Sunday, July 31, 2011

Functional Training

Functional training is a style of training that targets all areas of your body.  Functional training incorporates and combines all your different muscle groups to perform an exercise or activity that maximizes your energy exertion.  Traditional resistance training with weights or machines only target a specific muscle or muscle group and isolate a lot of muscles during exercise.  Functional training exercises target multiple muscle groups through a more natural range of motion.  Instead of a controlled unnatural movement, functional training exercises improve your natural ability and core strength.  The role of this style of training is to become more advanced in your resistance training routine for better results.

To perform functional training exercises you can use body weight, resistance bands, weights, basically anything that creates a resistance.  This training benefits a lot when rehabbing injuries, sports conditioning, strengthening weak areas, and also avoiding plateaus.  Functional training is good for improving balance and strengthening stabilizer muscles which control your balance.  This type of training can not only improve your overall physical conditioning, but can also prevent injuries when performing normal activities at work or at home.
Functional training is recommended to everybody who wants to follow a fitness plan that will give them the best results for the rest of their life.  It is important that you seek instruction from a fitness professional to perform these exercises.  Their are a broad range of exercises that can be categorized as functional.  As your fitness plan progresses it is important to be more creative with your routine for better results.  Functional training will open up a world of creativity that will also add excitement to your workout!

Are You A Hard Gainer?

A Hard gainer is a man and woman who is a natural ectomorph (a thin person who does not gain weight easily).  If your parents are thin and you are thin, it is probably hard for you to gain weight.  With this natural occurrence due to genetics and heredity you have to work extra hard on committing to a plan that is going to help you grow the right way.  You are not doomed, you do not have to be thin the rest of your life.  You can have a muscular or more toned look! You must follow a balanced total body resistance training routine and a nutrition plan that feeds your muscles.

Here are 6 nutritional tips for Hard Gainers who want to add 10-20 pounds of muscle.
1. Eat 6-7 meals a day depending on activity levels.
2. Eat breakfast around or before 8am and every 3 hours after.
3. Eat more natural sources of protein.(chicken, fish, steak, eggs, dairy products)
4. A whey protein supplement is necessary.
5. Eat more healthy carbohydrates and fats.
6. Make sure your calorie intake is higher than your calorie burn each day.


Cholesterol is substance which is found in the cellular membranes of all animals. You do not have to consumed this substance since the human body creates it’s own supply.  Cholesterol is only found in animals and cannot be consumed from eating fruits, vegetables, or nuts.

Cholesterol is broken into two categories which are bad cholesterol (LDL) and good cholesterol (HDL).  Following a diet plan that is high in cholesterol can lead to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.  When monitoring your cholesterol levels you want to make sure that your bad cholesterol levels are low and your good cholesterol levels are normal.  When you have higher than normal bad cholesterol it causes plaque to build up in your arteries which can lead to heart diseases.  When you have a higher good cholesterol count you are at less risk of heart disease.

To avoid having a high bad cholesterol count it is important to limit the amount of dietary cholesterol you consume each day.  Around a maximum of 300 mg of cholesterol is recommended in your diet daily.
Here is a list of foods that are high in cholesterol you should limit or avoid:

·     Beef
·     Egg yolks
·     Lamb
·     Pork
·     Chicken and turkey liver
·     Whole milk
·     Ice cream
·     Butter
·     Duck
·     Shrimp

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Drink Water Responsibly!

Drinking water is an essential part of your nutritional diet plan.  Depending on how much body fat you have, you can live on water and no food for at least a month.  We can only live without water for 14 days maximum.  It is important to drink enough water a day to maintain body fluids at their normal levels.  Maintaining normal fluid levels in our bodies will determine how well our bodies work and how much energy we have.  It is recommended that we drink 2 or more quarts of water a day depending on our activity levels and how much water we excrete each day.  Water retention is determined by how fast we drink it.  Absorbing water in moderation is retained better than drinking a whole lot a once.  Drinking a large amount of water in a short period of time will cause your body to excrete it.  Some say it is better to drink bottled water than tap water, but they are basically the same.  Both tap and bottled water have been exposed to chemicals as well as harmful bacteria.  Obtaining a water filter for your sink at home will save you money and be a little more environmentally sound.

Drinking water prevents:
·    Dehydration
·    Bladder problems including constipation
·    Kidney Stones
·    Skin Disease
·    Cancers
·    Osteoporosis
·    Water Retention
·    Brain Diseases

Heart Healthy Fat Sources

Not all fat sources are bad, some are essential in our diet to maintain balance and prevent cardiovascular diseases.  Fats or triglycerides come from plants and animals in a solid or oil form.  Fats can be categorized into three categories which and saturated, unsaturated, and trans fatty acids.         Trans fats are artificial fats that are made to preserve food longer and extend the shelf life of the food.  It is important to avoid any product that consists of trans fat.  Saturated fats should not exceed 10% of your diet.  Saturated fats sources are found in all dairy products and meats.  There is a direct correlation between products with saturated fats and high cholesterol levels.  A diet consisting of saturated fat can put you at a greater risk of heart disease.  The majority of fats in your diet should come from unsaturated fat sources.  Unsaturated fat sources in your diet lead to a healthier heart and lower cholesterol levels in your blood.  Unsaturated fats consist of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which are essential fat sources because we have to have them in our diet.
Here are some examples of healthy fat sources:
·     Fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
·     Seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, and flax)
·     Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
·     Oils (Canola, Olive, Sunflower, Corn)
·     Avocados

Kettlebell Training

The kettlebell is a great way to improve your dynamic strength, muscular endurance, and increase performance potential.  No one knows when the kettlebell was actually invented.  We do know that it has been around for centuries and was first used by the Russians for strength and performance training.  The Russian military would use the kettlebell for strength, agility, power, and endurance.

The kettlebell is a great tool for building all around strength in your body.  The exercises performed by using the kettebell combine unlike muscle groups to promote a higher strength potential.  The kettlebell is widely used today by athletes and even in martial arts to give competitors an extra edge and increase explosiveness.  Kettlebells exercises are designed for you to incorporate your core while targeting other muscle groups as well.  Increasing the weight of the kettlebell forces you to exert more energy to perform an exercise.  A heavier kettlebell also forces increased strength throughout a broader range of motion. 
Kettlebell training is very popular today because it has been proven to be effective for top competitive athletes as well as the normal gym members committed to reaching their goals.  For safety, receive proper instruction from a fitness professional and try this training out for a while, you will see improvements all around!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Protein is a a major food group that we need in our diet to maintain cellular growth and recovery.  The average person needs 60-70 grams of protein minimum daily, depending on their weight and muscle mass.  Protein contains amino acids which repair cells throughout our bodies.  Taking in the required amount of protein a day is important in maintaining a low body fat percentage and gaining muscle.  It is proven that individuals who maintain a high protein diet are able to maintain their lean mass and burn fat easier.  Taking in less protein in your diet can lead to the exact opposite.  A low protein diet, which is unusually common amongst most, can cause atrophy or a decrease in muscle mass and metabolism.  Too much or too little protein has been proven to have negative effects. As long as you consume necessary amounts of protein depending on your goals and also balance your carbohydrates and fat sources appropriately, then you should have no problems.  It is best to consult with a professional to determine how much protein you need a day to compliment your daily activity levels.  20-30 grams of protein should be consumed 3-4 meals a day minimum.  Supplementation is necessary to compensate where you are lacking  in your food consumption.

Non-nutritive Sweeteners

Non-nutritive sweeteners are artificial sweeteners which are usually sweeter than table sugar but have no calorie value.  Products that contain artificial sweeteners are diet soft drinks like Diet Coke, Equal, NutraSweet, Sweet’ N Low, and Splenda.  These artificial sweeteners have no proven negative effect on your body but can result in a decrease in calorie intake.  This can be good or bad depending on your physical goals.  Non-nutritive Sweeteners can be up to 600 times as sweet as normal table sugar, which can lead to increased tolerance for sweets in our diet.  For people with diabetes or high blood sugar levels, non-nutritive sweeteners are a healthy alternative.  It is always recommended that you avoid any processed or artificial products when formulating your nutritional plan.  Non-nutritive sweeteners are all artificial and are continued to be studied for adverse effects.

High Intensity Interval Training

High Intensity Training (HIIT) is great for improving your cardiovascular endurance, overall strength, and reducing body fat.  HIIT involves performing exercises at a high intense level consecutively with timed rest periods in between.  This increases your heart rate rapidly and maximizes your exertion level.  You will expend more calories in a shorter amount of time.  A high intense exercise routine will allow you to maintain your muscles mass while increasing your metabolism.  This training forces your body to maintain it’s muscle while burning more and storing less fat.  Most people who go for hours on the treadmill, elliptical, or jogging outside put their muscles at risk.  Over 45 minutes of cardio forces your body to burn away muscle for energy.  You have to workout to maintain your muscle, which drives your metabolism.  This type of training is highly recommended for people trying to burn fat, prepare for a competition, or maximize their athletic ability.  High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be performed with resistance or on a track.  The key is to do different exercises at a high intense level to continue to shock your body.  This will get you the best results from your routine provided that you are consistent and following a balanced nutritional diet plan.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


A diet with a lot of fiber can promote a healthier life and prevent a lot of intestinal and cardiovascular health problems.  Fiber is a carbohydrate that cannot be digested.  Mainly the outer layer of most fruits and vegetables, fiber helps slow down your digestive system so that nutrients can be processed efficiently.  Fiber also goes through your digestive system and acts as a sponge absorbing fat and sugar.  A high fiber diet will increase satiety, meaning it will take longer for your body to digest fiber so you will be less hungry after you eat it.  It is recommended that you consume at least 25 grams of fiber a day to maintain a healthy balance within your body.

Here are some good sources of fiber:
·     Oat
·     Nuts
·     Fruits
·     Leafy green vegetables
·     Whole grains
·     Legumes
·     Seeds

The Deadlift

This a great resistance training exercise to increase lower back strength and it targets every other muscle in your body also.  This is an exercise for men and women.  The deadlift is performed with a straight barbell and weighted plates.  The deadlift is most effective when done with proper form.  Before incorporating this exercise into your routine you should seek proper technique from a skilled professional to prevent injury.   

When done correctly the deadlift can:

·     Help you increase strength throughout your entire body.
·     Prevent injuries doing normal everyday activities involving lifting.
·     Enhance your power potential for multiple exercises and activities.
·     Improve your gripping power.
·     Increase muscle mass and tone throughout the body.
·     Improve cardiovascular endurance.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup?

      Due to the rise in corn production throughout the 1970’s in the US, High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) was invented.  Most of all the processed foods we eat today contain HFCS.  HFCS is found in products that you would not even think it was in.  HFCS is found in sodas, cakes, cookies, salad dressing, and other products we shop for regularly.  This artificial sweetener is widely overused today and is putting more and more people at risk of health problems resulting from obesity. 
      Our bodies are made to process more natural sugar levels.  HFCS is actually a combination of two sugars to make an artificial sweetener which is less expensive and preserves food products longer.  It is difficult for our bodies to process sugar at this level when consumed.  When you eat something with HFCS as an ingredient, it’s like overloading your body on sugar.  This can lead to increased blood glucose (sugar) levels and even liver problems.
       It is recommended to limit the amount of processed foods with HFCS that you eat .  The short term affects of this unnatural sweetener could be diarrhea, gas, and bloating.  A diet full of processed foods containing HFCS can lead to high triglyceride levels, insulin resistance, diabetes, and dental problems (cavities).