Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Easiest Way to Lose Weight - Ever

I made this program for a client who did not have the motivation to exercise and couldn't keep a healthy eating plan for longer than a few days. For people like me, it is very easy to stay healthy, because I know how good exercise is for you. I also long for that feel-good endorphin high that I experience after every workout. For those who don't exercise regularly, it can be hard for them to understand, or even look forward to, these happy hormone encounters. Endorphins are released during exercise to uplift your mind and body and improve performance. The feeling is very similar to the dopamine release that you feel after eating chocolate. It makes you want more.

I have also been doing it for so long that I forget about how hard it might be for someone who is just starting out and hasn't built up the continual momentum yet. Many people are very overwhelmed by the idea of hard, physical effort. They see it as a chore, when I see it as a chance to experience a sense of achievement and progress.

This program makes healthy lifestyle changes simple, small and easy. All you need to do is start off with a single squat (Yes, just one squat and you are done for the day!). You are now following an exercise routine. Let that sink in for a moment - you are one your way to a healthier you. It does not sound as bad as you always thought it did, does it? Once you come to terms with the fact that you are already getting healthier; the idea of doubling the health effects by doing two squats doesn't sound too intimidating, and I'm sure that the idea has already crossed your mind. This is progress. Every step is not only easy and seemingly insignificant, but after no time at all you will be as fanatic about your health as I am.

This is the basic idea of the program: You start off by making small changes that seem too easy to make a difference, and they add up every day until you are taking down mountains. By starting out extremely low and increasing gradually, you give your mind time to come to terms with the new change. You will also start to change your mind-set about exercise. After some time, you will start to look forward to your little achievements. Once you start to see the changes in your face, weight, energy levels and mood, you will start wanting to do more and more on your own. This helps you to change your mind-set from the negative chore-like image of exercise to the positive, life-giving one that it actually is.

By now I'm sure you get the point, so let's jump right into the program:

The Progression Program


Week 1: Exercise: Squats


On day one, all you need to do is a single squat. Add one more squat each day so that you will do two the next day, three the next, etc. Keep adding a single squat to your routine every day (and continue to do so into the following weeks).

See: Benefits of squats and How to squat properly

After a week or two, you might start struggling with the amount of squats that you are doing, depending on your fitness level. If you reach this stage, firstly reward yourself for getting that far! Secondly, you can stick with the amount of squats that you are doing for a few days before you are comfortable with increasing the number by one again.


Week 2: Just add Water


As you continue to build up your squat count, start off this week by making sure that you drink at least 2 liters of water every day. Since you have been so good at keeping your past goal from the last week, you will be motivated to keep the ball rolling by adding this simple extension. This is the power of momentum. Once the ball is rolling, it gets easier and easier to increase its speed.

Most people are dehydrated, and water is needed to flush out excess sodium. Too much sodium (which is found in almost all processed foods and requires fluids to be flushed from the body) leads to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Proper water consumption also allows your body to eliminate toxins and regulate its internal systems through proper circulation and blood flow. According to Everyday Health; dehydration is a major cause of lethargy (lack of energy and feeling tired all the time), headaches, and even sugar cravings!

Since you are building up your new body, help it speed up the change by giving it the water that it needs to refresh and revive itself. Adding lemon juice to water will increase its detoxifying benefits.

Make sure that you drink at least two liters of water every day, and you will have successfully completed this step!

For those who are wondering, yes; it is possible to drink too much water. This usually only happens if you are drinking something like 5-10 liters of water in a day, or if you drink too much too quickly. Don't chug 2 liters in one go! Read more about getting too much water here.

Week 3: Que the Fruit


Fruit are full of nutrients, aid digestion, keep us young and get rid of toxins. This week, all you need to do is make sure that you have 5 servings of fruit and vegetables every day. They can be any fruit or vegetable - as long as they are fresh, uncooked, and different. Two apples do not count as two servings. Rather have an apple and a carrot to make two different servings. This gives you a greater variety of micro nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins, minerals (see their importance), trace elements, phyto-chemicals and more.

You can add them as an entire meal or separate them into small additions to your current diet. Don't worry about changing anything else about your diet just yet, although at this stage you will probably start wanting to.

As you start to see a positive change in your body (which you definitely will at this stage if you have followed the steps correctly so far), you will naturally want to do more and more to keep the results coming. Acknowledge this and celebrate the fact that getting healthier is starting to become exciting for you.

Week 4: Alternatives


This is the week where the changes get a little bigger. I'm sure you've been wondering when we were going to address your current eating habits, and this is the week. Now that you have made small changes and seen results, you will be motivated to make the bigger changes. Even at this stage, I have good news for you: It is not going to be as horrible or dreadful as you have made it out to be in your head. Read this page for the alternatives that you need to make and start experimenting with a few of them. Try them out and see which ones you like the most. Discover which ones seem to make a bigger difference. You might be shocked about how easy the changes are (No substituting a burger with a carrot).

A simple example would be making a protein shake instead of buying a milkshake, eating nuts instead of your usual snack or having one of your daily fruit instead of a candy bar. Remember: Gradual changes stick, radical changes don't. After a while, you will start to crave a protein shake instead of an unhealthy meal. This will happen because your body will realize that it gets more useful nutrients from the one, compared to the other. It is important to experiment with different flavors and brands, because some will suit your taste and nutritional needs better than others.


Week 5: Time to Shine


At this stage you will feel better, have lost weight and be ready to take things to a whole new level after seeing what you are capable of - and how easy it actually is to change your body into the version that you want. Now that you have built up the momentum and started with the basic elements of a healthier lifestyle, you get to choose what you do next. Are you going to join a gym or fitness club, start a sport, add a running routine, experiment with other dietary ideas or search for the next item to add to your weekly list? The choice is up to you! All you need to do is realize that you can do anything through small changes and that getting healthy is a lot easier than you make it out to be in your head. Congratulations on making it this far and best of luck to you on your new journey. Stay Strong!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Ketones - All About Ketosis

So, let’s start simple with this subject.  Without any medical terms, presumptions or claims, here is a good understandable definition: 

Ketosis is the presence of ketones in the metabolism.   The ketones are being used for fuel after all the stored glucose has been used up.


Yes - I did say being used for fuel. The body, brain and metabolism require two sources of fuel for your body to operate in an optimal state.    

What is an optimal state you may ask?

   

Let’s start very simple with optimization. Is anyone reading this post a distance runner? Yes, many of you call it a runner’s high after you make a breakthrough in your event. This may come around mile 5, 6 or 7. Performance Dr. Jacob Wilson of ASPI Performance Assessment Labs suggests it takes about mile 7 of a distance run to burn through the stored glucose. What many athletes aren’t aware of is that they have burned through their stored glucose and started operating off fatty acid produced ketones.

Why is this considered optimization?   

Well, if you own and operate an Automobile, don’t you usually make sure that the Auto has fuel and oil? If it has both, the motor will run most efficiently. Take one away, and the motor will not run very well for very long. That’s one of the best ways to compare the body’s ability to be run optimized using both forms of required fuel, ketones and glucose.

The biggest surprise often is that ketones are a cleaner and more sustainable fuel when studied under performance activities. If you know what VO2 Max is (oxygen utilization), you would be impressed with the fact that VO2 Max can be up to about 30% more efficient while in Ketosis. Dr. Volek of Ohio State University has been studying performance and the presence of ketones for many years.   One of the biggest surprises and benefits to ketones for fuel is that your body manufactures them instead of having to store them for hours and days prior to performance. We all know that the maximum amount of glucose for storage is usually much smaller than what is required to make it through a performance event.

But performance is only one of many applications of being in the state of ketosis, and the presence of ketones. A person’s mitochondria require ketones for fuel. Mitochondria are the powerhouse of your cells.  Why should I be concerned about mitochondria? Because mitochondria are in your heart, brain and muscles. So, no ketones in the metabolism and look what’s not getting the fuel(s) it requires to be optimized?

Ketones, ketosis and metabolism

Now, the importance of Ketones in the metabolism is getting a little clearer to someone who may never had heard of the word 'Ketosis' or 'Ketones'. But how do I get Ketones in my metabolism? That is a great question. Most of the studies since the 1920s have suggested that eating a moderate protein, lower carbohydrate diet with higher good fats can naturally put a person in to nutritional ketosis.   The Ketogenic Diet (KD) has been studied for a long time for health, wellness and performance. The KD really confuses many athletes; since so many have been raised on storing fuel with proteins and carbohydrates. But these same athletes have never experienced the sustained fuel of operating on the dual fuel system explained above.

Like most things, technology continues to produce better options for people. Over 10 years ago a team of researchers in Tampa, FL figured out how to match one of the body’s ketones, b’hydroxybutyrate, BHB. Dr. D’Agostino did this for the U.S. Navy Seals and NASA astronauts.   BHB is very effective for increasing human cognition and ensuring the reduction of seizures. 

Why is this relevant? 

Think about the conditions of these two professions - altitude pressures, oxygen deprivation etc. If the KD is prescribed for reducing seizures, doctors are saying that the presence of ketones will help your brain. Remember, the brain is one of the locations for mitochondria. So now you can fuel with endogenous (made in the body) and exogenous (taken in the body) ketones.

I’ve wanted to keep this post as simple as possible. It is your body and brain that needs to be optimized and preserved at their highest levels. Simply take a look at the recorded number of Alzheimer’s disease in the world. Remember that the brain has these mitochondria and it needs ketones. Eat a lot of carbohydrate based foods and the body may never produce a single ketone.

I only want you to take in this information and examine if you need and want to be better. You can be better very easily. I write this with experience of both lifestyles. I’m enjoying the higher levels of physical and mental fuels in my metabolism. Your personal challenge is probably to get better all of the time. I can be found on LinkedIn and Facebook.   My name is Brian Magazine and I have enjoyed sharing this information with you today. I look forward to hearing from you on how to get ketones in your body.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

How to Fall Asleep Faster


I struggle to fall asleep, and regret the fact that I didn't fall asleep faster when I wake up in the morning. I know that sleep is important for muscle growth and after finding the best ways to get more zzz's with the limited time that I have, I thought it would be a good idea to share them with you.

How to fall asleep better


1. Establish a routine

Spend the last hour before you plan to sleep doing the things that will calm you down and get your body to realize that it is sleepy time. Your body is very routine-orientated. If you are used to struggling to fall asleep every night, your body will get used to that idea and will do that all the time.  By doing things that make you calm down every night, your mind will start to learn that these things mean that it is time to fall asleep soon. Don't do things that you do during the rest of the day when you are wide awake. This makes your mind assume that it nowhere near bed time yet. Our ancestors did not hunt before they were going to sleep. You shouldn't either.

2. Dim the lights

 Also, our ancestors could see the sun go down every day. This subconsciously signaled bed time. Have you ever wondered why a beautiful sunset make you feel so calm and peaceful? You don't have to watch the sunset every day to get your brain to shut down, but you do need to adjust your lighting accordingly. Bright lights tell our brains that it is time to be awake and darker lighting tells us that sleep is coming soon.

The bright lights from computer screens, televisions and mobile phones mimic the sun's rays to your brain. Cut these out during the last hour of your day, avoid other bright lights and your body will soon see this as a sign to start winding down. When you switch off the light and jump into bed, your mind still needs to adjust to the fact that 'it is no longer day'.

Unfortunately, our brains can't just switch off. We need to give them time to do so. If you can get your mind to relax before you climb into bed, you will fall asleep faster and the quality thereof will improve.

You quality of sleep improves because your mind was able to ease into its sleeping cycles slowly and naturally. When it is forced to wind down too quickly, it will bounce back up very soon. What goes up must come down. The faster something goes up, the faster it comes down.

2. Reverse psychology

Huffington Post says that you will actually fall asleep faster if you try to force yourself to stay awake. They quote a sleep study where two groups of insomniacs were tested. One group was told to lie in bed with their eyes wide open and stay awake. The other group was told to fall asleep as quick as they can. The group who tried to stay awake ended up falling asleep long before the group that was trying to fall asleep in the first place.

Why does reverse psychology makes our minds do what the opposite of what we are trying to do? My guess is that it is the body's way of balancing itself out

3. The timed breathing technique

Alina Gonzalez from Byrdie explains how she stumbled upon a breathing technique that drastically changed her life. She now uses timed breathing to fall asleep. She discovered this technique a few days before an important wedding that caused her anxiety. Her friend, a wellness practitioner, introduced her to a technique that enabled her to fall asleep within minutes. Here's how it works: 

You breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds (counting as you do), hold your breath for 7 and exhale through your mouth for 8. Doing this repeatedly calms your mind and slows down your heart rate.

When you are anxious, your heart rate increases. This increases your breathing rate. The more you breathe in and out, the more anxious your body feels. This becomes a cycle that can often be hard to break out of. By slowing your breathing down and focusing on these numbers, you are forcing your body to reduce its heart rate - which in turn slows your mind and body down. This deeply relaxes you and lulls you into a deep sleep.

Alina also writes about how she used this breathing technique (with the same second counts) to combat anxiety before a major speech that she had to give on the actual wedding day. This made her feel relaxed and, according to her, allowed her to give a better speech than what she would have if she did not use this technique. Give it a try for yourself and see if it works.

4. Take a hot bath before bed time

This is suggested by wikihow.com. According to them, increasing skin temperature relaxes you and makes you feel sleepy. By taking a hot bath before bed, you will be calmer and fall asleep faster. They say that a hot shower can also work, as long as the water is above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (or 38 degrees Celsius) and as long as you stay in the water for 20 minutes or more. These temperature and time rules apply to both bathing and showering. For best results, you should bath like this 30 minutes before you plan to fall asleep.

Since the body falls asleep at cooler temperatures and wakes up at warmer temperatures (note how we can all sleep forever during winter), the hot temperature from the bath or shower makes our bodies drop their natural temperatures very quickly. This quick drop in body temperature eases us onto a quicker sleep.

5. The best dinner for the best sleep

Life Hack recommends eating a light meal at night for the best results. They say that eating a meal that is too heavy will burden digestion and therefore make it harder for you to fall asleep. On the other hand, going to bed hungry will stop you from dozing off as well. Eating a meal that is not too heavy but satisfies your hunger is the best, according to Life Hack. They recommend snacks like a banana, hummus or Greek yogurt before bed as the best choices. 


I assume that this does not apply to everybody. I personally find that I sleep better after a big meal. Because my primary goal is to build muscle, I have a large dinner and a big meal replacement shake before bed.

I know that some people are worried about the health effects of eating before bed, but doing so actually helps people who get up to eat in the middle of their sleep cycle. This link explains how eating when you are supposed to be sleeping is worse than eating before you fall asleep.

6. Write it down

If troubling thoughts are keeping you from lala land, try writing down the things that you are worried about. This helps you to mentally let go of the thoughts that you can't seem to get rid of. Writing down your worries will release some of the holds that they have on your ability to relax and rest. These things always sound crazy until you try it. The next time anxiety is stopping you from falling asleep, write down whatever is making you feel anxious. Go back to bed and feel relieved. It is almost like tricking your mind into thinking that you have dealt with the issue that it needed you to handle. This amazing sleep tip was originally suggested by Daily Burn. They also recommended the 4-7-8 breathing technique we spoke about earlier - looks like that technique is causing quite a buzz.

7. Tense and release

I used to do this when I was younger - and it actually helped. Mirror recommends consciously tensing and relaxing your muscles to calm yourself down. This relaxes your body and mind at the same time. Tensing your muscles before relaxing them is also a great way to release tension caused by exercise or an injury. By releasing tension and relaxing your physical body, you will be able to laze into that coveted dream state in no time. Focusing on one muscle at a time is best. Start with your toes (you can do all your toes at once), and your feet, then your calves until you get to your neck and your forehead. By the time you are done, will feel like sloppy spaghetti.

Sleep is extremely important for optimum health. Failure to fall asleep can often stress us out if we know that we only have a certain amount of time before we need to get up. By making sure that we are calm before snooze time, we will sleep sooner and get more out of every hour. STAY STRONG!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Perfect Rest Week for Maximum Muscle Growth


It is good to take a rest week every 2-3 months of training. This will actually improve muscle growth and physical performance. If you are resting enough between workout sessions, your body does a good job at recovering in between exercise routines. It does, however, build up a tally of accumulated physical stresses that need it needs recovery from. Resting for a day or two helps with regular recovery, for longer rest periods allow for a deeper recovery where the body can focus on thoroughly repairing tendons, ligaments, nerves and muscle tissues. 

I personally take a rest week when I hit a plateau, just before my next workout program. I find that I come back stronger than before after each rest week and that these rest weeks seems to 'lock in' my physical progress. I have experienced nice muscle gains during these rest weeks.

Rest weeks are great to strengthen joints, decrease the volatility of muscle size and improve long-term strength. They also prevent over training syndrome that can accumulate if you don't rest enough from intense exercise. Click on the link above if you think that you might be over trained. In extreme cases, some athletes have had to take up to 6 months off because of severe fatigue.
Taking a rest week every few months stops your body from burning out and keeps it growing stronger.

This rest week allows for recovery for more than just your muscles. It lets your immune, central nervous, energy production, digestive, sleep and hormonal systems recuperate to optimal operational levels.


The perfect rest week

You should experiment to find out what works best for you. I find that following the schedule below helps me to maximize recovery and keeps me from going insane and losing touch with my training routine.

Day 1: Absolutely nothing

Don't do anything physical at all on this first day. This will signal to the body that it can start recovering. I usually still go to the gym on this day and shower - just to keep the habit of going to gym every day. I usually eat the same amount of food that I would on training days (except my post workout shake). A lot of recovery happens the day after your last exercise session, and this requires nutrients.

Day 2: Steam room

On this day I will take a nice, long steam before using the shower at the gym. Since my body is not using too much energy, I reduce my overall caloric intake. I don't reduce it enough to cause a deficit, though, because that could hamper recovery. Too little nutrition can lessen muscle growth. I follow this lower calorie (but not too restricted) eating plan for the rest of the week.

Day 3: Warm up and stretch

On this day I get some active rest, just to remind my body that exercise still exists. I do a light warm up, stretch out all of my muscles (static stretches, 3 sets of 10 seconds for each muscle) and do a light cool down before hitting the shower.

Day 4: Skip the iron

Now that my body is totally relaxed, I skip the gym on this day and get as much sleep as I can instead of hitting the gym. I often struggle to fall asleep that night since I feel quite rested, but I force myself.

Day 5: Another warm up

I do a light to moderate warm up at the gym and sit in the steam room or sauna to raise my body temperature. Sweating can help improve recovery.

Day 6: Go out and live

Instead of visiting the gym, I do something that I usually don't have the time to do. I go to the movies, catch up with an old friend, or take a long walk down my road. As long as there is no intense exercise here, anything (outside of the gym) goes.

Day 7: Nothing but rest

I take a day of complete rest. I don't exercise or visit the gym at all. I usually spend this day prepping my meals for the next week.


The come back

If you have rested well during you rest week (and previously trained hard enough to deserve it), you should come back bigger and stronger. I often experience more muscle gain during my rest week than on my average training weeks. It still amazes me how much stronger I am after this resting period - even though I have basically been doing nothing. You should experience the same benefits from regular breaks. This time also rekindles your fire for fitness. Not only do I come back stronger and bigger, but more determined than ever before. The rest benefits your mind just as much as your body.

What the rest of the web says about rest weeks

I am not the only one who advocates the whole rest week idea. Russell Yeager from Bodybuilding.com says that smart bodybuilders take rest weeks regularly. He advises, though, that you should spend the entire week completely outside of the gym. He says that this should be a part of every serious bodybuilder's program. Russell does not do any form of exercise during this period. He recommends taking a rest week every 8-10 weeks, and says that it is impossible to maintain the best level of intensity every week without a good, prolonged rest period. Russell notes that he finds it easier to plan his programs into 8-10 week cycles and break up his goals accordingly. He says that getting lost in the motion of working out every day makes it easy for people to lose sight of their short-term goals, level of intensity and determination to improve. According to him, the people at his gym who haven't taken a rest week in over two years are looking the same and lifting the same weight as they did two years ago. He warns against feelings of guilt and laziness for people who attempt their first rest week without mentally freaking out.

Your muscles are stimulated during exercise, but only grow when they are not being exercised. For this reason, finding the right balance between rest and training is essential. I believe that physical progress can be chalked down to three elements: training, rest and nutrition. Any one of these three elements can sabotage your advances if you don't look after them properly. If muscle growth is your primary goal; a bulking diet, for example, is crucial for development. Rest is no different.

Livestrong.com also touts the rest week as an essential period for serious athletes. It says that the importance of an entire week of rest depends on the intensity that an individual is working out at. For example, people who train at moderate or low intensities will benefit more from a day (or a few days) off every week and don't need an entire rest week because the stresses placed on their bodies aren't that high. It adds, though, that weight lifters and endurance athletes need a full rest week every now and then to fully recover from the physical stresses that can accumulate. They note the fact that failure to take these rest weeks often enough can lead to a lack of physical progress and even lead to a decline in performance and bodily transformation. They say that many endurance athletes take these rest weeks after their competitive seasons, while many bodybuilders take rest weeks every 4-8 weeks.


How often should I take a rest week?

As you can see, different sources recommend different times. I recommend once every 2-3 months, bodybuilding.com recommends every 8-10 weeks and livestrong.com recommends every 4-8 weeks (for bodybuilders). The truth is that the best frequency depends on you.

It depends on a variety of factors like: 


The intensity

The higher the intensity, the more often you will need a rest week.

The form of exercise

Casual forms of exercise require less rest weeks; but weightlifting, intense sports and endurance exercise requires more.

The length of time you have been training

Newcomers need to rest more regularly, but probably won't be able to achieve the right level of intensity to deserve an entire rest week (a day or two of rest should be fine for these people). As the intensity increases when your body is able to perform better, the need for rest weeks will rise.

The amount of rest that you usually take

If you rest every second day, you probably won't need a rest week in a very long time. People who work out 6 days a week will need rest weeks more often.

Your own body

This is probably the most important point of them all (especially for experienced athletes). As you progress further into your chosen exercise regime or sport, you will realize that your body does not respond the same way as everybody else. You will start to realize what your body needs - outside of the standard guidelines. Some people need rest weeks more often, while others don't need them as much. 

Personally, I have trained long enough to know when I need a rest week. It is not as simple as saying that I need a rest week every 2-3 months. Sometimes I need a rest week sooner, while at other times I know that my body hasn't accumulated enough stress to justify a full rest week. If you are new to the idea of taking a rest week, try taking one every 8 weeks until you start getting a feel for whether you need them more or less often.


A great way to tell whether you needed a rest week is by judging your physical progress when you get back to your exercises. If your strength/ endurance/ speed/ output have not increased, you probably took a rest week too soon. STAY STRONG!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Dangers and Solutions to Overtraining


Training places a physical stress on your body. It responds to this stress by becoming stronger. This process is called homeostasis. Your body needs time to recover from exercise. It recovers when you are not exercising. Most of this recovery happens while you sleep. When you exercise at a higher rate than what your body can recover from, over training can occur over a period of time.

The longer the period of time that you put more stimuli onto your body than what it can respond to, the more serious this condition can become. It will also increase the time that it will take for your body to recover from over training.

The dangers of overtraining

Below is a list of dangers that over training can cause on your body.

You've hit a plateau

Hitting a plateau is the usually first symptom to arise when over training. A plateau is what we call the state where you are not increasing your physical performance or getting closer to your body transformation goals. When you are exercising regularly but not making any progress, we call that a plateau. Plateaus are more common than over training. You can hit a plateau without over training, but you can't over train without hitting a plateau. If over training is the cause, over training worsens physical ability and ends up decreasing physical performance. It is important to note that you can hit a plateau even if you are not over training. If you think that you've hit a plateau, click here to learn ways that you can blast past it.

Decreased physical performance

If you continue to over train once you have hit a plateau, physical progression will reverse into regression. The amount of physical activity that you can do will get less and less. Your body's transformation goals will reverse. Fat deposits may increase and muscle size will decrease. This happens because your body will start to break down from all of the physical stress placed on it. It no longer has enough time or energy to recover and starts to eat itself in order to survive. The loss of muscle from over training is referred to as catabolism.

Decreased overall energy

You will have less energy throughout the rest of your day. One of exercise's benefits is that it gives you more energy. This happens because your body adapts to the exercise by producing more energy in order to cope with that stress. When the body does not have enough time to recover, the benefits of exercise are often reversed from overtraining. For example, too much exercise will deplete your energy levels. Your body will squander to allocate as much energy as it can to recover from exercise before your next session. Since it needs more energy to recover than what it can produce, its energy levels are constantly depleted.


Your body will break itself down

Exercise makes small damages in your muscles. It also challenges your cardio vascular system. These challenges are supposed to make them stronger, but challenging it too much will weaken these systems and cause your body to break down. Since your body cannot repair muscle in time, it will break it down in order to survive. Your body will break down whatever elements it does not find absolutely necessary in order to cope with the physical pressure from over training.

 Appetite and cravings

Since your body is desperate for energy and resources, it will either crave more calories or crave close to nothing. This often goes in the opposite direction of a person's goals. People who are trying to lose weight often end up craving high calorie foods and can't seem to satisfy these cravings because their bodies are reverting back to what they know in order to try and restore balance. Conversely, people who struggle to put on weight (or who want to build muscle) will lose their appetites. Again, this is because their bodies are reverting back to what they know in order to restore balance. Their bodies are more concerned with short term recuperation instead of long term recovery.

Constant thirst

You physically associate drinking with refreshment. A constant, unquenchable thirst is a classic sign of over training. Your body needs more water to metabolize the tissues that it is breaking down and get rid of excess waste products. Since it is breaking it down and can't regulate itself properly (because it does not have the energy and resources to do so), it struggles to self-regulate and craves water for extra assistance.

More cases of injury

Athletes who overtrain are more prone to injury (even with less physical effort). This is because of the fact that the body is not fully recovered, does not have the resources to protect it and is breaking it down; making it weaker. Overuse is one of the biggest causes of joint injury. A classic example is the shoulder joint, which is generally susceptible to injury. One of the leading causes of shoulder pain and injury among weight lifters is overuse. This is because of the fact that so many weight training exercises involve and stimulate the shoulder joint. If programs are not balanced (training different parts of the shoulder equally - see above link), or use the shoulder joint too much, injury is more likely to occur. This is one of the main points in the argument against whether you should have separate shoulder days (click to see reasons why you should). Injury is not limited to the shoulder joint. Increased injuries could affect other joints and muscles as well.

Lowered immune system

Since your body is breaking itself down and prioritizing recuperation over long-term function, immune function will be sharply affected. Getting sick more often is another extremely common sign of over training. This is another benefit of exercise that gets reversed with too much stimulus. Some people experience flu-like symptoms after every exercise session because of overtraining. If you exercise regularly and are getting sicker, more often; the chances are very high hat you are either over trained (or need to look at your daily nutrition).


Emotional/mental/motivational instability

Since exercise releases endorphins, you should be looking forward to your training session and feel great afterwards. This is especially true for people who have gotten used to the physical demands of exercise. If you have a negative outlook towards your exercise routine, it might be because your body needs more time to recover. Overtraining can cause exercise-induced depression. Lack of motivation is another sign that you need some good rest. People who are heavily overtrained often develop a sense of anger, resentment and hatred towards their exercise regimes. They don't see the point of it anymore and it feels like their physical goals are sapping the life out of their souls. Over training also impacts your emotional and mental health outside of exercise. Overtraining will make you more moody and less sociable. It will limit your mental ability, since your body is breaking itself down and lives in a constant state of desperation. The things that you used to enjoy won't make you happy anymore.

Some people develop a sense of hatred towards exercise, but others can actually get addicted to it. Exercise addiction refers to the possible, negative relationship that we can have with exercise if we do more than what we should. Since over training has a negative impact on our emotional states, this reinforces the habit for some as they over exercise for the endorphin release or to feel better about themselves. In this way, exercise addiction is similar to eating disorders.

Central nervous system damage

The central nervous system is the collection of nerves that your body uses to move and control movement through muscles. Exercise stimulates this system and therefore makes it better. For example, exercise helps you to have a better mind-to-muscle connection. This connection refers to the amount of control that you have over your physical movement. Once again, this benefit is reversed with over training. Too much exercise damages your body's nerves. This can lead to constant shakiness, muscle twitches, restless leg syndrome and more. Think of the central nervous system as the body's electrical circuit for communication between the brain and the rest of the body. A burnt out central nervous system (from too much exercise) is similar to a burnt out electrical system.

Sleep problems

As mentioned above, most recovery happens when you sleep. Overtraining refers to a state where your body has more to recover from, but less time to do so. This negatively affects sleep in two possible ways:

Overtraining makes some people sleep too much

Since your body is desperate to recover, your need for sleep increases. People in this category will fall asleep very quickly but can't seem to get enough sleep. They feel like they can sleep forever and will still not be fully rested. They are tired throughout the day and constantly need to sleep more. This is because their bodies have very little energy and still need to recover more.

Overtraining stops some people from sleeping properly

These people need sleep, but their systems are so burnt out that your struggle to fall asleep - and stay asleep when they do. Since their bodies are frantically trying to recover and can't regulate themselves properly anymore, they lose the ability to distinguish between the times of rest and activity. Think of the way that mental stress can keep you up at night.

Hormones imbalances

Since the body struggles to regulate itself, muscle building and performance hormones like testosterone and growth hormones start to decline in number. Sleep and rest hormones like melatonin aren't regulated either, making some people too tired and others too active. Stress hormones like cortisol are increased as a response to physical stress. The exercise that increases muscle building hormones ends up halting their production because of too much stimulus.

Adrenal fatigue

Adrenal fatigue can arise from overtraining. This will make you feel fatigued all the time. Hormones and neurotransmitters get less in number and potency when someone has adrenal fatigue. Food cravings are another sign of adrenal fatigue. This will stop someone's ability to handle physical and mental stress. As the name suggests, adrenal fatigue happens as a result of the continuous strain on internal adrenaline use and production. Medical professionals, who rely on adrenaline to carry them through long working hours, for example, are very susceptible to adrenal fatigue.



The fix: How to get over an overtrained state

The answer might seem obvious, but there are a variety of ways that you need to look at in order to overcome and reverse the effects of overt training.

Rest

Did you see that one coming? If you are over trained, rest and give your body a chance to recover. Depending on how over trained you are, you might need to rest for a longer period of time. In extreme cases, patients who suffer from chronic overtraining syndrome need to rest for up to 6 months. Depending on the severity of your symptoms (as described above), rest for as long as your body needs to. I believe in listening to your body. Rest until you feel better, and don't be scared to overdo it. The fear of resting for too long might be what caused you to over train in the first place.

If the symptoms are relatively new (you've only been experiencing them for a month or so), I would suggest taking a week off and seeing how you feel after that. If you have been feeling these effects for longer, a good month of rest might be what you need. If you feel like you have all the energy in the world after the third day, it doesn't mean that your body has fully recovered. Your body is probably still in survival mode and is accustomed to using the little energy that it has for physical exertion. Give yourself time and allow your body to slowly realize that it has the opportunity to focus on recovery. Since it hasn't been doing much recovery in the last while, it almost needs to re-learn how to recover. Here are a few tips for getting the most recovery out of your rest periods.

To avoid the risk of overtraining, take at least one full day of rest every week and have a full week of rest every 2-3 months. This rest week is great to recover from accumulated stresses that the body does not have the opportunity to recover from in-between exercise sessions.

Sleep

Your body does most of its recovery during sleep. For this reason, make sure that you have ample amounts of sleep to give your body the time that it needs to recover. Sleep is also important for the regulation of hormones that improve physical performance. Establish a good sleeping ritual that will calm you down before bed time. This can include dimming the lights, reading a book and avoiding the light from screens for an hour before you hit the sack.

Nutrition

Give your body what it needs to recover and rebuild. Incorrect nutrition can exasperate the effects of over training. Proper nutrition, on the other hand, can minimize its effects. Your body can only recover when it has the resources that it needs to do so.

Glutamine

Glutamine is an amino acid that is naturally found in your body. It is needed for recovery from injury, exercise, illness and disease. By supplementing with glutamine, you can increase the amount of recovery that your body can do within a certain period of time. This makes glutamine a perfect supplement for people who need to recover. I personally use glutamine when I am sick (to get better faster) or when my current training programs is putting a lot of stress on my body.

Over training will lead to the reversal of the benefits of exercise. It will decrease your performance, body transformation progress and reverse the health benefits of exercise. Your body gets better/faster/bigger when you rest. STAY STRONG!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Flu-like Symptoms from Exercise


These are the reasons why you could feel like you are getting sick after or during exercise. Firstly, let me tell you that you are not alone. Many people experience this. The symptoms go away for most people after their bodies get used to it (for new comers who experience it). If you feel cold and chilli (instead of flu-like symptoms) from exercise, click here.

Why you could experience flu-like symptoms from exercise


Dehydration

It is very easy to become dehydrated during exercise. You don't only lose water through your sweat, but through your breathing (You exhale water vapor. Heavier breathing loses more water) and pee as well. On top of that, your body needs more water because it increases muscle volume in order to get more nutrients into the muscles and escort more waste products out of them. Getting dehydrated can cause dizziness, light-headedness and headaches which you might be associating with the feeling of being sick. Make sure that you get enough electrolytes as well. They are responsible for helping your body to hold onto the water you drink. When your electrolyte levels are low (they get depleted from exercise), your body struggles to hold onto water and it simply flows right through you.

Exercising outdoors - Dust

If you exercise outdoors, your body might be reacting to the dust levels in the air. I have recently moved from the suburbs to a more country-themed area. My running trails have turned from tarred surfaces into the dirt roads that you typically find in country regions. For a few hours after my run, I cough up some of the dirt that I've inhaled from the day's exercise. This is how my lungs get rid of the dust. Some people might sneeze or get snotty as their bodies try to remove the inhaled dust from their systems. Read more about exercising in environments with dust and what the safe levels are.

Pollen

Similar to the above, your symptoms might be brought on by the pollen or other allergens in the air. Exercise opens up your airways and blood vessels, which makes it easier for these allergens to enter into your body.

Loosening of phlegm

Exercise opens up the airways and lungs. It also helps your body to get rid of sinus build up. If you were sick recently or have sinus in your cavities for some other reason, exercise might be assisting your body to expel it. This might make you think like you are getting sick, when phlegm removal is simply being sped up. Working out can aid in loosening phlegm that has been sticking around for long past its welcome date. Try to steam out the excess phlegm or sinus that you may have. Steams rooms are good for this.

You are getting sick (and exercise is bringing it out)

Exercise challenges your body. Your body gets stronger to adapt to the strain that exercise temporarily puts on it. The immune system takes a short-term hit from exercise. If your body is currently battling with an underlying, impending spell of illness; exercise might be warning you about what is soon to come. If this is the case, take a few days off to give your body all the energy that it needs to fight off the sickness. Also make sure that you get the right sleep and nutrients to help your body fight it off. Use these tips to get better quicker when you are sick.

Release of human growth hormone (HGH)

Exercise encourages the release of human growth hormone. It is a hormone that assists the body to recover and build muscle. Although it is very beneficial for recovery and muscle growth, too much of it in the system at once can make you feel nauseous. 

Over training

You could be training too hard and failing to give your body a break to recover. This point is very important. You could be getting sick (and feeling those flu-like symptoms) for this reason. Over training can make you get sick more often because the exercise ends up challenging the body more than what it can cope with. See our article on breaking your plateau to determine whether over training is making you sick. Don't drag out your exercise sessions for too long. This is could be the reason why you feel horrible afterwards. You are pushing your body so hard that it is breaking down more than it is building itself up. You also need to have rest days. Here are great ways to have a fantastic rest day that really speeds up recovery.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia

www.avogel.co.uk says that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia might be the reason why you feel sick after exercise. Symptoms that indicate that this is the case include dizziness, extreme exhaustion or nausea (although all of these symptoms could indicate over training as well). If this is the reason why exercise makes you feel sick, you need to see a doctor.


Nutrition that will help you

BCAA's (branched chain amino acids) will support performance during exercise, decrease the stress it places on your body and therefore minimize the temporary impact that exercise could be having on your body. As discussed in the article referring to over training (that I linked to in the point above), glutamine can help you recover quicker from both exercise and illness. You should always eat a balance diet that includes healthy, raw foods to maintain a healthy immune system.

Go through the list and see which best describes your current situation. Once you find the cause, you will be more equipped to deal with the issue. Always stay safe and put your long term health first when exercising. STAY STRONG!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Homeostasis - Using it to Your Advantage


Homeostasis is your body's way of balancing things out. It is the name of the processes that happen when your body does something to maintain stability. If something swings one way, homeostasis would be the process that your body uses to counteract that action to return to normal and maintain a standard state of being. For example, when you get too hot your body sweats to return its body temperature to normal. Producing sweat, in this case, is an act of homeostasis to maintain the right body heat. Another example could involve the immune system. Your immune system fights off disease to return to normal. This is called homeostasis. Wikipedia explains homeostasis as the characteristic of systems within the body where a variable is regulated to stay near a constant value.

Long term effects of homeostasis

Khan Academy tells us that homeostasis usually involves negative counteractions to maintain stability. This brings the body back to a certain value (like body heat). When the counteraction process is positive, the value that the body regards as normal could change from its original point. 

For example, exercise temporarily increases your heart rate. Homeostasis is the process where your body brings your heart rate down (a positive counteraction) to achieve balance. This positive counteraction can change the standard (resting) heart over time. The effects of the counteraction (or homeostasis) can often outweigh the initial stimulus that caused it. This happens because your body adapts to minimize the effects of the stimulus in the first place. In this example, your heart rate will decrease after regular exercise because of the repeated homeostasis brought on from the exercise. 

You can therefore find that homeostasis often has a cumulative effect.


Diabetes: Failed homeostasis leads to disease

When your body cannot restore itself to a state of homeostasis (balance), disease is the result (or cause). Diabetes is an example of how the lack of homeostasis leads to disease.

How diabetes is caused by the lack of homeostasis

When blood sugar levels are high (from eating), insulin is released to restore balance. It does this by telling the body to absorb the sugar out of the blood and into storage. When blood sugar levels are low, glucagon is released to make the body release this energy from storage. When your body can’t restore this balance, blood sugar levels can remain high (either because not enough insulin is being released or your body is not responding to it properly). 

Homeostasis is critical for survival.

Using homeostasis to your advantage


Exercise is not the only thing that can take advantage of the positive effects of homeostasis

Exercise owes almost all of its benefits to the cumulative effect of homeostasis. For example, the endorphin rush that makes you feel so good is your body's way of compensating for the pain and exhaustion that exercise physically induces. The release of endorphins is often accompanied with pain as the body tries to balance out its effects. For example, eating chilies and getting a tattoo are both accompanied with endorphin release. This is what makes these activities addictive.

In another example, your muscles get stronger as a result of the exercise that breaks them down, in an attempt to re-establish balance. We increase the intensity or difficulty of an exercise as we get used to it, forcing our bodies to adapt further towards a homeostatic, balanced state of being.

Your body tries to stabilize itself by increasing its strength or endurance as a result of the opposite happening during exercise. Your immune system also gets stronger, because exercise momentarily challenges it.


Homeostasis and skin

We discuss the idea of training your skin to either produce less or more oil here. It is premised on the theory that you can train skin in the same way that you train muscle. People who have dry skin can increase oil production by washing more regularly. Conversely, people who have oily skin can train it to produce less oil by stripping less of that oil away in their daily routines. I tried out this theory and my skin majorly improved in two weeks.

This takes advantage of your body's innate tendency to balance things out. People with dry skin tend to use a lot of moisturizer, which the body balances out by producing less oil. When I used less skin cream and showered twice a day instead of once, my body balanced out these actions by producing more oil. The effects to this were cumulative, and after a few weeks my skin was less dry than it had been in years. People with oily skin can use the same principle by removing less of the skin's natural oil layer. It will attempt to reach a state of homeostasis by producing less oil.

In the same way, long term exfoliation increases the thickness of your skin. It temporarily thins your skin, which causes your body counteract by thickening it. It slightly overcompensates for this action in order to protect itself from the next exfoliation. Over time, the skin gets thicker as a result of cumulative homeostasis.

During your exercise routine

You can use this principle during exercise as well. I used to drink less water when I first started exercising and after a few workouts, I felt less thirsty. People who train often on an empty stomach are better adapted to it and will probably feel sick if they didn't, since their bodies have establish that specific procedure as their standard condition. Because of homeostasis, the best time to work out is actually the time that you work out the most often. You will have unknowingly gotten so used to working out at a certain time that those times become the best time for performance. Your body makes the most energy when it anticipates the most activity, in order to maintain balance. For this reason, Healthy Way recommends training at the same time of a particular event that you are preparing for to maximize performance on that day.


Response to exercise

In our research on the best weight training workout split for muscle growth, some studies had to be distinguished from others depending on whether their subjects previously trained or if they were untrained. The long-term homeostasis responses from trained athletes changed the way that their bodies responded to exercise. People who previously trained where able to recover from exercise stimuli more efficiently than people who didn't.

Absorption and digestion

My father always told me that the diets that some people eat every day could make other people sick, because their systems are so used to it. This is extremely true. Your body gets used to certain foods and becomes better at digesting these foods. This is a great concept to understand for people who battle to digest certain foods or supplements. By using smaller quantities, you can train your body to get used to breaking down a particular source of food for nutrients. By increasing the quantity and quality of certain foods over time, your body gets more adept at digesting it and using it.

This is why you need to balance out supplement consumption with real food. If you don't eat enough real food regularly, your body can lose its ability to digest it properly.

Train for pain

You can increase your pain tolerance by taking advantage of the fact that your body will adapt in order to restore a sense of balance. Most fighters develop a greater pain tolerance for this reason.

Hot and cold

Your body tries to cool you down when the environment is too hot. It also tries to warm you up when it gets too cold. It takes a lot of energy to change body temperature, and people who are exposed to larger temperature differences burn more calories because of this. This homeostatic response can therefore be used to burn extra calories.


Dependency

Not all cases of homeostasis are positive. Homeostasis can lead to dependency as it causes changes in the body to restore balance from products that were originally meant to boost it. A good example of this would be caffeine. It gives your body energy. Your body attempts to restore its natural energy balance by decreasing its natural energy production, minimizing caffeine's effects and increasing the rate at which caffeine is eliminated from the body. The longer and more often you consume caffeine, the less of an effect it will have on you. If you consume it long and often enough, your body will adapt so much that it will not be able to maintain its own energy levels without it.

Because of the above, it is therefore advisable to regularly consume nutrients that the body needs and cannot produce on its own (like protein, essential vitamins and anti-oxidants), but cycle other things that have an immediate positive effect without letting the body balance out its effects. This prevents your body from getting too accustomed to something. The long-term homeostasis counter-effects can accumulate to an extent where products that were meant to increase certain functions end up causing dependency.

By cycling caffeine, you can maximize its effects during the times that you need it the most. This applied to many other non-essential nutrients and chemicals. The rule of diminishing results as a result of homeostasis is the reason why you should cycle creatine.


It is clear that you can get the results that you want from your body by doing things that will force its homeostasis processes to elicit a particular response. This is useful because you can change how parts of your body work and what it does by applying the homeostasis principles explained above. STAY STRONG!