Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fitness Myths

The claim: It's the optimal repetition range for building muscle.
The origin: In 1954, Ian MacQueen, M.D., an English surgeon and competitive bodybuilder, published a scientific paper in which he recommended a moderately high number of repetitions for muscle growth.
The truth: This approach places muscles under a medium amount of tension for a medium amount of time—it's basically The Neither Here Nor There Workout.
Here's the deal: Higher tension—a.k.a. heavier weights—induces the type of muscle growth in which the muscle fibers grow larger, leading to the best gains in strength; longer tension time, on the other hand, boosts muscle size by increasing the energy-producing structures around the fibers, improving muscular endurance. The classic prescription of 8 to 12 repetitions strikes a balance between the two. But by using that scheme all the time, you miss out on the greater tension levels that come with heavier weights and fewer repetitions, and the longer tension time achieved with lighter weights and higher repetitions.
The new standard: Vary your repetition range—adjusting the weights accordingly—so that you stimulate every type of muscle growth. Try this method for a month, performing three full-body sessions a week: Do five repetitions per set in your first workout, 10 reps per set in your second workout, and 15 per set in your third workout.
The claim: This provides the ideal workload for achieving the fastest muscle gains.
The origin: In 1948, a physician named Thomas Delorme reported in the Archives of Physical Medicine that performing three sets of 10 repetitions was as effective at improving leg strength as 10 sets of 10 repetitions.
The truth: There's nothing wrong with—or magical about—doing three sets. But the number of sets you perform shouldn't be determined by a 50-year-old default recommendation. Here's a rule of thumb: The more repetitions of an exercise you do, the fewer sets you should perform, and vice versa. This keeps the total number of reps you do of an exercise nearly equal, no matter how many repetitions make up each set.
The new standard: If you're doing eight or more reps, keep it to three sets or less. If you're pounding out less than three reps, you should be doing at least six sets.
BONUS TIP: When it comes to making lifestyle changes that will improve your health, your first step is the most important one. Start here: 20 Little Changes for a Healthier Life.
MYTH #3: DO 3 OR 4 EXERCISES PER MUSCLE GROUPThe claim: This ensures that you work all the fibers of the target muscle.
The origin: Arnold Schwarzenegger, circa 1966. 
The truth: You'll waste a lot of time. Here's why: Schwarzenegger's four-decade-old recommendation is almost always combined with "Do three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions." That means you'll complete up to 144 repetitions for each muscle group. Trouble is, if you can perform even close to 100 repetitions for any muscle group, you're not working hard enough. 
Think of it this way: The harder you train, the less time you'll be able to sustain that level of effort. For example, many men can run for an hour if they jog slowly, but you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who could do high-intensity sprints—without a major decrease in performance—for that period of time. And once performance starts to decline, you've achieved all the muscle-building benefits you can for that muscle group.
The new standard: Instead of focusing on the number of different exercises you do, shoot for a total number of repetitions between 25 and 50. That could mean five sets of five repetitions of one exercise (25 repetitions) or one set of 15 repetitions of two or three exercises (30 to 45 repetitions).
The claim: Allowing your knees to move too far forward during exercises such as the squat and lunge places dangerous shearing forces on your knee ligaments.
The origin: A 1978 study at Duke University found that keeping the lower leg as vertical as possible during the squat reduced shearing forces on the knee.
The truth: Leaning your torso too far forward, so that your knees stay back, is more likely to cause injury. In 2003, University of Memphis researchers confirmed that knee stress was 28 percent higher when the knees were allowed to move past the toes during the squat. But the researchers also found a countereffect: Hip stress increased nearly 1,000 percent when forward movement of the knee was restricted. The reason: The squatters had to lean their torsos farther forward. And that's a problem, because forces that act on the hip are transferred to the lower back, a more frequent site of injury than the knees.
The new standard: Watch a toddler squat. Push your hips back as far as you can, while keeping your torso as upright as possible. This will reduce the stress on your back and knees.
The claim: You'll increase the support to your spine, reducing the risk of back injuries.
The origin: In 1999, researchers in Australia found that some men with back pain had a slight delay in activating their transverse abdominis, a deep abdominal muscle that's part of the musculature that maintains spine stability. As a result, many fitness professionals began instructing their clients to try to pull their belly buttons to their spines—which engages the transverse abdominis—as they performed exercises.
The truth: "The research was accurate, but the interpretation by many researchers and therapists wasn't," says Stuart McGill, Ph.D., author of Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance and widely recognized as the world's top researcher on the spine. That's because muscles work in teams to stabilize your spine, and the most valuable players change depending on the exercise, says McGill. Read: The transverse abdominis isn't always the quarterback.
In fact, for any given exercise, your body automatically activates the muscles that are most needed for spine support. So focusing only on your transverse abdominis can overrecruit the wrong muscles and underrecruit the right ones. This not only increases injury risk, but reduces the amount of weight you can lift.
The new standard: If you want to give your back a supporting hand, simply "brace" your abs as if you were about to be punched in the gut, but don't draw them in. "This activates all three layers of the abdominal wall," says McGill, "improving both stability and performance."

Friday, January 11, 2013

50 Weight Loss Tips

Fat loss tips.  Mary-Pier Gaudet.1.    Train using the most “bang for your buck,” multi-joint lifts like squats, deadlifts, bench press, chin-ups, and Olympic lifts.

2.    Avoid isolation, single-joint lifts
such as bicep or leg curls unless you have unlimited training time.

3.    Use very short rest periods (10 to 60 seconds)
to trigger the greatest growth hormone response.

4.     Vary the tempo of lifting phases and rest periods
to provide new stimulus for the body to adapt.

5.    To get lean fast, use a hypertrophy-type protocol
(8 to 12 reps, more than 3 sets, 70 to 85 percent 1RM load).

6.    Use a longer time under tension to burn more energy and increase postexercise oxygen consumption
—try a 4-second eccentric and 1-second concentric phase.

7.    Train to create an anabolic response.
Increasing growth hormone is the priority because of its significant lipolytic (fat burning) effects.

8.    Perform circuit training with little rest between sets
for maximal growth hormone response.

9.    For gradual fat loss over a longer period, include strength cycles that favor testosterone release with heavier loads
(up to 95 percent 1RM), slightly longer rest (2 to 3 minutes), and lots of sets.

10.    Work harder.
If you’re not getting results, you’re not working hard enough.

11.    Give priority to training the anaerobic energy system
over the aerobic system when strength training and conditioning.

12.    Do high-intensity sprint intervals for conditioning.
Two examples are 60 cycle sprints of 8 seconds each, 12 seconds rest; or 6 all-out 30-second running sprints on a track, 4 minutes rest.

13.    Be as active as possible in daily life.
Move more: Take regular brisk walks during the day, always take the stairs, park far away in any parking lot, or do your own yard work.

14.    Do relaxing physical activity
instead of sitting in front of a screen: yoga, stretching, foam rolling, martial arts, or walking mediation.

15.    Eliminate all processed foods from your diet
—don’t eat them ever.

16.    Eliminate all trans-fats from your diet
such as margarine and shortening—they MUST be removed from the diet.

17.    Don’t avoid fat.
Research shows that people with diets with 30 to 50 percent coming from smart fats have higher androgens and lower body fat.

18.     Eat smart fat,
favoring the omega-3 fats that come from fish and wild meats.

19.    Take fish oil to boost omega-3 fat intake
and ensure your omega-3 to omega-6 fat intake is balanced.

20.    Eat a diet with high-quality protein
organic meats will provide the largest “bang for your buck” protein.

21.    Eliminate wheat and avoid grains
in favor of vegetables.

22.    Raise resting metabolic rate
(the amount of calories the body burns at rest) by eating a higher protein diet with 15 to 25 percent of the diet coming from high-quality protein.

23.    Eliminate all high-glycemic carbs
and eat only low-glycemic vegetables and berries.

24.    Eat an antioxidant-rich diet to prevent inflammation,
which leads to fat gain. Try kale, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, berries, pomegranates, and cherries.

25.    Non-green veggies that help you lose fat
are colored peppers, eggplant, garlic, onions, mushrooms, hearts of palm, spaghetti squash, and water chestnuts.

26.    Drink a lot of water
(at LEAST 3 liters a day) to stay hydrated and help detox the body.

27.    Avoid alcohol, juice, soda, and sports drinks.
Stick to water, tea, and coffee.

28.    For a radical approach, eliminate all alcohol.
If alcohol can’t be eliminated, Sardinian and Spanish red wines are the best worst option.

29.    Try acupuncture—
studies have shown it can aid in treating obesity.

30.    Make sure your vitamin D level is over 40 ng/ml.
Take vitamin D if not.

31.    Take a probiotic
to improve your gut health.

32.    Make sure your magnesium level is up to par.
Scientists suggest 500 mg of magnesium a day.

33.    Take a liquid zinc test to see if you can taste zinc.
If not, you are deficient and should take zinc to speed fat loss.

34.    Don’t buy cheap, poor quality supplements
because they will do more harm than good if they are tainted with heavy metals or pollutants.

35.    Take B vitamins, especially if you eat a high-protein diet or take BCAAs
because the extra amino acids take away from the pool of available B vitamins need for detox.

36.    Drink coffee or take caffeine before workouts to increase fat burning
and work capacity—research shows we will self-select heavier loads if we take caffeine before training.

37.    Drink organic green tea
to elevate fat burning and aid in detoxifying the body.

38.    Take carnitine
to help the body use fat for fuel and increase time to exhaustion when training hard.

39.    Take the amino acid taurine
because it lowers the stress hormone cortisol and helps the body digest fat.

40.    Take R-form alpha lipoic acid
because it supports detox and recovery from training.

41.    Use the herb fenugreek with meals
to improve insulin sensitivity and energy use.

42.    Remove body piercings to lose fat fast,
especially belly piercings.

43.    Limit fructose in the diet
because it gets in the way of losing belly fat.

44.    Never eat fructose before workouts
because it blunts fat burning and lowers metabolic rate.

45.    Avoid milk before workouts
because it is very “insulinotropic,” meaning it causes persistently high insulin levels that make you burn less energy.

46.    Don’t drink caffeine after workouts
because it may raise cortisol at the point where you need to clear it for the best fat-burning and recovery effect.

47.    Eat high-quality protein for breakfast.
Avoid cereal and all processed foods.

48.    Eliminate all sugar from your diet.
It’s way more trouble than it’s worth if you want to lose fat.

49.    Make an effort to get enough sleep.
An early-to-bed, early-to-rise sleep pattern has been shown to improve body composition.

50.    Know that you have complete control over what you put in your mouth.
No one ever ate anything by accident.