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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Two Most Important Things You Can Do Before a Workout

I know, as simple as stupid as it sounds, it is kinda important...and we gotta do it at least half an hour before the workout if we wanna prevent feeling sick during the workout!

Thank you ACE

There is a ton of information out there addressing things like training, supplementation and best practices, in terms of what you should do before a workout. It can be overwhelming trying to sift through it all and figure out what works best for you. Each of us has unique needs and what works for me may not work for you. Here’s what the latest research says about two of the most important things you can do before a workout: hydration and fuel. 
Hydrate: Did you now that performance decrements can be apparent with just a 1 percent loss of body fluid? As a result, going into a workout dehydrated decreases your time to exhaustion and inhibits performance. As the percent of water loss increases, the severity of symptoms increases and time to exhaustion decreases. Water is necessary for a number of bodily functions, including thermoregulation. Make it a point to stay hydrated before you head out for your next training bout. 
Fuel: There is a long-standing debate about whether it’s best to perform cardio after a fast or after fueling. Although fasted cardio can help tap into fat stores (because glycogen stores are low or depleted), this doesn’t necessarily translate into the best or most intense workout. If you think about it from a physiology standpoint, the body’s main source of energy is carbohydrate, which it can use during high-intensity exercise because it requires less oxygen to metabolize. Training at greater intensities helps increase post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which makes it possible to continue to burn fat beyond a workout. Conversely, when you exercise at lower intensities (using fat as a fuel source), your body will not be able to burn energy at the same rate as it did when exercising using carbohydrates as the primary fuel source. 
What are the best fuel sources to consume before a strenuous session? Simple carbohydrates are quickly digested and absorbed into the muscles via the bloodstream. This provides the muscles with energy, which allows you to train harder, faster and longer. Fruits and liquid carbohydrate solutions are both good options that can allow you to go into a workout feeling fueled, but not overly full. 
The next question to answer is how much fuel you need and how soon before a workout you should consume it. This will be different for every person. Some people can eat right before exercising, while others need more time to digest their food. And how much food you need will depend on the duration and intensity of your workout. Figure out what works best for you and always be sure to drink enough water before your workouts.

This Zen Comic Is Full of Timeless Life Lessons (Picture)

A really good friend of mine sent me this. And I won't tire reading this again and again.

Just a little inspiration to ease the day :)

Courtesy of Films of Action

Saturday, July 25, 2015

9 Delicious Breadless Sandwich Ideas That Will Make You Drool

YUM! GO Paleao! Well.......... once in a while  *grin*

Nice website too, direct link here

A growing number of people have given up bread for a good reason. If you are unable to bake it yourself, then your options to eat a loaf of heathy bread are very limited.
The good news is that there are ways to enjoy and even enhance your favorite burgers or wraps without having to worry about finding bread that does not harm your body.
You will want to save the ideas suggested below because once you try them, you are going to forget all about your packaged bread obsession-you will simply “retire” it! After tasting these, they just might occupy your plate more often than you have originally planned. Don’t complain we didn’t warn you about it!
1. Cucumber subs
Cucumber is indispensable for hydrating and nourishing your body in the summer. When you combine it with your favorite sour cream and deli in the middle, what you get is nothing short of an amazing breadless meal for your breakfast, lunch or supper.
2. Barbecue salmon- lettuce wraps
This is another great snack for you. Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and protein. You chop your grilled or baked salmon fillets, wrap them up in some freshly-picked lettuce, then drizzle them with your favorite seasoning  and… that’s all to it!
3. Red bell pepper sandwich

Red and green bell peppers are high in para-coumaric acid, vitamin B6 and magnesium. Red peppers contain almost 300% of your daily vitamin C intake! Besides being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is also needed for the proper absorption of iron. If you are iron deficient, try combining red peppers with your iron source for maximum absorption. They also support healthy night vision, which makes them an excellent substitute for stale and fattening buns!
4. Paleo sweet potato buns
ova 4Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet-tasting, but their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain. If you combine them with some berry filling, you will get a bun that is sweet and delicious for a change.
5. Grilled eggplant sandwich
ova 3Eggplant is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B1 and copper. It is a good source of manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. Eggplantalso contains phytonutrients such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid.
The incredibly versatile eggplant works in everything from Italian to Asian recipes. Bonus: it makes a tasty substitute for burger meat, too. So your “newborn burger” will not only look different, but it will also taste much different.
6. Gluten-free tapioca wraps
ova7Grown in the tropics, the cassava or tapioca plant produces a fleshy edible root stock. A nutritious starch is extracted from cassava and formed into “pearls”. Although it may be loathed by the older generation, younger people should still know that tapioca is a staple in many cuisines.
7. Plantain tortillas
ova 9
A tortilla is a type of soft, thin flatbread made from finely-ground wheat flour. Theseplantain tortillas have so much to offer to those looking for a good, simple, healthy replacement for standard flour or corn tortillas.
8. Tomato-avocado fantasy burgers
ova 10
Reap the benefits of eating more avocados, from arthritis relief to good heart health.And tomatoes contain a wide array of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, including alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, choline, folic acid, beta-carotene and lutein. Plump, dewy-fresh local tomatoes are something to be thankful for to Mother Nature. Just look how much healthier they look than your pale old bun! These “burgers” are so yummy that they can be eaten-until-bursting.
9. Portabella halloumi burgers
ova 112
If you like veggies, these over-sized mushrooms are a must-try ingredient. Pay attention: there are only 66 calories in 9 ounces of portabella mushrooms! In texture,halloumi unripen cheese is similar to a firm mozzarella. Combine your slowly-roastedportabella mushrooms with halloumi easily-fried cheese and treat yourself to another great over-sized burger!
Well, there you have it. Should I say anything else? Try one or two of these nine and I bet you’ll forget all about your old “buddy”- bread for a while.Go bun-free this week!

10 Ways to REALLY Help Someone Who Has a New Baby – by Shelly Lopez Gray (Registered nurse)

I can relate to this....and this is written by a nurse (so helpful)

Thank you Shelly

I would have given a kidney if someone would have done any of these things for me after the birth of my second child. To the people who brought my family food while I was so busy with my baby, you will never know the full extent of my gratitude!

1. Take their other kids somewhere.

Anywhere — just get them out of their house. It’s so much harder when you have to tend to a new baby and to your other kids. So take out her other children as often as you can!

2. Bring food.

And I mean food that comes in a disposable pan or food that you can dump in a crock pot. Do not bring anything that she’ll have to wash and worry about getting back to you. If you just don’t cook, bring paper plates and silverware… so if she’s forced to cook for herself, at least you’ll help her minimize how many dishes she has to clean up.

3. Fork over the money for a stranger to clean the house.

Best. Gift. Ever. But you have to pay for someone else to come clean their house, you can’t be the one to do it. There is no way in hell I’d feel comfortable watching a friend clean my house and sort my dirty laundry. Or put things away in my drawers. Who knows what they’d find! But I wouldn’t feel guilty lying around in my pajamas, nursing a new baby, while watching a stranger clean up my hot mess.

4. Watch their baby while they take a nap.

Before coming over, you have to say… I’m going to come over to watch your baby while you sleep. It doesn’t work if you just show up and say you’re going to do it, because then she’ll play the “oh-no-I’m-fine” game.

5. Recognize signs of postpartum depression.

Although it’s common for women to have “Baby Blues,” it can quickly turn into postpartum depression. If you begin to notice that a new mom does not really want to take care of herself or her baby, encourage her or her family to seek additional help. Be on the lookout for telltale signs that moms might need a little extra help.

6. Get them out of the house.

Sometimes both mom and baby just need to get out of the house. Find a way to encourage everyone to get some fresh air, even if it’s just to take a walk around the neighborhood.

7. Be extra attentive if their baby has any sort of issue.

I once watched a friend’s baby who had really bad reflux. After watching her all day, I thought, “There is no way her mom doesn’t need more help than she’s letting on.” Her baby was so much work! So if a baby has any other issue that makes him or her a little harder to handle, try to go out of your way to help — mom and dad may really need it!

8. Go to the grocery store for her.

Or watch her baby while she goes to the grocery store. I really enjoyed this after I had my baby. I spent two hours at the store once, and when I came home, my friend was like, “and you only came back with two things?!?” But it was so nice just walking around a familiar place with no one to feed or hold…

9. Make a sign for their door that says “Baby Sleeping.”

It never fails… you just put the baby to bed and FedEx or UPS or your neighbor comes over and rings your doorbell, waking up the baby. I always wanted to make a sign, but somehow, I never got around to it. I can’t count how many times I’ve given someone the evil eyeball for just ringing the doorbell. Somewhere out there, there’s a group of Girl Scouts that will never knock on my door again…

10. Always come with a package of diapers or wipes.

Let’s be honest — our kids don’t need more cute clothes! But you know they’re going to go through those diapers like they’re not $23 a box. A less expensive alternative? Bring wipes! You end up using them for everything from wiping a baby’s bottom to wiping up a spill in your car to wiping the makeup off your own hand when you’re in a hurry and can’t find your foundation brush. Always a useful gift!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

How to Become A Healthy Road Warrior

To those of you who travels a lot or go for just the weekend get away. Something for me in this country specially. I like the exercise bit coz it does take up so little space and time!

Courtesy from ACE


Congratulations! You’ve settled into a routine of healthy habits at home and at work, but then, boom, life happens and you have to travel. Whether it’s a work trip or a family reunion, there is no reason you can’t maintain the healthy lifestyle you have already implemented at home. Here are some travel tips to ensure you continue your healthy habits while on the road.

Snack Attack

Fail to prepare and prepare to fail. Always arm yourself with healthy snacks to prevent S.O.S (Sudden Onset of Starvation). Hunger often equals bad food choices, so keeping healthy snacks on hand is a great way to stay on track. Here are some suggestions: 
1. Veggies are crunchy and hydrating, and won’t pack on the calories. Opt for sliced bell pepper, celery and carrots.
2. Nuts are a great option—just make sure they are natural and raw. You’ll want to steer clear of roasted, salted and flavored varieties. Nuts are packed with nutrients, fiber, protein and healthy monounsaturated fats, which will help make you feel satiated, regulate blood sugar levels and prevent cravings. If weight loss is your goal, be mindful of portions, as a small handful packs about 180 calories.
3. Make your own healthy trail mix before you hit the road. Include ingredients like raw nuts, dried fruit and shredded coconut. If you want something more indulgent, ditch the M&Ms and opt for some dark chocolate chunks instead.
4. Jerky is high in protein and can be carried anywhere. Just keep in mind that not all jerky is created equal. Some brands are packed with high-sodium ingredients, such as MSG and sodium nitrate. Opt for those made from all-natural ingredients, and grass-fed beef is always best.
5. While real food is preferred over processed food products, bars are a great options when you’re on the road. While many “health” bars are no better than glorified candy bars, there are a few brands that offer healthy options. Quest Bars are high in protein without sugar, Lara Bars contain only a few ingredients, and Greens + are organic and vegan.

Fast Food Doesn’t Have to Equal Disaster

Sure, your options may be limited while on the road, but become a pro at navigating a menu and you can make healthy choices anywhere. Here are some ideas:
1. In & Out Burger: Skip the cheese and order any of their burgers “Protein Style”—the burger will be wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun.
2. Chipotle: Order a salad or a bowl with extra meat and guacamole and forget the cheese, rice and beans.
3. Panera: This chain has a hidden menu so make sure you ask for their “Power” options, which includes a breakfast bowl with steak and a roasted turkey salad.
4. Diners: You can never go wrong with eggs and bacon, or a massive salad with grilled chicken or steak.
5. Gas Stations: Convenience stores have expanded their healthy options and often sell items such as raw almonds, hardboiled eggs, vegetables and hummus, and bottled protein shakes.

No Gym, No Problem

No access or time for the gym while you’re away? You can still start your days away with a 10-minute workout right in your hotel room. Here are some ideas: 
1. Jump for Efficiency: 100 jumping jacks, 75 squats, 50 push-ups, 25 burpees for time
2. Burpee Blowout: 100 burpees for time
3. 6 Minutes of Mayhem: Max push-ups in 2 minutes, 1-minute rest, Max sit-ups in 2 minutes, 1-minute rest, max squats in 2 minutes
4. Rein in the Rope: 3 rounds of 10 burpees, 20 push-ups, 30 walking lunges, 40 squats, 50 jump-rope singles)
5. Lucky 7s: 7 squats, 7 burpees, 7 rounds

There you have it—snacks, fast food and fitness all covered. Just remember: Being away doesn’t mean your healthy habits have to stray.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Study: Which Physical Activities = Better Sleep?

The answer is............the one you enjoy most! Reference: Ace - Pro Source

Ever wondered which types of exercise are most closely associated with getting a good night’s sleep? How does a long run compare to a round of golf? Is a walk around the block as conducive to good sleep as biking or strength training? What about mind-body activities like yoga or Pilates?

Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania recently tried to answer the question of whether specific types of physical activities may impact sleep quality.

Not only did their study reveal which activities were most beneficial—all the activities just mentioned, plus aerobics/calisthenics and gardening—they also found that some types of physical activity took a toll on the quality of one’s sleep. Specifically, household chores and childcare were associated with increased cases of poor sleep habits (a fact that will come as no surprise to parents of young children).

Physical activity is already well associated with healthy sleep, but the new study focused on identifying whether specific types of physical activities may impact sleep quality. A team of Penn researchers, who presented their findings at the 29th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in June, used data on sleep and physical activities of 429,110 adults from the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Researchers measured whether each of 10 types of activities was associated with typical amounts of sleep, relative to both no activity and to walking. Survey respondents were asked what type of physical activity they spent the most time doing in the past month, as well as how much sleep they got in a typical 24-hour period. Because previous studies showed that people who get fewer than seven hours per night are at greater risk for poor health and functioning, the study evaluated whether people who reported specific activities were more likely to also report sufficient sleep.

Compared to those who reported that they did not get physical activity in the past month, all types of activity were associated with a lower likelihood of insufficient sleep, with the big exception being household chores and childcare. To assess whether these effects are just a result of any activity, results were compared to those who reported walking as their main source of activity.

Compared to walking, the following activities were associated with fewer cases of insufficient sleep: aerobics/calisthenics, biking, gardening, golf, running, weight-lifting and yoga/Pilates, while household and childcare activities were associated with higher cases of insufficient sleep. These results were adjusted for age, sex, education level and body mass index.

“Although previous research has shown that lack of exercise is associated with poor sleep, the results of this study were surprising,” says Michael Grandner, Ph.D., an instructor in psychiatry and lead author of the study. “Not only does this study show that those who get exercise simply by walking are more likely to have better sleep habits, but these effects are even stronger for more purposeful activities, such as running and yoga, and even gardening and golf.”

In other words, enjoyable, physically active pursuits are a great way to promote better sleep, an important piece of wisdom all health and fitness professionals should be sharing with their clients. And, given the apparent negative impact of housework and childcare, it might be worth discussing these challenges with clients who have families.

Also worth discussing? The huge role sleep plays in overall health and well-being, including mental and physical performance, weight maintenance and emotional health.

“These results are consistent with the growing scientific literature on the role of sleep in human performance,” continues Grandner. “Lab studies show that lack of sleep is associated with poor physical and mental performance, and this study shows us that this is consistent with real-world data as well. Since these results are correlational, more studies are needed to help us understand whether certain kinds of physical activity can actually improve or worsen sleep, and how sleep habits help or hurt a person’s ability to engage in specific types of activity.”

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Passive Vs. Active Recovery: Which is More Effective?

Really good article to know which recovery route to take. So that we don't just recover well but fast and better too!

Feeling sore? If so, you might not feel like moving, but in general that’s not the best thing. Passive recovery means stillness and inactivity. By contrast, active recovery means being active in a way that promotes recovery rather than intensity. But which type of recovery is better?

To effectively answer that question, let’s first examine soreness in a user-friendly way. In general, there are two types:
1. That general sense of heaviness or tiredness in muscles that let you know you did something challenging but this feeling is not painful, and does not limit your movements.
2. An intense soreness and discomfort during movement that almost makes you regret exercising in the first place. This type of soreness is a sign of severe damage.

Many people—especially people who love intense exercise—mistakenly keep chasing soreness #2, but the soreness described in #1 is the sweet spot of exercise intensity. You can tell you did something valuable, but you still feel good while your body recovers.

One more time, just so we are clear: Soreness #2 = bad. Soreness #1 = good.

Now for recovery.

The day after some spirited sport play or a tough workout, you may rise feeling sluggish and is if your limbs are made of concrete. This is never a good feeling. But you’ll notice that after you’ve been up and moving for a few minutes, you’re feeling a bit better. You may not feel like moving much, but it’s likely a good idea.

Passive recovery involves doing almost nothing and is only warranted in the case of certain types of injury.

Active recovery, however, can include any of the following:
Massage – either self-massage or professional
Mobility exercises – moving through a full range of motion, but avoiding long holds as in stretching
General light physical activity – something in between passive rest and a workout
Whether by the skilled hands of a professional or from using the many terrific tools and methods for self-massage on your own, massage can enhance recovery by increasing circulation. Our bodies are like large skin bags full of water. When we compress a part of the body, we squeeze out “old” fluid that carries the waste products of muscle breakdown. When we release that pressure, fresh blood comes in to deliver the nutrients and warmth to help with repair and rebuilding.

Mobility exercises use the full range of motion around a joint to pump more blood through the muscle. This allows you to enhance blood flow to all the muscles surrounding a joint without overloading any of the muscles because most mobility exercises are simply unloaded or performed using minimal body weight.

The most important type of active recovery is general light physical activity. Because there is a wide range of abilities and current fitness levels among people, defining “light” in clear terms is difficult, but you can think of it as any physical activity that increases circulation without introducing muscular challenge.

For example, take a walk, toss a ball around, go for a light bike ride, kick a ball around, fly a kite—whatever enhances blood flow without bringing a big challenge to the muscles will fulfill the requirements of this type of physical activity.

Side note: Ice baths or contrast water therapy (alternating between cold and warm water) are sometimes employed as a recovery strategy. The research is mixed on the benefits of these strategies, with some studies finding them to help and others finding them to increase soreness perceptions following strenuous exercise. I don’t typically recommend people try these, but if you have tried them and found they work for you, then carry on.

Muscles and joints love circulation. And they really love it when they need more of it. And they need more of it when they are recovering from a challenging workout.

The next time you’re feeling crushed after a hard workout, remember that difference in feeling you get when you awake stiff and then feel better after getting up and moving for a couple of minutes. That simple and common reminder is all you will need to know that a little moving brings the blood and the circulation is what you’re really after—not the soreness.

Jonathan Ross

Jonathan’s “800 pounds of parents” inspired his fitness career as a two-time Personal Trainer of the Year Award-Winner (ACE and IDEA), fitness thought leader, and fitness/media expert for Discovery Fit & Health. His book, Abs Revealed, is a modern, intelligent approach to abdominal training. He is a Master Instructor for ACE, SPRI, Tabata Bootcamp, and formerly for TRX. His brain-based fitness training is transforming lives by transforming attitudes about fitness. A former astronomer, Jonathan used to study stellar bodies – now he builds them!