How To Promote Muscle Growth Between Workouts

Most people think that muscles develop and grow during a training session. Actually, it is during the periods between workouts that stimulate muscle growth. With proper rest between sessions, the muscles cannot repair themselves properly, which will hinder any growth.

Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D., C.S.C.S, states that in order to gain strength more quickly, pack on lean mass and recover faster, you must follow several guidelines that will give your muscles everything they need to perform (and recover) at optimal levels.

Foam rolling
To help increase blood flow and reduce knots in your muscles, Schoenfeld recommends using a foam roller after every workout. After every workout, roll each muscle group five times to help boost power and mobility.

Keep moving, even on rest days
Although you should allow 48 hours between workouts to help boost recovery times, this doesn’t mean you should simply sit around. By performing some sort of light activity, such as walking or casual biking, you force key nutrients to cycle through your muscles, accelerating recovery.

Go to bed early
Although you probably have better things to do than go to bed at an early hour, Schoenfeld states this is one of the best ways to speed up recovery between workouts. Your body produces growth hormones all throughout the day, but the highest levels are produced while you sleep. Staying up late not only makes you feel tired the next day, it also hinders muscle growth.

Many scientists also believe that sleeping for less than 7 hours per night inhibit protein synthesis and increase the breakdown of muscle tissue.

A workout for your off days
Just because you aren’t hitting the weights doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise in some form. To help stay active and speed recovery, Schoenfeld suggests the following moves, 3 times each:

  1. Walking high knees: To start, stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your left knee, and raise it up as high as you can. Take a large step forward, and then repeat the move with your right knee. Take forward steps like this for a distance of 10 yards, then turn around and walk back to your starting space.
  2. Lateral shuffles: Begin by standing up straight with your feet just slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body while pushing your hips back, and then shuffle to the right for 10 steps, then shuffle back to the left for 10 steps. To prevent injury, do not let your hips drop lower than your knees.
  3. Arm circles: Standing straight with your feet shoulder width apart, extend your arms straight out to your sides. Your palms should be facing forward. Start swinging your forward arms in small circles, gradually building up to larger ones. Once you have performed 10 forward swings, stop and change direction, performing 10 backward swings.

Remember, to keep your muscles in peak condition, you shouldn’t simply ‘rest’ on rest days. Even the simplest of movements can help your muscles recover in record time and help you reach your fitness goals more quickly.

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What Happens When You Take A Break From Exercising?

Even if you have spent hours in the gym burning fat and toning your physique, did you know most of that hard work can become unraveled simply by skipping just a few workouts?

When you exercise on a regular basis, you not only gain physical benefits, but neurological ones as well. Although these gains only take a few weeks to notice, they can disappear just as quickly once the exercise stops. Inigo Mujika, sports physiologist, states that it takes twice as long as an inactive period to get back into shape. For example, if you stop your normal exercise routine for a period of two weeks, it will take up to four weeks to resume your previous level of fitness.

Why do fitness levels drop after two weeks of inactivity?

Even though the body needs time to recover after an intense bout of physical activity, completely skipping workouts for a period as short as two weeks is enough to qualify you as ‘out of shape’.

A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that ceasing exercise for two weeks is enough to greatly reduce insulin sensitivity, lean muscle mass and cardiovascular fitness. During that time, a measure of cardiovascular endurance known as a VO2 max will begin to drop at a rate of half a percent a day.

In a related study, researchers determined that not only can a person’s VO2 max drop 7 percent after a 12-day period of inactivity, but enzymes associated with endurance levels can drop by 50 percent. It was also discovered that endurance cyclists experienced a 20 percent drop in VO2 levels following a 4-week period of inactivity. Even trained athletes lost all VO2 gains after being inactive for 4 weeks.

Does inactivity cause muscle loss?

Although cardiovascular gains deplete quickly during periods of inactivity, strength gains do not recede as fast. Newly-made gains appear to stay in place even after a several-month period of inactivity. Researchers studied a group of untrained men who participated in a strength-training program for a period of 15 weeks. IN the middle of the program, the men took a 3-week break, with no decrease in strength levels after the training program resumed.

Skipping exercise can increase the risk of death

Most experts recommend exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes per day, five days per week. Simply doing this is enough to reduce your risk of death from many factors by 19 percent. By increasing the recommended exercise rate to 7 days per week, the initial 19 percent increases to 24.

A related study proved that individuals who led sedentary lifestyles have a much greater risk of death due to heart disease as those who exercise on a daily basis.

Should you ever skip a workout?

No matter what your fitness level, there may be times when it is necessary to take a small break between workouts. If you have a fever, suffering from an illness such as the flu, are injured, or are experiencing fatigue, you may need to take a step back from working out. Consider this time to be a sort of ‘recovery’ process, but do not get into the habit of consistently missing an exercise session.

No matter what type of exercise you perform, remember that something is always better than nothing. If you become bored with your current workout routine, don’t just simply throw in the towel. Take a short while to try other activities until you find one you like. For example, if you love running but are beginning to find it monotonous, try yoga instead. Sometimes this type of switch is just what you need to ignite your passion for fitness again and prevent you from stopping entirely.

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Exercise-Induced Fatigue And Its Causes

If you’ve ever started a workout feeling great only to run out of steam a few minutes later, you’re not alone. This issue is more common than you may think and has numerous causes. Below, we will discuss a few reasons behind sudden exercise fatigue as explained by exercise physiologist, Janet Hamilton.

Lack of sleep

High levels of stress can affect your sleeping patterns, which prohibits the body from repairing itself properly. Hamilton states that by examining the lifestyles of individuals who suffer from workout fatigue, it is easy to identify a correlation between stress, interrupted sleep, and fatigue.

Exercise places the body under a type of stress, and all types of stress is cumulative. If your going through a rough time a workout, turmoil in a relationship, or not getting enough sleep, the added strain of a workout will cause your body to basically ‘cry uncle’. For more effective workouts, try practicing stress-relieving activities such as meditation.

Anemia

Anemia is a condition which limits the oxygen flow to the body’s cells due to a reduction in red blood cells. Many women who suffer from heavy periods or who have removed red meat from their diet are at the highest risk of developing this tiring condition. Aside from fatiguing quickly during physical activity, anemia can also cause leg cramps, insomnia, and dizziness.

Dehydration

Even the slightest reduction in your body’s fluid levels can cause the blood to become thick, making it harder for the heart to pump. If you are performing strenuous exercise that causes ample sweating, you aren’t only losing water, but electrolytes as well. Low levels of electrolytes can cause muscle cramping and fatigue.

To help determine if dehydration is the cause of your mid-workout slump, Hampton suggests utilizing a scale. Weigh yourself before and after a workout. If you lose more than two percent of your body weight after a sweat session, you should increase your water intake.

Under-active thyroid

An under-active thyroid can cause tiredness at any time of the day; however, if there is no other possible cause for your fatigue during workouts, you may want to speak to your doctor about possible thyroid issues. When the thyroid doesn’t function at optimal levels, it can cause such issues as muscle pain, depression, and fatigue. Thyroid conditions are fairly common, and is a main cause of unexplained fatigue. Roughly one out of eight women will experience thyroid issues at some point during their life, making it one of the most common reasons behind excessive fatigue.

Insufficient carbohydrate levels

Many women looking to lose weight drastically reduce their carbohydrate intake. Although the basis behind weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume, you must balance your intake of carbs to give your body the fuel it needs to get through a workout. If you’re on a diet and suffering from mid-workout fatigue, try increasing your carbohydrate levels.

Although there are numerous issues that can cause you to become easily fatigued during your workout, the above-mentioned reasons rank as a few of the most common. Taking a closer look at your lifestyle and stress levels may help reveal the cause behind any excess tiredness. Proper nutrition and ample rest goes a long way in giving you the energy you need to power through a full workout.

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Quitting Your Job or Giving up Your Dreams

When it comes to career choices, these days there’s a lot of talk about the importance of pursuing your passion. Almost everyone knows someone who has taken the leap to self-employment and never looked back. In fact, the abundance of stories about people giving up the corporate world to follow their dreams is causing those who choose to stick with their day jobs to question whether they might be missing out.

To complicate matters more, technological advances have made it easier than ever to start a small business from home or work from a remote location. This could be adding fuel to the fire, as some would-be entrepreneurs take the plunge without thoroughly thinking things through.

Dreams too close to reality

While the idea of being self-employed is not new, the current environment of instant information has made sharing success stories through various social media platforms as easy as clicking a button. While the success of others can be a great motivator, quitting your day job without a solid plan may not be the best idea.

Passion with a plan

If you’ve always dreamed about starting your own business, it’s important to have a plan in place before taking the plunge. A plan to cover your basic needs (e.g., food, clothing, a place to live and transportation) should be the first thing on your to-do list. Even if you’re single and willing to live a minimalist lifestyle, struggling to meet those basic necessities will cause major stress, take focus away from building your business and put a serious damper on the idea of doing what you love.

Other key planning elements

  • Define your offering
  • Identify and test target market
  • Determine legal requirements
  • Assess startup costs

What do you love?

The focus on doing what you love can be a sticking point for those who just aren’t sure what that is. Although some people do have genuine passions that can be channeled into a successful business venue, the truth is most people do not. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a successful career.

Loving what you do

While the number of individuals leaving the corporate world is on the rise, it’s not the right decision for everyone. The good news is large businesses aren’t going away, and they need talented, motivated people to fulfill critical roles and help them remain profitable. Instead of focusing on not having a particular passion that’s calling you away from your current job, take a closer look at the value you add and how you contribute to the success of the company. With this new perspective, you might find you already love what you do.

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Seven Financial Relationship Mistakes to Avoid

Money is a common argument in relationships. With two incomes and only one lifestyle, there are bound to be some disagreements. Here are seven money mistakes that couples should watch out for the keep some financial peace in the household.

1. Keeping Everything Separate

Trying to keep everything financially equal is tough because it requires you to keep tally of each others’ spending. Rather than splitting everything 50/50 it is a better idea to get a joint credit card and split the bill at the end of the month. This will keep you from having to remember who was the last person to pick up paper towels.

2. Over-Spending on a Wedding

While it is easy to get caught up in the big day, the expenses of these events add up quickly. Set realistic goals for your wedding dreams and think about what is really important and what will be remembered in 10 years. Don’t set yourself up to start your marriage in serious debt.

3. Letting Love Trump Common Financial Sense

Don’t throw away the common sense of having a secure income because your heart is telling you to follow someone else’s dreams. Remember that love does not conquer all, so make sure if you are moving cities with your significant other that you have career opportunities available as well.

4. Avoiding Money Talks

No matter how well you communicate with your partner, keep in mind that one of those conversations should certainly be about finances. Sit down to make firm financial goals and budgets. While it seems like these conversations may end in an argument, you are more likely to be at odds without a mutual understanding. Keep your budget updated when your incomes change. Consider when you both want to retire and save accordingly.

5. Not Paying for Help

Spend your money wisely to help cultivate your relationship. If you are spending too much of your free time doing something that you could pay someone else to do while you spend time with your partner, strongly consider hiring help. Research affordable professionals to clean and the benefits of letting go of that strain will far outweigh the price.

6. Not Considering a Prenup

People inevitably change throughout the years and divorce is a common issue. Unfortunately, after divorce, you can no longer rely on your spouse’s income to live. Getting a prenup can protect you from your future selves and the unknown debt that you may accrue as a couple. This will benefit you in the long run if things go south.

7. Not Comparing Health Insurance Plans

Some companies do not charge much to add a spouse to a health insurance plan. Different companies have different benefits in this regard, so review each of your plans to see how you can get the most bang for your health insurance buck.

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