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    • Snowheart
      1. Avoid the common mental traps!
      Going into any new situation can be scary, especially one where there are so many opportunities for insecurities to get the better of you. You’re walking into a world where the minority of the people in the world become the majority. Everywhere you look, there are what one would consider to be pretty people, and, if you’re like me, that’s intimidating. However, one of the best things to realize at that point is that what seems like the majority in the world when you’re at the gym is a global minority. At the gym, everyone seems pretty. Everyone seems perfect. The trap is when you let that mentality seep out into the real world and you begin to let it affect your self-esteem. Honestly, think about it this way. If everyone in the world was pretty, celebrities wouldn’t be celebrities would they? There wouldn’t be ridiculous reality TV where they gather unrealistic people to portray themselves in specific ways for ratings. The role of Brad Pitt in Fight Club as Tyler Durden would never have been even written, and people wouldn’t swoon every time Chris Hemsworth wore a tight shirt, let alone got shirtless. People are average! Hell, honestly, if you’re reading this and you’re in America, people are once again the average, but this time, the average is overweight, even bordering on obese! The bottom line here is that, psychologically, even if your confidence may be a little lower in a gym setting, don’t let it fall too low. You’re there for a reason, people. Everyone wants to be in that beautiful top 5 percentile, and everyone’s working to get there. If anyone, EVER, in the gym or ANYWHERE, criticizes you for trying to better yourself, for yourself, then, in this trainer’s humble opinion, that person doesn’t deserve anything that they may have that’s nice. They don’t appreciate it. They take it for granted. They are NOT WORTH YOUR TIME. Screw’em. You’re more awesome than that! Not to mention the fact that you’re showing some pretty dang serious courage for putting yourself in a scary situation and overcoming it. One of my mottos that I always tell my clients is this, ‘What happened in the past is in the past. It either was awesome or it sucked, but let’s face it, it’s in the past. Every day is a new clean slate.”
      2. Get a trainer, or, at least, find a friend who has a bit more experience than you do!
      Going back to one of my original points, sometimes the thing that holds people back the most is the fact that they are basically, metaphorically, standing on the precipice of a chasm (This is going to the gym) and they are about to jump off the edge and hoping to high heaven that they might be able to fly (Get the results they need.) If this is the case, or if you’ve been athletic in the past, or if you’re getting out of a pregnancy, or if you’re getting over an injury, or -anything- that may might make you feel nervous about going to the gym, then trust me, hope is not lost! Personal trainers, despite the bad rap they get from a lot of people for being absent, non-trustworthy, drill sergeant jerks, aren’t actually that way at all. Sure, there are a few bad employees, but that’s true in any job. I’m not knocking any sort of big gym corporations here, but in my experience guys, these are the places that what I call ‘Training-Wheel Trainers get their start. These are the trainers that have, either through actual studying or even sometimes a random weekend class where you could share notes on an open-book test, a ‘certification that gives them the right to get a job at a gym and call themselves a trainer. In the end, what you can sometimes get is an entry-level employee who has little to no experience in the real world and they tell you that they know what they’re doing when they give you the same workout they give everyone else and call it the WOD or Workout of the Day. If you -ever- hear WOD, workout of the day or something along those lines, walk away. They’re going to charge you for not personalizing a thing and you’re gonna go nowhere.
      Getting off my soap box, though, trainers are one of the biggest and best assets you can ever attain for yourself. Trainers (the good ones at least) know what they’re doing, they’ve been where you are, they know what you’re feeling, and they come from a plethora of backgrounds that all can help in both their relationship with you and the results you are trying to get. Personal training is called ‘personal for a reason. If they aren’t customizing your workouts and have a plan, scheduled out, in a visual form which they can show to you, and if they don’t ask you your feedback, then they’re not making it personal. They’re acting like an absent professor with tenure. They’ve checked out. They don’t care if you get your goals, and, at that point, expect the term ‘resign to show up in their vocabulary a lot. They’re milking your back account, guys. What I’m asking you to do is to interview your trainers. You’re hiring someone for a service and you’re going to spend as much time with that trainer as you do with some of your friends. If there’s a personality clash, you’re not going to want to go. If something feels wrong, it’s a slippery slope to you blowing off a training appointment, sitting on the couch, while your trainer burns your session for his own paycheck to increase. Find someone you like, are compatible with, and who’s as serious about your goals as you are. This is the key to success with a trainer. Interview them. Find a good one.
      The same can be said for friends, too! Find someone who knows where to start. It’s easier to cross the canyon if you, at least, have a guide showing you the way.
      3. Set three types of goals from the start. Then, change them every 2-3 months and toss the old ones out.
      This one’s gonna be short, guys. There are three types of goals. Long term, Medium term, and Short term. Set goals of all three types FROM THE START. If you set short goals all the time, you’re going to chaotically succeed, but there’s no end in sight. If you set long term goals, you will, at least, know where you’re going, but the path to get there is cloudy and eventually, you’re going to burn out because nothing ever even feels like a success anymore. Medium term goals are there to fill in the gaps and keep you going at a steady pace. Plus, medium term goals are where rewards come in. If you’ve succeeded at all the short term goals and have completed a medium term goal in the process, then reward yourself. Do something awesome that makes you feel good. This can be anything, really. Quality alone time, a night with friends, a massage, a pedicure, a date night with a significant other. It will definitely make it worth it. Plus, if it’s a couples thing, it will make the night more special, AND your partner will now, (if they haven’t yet) support you with your fitness goals because then they get something out of it too. Woo, support systems!
      After 2-3 months, sit down, evaluate where you are, and adjust your goals to make new ones. You’re a new person every day, and today’s you may have a different outlook or perspective on what yesterday’s you held in its top priorities.
      4. Find a role model, and be realistic about it. Seriously.
      One of the biggest motivators is seeing someone who has something you want, and you 100% knowing that, if you tried, you could totally have it too. That being said, the same thing can be said with fitness. There are rules, though.
      Find someone the same height within 2 inches of you, if you’re over 6’ within 1 inch, and who, as far as bone structure is concerned, is similar to you. This will make what they have an actually attainable thing for you. Bodies are unique, but if you compare yourself to someone similar, then that can blur the lines. However, if you’re 6’2”, don’t expect to look like Tom Cruise or Ryan Seacrest. Dudes are like, 5’7 and 5’8 respectively. It’s just silly. For example, I’m 6’5 actually, and my role model right now is Jared Padalecki. We’ve got similar bodies. It’s doable. Ethnicities matter. Different folks have different musculatures and metabolisms and ingrained genetic differences. Scandinavians aren’t Kenyans aren’t Samoans aren’t Indians aren’t Mexicans aren’t Chinese. If you do pick a celebrity or someone you know, find a picture of them when they were your age if they’re older. If they’re 30 and you’re 19, you’re at different points in your life. It took them time to get there, and your body is at a different developmental stage. Don’t use yourself. You’re never going to look like you were in high school without expensive surgeries and injections of random toxins. However, you -can- look better! Make the most of here and now. 5. Diet counts!
      I’m gonna make this one quick. 90% of what you do in the gym and what you can see in the mirror is made in the kitchen. Make good choices and, if needed, get nutritional advice. Nuf” said. Fix it.
      6. Do some research.
      The best people at anything are the people who know the most about what they’re doing. The internet is there. The magazines (though heavily influenced by products, companies, and corporations) are there. Learn as much as you can. The more you know about yourself and what you’re doing, the better off you’ll be.
      7. Give yourself time. Also, expect things to plateau at some point.
      This is the hardest one. Nothing’s going to come instantly. If our bodies could change into what we wanted instantly, Mystique from the X-Men wouldn’t be so cool, and Rebecca Romijn wouldn’t have as much in her bank account after three movies. Expect plateaus. They happen. Every step before this one gives you an idea of how to break those plateaus. Nothing is ever smooth in the life of a gym-goer, and if it is, honestly, you’re not trying hard enough.
      That’s it, guys! Those 7 steps are my sure-fire techniques for getting back into it and getting what you want! It’s a lot simpler than people give it credit for, honestly, and everything beyond those 7 things is just icing on the cake. I believe in you! Now, get out there! Show the world what you can do!
       
       

    • Zak

      Artist Block

      By Zak, in Artist Block,

      At first, I tried to research this problem online and found videos on YouTube about dealing with art blocks, which was helpful for what it is. (You can search for it yourself if you're interested.)
      Put simply, I was looking for a global answer to getting rid of art blocks altogether. The good news is that it's possible, but it's going to be hard. This isn't some kind of a trick you can use to just avoid art blocks. Rather than continue like this, let me just get into the next part.
      We start at the very beginning of your life, infancy to about 7 years old.
      The first 4 years of life is a period where your personality is being developed. The next 3 years is a period of correction and refinement of the personality. In the age range of 7 to 8 years old, a human's personality is already well-defined.
      Now about these age ranges: The first 4 years of life, a human being is completely depends on it's parents. It can't fend for itself at all. In the wild, animals often will often let their cubs die or give food to only one of their cubs; human nature isn't far from this kind of behavior.
      At around 4 years of age, human children can usually walk well. However, in a civilized setting the child's first steps cause much stress for the parents as the children now have access to dangerous objects around the house and/or can cause harm to valuables. At this point, parents can't limit their child physically so they impose rules on the children to limit them.
      Very simply: If a child does something its parents approve of, they praise and reward it. If the parents feel the child is misbehaving, they punish it.
      Every child needs love and kindness and this need is genetic. However, this good/bad game causes trouble later in life:
      1) Humans get used to comparing themselves with others.
      2) Humans get used to be appraised by others.
      3) Worst of all, humans fail to differentiate between who they are and what they do: "I've succeeded" = "I'm a good person" and "I've failed" = "I'm a bad person".
      Now, not all parents act like that. Some parents are clear in that they love you whether or not you're successful and they also don't appraise your acts. But in that case you don't have any art blocks and don't need to read this article. I'm pretty sure that most people who draw to express themselves don't think of themselves as "good without any conditions", sadly.
      So, the first 7 to 8 years of life lays the foundation for your self-esteem. There are 4 kinds of self-esteem:
      1) Stable self-esteem. This is for those rare lucky folks I mentioned above. Their parents weren't bribing or punishing them to get the behavior they wanted. People with this kind of self-esteem don't need anyone to tell them if they're good or bad because they know who they are and what they're worth. These people are calm and usually do a lot with their lives, and this is our goal in this article. Every step in this direction is worthwhile.
      2) Overrated self-esteem. Usually seen in people with rich and/or accomplished parents. These people project their parents' achievements on themselves and can't stop talking about how awesome they are because they desperately need to confirm their importance, which has no real base.
      3) Low self-esteem. Almost every artist has said at least once that they have low self-esteem. It's possible, but highly unlikely. You can check yourself for low self-esteem pretty easily: do you envy someone's else drawing skills at least sometimes? If so, then no, your self-esteem is not low. People with low self-esteem don't envy others because they truly believe that other people deserve it and they themselves don't. Legitimate low self-esteem is rare, so don't flatter yourselves with the idea that you're one of these special snowflakes.
      4) What you probably have is called unstable self-esteem. People with unstable self-esteem depend on the feedback of others, constantly compare themselves with others and - depending on what they see around themselves and what people around say about them - their mention about themselves can be total praise or complete self-hatred. Sometimes you feel awesome but the next day it's the opposite feeling. Sometimes it can be a matter of mere hours.
      This is a common situation, but common does not mean normal. Living and building your adult life based on the rules of an outdated child's game causes so many problems in all aspects of life. The problem is that parents represent society for a child, so even if your parents don't control you anymore whether you live far away or they're gone, this game continues with everybody you meet.
      People with unstable self-esteem can't tell if they are good or bad by themselves. They think that they're only good if they doing something successfully and that if they fail then they're a bad person. When they're "good," their self-esteem goes up; if they're "bad," their self-esteem suffers. This point of view does not fit reality and limits many opportunities.
      Failure is not something bad. Failure is a process where experience is earned.
      Imagine that you're climbing the stairs. If getting to the top is success, then that means every step is a failure. If you're doing something big and outstanding, failure and success isn't a roulette; usually you can't reach success without gaining some experience from failure. But if you have unstable self-esteem, each failure hurts personally. You feel you've done something wrong and you're a bad person. Look at it like this: learning anatomy or perspective is just like climbing stairs, and each step can hurt your personality because you still looking at the World around with the eyes of 7-year-old child. Too many young artists desperately search for "ideal" tutorials to make these stairs as short and safe as possible, while people with stable self-esteem just take the steps and improve themselves every day.
      So what's an art block? You try to draw and then fail, and you subconsciously try to protect yourself from hurting your self-esteem again by being unable to draw. The mind is a powerful thing, far stronger than the little part you get to control. So, you "don't feel like drawing" for a couple days, truly believing you can't draw at all. You need time to restore self-esteem before you can try again, but even if you come back to try again, you remember what it did to you last time. This also explains why some artists draw at the same level over the years or draw the same faces all the time using the same techniques, angles, poses.
      I hope you understand the nature of the processes that halt your artistic evolution better now.
      Now, let's use information to try to figure out how to fix the problem. First, we have to start seeing our failures as they really are: Steps to success. For this, we should establish our self-esteem. Our appraisal of ourselves should not depend on how successful we are with our current workflow.
      So, how do you establish your self-esteem? I'm very sorry, but there's no magic cure. Beyond that, I myself still don't have stable self-esteem. I don't believe there are any clear instructions that can help you develop self-esteem. It's a sad paradox, but earning stable self-esteem can be another long flight of stairs with success at the top. However, I already smoothed down the highs and lows of "I'm awesome" and "I can't draw at all" enough to get rid of art blocks once and for all.
      I'm going to give you some tips that helped me and could help you:
      1) The main goal of this article was to give you a minimal amount of information to catch your attention and to give you some understanding of the problem. Knowing the problem is always the first step to solving it. Ask yourselves again and again: Whatever you try to do, failure is unavoidable. Does it mean you're a bad person if you try to learn something new?
      2) Looking in the mirror and saying "I'm good, I can do anything" can help for a time, but it doesn't fix the problem because you're still playing the game. What you have to do is mature and rise above the game. Just accept that you're a good person without any conditions, without buts. Just accept it as a fact. For some people It comes naturally after 30, but you don't have to wait. You're already mature enough to decide who you are and to stop depending on the opinions of others.
      3) Every human being is born with a stable self-esteem, but losing it after 4. So you are not developing something new, you just coming back to your natural state of mind.
      4) Write all your thoughts down. There's a big price to pay when good thoughts and ideas aren't written down. Research, plans, ideas - everything should be on paper. A human's mind composed of 2 parts: Consciousness, which can be controlled, and subconsciousness, which can't be controlled. The information you remember and forget is controlled by subconsciousness. In other words, pretty soon everything you have read here will be pushed away because your subconscious mind is always trying to erase any thoughts about something going wrong with you. So, start a notebook!
      5) At first it's hard to keep track of everything you've learned. You could start with analyzing (in writing) art blocks you're passing through. Then you can analyze current art blocks every time they crop up and then you'll have the ability to recognize these problems before they can hurt you.
      6) Never compare yourself with other people. You will never see the whole picture clearly enough. Compare yourself only with your past self. That's the one and only indicator is available for you for fair comparison.
      7) I know I wrote a lot about wrong parenting. But it does not mean you should put all the blame on them. No one said that you could handle their work better. Focus on the things you are able to change - on yourselves only.
      What I gave here is just a simplified version of what I have read. If you are interested, do some research of your own! The better you understand the problem, the easier it will be for you to solve it!
      That's enough for now, thank you for reading, and I hope that this helps some of you.
      P.S. thanks Ceeb for editing most of this article for me.


    • Zak
      (Adapt from: Jim Smith, C. S. C. S.Muscle&Fitness.com,3-4-2014,(http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/workout-tips/unlock-gains-shorter-range-motion)

      Go to YouTube and watch a few videos of pro bodybuilders training (as if you haven’t already). What do you notice, apart from the massive weights they use and the faces they make from exertion? Bodybuilders rarely lock out their joints, preferring instead to use a slightly reduced range of motion to keep the target muscles fully engaged. Called ‘constant tension, this trick can end a plateau and save your joints.

      Try it on a variety of compound and isolation moves. For example, on dumbbell overhead presses, lower the weights until you feel a mild stretch in your shoulders, but don’t go all the way down; then press them back up three-quarters of the way. Because the weights aren’t supported by the joints or connective tissues on either end of the range of motion, the muscles (in this instance, the deltoids) work at their max throughout the entire set.

      This also means that the joints aren’t stressed by heavy loads. So if you have an injury, constant tension sets will prevent you from aggravating it.

      Quick Tip:

      Constant tension isn’t always appropriate if your goal is strength. To lift the heaviest weights, you need to lock out your joints. Do your main lifts normally, and use partial reps on assistance lifts.


       


    • Zak
      The team behind the BMJ study believe muscle strength reflects general fitness, which would explain the link.
      Experts stress the findings do not mean muscle building makes you live longer.
      The effect of poor muscular fitness in those tracked was similar to well established risk factors for early death, such as obesity and high blood pressure.
      When the researchers took into account these better known risk factors, they found the link between early death and muscle power remained.
      Thin and fat men alike fared worse in terms of life expectancy if they had weaker than average muscles, while more burly men had better survival odds even if they were overweight.
      Over the course of the study, 26,145 (2.3%) of the men died. The leading single cause of death was accidental injury, followed by suicide, cancer, heart disease and stroke.
      A third of the deaths were due to other causes and the researchers grouped these together for their calculations.
      The teenagers who scored above average on muscular strength at the start of the study had a 20-35% lower risk of early death from any cause and also from cardiovascular diseases.
      They also had a 20-30% lower risk of early death from suicide and were up to 65% less likely to have any psychiatric diagnosis, such as schizophrenia or depression.
      In comparison, the 16- to 19-year-olds with the lowest level of muscular strength had the highest risk of dying before they reached their mid-50s.
      The teenagers, who were all conscripts to the Swedish military, were asked to grip and to do some leg curls and arm push ups against resistance to measure muscle strength.
      A spokeswoman for the British Heart Foundation said: "The benefits of being physically active at any age are well established with studies showing it can prevent children from developing diseases later on in life, as well as improving their concentration at school, their overall mental health and well-being."
      Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said while there was good evidence exercise was beneficial for health, the study did not show doing more exercise would necessarily prolong your life.
      And encouraging people to do more regular physical activity could be a challenge, he added.
      "Sadly the trials of an intervention to increase exercise have not shown notable benefits, though that does not discourage me and many others from exercising," Prof Evans said.
      ----
      Resource: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20406742#story_continues_1


    • Zak
      1. You pick the right basic moves you can pile a lot of weight on, but then it is so heavy you need to use your shoulders and triceps more than your pecs to get the weight up. Add the typical turning the flat bench into a decline bench by raising your butt off the bench, and all you get is just more of the easily developed lower pecs, not high, round Arnold pecs.

      2. Cable cross flyes are turned into a press and you're leaning all your body weight into the cables and then bounce the weight to the peak contraction. There is better way to do presses; with press movements.

      3. Your workout schedule indirectly hits pecs several days around your pec workout. Maybe arms one day so you hit triceps, which assist pecs in press movements - the other day shoulders where your upper pecs will help a lot too. Solution: Make sure you do NOT train those muscle groups back to back with your pec day.

      4. During presses, you recruit too much triceps by allowing your elbows to travel too close to your torso. Why does the body do this? You're stronger that way.

      5. You have weak links that stop you from progressing. For instance weak rear shoulder muscles like infraspinatus and teres minor. These help the shoulders stay where they're supposed to be (pulled back). You might have a winged scapula, which means your shoulder blade is flaring out due to weak subscapularis or serratus anterior. A solution for the latter one is to do a lot of great pushups.

      6. The antagonist to the pecs is the big wonderful latissimus dorsi. I'm sure you've seen many gym people with ILS (imaginary lat syndrome) when there arms are flared out about 4 feet from the body trying to make that "big iguana" look, or what do you call that little lizard which makes itself extra large when threatened? Anyway, you need to keep the lats strong, but also flexible so they don't inhibit your pec strength.

      7. Your mind is drifting away during workouts and you forget to feel the muscle. Don't just lie there looking up at the ceiling thinking about what to eat for dinner!

      8. You neglect unilateral work. Dumbbells instead of barbells! You always have one dominant side, which will take over most of the work from the sissy side of your body. A great way to achieve strength increases is by prioritizing this before bilateral work.

      9. You put the incline bench on too steep an angle, turning it into a front shoulder workout. Put it on a 30% degree angle instead of the conventional 45%.

      10. You stick to machines due to a big ego. Yes you can use more weight on them than with free weights, but you also recruit fewer of the stabilizing muscles leading to imbalances. Machines are supplemental to free weights and should not be used as a replacement unless you end up at a hotel gym where the only option is a machine! In that case do tons of pushups and one arm pushups to balance it out.

      Source:Sorry I really dont remember the source but I just found it inside my laptop,it might be retrieved from Muscle & Fitness if I am not mistaken. I just want to share it based on my courtesy on contributing something for the site to y'all so I hope this information found useful to you guys.


       


    • Zak
      Cool-down
      After exhaustive exercise, don't stop and rest immediately. You can speed up the removal of lactic acid from your muscles by continuing to exercise at a low intensity for 10-20 minutes. Cooling down can help reduce the feeling of stiffness that often occurs after a workout and is especially important if your next training session or event is scheduled a few hours later.
      Stretch
      Static stretching before exercise puts you at risk for damaging the very tissues you are trying to protect and as such should be avoided. Research has shown that stretching causes lengthening of the tendinous fibers within the muscle-tendon unit. Such lengthening causes the tendon (or passive) component to lose much of its shock absorbency, thus, placing the muscle fibers at greater risk of trauma. However, stretching after exercise may help minimize muscle soreness and may even help prevent future soft tissue injuries. Thus, before activity, more active-type stretching routines that promote range of motion and increased blood flow are recommended. Conversely, after exercise, the emphasis should be on passive or static stretching to allow the muscles to relax and return to their resting lengths.
      Carbohydrates
      The muscles are primed for quick restoration of their carbohydrate fuel reserves (glycogen) immediately after exercise, so don't wait too long to start eating foods and drinking beverages rich in carbohydrate. Fruits, energy bars, and sports drinks all contain large amounts of carbohydrate. From a nutrition standpoint, post-exercise is one of the only times where you want to be consuming high-glycemic index foods for they will stimulate a quicker release of insulin and, thus, carbohydrate storage in the muscles. Ideally, these fuels should be consumed as quickly as possible upon finishing your exercise session.
      Protein
      Most forms of exercise lead to the breakdown of proteins within the muscles. This breakdown-repair process stimulates the muscles to rebuild and become stronger. Moreover, some of our muscle proteins continue to be broken down during the recovery phase after exercise. For a faster buildup of muscle proteins during recovery, include a small amount of protein in the foods you eat. Milk, cheese, eggs, whey protein shakes, sandwiches, nuts (almonds, walnuts) and energy bars provide carbohydrate and protein. Look for easily digestible protein sources (such as the ones listed above) following strenuous exercise. Avoid saturated fats.
      Fluids
      Replacing lost fluid is crucial to the recovery process. Having adequate fluids within your body promotes the removal of toxins and waste from your muscles. Top off your supply of fluids by drinking before exercise, continue to hydrate every 15 or 20 minutes during a workout, and replace any body weight lost during exercise by drinking while you recover. Remember, 1 L of water is equivalent to 1 kg of body weight. Therefore, if the difference between your pre- and post-exercise weight is 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) you would want to rehydrate with 1.5 L of water to bring your body fluid back to homeostasis. Before, during, and after exercise, the rule of thumb is that if you’re thirsty, it’s too late! Therefore, be sure to have a water bottle throughout the day to sip on. On a daily basis (at rest), the number of ounces of water you should be consuming should equal half of your body weight (in lbs). Thus, if you weigh 200 lbs, then you want to be drinking 100 ounces of water (almost 3 L).
      Salt
      Your body loses water and minerals - mostly sodium chloride, some potassium - when you sweat. Drinking water alone during exercise and recovery will make it difficult to replace body fluids rapidly because much of it will pass through the kidneys to become urine. Replace the salt along with the water to counteract dehydration. If you have to compete again within a few hours, consider sports drinks that contain water, sodium chloride, or fruits such as bananas which are high in potassium. Add extra salt to foods at mealtime if you are susceptible to cramps. Consider using condiments, sports drinks, and fitness waters instead of salt tablets.
      Damage Control
      Inflammation, swelling, and muscle soreness are possibilities following strenuous exercise. To minimize the effects, consider cold packs around joint areas, alternating cold and hot whirlpool baths, and the use of specially designed magnets to speed the recovery process. Light massage is also a good option for promoting toxin removal from the tissues and reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). A study by Hilbert et al. showed that a 20-minute massage 2 hours following exercise helped to reduce the intensity of soreness 48 hours post-exercise in subjects who underwent 6 sets of maximal eccentric hamstring contractions. Minimize foot contact with the ground. Engage in light activities that increase blood flow while not taxing the nervous system. Swimming, cycling, walking, and light jogs are alternatives, but minimize foot contact with the ground.
      Sleep
      There is plenty of evidence to show that lack of sleep can have an adverse affect on training and competition. You might get by for a day or two with inadequate sleep, but it will catch up with up sooner or later. If you haven't monitored your sleep habits already, determine how much sleep you need each night to ensure full recovery. It's not eight hours for everyone - could be less, could be more. Then try to establish a routine that will allow you get what you need to perform well.
      Sleep is divided into 1.5-hour time cycles. If you can time sleep cycles in increments of an hour and a half (1.5 hours, 3.0 hours, 4.5 hours, 6.0 hours, 7.5 hours, 9.0 hours), you have a better chance of waking up refreshed. The idea is to awake at the top of the cycle instead of at the bottom. And don't dismiss the power of a 20-30 minute nap during the day. The journal Sleep highlighted a meta-analysis done on studies looking at the effects of sleep deprivation on performance. The researchers found that overall sleep deprivation strongly impairs human functioning. Moreover, they found that mood is more affected by sleep deprivation than either cognitive or motor performance and that partial sleep deprivation has a more profound effect on functioning than either long-term or short-term sleep deprivation.
      Also, be aware that overtraining can impair your body’s ability to fully rest and regenerate. A study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise revealed that female swimmers who trained excessively showed a higher incidence of sleep disruptions.
      In sum, there are several measure that you can take to better your recovery between exercise sessions. Remember that a combination of the several of the aforementioned tools should be implemented for best results.
      References
      Safran, M. et al (1989). Warm-up and muscular injury prevention: an update. Sports Medicine, 239-249. Hibert, J. et al (2003). The effects of massage on delayed onset muscle soreness. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 37: 72-75. Pilcher, J & Huffcutt, A. (1996). Effects of sleep deprivation on performance: a meta-analysis. Sleep, 19(4): 318-326. S. Taylor et al. (1997). Effects of training volume on sleep, psychological, and selected physiological profiles of elite female swimmers. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 29(5):688-693.  
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      Article Source: Tony Buel @ http://www.articlerich.com
      Yuri Elkaim is the owner and founder of Total Wellness Consulting, a leading health, fitness, and wellness company offering health-conscious individuals innovative information, programs, and technologies to help reach their goals of physical and mental well-being. Join his mailing list at http://www.totalwellnessconsulting.c...alwellness.htm and receive a complimentary 30 min MP3 workout, a 3-part Willing Your Way to Wellness report, and more...ALL FOR FREE!


    • Zak
      Why Cool Down?

      The main aim of the cool down is to promote recovery and return the body to a pre exercise, or pre-workout level. During a strenuous workout your body goes through a number of stressful processes, muscle fibers, tendons and ligaments get damaged, and waste products build up within your body. The cool down, performed properly, will assist your body in its repair process.

      One area the cool down will help with is "post exercise muscle soreness." This is the soreness that is usually experienced the day after a tough workout. Most people experience this after having a lay-off from exercise, or at the beginning of their sports season. I remember running a half marathon with limited preparation, and finding it difficult to walk down steps the next day because my quadriceps were so sore.

      Post exercise muscle soreness is caused by a number of things. Firstly, during exercise, tiny tears called micro tears develop within the muscle fibers. These micro tears cause swelling of the muscle tissues which in turn puts pressure on the nerve endings and results in pain.

      Secondly, when exercising, your heart is pumping large amount of blood to the working muscles. This blood is carrying both oxygen and nutrients that the working muscles need. When the blood reaches the muscles the oxygen and nutrients are used up. Then the force of the contracting (exercising) muscles pushes the blood back to the heart where it is re-oxygenated. However, when the exercise stops, so does the force that pushes the blood back to the heart. This blood, as well as waste products like lactic acid, stays in the muscles, which in turn causes swelling and pain. This process is often referred to as "blood pooling." So, the cool down helps all this by keeping the blood circulating, which in turn helps to prevent blood pooling and also removes waste products from the muscles. This circulating blood also brings with it the oxygen and nutrients needed by the muscles, tendons and ligaments for repair.

      The Key Parts of an Effective Cool Down

      Now that we know what the cool down does and why it is so important, let’s have a look at the structure of an effective cool down. There are three key elements, or parts, which should be included to ensure an effective and complete cool down. They are;

      Gentle exercise;
      Stretching; and
      Re-fuel.
      All three parts are equally important and any one part should not be neglected or thought of as not necessary. All three elements work together to repair and replenish the body after exercise.

      To follow are two examples of effective cool downs. The first is an example of a cool down used by a professional athlete. The second is typical of someone who simply exercises for general health, fitness and fun.

      Example Cool Down Routines

      Example 1: - For the Professional

      10 to 15 minutes of easy exercise. Be sure that the easy exercise resembles the type of exercise that was done during your workout. For example, if your workout involved a lot of running, cool down with easy jogging or walking.
      Include some deep breathing as part of your easy exercise to help oxygenate your system.
      Follow with about 20 to 30 minutes of stretching. Static stretching and PNF stretching is best at this time.
      Re-fuel. Both fluid and food are important. Drink plenty of water, plus a good quality sports drink. The best type of food to eat straight after a workout is that which is easily digestible. Fruit is a good example.
       

      Example 2: - For the Amateur

      3 to 5 minutes of easy exercise. Be sure that the easy exercise resembles the type of exercise that was done during your workout. For example, if your workout involved a lot of running, cool down with easy jogging or walking.
      Include some deep breathing as part of your easy exercise to help oxygenate your system.
      Follow with about 5 to 10 minutes of stretching. Static stretching and PNF stretching is best at this time.
      Re-fuel. Both fluid and food are important. Drink plenty of water, plus a good quality sports drink. The best type of food to eat straight after a workout is that which is easily digestible. Fruit is a good example.
       

      Getting serious about your cool down and following the above examples will make sure you recover quicker from your workouts and stay injury free.

      ----------

      Article Source: Brad Walker @ http://www.ArticleWorld.net

      Article by Brad Walker. Brad is a prominent Australian sports trainer with more than 15 years experience in the health and fitness industry. Brad is a Health Science graduate of the University of New England and has postgraduate accreditations in athletics, swimming and triathlon coaching. He also works with elite level and world champion athletes and lectures for Sports Medicine Australia on injury prevention.

      For more information and articles on stretching, flexibility and sports injury, visit The Stretching & Sports Injury Newsletter at; http://www.TheStretchingHandbook.com/


       


    • Zak
      Light wave therapy uses a high intensity blue light. This light kills the bacteria causing the acne and may help dry up the excess oil that is a large part of the acne problem. It doesn't damage the skin as ultraviolet light can. Laser light waves target two factors that cause acne.

      They use heat to damage the oil glands that pour out excessive oil.
      They work on the bacteria that is present in the pores that cause pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads. These treatments cause a minimum of pain and discomfort and promote regeneration of new skin, which is useful to treat scarring.
       

      Light therapy for acne is effective to reduce scarring and to treat the active acne as well. Light laser therapy is a localized treatment, safe, and has no adverse side affects. It's been shown to be as effective on acne problems that other medications and treatment have not done.

      A sample study of 30 patients was made who suffered moderate to mild acne. They were placed in a clinical trial and within three months, they had significant decrease in their acne outbreaks.

      The treatment consists of the affected area to short bursts of light called pulse dye laser therapy. Initially used to combat wrinkles it stimulated the production of collagen. It also was used to combat scars from severe cases of acne. Doctors were brought in to look at the clinical evidence and agreed that light treatment was successful in treating live acne. A study that was recently published states that a single session of five minutes can have an effect on acne for up to twelve months.

      Patients that took part in the study lost over 70 percent of their acne. One patient's spots disappeared completely. The treatment is being widely used in private clinics and started out to be costly. As with all new technologies, the price has come down and more professionals are using light therapy in treatments for their patients.

      One patient stated the treatments only take about five minutes, and with each treatment her acne was much less visible. Another benefit of using laser light therapy is that is doesn't cause any discoloration of the patient's skin. Treatment sessions can last from 5 to 20 and the patient experiences a slight stinging sensation while undergoing treatment. A topical anesthetic can be applied before the treatment and the application of ice was used after the treatment.

      Light therapy is still in its infancy and has only been used in the last few years. More work is needed to re-confirm any clinical benefits. Imagine the impact on those individuals in economical terms. Instead of continuing drug treatment, occasional light therapy treatments can be a big help who have moderate cases of acne.

      If you or someone you love were afflicted with moderate to severe cases of acne, it would be worthwhile to look into light treatment. It's non-invasive and works in a shorter time than topical ointments and antibiotics. This may be the best thing to happen for acne sufferers in a long time!

      ----------

      Article Source: Tony Buel @ www.acnetreatment-101.com

      For Full Article: http://www.acnetreat....ks-on-Acne.htm


       


    • Zak
      Why Cool Down?
      The main aim of the cool down is to promote recovery and return the body to a pre exercise, or pre-workout level. During a strenuous workout your body goes through a number of stressful processes, muscle fibers, tendons and ligaments get damaged, and waste products build up within your body. The cool down, performed properly, will assist your body in its repair process.
      One area the cool down will help with is "post exercise muscle soreness." This is the soreness that is usually experienced the day after a tough workout. Most people experience this after having a lay-off from exercise, or at the beginning of their sports season. I remember running a half marathon with limited preparation, and finding it difficult to walk down steps the next day because my quadriceps were so sore.
      Post exercise muscle soreness is caused by a number of things. Firstly, during exercise, tiny tears called micro tears develop within the muscle fibers. These micro tears cause swelling of the muscle tissues which in turn puts pressure on the nerve endings and results in pain.
      Secondly, when exercising, your heart is pumping large amount of blood to the working muscles. This blood is carrying both oxygen and nutrients that the working muscles need. When the blood reaches the muscles the oxygen and nutrients are used up. Then the force of the contracting (exercising) muscles pushes the blood back to the heart where it is re-oxygenated. However, when the exercise stops, so does the force that pushes the blood back to the heart. This blood, as well as waste products like lactic acid, stays in the muscles, which in turn causes swelling and pain. This process is often referred to as "blood pooling." So, the cool down helps all this by keeping the blood circulating, which in turn helps to prevent blood pooling and also removes waste products from the muscles. This circulating blood also brings with it the oxygen and nutrients needed by the muscles, tendons and ligaments for repair.
      The Key Parts of an Effective Cool Down
      Now that we know what the cool down does and why it is so important, let’s have a look at the structure of an effective cool down. There are three key elements, or parts, which should be included to ensure an effective and complete cool down. They are;
      Gentle exercise; Stretching; and Re-fuel.  
      All three parts are equally important and any one part should not be neglected or thought of as not necessary. All three elements work together to repair and replenish the body after exercise.
      To follow are two examples of effective cool downs. The first is an example of a cool down used by a professional athlete. The second is typical of someone who simply exercises for general health, fitness and fun.
      Example Cool Down Routines
      Example 1: - For the Professional
      10 to 15 minutes of easy exercise. Be sure that the easy exercise resembles the type of exercise that was done during your workout. For example, if your workout involved a lot of running, cool down with easy jogging or walking. Include some deep breathing as part of your easy exercise to help oxygenate your system. Follow with about 20 to 30 minutes of stretching. Static stretching and PNF stretching is best at this time. Re-fuel. Both fluid and food are important. Drink plenty of water, plus a good quality sports drink. The best type of food to eat straight after a workout is that which is easily digestible. Fruit is a good example.  
      Example 2: - For the Amateur
      3 to 5 minutes of easy exercise. Be sure that the easy exercise resembles the type of exercise that was done during your workout. For example, if your workout involved a lot of running, cool down with easy jogging or walking. Include some deep breathing as part of your easy exercise to help oxygenate your system. Follow with about 5 to 10 minutes of stretching. Static stretching and PNF stretching is best at this time. Re-fuel. Both fluid and food are important. Drink plenty of water, plus a good quality sports drink. The best type of food to eat straight after a workout is that which is easily digestible. Fruit is a good example.  
      Getting serious about your cool down and following the above examples will make sure you recover quicker from your workouts and stay injury free.
      ----------
      Article Source: Brad Walker @ http://www.ArticleWorld.net
      Article by Brad Walker. Brad is a prominent Australian sports trainer with more than 15 years experience in the health and fitness industry. Brad is a Health Science graduate of the University of New England and has postgraduate accreditations in athletics, swimming and triathlon coaching. He also works with elite level and world champion athletes and lectures for Sports Medicine Australia on injury prevention.
      For more information and articles on stretching, flexibility and sports injury, visit The Stretching & Sports Injury Newsletter at; http://www.TheStretchingHandbook.com/


    • Zak
      Posted By: Syndicated Content

      From: FurryFitness.Com

      Stretch for Fitness Success

      When you think of developing a strong, muscular physique what type of exercises do you think of doing? To improve and develop strength most individuals focus on lifting weights exercises such as bench press, push ups and flies that focus on powerful pushing and pulling movements. Cardiovascular activity usually takes the passenger seat, when it comes to developing strength - unless you’re involved in a sport that requires a lot of endurance training, or if you want to loose excess body fat on top of improving your strength.

      Stretching unfortunately isn’t even put in the strength development category, because most of us figure that since it’s a low intensity movement it’s purely for cooling down after our workouts. However stretching isn't merely a great way to cool down trust me it can actually help make you stronger. That’s why I feature a great stretching diagram on my website, FitnessGear101.com.

      The benefits of stretching have numerous effects on your weightlifting progress. Just remember when you stretch you should feel slight tension in your muscles, but no pain!

      Stretching is your key to the following fitness pluses:

      Increased Strength - Stretching actually helps to increase your muscular strength because it expands your range of motion, and range of motion literally applies to weightlifting. For example when you lift in a wider range of motion compared to a smaller range, you’re enlisting the help of more fibers, making your muscles stronger.
      Reduced Stress - We all know that stretching helps reduce the stress and tension in our exercised muscles, but did you know that a quick 20-mintue session of stretching can also release most of the tension that built up throughout an entire workday?
      Improved Posture - Flexible muscles are your key to good posture, because stretching promotes balanced muscle tone in all the major joints in the body. This affects your strength training because good posture reduces stress and soreness in the muscles and joints, letting you get back to the gym faster.
      Improved Speed & Reaction Time - If you’re an athlete you’re aware of how important agility is to top performance. Flexible muscles make you quicker on your feet. This allows for you to run faster in sports like soccer; react quicker by making saves in hockey and by maneuvering around opponents in football.
      Decreased Muscle Soreness - This means less time off from the gym and your game, and more time to devote to developing those muscles.
      Ease of Movement - If you’re not an athlete, never fear, stretching does more than improve sports performance. It makes simple daily tasks easier as well, by lessening the general stiffness in joints so you can bend down, reach up and lift things easily. Stretching will also affect the future of your joints by making you less likely to develop joint pain later in life.
      Reduces Chances of Injury - More flexible muscles translate to less chance of injuring tight muscles during exercise. Take for example your hamstrings, the muscles that run down the back of your upper legs. I like to compare the hamstrings to an elastic band the flexible hamstring has a lot of stretch; whereas the inflexible hamstring is that dried out elastic that breaks when it’s stretch too far.
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      Article Source: Anna Fleet @ http://www.superfeature.com

      Anna Fleet is a certified personal trainer. When she is not working out or helping others achieve optimal health, she is the face and voice behind www.fitnessgear101.com – an excellent online resource for information about Fitness Gear Information, Aerobics Equipment, and Workout Routines.


       


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