that you notice the flexibility benefits of yoga very quickly after starting a practice routine.

If you do a complete yoga routine regularly you will notice your entire body becoming more flexible.

Pain Relief Through Yoga

If you suffer from any form of arthritis, the flexibility you gain by your yoga practice will keep your pain levels down and keep you moving without the high impact moves of some other exercise programs that cause you pain instead of relieving your pain.

Your flexibility can improve up to 35 percent after a few weeks of yoga practice. Your increased flexibility will keep you moving and reduce your pain levels. Plus, most yoga poses can be tailored especially to benefit people with joint problems.

Breathing for Strength and Relaxation

Yoga emphasizes paying attention to breathing while you practice poses. Many styles of yoga emphasize breathing that is connected to the movement performed during a yoga pose. The breath helps you make the move with ease, and also improves your concentration.

Meditation concepts are also frequently taught during yoga classes that will bring your heart rate down, lower your blood pressure, and give you a feeling of calm in today’s stressful world. These meditative techniques can be used throughout your day to keep you calm and relaxed in times of stress, no matter where you are or what you are doing.

Pose for Your Heart’s Sake

You can use yoga to lower your blood pressure and to reduce your heart rate. Low blood pressure and a lower heart rate prevent or help you heal from:

  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • High triglycerides
  • Immune system problems

As you can see, practicing yoga can improve your body’s performance. It can also improve the way you look and feel by making your whole body healthier. Choose a yoga style that suits you, your lifestyle and the needs of your body and start today.

Benefits of Joining a Gym

benefits-of-joining-a-gym

Why You Should Think About Joining a Gym

You have too many pans in the fire and you are always on the go. You’re juggling family, a career, and a household. Like so many others, you’ve put yourself at the bottom of the list and now you’re paying for it.

You’re tired, out of shape, and you’ve gained weight. You don’t like what you see in the mirror and don’t feel good in your own skin. It’s time to make a change. Joining a gym could be the solution that you need.

Many people are intimidated by the thought of joining a gym. Will I be judged? Where do I begin? What are all these strange machines? Can I afford it?

These are a few of the questions that people tend to ask themselves when they’re on the fence about joining a fitness club. The reality is, joining a gym is 100% worth it and all of those questions are borderline redundant in the long run.

Of course you’re not going to be an expert at first. Of course some people might judge you, but if you think you aren’t judged outside of the gym already, then you’re fooling yourself. Of course the machines seem strange at first, everything new does. And can you really put a price point on your health?

There are tons of benefits to getting off your couch and signing up at the local gym. Lets take a look at a few.

Take Time Out for Yourself with No Distractions

Try and squeeze in a fitness regimen at home and you’re bound to set yourself up for failure. There’s simply too much going on and too many people that are vying for your attention. Sign up for a gym membership, set a time that you can workout every day, and stick with it.

Make an appointment with yourself to make your well-being a priority. You’ll be able to go to a place that will put distance between you and your hectic lifestyle. For 45 minutes a day to an hour or more, you are going to give yourself the gift of time. Use it wisely in the gym to take care of yourself.

Find a Support System

Join a gym and you’ll have an instant support network. From gym staff to trainers and other members, you are joining a group of people with similar goals. Everyone at the gym is trying to improve their health in some way or another.

You’ll find that it’s easier to stay motivated when you surround yourself with positive influences. Hook up with a workout partner and you can keep each other going on a daily basis. When you have someone else who is counting on you to be there, that will give you an added incentive to show up.

Enjoy Variety

When you workout on your own at home, it’s easy to get into a slump. It can feel like nothing ever changes and it’s a chore. As soon as you lose your motivation, you are headed for failure. When you get involved in a fitness program in a gym, you can really spice things up.

There are plenty of options, from a pool to a host of equipment and classes. Keep trying new things to stay the course. All of it is better than sitting at home playing angry birds on your tablet.

You Will Reap the Benefits in Countless Ways

Not that it isn’t obvious, but it’s has been proven that physical activity can improve your health. You don’t have to knock yourself out and your exercise regimen doesn’t have to be intense. It all depends on your personal preferences and physical condition.

Put in at least thirty minutes a day of some type of exercise at the gym and you can stave off serious problems down the line.

Reduce your risk of diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and heart attack. Make it easier to fight the battle of the bulge and maintain a healthy weight. Eliminate stress in your life and have a more positive outlook. When you head to the gym, you are taking a step toward a brighter future.

You are making a promise to yourself to take care of your body. It’s your temple and you want it to be in good shape for years to come.

Activate a gym membership, stick with a program, and you will be stronger and more flexible. Equip yourself to take on life’s challenges and age gracefully by starting now. There’s no time like the present when you are ready to begin a partnership with fitness. It begins in your local gym.

sources

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2014/12/25/reasons-gym-membership/
http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/physical_activity_its_important?open

Importance of Running Shoes for Cardio Addicts

good-running-shoes-for-Cardio

Why Cardio Addicts Need a Good Pair of Running Shoes

Cardio addicts and other fitness enthusiasts know that running is one of the greatest aerobic exercises available. While a few hardy souls have ventured into barefoot running, most runners know that the key to performance, comfort and long-distance endurance is a good pair of running shoes.

Lets be real, you wouldn’t drive your car around on subpar tires, would you? So why treat something that is exponentially more important than a car, (your feet and body) poorly by wearing subpar shoes?

Our feet take a daily beating. We don’t really think about it, but they do. So treating them properly and giving them the best equipment to deal with the world is crucial to keeping up their health. Not only is having healthy feet going to make you more comfortable, it’s also going to make your entire body more healthy overall.

Below are four essential factors to consider when choosing a good pair of running shoes:

Avoid the Three B’s, Sock Up Wisely

Runners know that some of their worst nightmares includes ill-fitting shoes that cause Bruises, Blisters or Bleeding. Unfortunately, some runners fail to understand the importance of choosing the right sock to go along with their running shoes.

Cotton socks are generally considered to be inadequate for running because over time they will rub against the skin of your feet. Many prospective runners discover to their dismay that wearing inappropriate shoes like basketball models and thick cotton socks will lead to foot pain and cramping.

To avoid the three B’s it is absolutely essential to invest in, not only, a top-quality pair of running shoes, but also high quality socks.

The Importance of a Good Fit

Runners will feel the benefit of a running shoe that fits well almost instantaneously. When the shoe is snug and neatly tailored to the contour of your foot, comfort is maximized.

A properly-sized pair of running shoes will induce the sensation that your feet are might lighter, with many runners experiencing a floating or levitating feeling when wearing proper footwear.

Many of today’s merchants offer cutting-edge testing services, allowing clients to use in-store machines to match the characteristics of each individual foot to the right pair of running shoe.

Fresh Shoes for Foot Health

Medical researchers and experts in the field have determined that runners who fail to regularly rotate their running shoes have an elevated risk of sustaining an injury or blister. Most running experts advise runners to keep a minimum of two pairs of top-quality running shoes and rotate between them in between running sessions and workouts.

Not only is rotating running shoes important for foot health, it also improves the life of the shoes. Two or more pairs of shoes distribute daily use during workout sessions or runs and allow runners to get longer use out of their shoes.

Furthermore, running specialists know that the sport is hard on the foam and cushioning in the sole of today’s advanced running shoes. By rotating between pairs, the foam and cushioning in the shoes is given time to decompress and return to its original state.

Depending on the model of running shoe, it can take between 1-2 days for some running shoes to fully decompress. Not only do runners risk injury if they choose to use running shoes with compressed cushioning, but the cushioning or foam will wear out much faster if not allowed sufficient rest periods in between use.

Buy More, Save More

Savvy runners, and shoppers in general, know that the price of a good quality pair of running shoes is the same whether buying one pair or 10, and therefore buy several pairs. Over time, as the shoes last longer and new models arrive in stores with higher prices, runners can save a lot of money. The only downside is the larger initial upfront investment.

Experienced runners know that many running stores hold periodic or seasonal sales with drastically reduced prices on top-quality shoes. Savvy buyers can snap up several pairs of good running shoes for one low price, and thus have a fresh variety of shoes to choose from over the following year.

Carefully husbanded, a long-distance runner can easily get two full seasons out of two-three pairs of good shoes if they are properly rotated.

What are the best running shoes ?

I did some digging and researching online and have found the best running shoe for this year. I even picked up the pair for myself and so far I’m loving them!

These are the ones I purchased and have been using for about a month. So far I love them! They are a bit on the pricey side, but like I said above, you pay for quality and I never hesitate to spend money that is going to promote better health.

Nike LunarGlide 6

nike-lunarglide-6-volt-black-pure-platinum-01-570x400

I was able to snag mine for $70 on amazon.com when they were on sale. You can check out the purchase page if you’re interested: Nike LunarGlide 6

sources
https://runneracademy.com/rotate-different-running-shoes/
http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/equipment/why-its-important-to-invest-in-good-running-shoes.html

What’s So Bad About Processed Food?

why-is-processed-food-bad

A Quick Look Into Processed Foods

While many people instinctively know that there is something unwholesome about processed foods, few people have the entire story as to why they aren’t the most healthy way to nourish your body. In this day and age, people looking for a healthier life are increasingly acknowledging the terrible truths about the processed foods that they’ve been eating for years.

Obviously we live in an era of abundance, especially in the western world. We have more food than ever, more people than ever, more resources than ever, just about more everything than ever before.

But at what cost? How do we account for all this abundance? Where does it come from. Mainly our food. We don’t really think about how are grocery stores just seem to be packed at all times with all of our favorite foods and goodies. Most of us either don’t know or don’t care that the majority of the food we eat is actually processed in a factory. Convenience comes at a price, at with food that price tends to be in the form of poor nutrition.

Addiction to Processed Foods

While cucumbers are delicious, no one has ever become addicted to them. That’s because whole foods in their natural state are correctly balanced for human nutrition. Processing foods strips away essential components of whole foods, such as fiber, and this changes the way the body digests and uses the foods.

Whole foods in their natural state contain carbohydrates. But they also come with a healthy balance of fiber, water, proteins and fats to provide perfect human nutrition. Processed foods are engineered to trigger a dopamine release, a “feel good” chemical in the brain that tricks your body into thinking it is satisfied even though the “food” is missing essential nutrients and/or fiber.

People can become addicted to this dopamine release, which in turn leads to overeating and uncontrollable food addiction.

Obesity Issues

Processed foods add another whammy against human health by including a whole raft of additives that have been shown to promote obesity. The so-called “foods” available in most supermarkets today are heavily laced with cheap fillers and preservatives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners, and high-fructose corn syrup.

Heavily processed grains that are designed to quickly convert to sugar are used to make breakfast cereals, pretzels, waffels, bagels and muffins.

Dosing the body with high levels of carbohydrates dramatically increases the body’s insulin levels. Over time, this leads to insulin resistance, which has been strongly connected to a whole host of illnesses and maladies, including significant weight gain.

Unnatural Combinations

Nutritionists and health experts agree that natural foods are designed to be eaten in certain combinations in order to work more efficiently with the human body’s digestive system.

Processed foods regularly combine starchy ingredients with proteins, which can work to block the digestive tract, raise blood acid levels, and provide a vector for pathogens to enter the intestinal tract.

Rocking the Inner Ecosystem Boat

Human beings have evolved an advanced relationship with microorganisms that live in the digestive system. Processed foods upset that balance, suppressing and killing off many helpful microorganisms, causing people to suffer from chronic digestive illnesses and unnatural cravings.

Whole, unprocessed foods, on the other hand, strongly support the natural beneficial microorganisms that live in the digestive tract.

Mood Killer

Many people have noted that eating a lot of heavily processed foods leads to memory problems, mood swings, and even clinical depression. Few people realize that serotonin, a natural body chemical that helps control mood and depression, is most abundant in the intestinal tract. Thus, the digestive system and brain work together, each reciprocating the other in stabilizing mood and emotional health.

Most health experts understand that diet has a major impact on mental health, and that eating a lot of processed foods can disturb the digestive system, thus leading to a greater risk of bad moods and depression.

Rushing Through Life at the Expense of Your Health

Processed foods come attractively-packaged, ready to be eaten “on the go”. Many people have come to depend on the convenience of processed foods to multi-task at work, commute or run errands in the car, or to consume quick meals while performing other things. Always eating in a rush disturbs the body’s natural rhythms, making it difficult for people to know when they’ve already eaten enough.

sources

http://www.cbn.com/tv/2533330727001

http://www.foodmatters.tv/articles-1/dirty-secrets-of-the-food-processing-industry

Dangers of Too Much Sitting Down

dangers-of-too-much-sitting-down

Why Sitting is More Dangerous Than You Realize

Lets admit it, we’re all guilty of sitting down too much nowadays. It’s 2015, most of us are glued to our smartphones, computers, tablets and TVs. We are plopped down for the majority of our day.

Add in the fact that a lot of us now work in comfy computer chairs, and it only makes matters worse. Think about how long our ancestors sat down in chairs… Not very long, they were either up and about walking or laying down. Excessive sitting is a fairly new phenomenon in human society and we are just now realizing the dangerous side effects that come along with it.

Lack of Exercise

One of the major causes of ill health is being inactive by not exercising the body. Most of the people would prefer jobs and activities that don’t involve physical activity and instead opt for nice comfy chair jobs.

One needs to ask themselves about the health dangers that the nature of their jobs could be exposing them to.

Office jobs require one to spend most of the time seated. We all have heard about the dangers of low activity levels. Those are obvious. What isn’t obvious is how much worse you make it if you don’t exercise AND you sit around too much in one position.

Getting Fat

This one is pretty obvious. Excessive sitting leads to being overweight and even becoming obese. It is also linked to several other problems such as diabetes, premature death, some varieties of cancer and even heart attacks. Not moving around and getting physical activity prohibits your body from burning extra calories which are then stored as fat.

Due to the prolonged sitting down, the rate at which metabolism is done in the body is slowed down. The body fails to regulate some of its system functioning such as regulation of blood sugar, the breaking down of the body fats and also the regulation of blood pressure.

Accelerated Aging

Accelerated aging has also been observed in people who are less active. Being inactive accelerates the loss of bones and muscles and eventual aging in humans.

Activities such as using computers, doing excessive studying and assignments without a pause, traveling by other means other than walking or riding bikes, watching television or even reading, increase the periods that people stay seated. However sleeping is not included in these behaviors, because sleeping is a natural thing that are bodies have accustomed to over thousands of years.

More Risk for Disease

Scientists from Leicester and Loughborough Universities have stated that the damages of sitting affects even people who exercise, so you can see it’s pretty serious. The study, which was published in Diabetologia, took a look at 18  studies that involved almost 800,000 people.

Diabetes UK stated that anyone who spent a lot of time sitting or lying down would “obviously benefit” from being more active and fit.

In a 1950’s study, London researches concluded that the link between poor health and the amount of time sitting was becoming more apparent, when they discovered that seated bus drivers were almost twice as likely to have heart problems than the bus conductors who stood more often.

Researched worried that changes in lifestyle and employment were going to increase these risks for a lot of the population. In 2011 a study found that the average adult now spends almost half their day in a seated position.

The primary conclusions of the study were that longer sedentary times were associated with:

  • 112% increased risk of diabetes
  • 147% increased cardiovascular events
  • 90% increased death due to cardiovascular events
  • 49% increased death due to any cause

How Much Sitting is too Much?

Experts have determined that we should stand up from a seated position every 25 minutes to encourage healthy circulation of blood throughout our bodies. This makes sense since a lot of our joints are bent when we are sitting, which blocks healthy blood flow.

So think about that, how often do you get up?

Some countries have even gone to the extents of setting up policies that govern the lengths of periods that children in schools should remain seated. Often, not more than two hours and then there is a break of about 30 minutes.

In summary, sitting down for too long increases ones chances of suffering from lifestyle diseases which can be avoided by leading a more active lifestyle.

sources

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/216370/dh_128210.pdf

http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/fitness/pages/sitting-and-sedentary-behaviour-are-bad-for-your-health.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/news/2012/10October/Pages/Having-desk-job-doubles-risk-of-heart-attack.aspx

The Benefits of Having a Partner in Fitness

benefits-of-having-a-workout-partner

Benefits of Having a Workout Partner

Some people love to go it alone when they workout. Being a lone wolf might not be the answer for you.

It’s too easy to make excuses, to go back to bed, eat that piece of cake, or skip your exercise routine. It’s time to consider having a partner in fitness. The payback will be worth it when you have someone else who is cheering you on and counting on you.

There are many perks of having a workout partner. Not only is it more motivating, but you also have someone to spot you on your lifts, to keep you engaged and someone to just talk to in between sets. When workouts are fun, you’re more likely to not skip them.

Here are a few more reasons why working out with someone on the regular might be good for you.

Give Yourself a Reason to Show Up

When you have a workout partner, you can become more motivated. There’s going to be someone else who is waiting on you.

You might be able to say no to a DVD or your morning run when you’re on your own. You’re not only in it for yourself. Your fitness buddy needs you just as much as you need them. You can give each other a pep talk, pick each other up when you fall, and know that someone else is in it with you.

Have More Fun

If your workout feels like a chore, you are more likely to give up. Exercise doesn’t have to be painful. Some people love extreme fitness and they want to push themselves to the limit. Others just want to enjoy themselves.

Whatever your preference is in fitness, your workout partner can make it a more positive experience. When you have a true friend in fitness, it can truly be adventure. Choose activities that you both look forward to and stick with it day after day.

Try new gyms, take a class together, or go on a retreat. Plan breakfast, lunch or dinner as a reward after your session, capping off your workout in a way that is satisfying. You’ll have something to look forward to as you make positive changes in your lives together.

Get the Results You Both Want

Start working out with a partner and you’ll start seeing results. You can build each other up as you increase your stamina, strength, and endurance. Set goals and celebrate each time you reach them. Consider changing up your routine and going the distance.

If you’ve walked a mile a day together, shoot for two. Try jogging and find out if you and your partner are ready for a mud run. Consider doing something daring or more extreme. You will have a partner to give you that added incentive. You’ll have someone by your side every step of the way.

Find Your Competitive Side

Get a workout partner, and experience the benefits of some healthy competition. Workout alone and you only have yourself to go up against.

When you have a friend by your side, you can both start to push your boundaries. Try harder, workout longer, and jump new hurdles. Try new things together and see who excels. You may surprise yourself and discover that you have talents you didn’t know about.

If your buddy is better at something, encourage them and find out what works best for you. Your partner will be your cheerleader too.

Help each other find the flaws in your methods. Communicate what each of you could be doing better, what your strengths are, where are your weaknesses and how to tackle them.

Make a Commitment to Better Health

When you have a workout partner, you are making a promise to each other to take care of yourselves. You are both improving your health every, single session. Picture a long life ahead of you and know that you are not only helping yourself.

You are helping a good friend to stick around for those golden years. You’ll have physical, mental, and emotional benefits when you exercise on a regular basis. Having a partner will make it easier to keep a daily appointment with your fitness regimen.

sources
http://www.mensfitness.com/training/six-reasons-to-work-out-with-a-partner
http://www.fitbodyhq.com/fitness/10-reasons-to-get-a-workout-buddy/

Staying Motivated When Forming a New Habit

how-to-stay-motivated-when-forming-a-new-habit

How to Stay Motivated When Doing Something New

Before you begin looking for ways to stay motivated when forming a new habit, you need to have a specific type of change in mind. It’s difficult to commit to an abstract goal. For example, saying, “I’d like to lose weight” is a little too vague.

You need to be specific amount the number of pounds you want to lose and the time frame you’re going to give yourself to establish new dietary habits.

This is not only going to help you stay on track, but also help you achieve your goals in the long run.

Instead of telling yourself that you’re going to run 20 miles a day, tell yourself you’re going to run 5mins the first day. Running 20 miles a day is such a ridiculous goal that you’re going to get so tired on the first day, you’ll never want to run again. See how that can mess you up?

This can also be applied to any of the new habits you want to build.

Want to wake up earlier? You aren’t going to be able to do it if you wake up 3 hours earlier the first day, you’ll just be groggy and tired and hate yourself. Instead wake up a few mins earlier each day and build up to those 3 extra hours.

Want to quit smoking? You aren’t going to be able to throw your entire pack away easily. Instead try something like this. Every time you buy a pack of cigs, throw 1 cig away as soon as you open it, then throw 2 away, then 3, then 4, and so on until you’ve thrown the entire pack away. Sure it takes a while, but in the end you’ll actually accomplish something as opposed to going cold turkey, which will only make you miserable.

Read on for some more tips.

Think Positively

Positive reinforcement is a key to successfully forming a new habit. By tracking your progress each day, you can congratulate yourself for each small step you take toward your goal. In his article, “How to Build Good Habits (and Make Them Stick)”, Gregory Ciotti refers to these small steps toward change as “Macro Goals” and directly connects achieving those goals with a process called “Micro Quotas.”

Gather Support

When you resolve to make some type of change in your life, it’s helpful to have a support team. You’re less likely to backslide on your committed to a new habit if you’re held accountable for your actions.

You might be able to fool yourself to a certain degree, but your family and friends are not easily fooled and won’t let you get slack with your commitment.

Small Steps Can Get You There

When you’re at the starting line for developing a new habit, the finish line may seem like a faraway destination. In his article “How to Build Good Habits (and Make Them Stick), Gregory Ciotti discusses a system he refers to as “Macro goals and Micro quotas.”

The general premise is that even by setting low quotas for daily achievements, you can and will ultimately reach your goal of establishing a new habit. Each small step you take, gets you one step closer to your goal.

Visual Encouragement

Another way to stay motivated when forming a new habit is to post quotes or pictures in various places to remind you of your goal. The quotes should provide encouragement. The photos should provide inspiration.

You’ll need to post the quotes or pictures in locations where you are sure to see them throughout the day. The refrigerator, the bathroom mirror, your closet door, your desk, your computer monitor and numerous other locations are good places to add visual motivation.

Reward Yourself

If you backslide on your goal, don’t be too harsh on yourself. Put the moment of regression out of your mind and reaffirm your commitment to the new habit. You might want to give yourself a nice reward for getting back on track.

James Clear emphasized the importance of rewards in his article, “The Three R’s of Habit Change: How to Star New Habits That Actually Stick.” Frequent small rewards are a fantastic motivational tool. Just be sure the reward doesn’t negate the good habit you’re working toward. A doughnut isn’t an appropriate reward when you’re developing a healthy eating habit.

Make it Fun

One of the best ways to stay motivated is to make the journey to the new destination fun. If you are trying to get into the habit of eating healthy foods, explore new fruits and vegetables and have fun creating healthy recipes and visiting new restaurants.

If you want to get into the habit of exercising regularly, find a method of exercise that you enjoy. Walking the dog each day can be a fun habit and a great way to get some exercise. If getting organized is the habit you’re striving for, have a major house-clearing, sell your surplus and use the money you make to do something you consider fun.

Machines at the Gym You Should Avoid

Six-Machines-at-the-Gym-you-Should-Stop-Using

Six Machines at the Gym You Really Don’t Need

Because no two bodies are the same, various parts of exercise equipment work differently on different people. That’s why there are some machines at the gym that you should stop using. In fact, injuries from using gym equipment has increased by 45 percent. If you’re worried about which exercise machines are more prone to be harmful, here are some machines that you should avoid.

Abdominal Exercise Machines

The most uncomfortable exercise machines are the abdominal ones. Also known as the ab machines, these machines can hurt your spine. Beware of false claims that you need to focus on the abdominal exercise machines for losing stomach fat or getting rid of love handles. Regardless of the number of exercise repetitions done of these machines, they’re ineffective in trimming stomach fat of losing those unsightly love handles. What you need to do is use abdominal exercise designed for more than only working your stomach.

Stick to crunches, sit ups, leg lifts, side bends and the hundreds of other ab exercises that don’t require a machine. These work better anyways.

Hip Abduction Machines

After sitting down and straightening your legs out, you push away from your body when using a hip abduction machine. Although many women think that using a seated hip abduction machine is effective in tightening and toning the outer thighs, they’re deceived. When you push out, pressure is placed on the hip bones and thighs, causing discomfort. Even worse, they’re also dangerous, leading to hernias or sciatica symptoms, which is leg pain and numbness. A better solution is to use small ankle weights that range from two to five pounds.

Pec Deck Machines

Another misconception is that the peck deck machines are effective and exceptionally safe for working the chest muscles. Unfortunately, this machine, also known as the chest fly machine, can actually overly stretch your shoulder, which results in muscle stiffening near the back of your shoulder. As a result, this can cause shoulder impingement syndrome. Instead, do push-ups, dumbbell presses or dumbbell bench presses. These exercises are gentler on the shoulders and work better at building up the chest.

Seated Leg Extension Machines

Another common myth is that the seated leg extension machine is the safest method for working the thigh muscles or quadriceps. However, this machine creates more stress on the knees than doing squats. The reason is because it’s near the ankles where the resistance occurs. As a result, the knee joints undergo too much of a twisting force each time a user lowers the weight. Safe alternatives include doing lunges, split squats and free weight squats as these are better for your knees and working the quads.

Inner/ Outer Thigh Machines

It’s not unusual to see people waiting in line to use the inner/out thigh machines. These machines are popular because it’s commonly believed that they’re good for hip and thigh toning. The truth is that these machines don’t work for toning any part of the body that’s wrapped in fat. For the most part they’re a useless motion that can be replaced by squats, deadlifts or simply running on an incline.

Treadmills (Sorta)

A lot of injuries occur on treadmills.

Don’t use the same speed and resistance when running on a treadmill. Doing so can actually hurt, rather than benefit your joints. Instead of the length of time spent on a treadmill, it’s actually the intensity of the workout that makes a difference in a treadmill workout’s effectiveness.

Ideally you should do all of your running on a track or better yea outside through nature. Not only is it healthier on you and your joints, its also a lot more fun and will keep you more motivated and engaged.

Wrapping Up

While these exercise machines are considered some that you don’t really need to use, they’re not totally useless. There are, however, better options, especially for people new to working out and those with certain goals.

Beginners to working out at the gym are always going to benefit more from traditional and more compound movements, such as bench pressing, squatting, deadlifting, shoulder pressing, etc. This is because these exercises workout your entire body and build up stabilizer muscles that are needed for your muscles to work and function properly.

If you have any questions regarding which exercise machines are the best to use, don’t hesitate to consult a professional trainer. You want to make the most of the time you invest in the gym.

Setting Realistic Goals and Why it’s Important to Do So

why-its-important-to-set-realistic-goals

Why It’s Important to Set Realistic Goals for Yourself

Rome wasn’t built in a day. The same holds true for your fitness goals. Whether you want to lose weight, get in shape, or run a marathon, you can’t expect it to happen overnight. You need to set goals for yourself that are obtainable. Otherwise, you can set yourself up for failure if you set the bar too high at the beginning.

As you make progress, you can work toward your next goal. With persistence, you will accomplish what you set out to do when it comes to your health and fitness.

Why it’s Important

Giving up is not some unique thing that happens to the worst of us. Almost everyone gives up on something at some point. One of the biggest reasons why is because they bit off more than they could chew.

Setting a goal of climbing Mount Everest as your FIRST mountain without any experience or training sounds stupid right? Of course, yet so many of us do it proverbially. We get this ridiculous notions stuck in our heads that we should run a sprint before we even know how to crawl.

Then as soon as the first obstacle hits us, which it will, we get discouraged and give up because it’s not as easy as we thought.

This is what happens so many times, I see it with so many people, and especially with fitness related goals.

Take it One Step at a Time

The first step is to set your goals. You can use the SMART method. You need goals that are specific. In other words, don’t be too general. State clearly what you want to do, such as lose ten pounds or run a mile.

You need something that you can measure. Don’t pick a goal to take a walk. Say you are going to walk a certain distance. Choose goals that are attainable.

Instead of vowing to climb Mount Everest, shoot for the hiking trail that is close to home. You can always work your way up!

Your goals should be relevant to your life. In other words, choose something that is practical, meaningful, and will suit your lifestyle.

Finally, set a time frame for your goal, stating when you want to achieve it, within a reasonable amount of time. In addition to using guidelines for your goals, consider aiming for one goal at a time. As you reach one benchmark, pick a new one. Check them off along the way and feel the pride of your accomplishments.

Don’t Only Focus on the End Results

Many people get hung up on where they want to go with their goals that they forget the journey itself.

For example, you might want to lose 25 pounds. If you are so focused on that final figure, you can get bogged down as you are striving to reach your goal. It can get to the point that you lose your motivation because you aren’t there yet. You don’t even give yourself credit for losing the first pound, or the second or the third. You forget that you had those 3 extra pounds at all. You get so caught up in the 25 number you forget that you’re going to have to pass 24 other numbers to get there

Concentrate on the process that is involved instead. The journey is often much sweeter than the destination, you’ll realize this when you are near the end of it.

Take a picture of yourself at the beginning of your journey and post it in a visible place where you will face it each day. A visual aid will help you to keep a promise to yourself to keep working toward your goal.

As you make progress, take more pictures and hang them up, proving that the process is working. It might take you several months or even two years, but you’ll see the improvement staring back at you every day.

Choose Something You Know is Possible

When you pick realistic goals that pertain to your fitness, you know with absolute certainty that you can do it. You have to clear your mind of any doubt and stick with it until you cross the finish line. D

on’t pick a wall that is too high for you to climb. You don’t want a mental barrier that will knock you down and steal the wind from your sails. By choosing a goal that is something you can achieve, you will feel great satisfaction when you get there.

You’ll have the courage to branch out and set more goals for yourself with each one that you check off your list. Realistic goals make you stronger and build up your confidence. They make you feel good about yourself and your body.

If you are on a mission and aspire to new heights, think about your next goal. Take yourself to a new level of accomplishment.

sources
http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/importance-setting-realistic-fitness-goals-15764.html
http://www.self-esteem-enhances-life.com/realistic-goals.html