Optimizing Athletic Performance

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When you exercise it promotes your healing, boosts your immunity, improves circulation, and enhances overall health. But prolonged and intense exercise, like that of high performance athletes, can actually reduce immune function and damage your body tissues. Athletes push their bodies to the limit, and this creates special needs that go beyond what a typical person requires.

To optimize performance, you must give the your body all the raw materials it needs for proper function, while simultaneously preventing exposure to anything that interferes.

An increase in physical performance demands more raw materials than sedentary activity.  This increase in activity creates a multitude of toxins which require even more raw materials to detoxify. Those who provide for these specialized needs will improve their performance, while minimizing damage to their health.

If you’re chronically short even one single nutrient, you will get sick. That’s a guarantee. Nutrients do not act individually, but they all interact with each other. You need a precise daily mixture of at least 59 essential nutrients to maintain health. For the athlete, nutritional shortages lead to impaired physical function, performance below expectation, more injuries, and slower repair times. Studies show that almost all North Americans are short several essential nutrients. This has a catastrophic effect on health, causing today’s epidemic of chronic degenerative disease and these nutritional concerns are especially important to athletes.

An athlete’s best friend and worst enemy is oxygen. While exercising, a person uses 10 to 20 times as much oxygen as sedentary activity. Free radicals are produced during oxygen metabolism, which damage your body’s cells. Exercise demands heavy oxygen input, and thus a large increase in free radical output. That’s how it works. Antioxidant chemicals protect your body from free radical damage by neutralizing & minimizing these free radicals. Because of this heavy oxygen demand, the athlete’s need for antioxidant chemicals is much greater than the needs of a less active person, and athletic activity in the absence of adequate antioxidants can cause significant damage. Free radical damage is a serious problem because the damage doesn’t end when the exercise stops. Free radicals cell damage may last up to 20 hours after exercise. Much of the muscle soreness and inflammation after strenuous exercise results from out of control free radical damage. Be sure to get adequate vitamins A, C, E, carotenes, etc., as these antioxidants protect tissues from free radical damage during and after workouts. For athletes, this translates to less tissue injury and shortened recovery times.

Antioxidants are important, while your diets are staggeringly deficient. For example: The RDA for vitamin C is 60 mg. The average North American gets about 114 mg, but recent research shows that at least 200mg are required. The RDA for vitamin E is 30 I.U. per day. The average person gets about 9 I.U., but recent studies show that 400 – 600 I.U. are necessary for good health, while athletes appear to need 800-1600 I.U. per day.

Since athletes need substantially more antioxidants than does the average person, supplementation is essential to maintaining health and performance.

Vitamins and Minerals. The importance of supplementation was demonstrated by a study of marathon runners in a 20 day, 312 mile run. The test involved hemoglobin levels, a measure of your blood’s ability to carry oxygen to your body’s cells. One supplemented group (given vitamin supplements including iron, zinc, vitamins B6, B12, C, and folic acid) actually increased their ability to carry oxygen with higher hemoglobin levels, and this coincided with improved performance over the same period. The control group (marathon runners without dietary supplementation) had declining hemoglobin levels as the race went on, and their athletic performance also deteriorated from excellent to marginal. It seems obvious that a decreased ability to transport oxygen would impair performance, and it does. Essential nutrients were used up by this intense activity, creating deficiencies. By the time day 20 of race rolled around, damage from lack of supplementation (malnourishment) becomes very evident in such things as an athlete’s hemoglobin levels. The greatest amount of free radical damage to DNA occurs in men who heavily exercise without any supplementation.

CoQ10  Muscle power is generated by conversion of the high energy compound ATP (adenosine triphosphate) to the mechanical force of muscle contraction. Your bodies store very little ATP, so it must be generated continuously. You can’t make sufficient ATP without CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10). CoQ10 supports every cell in your body by helping in ATP production, as well to prevent harmful lipid peroxidation, the harmful oxidation of fats, including cholesterol. 60 to 100 mg of CoQ10/day is recommended.

Ginseng   Certain herbs, such as Siberian ginseng, can be used to improve recovery time from exercise. Lactate is a by product of anaerobic metabolism that causes muscles to function sub optimally. Expediting the clearance of lactate will shorten recovery time from exercise as well as allowing for more high intensity work. A recent study found that athletes on a herbal formula with Siberian ginseng significantly improved their lactate clearance after two weeks of intense work.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) – A recent study measured the effects of 800 mg of phosphatidylserine (PS) on muscle soreness during two intense two week training sessions. Cortisol is a hormone, which breaks down muscle tissue and produces muscle soreness. The subjects taking the PS had significantly reduced cortisol in their blood, less muscle soreness, and reported a marked increase in their feelings of well being. The study concluded that PS attenuates muscle soreness and reduces cortisol levels during recovery from exercise.

Another important nutrient is water. It is essential to keep well hydrated. Dehydrating a muscle a mere 3% causes a 10% reduction in performance. The quality of your tissues, their strength, performance, and resistance to injury, are all dependent on having an adequate supply of water. Lungs are 90% water, brains 76% and blood 82%. Since an athlete in heavy training can use over two gallons of water a day, dehydration is an ongoing concern. Water is an extremely important nutrient, and it frequently gets forgotten.

Injuries, Infections & Immunity

Many athletes fail to reach their potential because of constant injuries. Healthy tissues tend to be more supple, stronger, and less susceptible to injury. People don’t grasp the fact that immunity is linked both to the seriousness of an injury, and the time it takes to recover. Healthy tissues get injured less often, and recover more quickly. Athletic success requires not only good training, but also optimal nutrition and the resilience it provides.

Intense exercise reduces levels of glutamine and glutathione, both of which are essential to your immunity. Reduction in glutamine and glutathione suppresses natural immunity for hours after exercise. That’s why athletes are more susceptible to infection than the general population. In marathon runners, infections cause more days lost than injuries. A third of all marathon runners suffered an upper respiratory infection within two weeks of their race. One Soviet Olympic skier, whose team was studied, had six infections in the five months after the Olympics.

The solution to the athlete’s many special requirements is high quality supplementation: Vitamin E is an excellent antioxidant that can be used to minimize oxidative cell damage, thus helping to prevent injuries in athletes. Vitamin E can also help to protect the membranes of T-cells, thereby enhancing immunity. A study found that Olympic athletes who took 800 to 1600 I.U. of vitamin E per day, plus other antioxidants, during periods of training completed the three year study without a single infection. Vitamin C is another important antioxidant. Its concentration in certain immune cells is 150 times the concentration in your blood. When fighting an infection, these cells use enormous quantities of vitamin C. If the C is lacking, immunity declines.


Superior athletic performance is the result of numerous mental, psychological, and physical factors. Purely looking at the human body as a machine, attention to diet, proper supplementation, and adequate hydration are absolute essentials. Athletes have special nutritional needs brought about by their own activities. Extra care must be taken in eating only those foods containing high concentrations of nutrients. This requires the athlete to be educated, and to make the consistent and deliberate choices that provide optimal performance. This means avoiding processed and prepared foods, which are low in nutrient content and high in toxic content. Even with a quality diet, a supplementation program is vital for optimal performance. This should include the basics of a high quality multiple vitamin/mineral formula: vitamin C, vitamin E, quercitin, extra calcium, magnesium, and zinc, beta carotene, essential fatty acids, and CoQ10.

Proper diet training and supplementation will allow athletes to have superior performance without being slowed by the ill effects and will finish way ahead of the competition.

To get more insight and information check out my CD’s Your Body Your Health and The Secrets of Weight Loss and theNutritional Sprays (all available on my website) which will bring you the best supplements available all in a spray, with up to 98% absorption. It increases the bio availability of nutrients with a simple and delicious spray into your mouth. Feel Healthy, energized and vibrant.  Help slow the aging process, support your immune system and suppress your appetite for a healthier body and mind in minutes a day.

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STOREwhere you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !

21st Century Tune Up

turtleI hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.rabbitl

Is your workout extinct?

If you worked in a hospital, and used outdated information or procedures you would be considered out of date or perhaps even liable for a malpractice lawsuit.   But in a gym, using outdated procedures and techniques seems to be standard operating procedure.

If you take a look at today’s workout routines, you’ll find that some of these techniques originated in the ’40s and ’50s.  Why do you do 3 sets of 10….why not perform one set of 30 and call it a day!  What’s worse, more-recent recommendations regarding exercise form have been negated by new research yet are still commonly recommended by fitness professionals.

Chances are your workout incorporates some of these techniques and this means your workout is long past due for a 21st-century overhaul. Now, I’m not suggesting that your current plan doesn’t work. At its most basic level working out is simple: Pick up a heavy weight, put it down, repeat. But by improving your workout plan and avoiding mistakes, you’ll build more muscle in less time, with less risk of injury.

Myth #1: Do eight to 12 repetitions

The claim: It’s the optimal repetition range for building muscle.

The origin: In 1954, Ian MacQueen, M.D., an English surgeon and competitive bodybuilder, published a scientific paper in which he recommended a moderately high number of repetitions for muscle growth.

The truth: This approach places the muscles under a medium amount of tension for a medium amount of time, making it both effective for and detrimental to maximum muscle gains.

A quick science lesson: Higher tension—a.k.a. heavier weights—induces the type of muscle growth in which the muscle fibers grow larger, leading to the best gains in strength; longer tension time, on the other hand, boosts muscle size by increasing the energy-producing structures around the fibers, improving muscular endurance. The classic prescription of eight to 12 repetitions strikes a balance between the two. But by using that scheme all the time, you miss out on the greater tension levels that come with heavier weights and fewer repetitions, and the longer tension time achieved with lighter weights and higher repetitions.

The new standard: Vary your repetition range—adjusting the weights accordingly—so that you stimulate every type of muscle growth. Try this method for a month, performing three full-body sessions a week: Do five repetitions per set in your first workout using heavier weights, 10 reps per set in your second workout using medium weight, and 15 reps per set in your third workout using lighter weight.

Myth #2: Do three sets of each exercise

The claim: This provides the ideal workload for achieving the fastest muscle gains.

The origin: In 1948, a physician named Thomas Delorme reported that performing three sets of 10 repetitions was as effective at improving leg strength as 10 sets of 10 repetitions.

The truth: There’s nothing wrong with—or magical about—doing three sets. But the number of sets you perform shouldn’t be determined by a 50-year-old default recommendation. Here’s a rule of thumb: The more repetitions of an exercise you do, the fewer sets you should perform, and vice versa. This keeps the total number of reps you do of an exercise nearly equal, no matter how many repetitions make up each set.

The new standard: If you’re doing eight or more reps, keep it to three sets or less. If you’re pounding out less than three reps, you should be doing at least six sets.

Myth #3: You need to do three or four exercises per muscle group

The claim: This ensures that you work all the fibers of the target muscle.

The origin: Arnold, circa 1966.

The truth: You’ll waste a lot of time. Here’s why: Schwarzenegger’s 4-decade-old recommendation is almost always combined with “Do three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.” That means you’ll complete up to 144 repetitions for each muscle group. Trouble is, if you can perform even close to 100 repetitions for any muscle group, you’re not working hard enough. Think of it this way: The harder you train, the less time you’ll be able to sustain that level of effort. For example, many men can run for an hour if they jog slowly, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who could do high-intensity sprints – without a major decrease in performance—for that period of time. And once performance starts to decline, you’ve achieved all the muscle-building benefits you can for that muscle group.

The new standard: Instead of focusing on the number of different exercises you do, shoot for a total number of repetitions between 25 and 50. That could mean five sets of five repetitions of one exercise (25 repetitions) or one set of 15 repetitions of two or three exercises (30 to 45 repetitions.)

Myth #4: Never let your knees go past your toes

The claim: Allowing your knees to move too far forward during exercises such as squats and lunges, places dangerous forces on your knee ligaments.

The origin: A 1978 study at Duke University found that keeping your lower leg as vertical as possible during squats reduced forces on your knee.

The truth: Leaning forward too much is more likely to cause injury. In 2003, University of Memphis researchers confirmed that knee stress was 28 percent higher when the knees were allowed to move past the toes during squats. But the researchers also found a counter effect: Hip stress increased nearly 1,000 percent when forward movement of the knee was restricted. The reason: The squatters had to lean their torsos farther forward. And that’s a problem, because the forces that act on the hip are transferred to your lower back, a more frequent site of injury than your knees.

The new standard: Focus more on your upper body and less on knee position. By trying to keep your torso as upright as possible as you perform squats (and lunges) you’ll reduce the stress on your hips and back. Two tips for staying upright: Before squatting, squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold them that way; and as you squat, try to keep your forearms perpendicular to the floor and look up, not down.

Myth #5: When you lift weights, draw in your abs

The claim: You’ll increase the support to your spine, reducing the risk of back injuries.

The origin: In 1999, researchers in Australia found that some men with back pain had a slight delay in activating their transverse abdominis, a deep abdominal muscle that’s part of the musculature that maintains spine stability. As a result, many fitness professionals began instructing their clients to try to pull their belly buttons to their spines—which engages the transverse abdominis—as they performed exercises.

The truth: The research was accurate, but the interpretation by many researchers and therapists wasn’t.  That’s because muscles work in teams to stabilize your spine, and change depending on the exercise you are performing. The transverse abdominis isn’t always the dominant muscle. In fact, for any given exercise, your body automatically activates the muscles that are most needed for spine support. So focusing only on your transverse abdominis can over recruit the wrong muscles and under recruit the right ones. This not only increases your risk of injury, but reduces the amount of weight you can lift.

The new standard: If you want to give your back a supporting hand, simply brace your abs as if you were about to be punched in the gut, but don’t draw them in. This activates all three layers of the abdominal wall, improving both stability and performance.

5 Food Rules to Break

Everyone is an expert when it comes to food and getting in shape.  When I have clients who lose weight and reach their goals and look great that’s when the trouble starts. Co workers and friends begin to interrogate them and ask them what they did and how did they succeed? Then the statements start…Doesn’t He  know red meat causes cancer? And that potatoes cause diabetes? Shouldn’t he tell you to eat less salt, to prevent high blood pressure?

Myths make my job a lot harder. That’s because nutrition misinformation fools you into being confused and frustrated in your quest to eating healthily.   Even when you are achieving great results others questions make you begin to rethink.  Here are five food fallacies you can forget about for good and the science behind them.

Myth #1:  High protein intake is harmful to your kidneys

The origin:  Back in 1983, researchers discovered that eating more protein increased your “glomerular filtration rate,” or GFR. GFR is the amount of blood your kidneys can filter per minute. From this finding, many scientists made the leap that a higher GFR places your kidneys under greater stress.

What science really shows:  Nearly 2 decades ago, Dutch researchers found that while a protein-rich meal did boost your GFR, it didn’t have an adverse effect on overall kidney function. In fact, there’s zero published research showing that eating large amounts of protein—specifically, up to 1.27 grams per pound of body weight a day—damages healthy kidneys.

The bottom line:  As a rule of thumb, you should try to eat your target body weight in grams of protein daily. For example, if you are 200 pounds and want to 180, then eat 180 grams of protein a day. Likewise if you’re 150 pounds but want to be a 180 then you should consume 180 grams of protein a day.

Myth #2:  Sweet potatoes are better for you than white potatoes

The origin:  Most people eat the highly processed version of the white potato in the form of French fries and potato chips and because of eating this way the white potato has been linked to obesity and an increased diabetes risk. Meanwhile, sweet potatoes, which are typically eaten whole, have been celebrated for being rich in nutrients and also having a lower glycemic index than the white potato.

What science really shows:  White potatoes and sweet potatoes have complementary nutritional differences; one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Sweet potatoes have more fiber and vitamin A, than white potatoes which are higher in essential minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and potassium. As for the glycemic index, sweet potatoes are lower on the scale, but baked white potatoes typically aren’t eaten without cheese, sour cream, or butter. These toppings all contain fat, which lowers the glycemic index of a meal.

The bottom line:  The form in which you eat a potato (a whole baked potato versus a processed potato that’s used to make chips) is more important than the type of potato you choose to eat.

Myth #3:  Red meat causes cancer

The origin:  In a 1986 study, Japanese researchers discovered cancer developing in rats that were fed “heterocyclic amines,” compounds that are generated from overcooking meat under high heat. And since then, some studies of large populations have suggested a potential link between meat and cancer.

What science really shows:  No study has ever found a direct cause-and-effect relationship between red-meat consumption and cancer.

The bottom line: Don’t stop grilling.  Meat lovers who are worried about the supposed risks of grilled meat don’t need to avoid burgers and steak.  They should just trim off the burned or overcooked sections of the meat before eating.

Myth #4:  High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is more fattening than regular sugar

The origin: In a 1968 study, rats that were fed large amounts of fructose developed high levels of fat in their bloodstreams. Then, in 2002, researchers published a well-publicized paper noting that the increasing consumption of fructose, including that in HFCS, paralleled our skyrocketing rates of obesity.

What science really shows:  Both HFCS and sucrose—better known as table sugar—contain similar amounts of fructose. The two most commonly used types of HFCS are HFCS-42 and HFCS-55, which are 42 and 55 percent fructose, respectively. Sucrose is almost chemically identical, containing 50 percent fructose. There’s no evidence to show any differences in these two types of sugars. Both will cause weight gain when consumed in excess.

The bottom line: HFCS and regular sugar are empty-calorie carbohydrates that should be consumed in limited amounts, by keeping soft drinks, sweetened fruit juices, and prepackaged desserts to a minimum.

Myth #5:  Salt causes high blood pressure and should be avoided

The origin:  In the 1940s, a Duke University researcher named Walter Kempner, M.D., became famous for using salt restriction to treat people with high blood pressure. Later, studies confirmed that reducing salt could help reduce hypertension.

What science really shows:  Large-scale scientific reviews have determined there’s no reason for people with normal blood pressure to restrict their salt intake. If you already have high blood pressure, you may be salt sensitive. and reducing the amount of salt you eat could be helpful.

However, it’s been known for the past 20 years that people with high blood pressure who don’t want to lower their salt intake can simply consume more potassium-containing foods, because it’s really the balance of the two minerals that matters. In fact, researchers determined that a low potassium intake has the same impact on your blood pressure as high salt consumption does. And it turns out, the average guy consumes 3,100 milligrams (mg) of potassium a day—1,600 mg less than recommended.

The bottom line: Strive for a potassium-rich diet, which you can achieve by eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Spinach, broccoli, bananas, white potatoes, and most types of beans each contain more than 400 mg potassium per serving.

In Defense of Butter

Butter is rich in fat, especially the saturated kind. But most of this fat is composed of palmitic and stearic acids. Research shows these saturated fatty acids either have no effect on your cholesterol or actually improve it.  In moderation, butter isn’t the dietary demon that it is made out to be?

One pat of butter contains just 36 calories, and the fat it provides helps you feel full longer.

Butter is one of the top sources of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a natural fat that’s been shown to fight cancer.

Studies show the fat in butter improves your body’s ability to absorb vitamins A, E, D, and K. So a pat of butter on your vegetables actually makes them healthier as well as tastier.

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STOREwhere you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !

Game Shape

exrciseI hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

The best way to fight sports injuries is to avoid them entirely. Here are tips to help you keep and stay in game shape without spending time on the sidelines.

    1. Sprint-based sports like baseball and basketball are the cause of a lot of lower-body muscle strains. The fix: stop-and-start drills.  If you train your body to do something that’s specific to your sport, then that training should take you through a full season. Here is an effective drill: Run 40 yards at about 70 percent of your maximum effort, slow to a jog for 10 yards, then pick it up again for another 40 yards. Repeat four or five times. You’ll be conditioned to sprint to first base, slow down, and charge for second, or run out for a pass.
    2. Seventy percent of ACL injuries occur when players are pivoting or landing awkwardly after a jump. Hitting the ground with your knees bent instead of nearly straight greatly reduces the risk.  Practice Jumping and landing with bent knees.
    3. Heatstroke harms many athletes. If the temperature and relative humidity combined equal 160, stay cool and hydrated, If the number tops 180, exercise indoors.
    4. Replace old equipment. Stressing joints that are out of alignment, also referred to as overuse, is a major cause of sports injuries. Even a bike or racket that’s not properly sized for you can cause improper movement patterns that cause overuse injuries. The extra hundred bucks you spend at the pro shop can save you time and money at the orthopedic doctor’s office.
    5. tennisIf your technique isn’t right, you’re just an injury waiting to happen. That’s why you need to seek advice from a pro. You’re only as good as the advice you get.
    6. Seventy-five percent of muscle mass is made up of fluid. If you don’t drink enough, you are at a higher risk for strains, sprains, and pulled muscles.
    7. Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation just like aspirin. (2 great sources are walnuts and salmon) That means less pain, more gains.
    8. Leafy green vegetables and citrus fruit boost your blood’s alkaline levels, which helps heal wounds faster. They’ll also make your blood less acidic, which cuts inflammation.
    9. Collagen is abundant in your connective tissues, tendons, bones, and muscles. Vitamin C is a key component of your body’s collagen recipe. So make sure you get enough in your diet or supplement.
    10. Injured athletes typically consumed 25 to 40 percent less calcium than their uninjured counterparts.
    11. Glutathione, an antioxidant, protects your body in many ways, and whey powder helps you make more of it. Whey is also the most readily absorbed source of branched-chain amino acids.  Think of it as a muscle-repair kits.
    12. Chug a Coke (or antioxidant-packed iced tea).  I know it goes against all I believe but a recent study revealed cyclists who downed 10 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight before a 30-minute ride had significantly less thigh pain than those who took a placebo.
    13. baseballIf your sport is multidirectional, your warm-up should be, too.  If your groin, back, and leg muscles aren’t ready, you’ll pull up in pain. Before the game, run backward, forward, sideways, and in quick combos of all directions.
    14. Videotape yourself because the camera knows and sees all.  But be sure there is a knowledgeable person to help interpret your tape, which is where that coach or pro comes in.
    15. Loosen your shoulders. An injured rotator cuff can shut down a shoulder. You should add external- and internal-rotation stretching to protect your cuffs. External: Stand with your right arm straight out to the side and parallel to the floor. Bend your elbow so your arm forms a right angle and your forearm points straight up. Keeping your elbow in place, move your hand back until you feel slight tension in your shoulder. Internal: Same as above, except that your forearm should point straight down toward the floor at the start. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds. And your a rubber band to add some resistance.
    16. When you wear a custom-fitted mouth guard you reduce your risk of dental injuries by 82 percent. Lay out the money for a custom-fitted guard and it’ll last for years. So will your smile.
    17. hockeyBuy running shoes and foot wear after work. Shop at night, when your feet are swollen after a day of pounding.  It approximates how big your feet will be after the first 3 miles of your run.
    18. Exercise off road. Unstable surfaces train stable ankles.
    19. Beat the heat. Run early in the day. Temperatures are lower, and so is the humidity.
    20. Control Inflammation. Supplement: Bromelain Daily amount: 120 milligrams (mg).  It’s almost like putting a cold pack on a bruise or sprain. Extremely safe and inexpensive, bromelain has been shown to reduce swelling, bruising, healing time, and pain following physical injuries. Studies have also found that it relieves mild knee pain as well.
    21. Shore Up Weak Tissue with Glucosamine sulfate Daily amount: 1,500 mg. Think of it as adding cement to a creaky foundation. Glucosamine creates polymers called glucosaminal glycans (GAG) that build and strengthen your tissues, preventing tears. Try pairing it with chondroitin, which promotes GAG formation and inhibits degradation enzymes in connective tissue.
    22. When athletes train and compete, there’s a whole lot of cellular combustion taking place.  That combustion has by-products, and if you’re not taking care of those by-products, they can be harmful over time, and could even lead to a higher tendency toward cancer. Antioxidants from green tea can manage your body’s oxidative stress. Supplement: Green-tea extract Daily amount: Up to 800 mg
    23. Methylation—a chemical process that helps your body build connective tissue—is important in muscle recovery, inflammation control, and muscle support and stability. If you take NSAIDs (e.g., aspirin and ibuprofen), all they do is block post workout inflammation. Pop SAM-e instead; it fuels methylation to provide benefits beyond the effect of NSAIDs. Daily amount: Work up to 1,200 mg
    24. It doesn’t matter whether you’re biking, paddling, or skiing—take a dry run down any route first.  A lot of people get injured because they just don’t know what they’re getting into.  If you feel you can’t control yourself down the course, then walk away.
    25. footballCrash landings require stuntman like instincts. You want to be as aerodynamic as possible when you hit, so just go with the fall and let your body roll through the impact.
    26. Performance anxiety narrows your peripheral vision by as much as 3 degrees and slows reaction time by 119 milliseconds.  When the going gets tough, the tough rely on the skills they’ve practiced. It helps keep you cool under pressure, widening your range of vision so you can react within milliseconds.
    27. Use a light grip. Most wrist and elbow injuries occur because people are using a tight grip. To get the feel, swing two clubs or bats at once—it can’t be done with a tight grip.
    28. Extra sodium helps you retain water and stay hydrated while exercising in high temperatures. But stay away from salt pills—they may do more harm to your blood pressure than good for your race.
    29. Smokers are nearly 50 percent more likely to suffer fractures, sprains, and other injuries. Smoking may also interfere with wound healing and muscle repair.
    30. Check the ozone levels. When you hear the words “ozone alert day,” move your workout indoors. People who exercise in high ozone conditions are three times more likely to develop asthma than those who skip workouts on those days.
    31. Don’t run in wet shoes. Soggy insoles have 40 to 50 percent less shock-absorbing capability than dry sneakers.  But don’t toss your shoes in the dryer; heat can degrade cushioning and support components.
    32. Know how to fall. When you fall, let your butt and back share the impact with your forearms. And wear wrist guards; they may not look sexy, but neither will a cast and sling.
    33. Ankle tape loosens after 10 minutes of play.  If you wear an ankle brace for example you may return to full participation after an injury 2 days sooner than those who were taped, and keep the brace on for at least 6 months. Most foot and ankle injuries are caused by incomplete healing of prior hurts.
    34. A brace isn’t a cure. Athletes who wore ankle braces were 61 percent more likely to be injured. If you brace a bum leg or arm it’s still bum. Before you play hard, heal first.
    35. Balance your muscles. Your dominant side tends to be stronger, leading to muscular imbalances, which can result in injuries. Lift with dumbbells, which isolate each side and balances weaknesses.
    36. Men work their chest and biceps, and forget that their shoulders are a balancing joint that needs strong muscles on both sides. That makes your shoulders more susceptible to muscle strains. For every set of chest presses you do, perform a set for shoulders as well.
    37. 36% of lightning deaths occur during recreational activities.
    38. Take care of your eyes.  Eye injuries are on the rise.  Basketball and hockey are responsible for the most eye injuries, and more and more safety equipment is being made available.
    39. Unplug your iPod. You need to process what’s ahead of you so you have time to avoid danger.
    40. Obey the 15-minute rule after a hit to your head. If you’ve seen stars  you’re out of the game. You’ll need 10 to 14 days to recover and avoid any activity that’s likely to jar your head. A concussion can cloud your judgment and therefore your skills for up to 21 days after the original hit.
    41. A recent study found that 47 percent of high-school and college male athletes involved in contact sports do not wear any kind of genital protection. What are they thinking? Great scene in the movie gridiron gang featuring ‘The ROCK’.
    42. Inhaling freezing air can inflame your airways, which may lead to asthma attacks.  In icy weather, consider wearing a device that uses your body heat to warm the air you breathe before it enters your body.
    43. Become a multisport warrior.  Excessive repetition of motion increases your risk of developing arthritis.  Nobody’s asking you to quit your favorite sport. But if you want to last at it, bring similar sports into the mix. You want to cross-train your muscles.  Natural pairings: skiing and soccer, swimming and martial arts, running and cycling, tennis and hoops.
    44. Train your brain to heal your ankle. Training sensory receptors in your ankles can help prevent recurrent injury. Using a wobble board strengthens what are called  “proprioception”: the subconscious bond between your nerves and the muscles that do your brain’s bidding. Try standing on the board for 5 minutes a day while you’re reading. When that becomes easy, balance with your eyes closed
    45. Train your brain to stay upright. Here’s another good reason to invest in a wobble board. It helps you work on maintaining your sense of balance and keeping your center of gravity. Simply standing on the board is great practice for sports in which balance is key: skiing, trail running, surfing, golf.
    46. Super powered infections like MRSA are tough to treat with antibiotics, but the wounds they enter through are. Clean all cuts thoroughly with soap and water, apply an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin, and then keep them covered and dry.
    47. Keep a 15-degree bend in your elbow when going for a block or a dunk. Overextending your arm makes you prone to injuries.
    48. Try to Juggle. Hand-eye coordination means fast reactions, fewer wrenching motions.
    49. When you land after a jump, make sure it’s toes first, then heel. If you land either flat-footed or on your heels, you’ll be putting a lot of stress on your Achilles tendons and may cause your knees to hyperextend.
    50. Researchers found that athletes with high levels of stress off the field are five times more likely to experience an injury than even-keeled people. Take your dog on a run with you. Pets can help soothe stress.
    51. Show up early for your game.  Most amateurs just show up late and rush into the game.  By gradually warming up, you’ll guard against injuries.
    52. Check the lengths of your legs. Researchers discovered that 83 percent of those who experienced multiple fractures (that’s several breaks that occur over time, not three at once) had different leg lengths. If you have pain in your hip, knee, or ankle, ask your doctor for a leg measurement during your annual physical. Some discrepancies can be solved with corrective insoles; many simply require strengthening hip flexors or loosening tight hamstrings.
    53. runnerCheck your water losses. Weigh yourself before and after a long workout in hot weather. If you’ve lost more than 3 pounds by the time you’re finished, you’re dehydrated and could be at risk of heatstroke. Invest in a water pack so you can easily sip throughout your workout.
    54. Eliminate fungus. Nail fungus is a serious and sport stopping consequence of running. Sweaty socks are breeding grounds for fungi.
    55. Own the shoe that matches your game. Play tennis in tennis shoes. Unlike running shoes, which are made with an angled bottom to promote linear movement, tennis-shoe soles are flat, for optimal side-to-side motion.
    56. To strengthen muscle, lengthen it. Muscles that are strengthened as they lengthen can absorb more force, and this means less potential for tendon trouble. It’s called eccentric training. Here’s an ideal move for runners: In a calf raise, lift for 2 seconds, then spend 10 seconds lowering the weight.  The tissue is lengthening as it’s contracting, and that trains it for force absorption and greater strength.
    57. Wearing knee pads in contact sports may reduce the rate of lower-extremity injuries by 67 percent.

Stretch after sustained activity. That’s when blood flow is higher in your muscles, which helps them benefit more from the stretch.

  • Choose a league appropriate to your skill level.  Injuries tend to happen when things get out of control, you’ll be a big fish swimming in a small pond.
  • Squat, lunge, and step up. You’ll reduce back and hamstring injuries by strengthening your glutes, or butt muscles. Weak glutes force your hamstrings and lower back to compensate. And because your hamstrings and back muscles are so long and produce so much force, they can bend your torso back like a plastic spoon.
  • Spend time relaxing before you exercise at altitude. Your exercising heart rate naturally adapts to high altitude, but you have to give it time. Training—or even sleeping—at high altitude accelerates this process. You’re also going to have a higher respiratory rate and lose more moisture,  So drink extra water, especially before and during hikes.
  • A loss of body water can decrease performance by more than 20 percent.  Water’s not enough for exercise lasting over an hour.  Your body also loses salt, so you need a sports drink containing carbohydrates and electrolytes. Drink even more during games.  If you’re wearing a uniform, shin guards, and face mask, your body can’t dissipate heat as well as when you train in the gym in a T-shirt and shorts.
  •  Keep drinking. Another time to drink more is when you travel to a warmer climate for a race. It takes 7 to 10 days for your core temperature to acclimate from cold to hot-and-humid conditions. Compensate with a water bottle in hand.


I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STOREwhere you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !

Mind Power

j0158331The following article is a small excerpt from one of my books.  I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

Your mind and body are not only connected, they are also locked together. Researchers have known for years that exercise can boost brain power and enhance your creativity. Some researchers even theorize that aerobic exercise suppresses activity in the left hemisphere of your brain, the half that is responsible for logical thought and stimulates the right hemisphere of your brain, that regulates intuition and creativity.

Another part of your brain is the subconscious, which has a powerful impact on each and every area of your life. If you have a negative self image in your subconscious, you probably lack confidence, are overweight and generally unhealthy. You’re probably a procrastinator, you don’t exercise, you feel you don’t deserve any success, and you’re generally unhappy with your life and can never get a lucky break. No matter how much you consciously try to change these images you can’t, because they exist in you subconscious mind.

But what if you could change your self image in your subconscious, and gain more confidence, willpower, and determination. Would you make and take the daily adjustments necessary to make these changes? If you could gain control over your thoughts and images and improve your level of physical and emotional well being. . . would you? You feel you have the willpower but you are still unable to create these changes using willpower alone…why? Part of the reason for this is your conscious part of your mind accounts for only 12 percent, the other 88 percent and the most powerful part of your mind is made up of your subconscious.

The subconscious part of your mind, is the part you must use in order to make effective, permanent and positive changes in your life. The way to do this is by self-hypnosis, allowing you to enter your subconscious mind and make these powerful and permanent changes in your life.

There are many ways and books written about self-hypnosis, but the one I like to use is very simple. Find yourself a quite comfortable floor place and sit. Keep your upper body erect, your back flat and bring the soles of your feet together and pull your heels as close to your groin as possible. Rest your palms on the inside of your thighs. Now, breathe in slowly through your nose and hold for ten seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Keep your eyes closed and continue breathing for several minutes. When you feel completely relaxed, start to count backwards from five to zero. It is here that you can start to make positive changes in your subconscious, by making suggestions to yourself.

Some sample suggestions might be;

‘I will receive only positive thoughts, that
are beneficial to me. I will reject all
negative thoughts and suggestions. I love
to work out and exercise, and enjoy the
changes that are happening to me and my body.’

‘I am a winner and I love being a winner.
My confidence is increasing and I am becoming a better more positive person.’

As you give yourself these suggestions, imagine and visualize these suggestions as if they were real. See yourself making these changes and visualize situations that you may be in and make these positive changes. Visualization is an important technique in the art of self-hypnosis.

When you can imagine yourself exercising, before you actually begin to work out, you get tangible results, build better quality muscle and will find your performance levels will be enhanced. When you visualize your workout, make sure you go over all your sets, including your warm up sets, right on through to your maximum lift attempts, and cool down.

By getting your mind into your muscle, and visualizing the proper technique and movements, this could be the difference between a 70 percent success and a 95 percent success in your workouts. The more vivid your image, the more effective your workout. If you dream of success you will be successful.

Once you’ve finished your visualization, take a moment to enjoy your state of relaxation. When you are ready to come out, slowly count from zero to five. As you are counting out, you should be telling yourself you are feeling refreshed and filled with new energy.

You should practice this self hypnosis technique about twice a week for your life changing suggestions and for no more than fifteen minutes at a time. You should also use your visualization techniques right before your workout, going over your entire workout before you start to train. It should go without saying but I’m going to say it anyway, you should not practice self hypnosis while driving or doing any other activity that requires your full concentration.

You should also focus on just one or two suggestions per hypnosis session. Trying to concentrate on too many thoughts at once may dilute your results. When you give yourself a suggestion, you should visualize and imagine each suggestion as if it were real. See yourself in the situation you want to become and think positively. Avoid the word try. I will try to become more patient. You should be suggesting, I will become more patient.

Another technique that is effective is a technique called dissociation. It’s essentially a form of controlled daydreaming, where you consciously direct your mind away from the task you are doing and onto more pleasant thoughts. Here is how it works. If you are riding a stationary bike, instead of thinking of your heart rate and exertion level and how much you hate what you’re doing, think of something else… anything…Think of what you are going to make for dinner and how. Think of the names of Batman villains, you can even read a book. Before you know it, your exercise time will have been completed successfully and you can prepare yourself for the next workout level.

You should approach your weight control with confidence and enthusiasm, and anticipate that you will need time and practice before your lifestyle changes will be your new way of life. Remember old habits do not die easily. When you slip, don’t be hard on yourself, and don’t give up. Learn from your experiences.

The decision to change your lifestyle to include healthy eating and physical activity is a conscious choice that requires change. It’s also natural that while working towards your goals you feel a strong desire to obtains these goals you also simultaneously feel a strong resistance not to obtain your goals.

Up until now you’ve probably focused on all the negative aspects of being overweight and wondered why you haven’t been able to succeed in accomplishing any of your lifestyle changes. One reason for this is that you are comfortable in your old lifestyle and know where all the bumps are.
When you resist change, part of you wants to desperately move forward, yet part of you wants to resist the changes you are trying to achieve.

There are basically two types of self motivators, those that use words like, have to, need to, should and must. This type of person focuses on the negative aspects of lifestyle change and creates a resistance within themselves. The other type of self-motivator uses words like, choose to, plan to, want to and intend to. This person usually embraces change and moves forward in accomplishing their lifestyle changes.

When you choose to open your mind to all the possibilities of change, and see change as a challenge for growth, you will then begin to see options and alternatives where you once saw obstacles and frustrations.

Conventional diets often neglect one of the most important aspects of weight loss and that is the psychological. Remember all actions must first start out as a thought. There is even a recent theory that we are thinking ourselves fat. It comes from the differences between French and North American diets. The French have an obesity rating of about 8% while the North Americans have an obesity rate of 30%. Although the French have a higher Fat content in their diet they eat fewer calories than North American diets. The French view food as good and an enjoyable experience and only 12% would if possible replace eating with a pill. North Americans on the other hand see food as fuel and worry if it’s going to turn up as fat in their body and 26% would take a pill if they could to replace eating. So is it guilt and anxiety towards food that makes us fatter? I personally wouldn’t rule out anything when it comes to the powers of the mind.

In order to bring about a permanent lifestyle change, you first need to set goals, and goals that are specific. Saying you want to get healthier is too generic, you need to be more specific, like you want to increase your strength or aerobic level.

Your next step is to make a realistic plan to accomplish your goals. It’s also important to learn from your past and make goal adjustments. Have you tried to obtain this goal before…what worked and what didn’t? Once you’ve made the plan to obtain your goal, how are you going to maintain your goal. These are a few of the questions you must ask yourself. But perhaps the most important question to ask yourself is, why do you want to make these lifestyle changes. Forget what other people say, want and expect from you, why do you want to accomplish these goals. Write down all your reasons why you want to change and keep the list handy. It’s good to read it once in awhile to help you stay on track.

Success starts with the setting, and planning of realistic goals, and a realistic weight loss goal to strive for would be to lose no more than 2 pounds per week.

You should also set a definite date for you to achieve your goal and commit yourself to obtain it. Wishing does not make it happen. You have to be committed to making it happen. You must come up with compelling reasons why you want to achieve your goal. You should also feel that success is so important to you that nothing can or will stop you. The idea of failing is so painful in your mind, that you will do whatever is necessary to succeed in achieving your goal. Remember permanent results are only achieved through permanent change.

One of the reasons people fail in making their lifestyle change is that when on their ‘diet’ they needlessly remove their favourite foods from their meal plans. The result is that they have intense cravings. As the cravings become more intense, the person may go on a binge and consume large amounts of their forbidden foods. This may lead to a self defeating attitude like…well now that I’ve blown it, I may as well really blow it…and continue to binge. This thinking is really illogical and what you really need to do is just stop the binging, promise yourself that you will do better and move on.

To achieve long term success you must learn to manage your favorite foods and not to avoid them. This unrealistic thinking about binging that I just mentioned is one of the classic problems and reasons why dieters fail. They view the world and dieting as either right or wrong, perfect or terrible, good or bad. When you have a set back and slip on your diet, you tend to beat yourself up for not being perfect. This will probably lead to you increasing your eating in order to soothe your injured feelings and help yourself to feel better.

When you make statements to yourself like ‘I will never eat chocolate bars again’ or I must exercise every day’, you are creating a self defeating situation. By using absolute words like always, must and never, you are setting yourself up to either accept the statement or fail. When you think in absolutes you tend to focus on the slight imperfections and forget about your accomplishments. Instead of saying, ‘I will never eat chocolate bars’, you may want to say, ‘I will eat fewer chocolate bars and if I have one from time to time, it’s O.K.’.

Remember to take one day at a time, and if you have a set back, move forward. Forget about yesterday, now is what matters. If you believe in yourself and what you are doing you will succeed.

Mental muscle or mind power, can not only change your physique, it can also play an important role in changing your life. By getting better control over your thoughts and images in your mind, you will soon see the improvements in not only your physical structure but your emotional side as well.

I know you want to get in shape and look great. Whatever your fitness goal to slim down… gain muscle… tone your arms or flatten your tummy I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. You will learn how to select and combine your diet with exercise, so that you can be the best you can be.


traini1The following article is a small excerpt from one of my books. I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

There are a lot of excuses for not exercising and we continue to wonder why we fail in our quest to make physical activity a part of our daily life. All these excuses can really boil down to one simple excuse and although it’s not really a law in physics it does have a place when put into the context of physical activity. It states that ‘Things at rest tend to stay at rest.’ This will probably explain why the toughest thing about any exercise or activity is to get started. We all know once you get moving you usually enjoy yourself and usually have the energy to complete the activity at hand. It’s just tough getting started. If there were a magic pill for longevity, quality of life and physical independence the prescription would be ‘physical activity’.

Now you wouldn’t think that the laws of physics directly effect you, but they do. Especially the law of conservation of energy and the law the thermodynamics. First lets look at the law of conservation of energy. It states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed but only changes from one form to another. Food, which is energy, is generally abundant, high in calories and low in nutritional value. We eat more food than we use and generally have an inactive lifestyle. Here is how this physics law works and how it effects you. When you consume more energy then you use, the remaining energy will be converted and stored as fat. (an extra 350 calories per week over 10 weeks will add up to an extra pound of fat that you have gained … over one year this will add up to 5 pounds…and over 5 years if you continue at this rate you will have gained an extra 25 pounds).

The second law of Thermodynamics states that energy must continue to flow through a system to keep it intact or the system will degenerate. Einstein’s formula for this is E=mc2. So when the energy of the sun runs out (c=0) then there will be no light therefore energy flow will cease and E=O. What this means to you is that if energy is not continuously converted in your body, your body will degenerate. Muscle tissue will start to waste away leaving you vulnerable to injuries, bones will break more easily and your heart must work harder to pump blood. These are just a few of the effects of not properly maintaining an efficient energy flow in your body.

Now we are all unique in our ability to convert energy and the worldwide standard to measure this physical fitness level is known as your VO2 max. This is basically the amount of oxygen your cells can consume and is measured in millimetres of oxygen per kilogram of bodyweight per minute. So if you had a VO2 max of 50 and weighed 60 kilograms and exercised for one minute, the maximum amount of oxygen you could use would be 3,000 ml. (VO2max(50) x weight (60) x time (1))

This doesn’t mean you should run out and get yourself tested because first of all not all fitness clubs are equipped to test your VO2 max and secondly if you do find a place that could test you, it may be expensive. Here’s some good news, in the book ‘Get Fit Stay fit’ there is a formula for finding out your VO2 max fairly accurately and it won’t cost you anything except your time.

Here are some numbers for you to know and think about. The average person consumes or burns at rest about 3.5 ml/kg/min. of oxygen and it takes about 1000 millilitres or one litre of oxygen to burn 4.85 calories. If you know your VO2 max you can now figure out several things that effect your performance.

Let’s use the previous example of a person with a VO2 max of 50 and weighing 60 kilograms. What we want to figure out is how far they can run if they are running as fast as they can for 10 minutes. We need to first find out the maximum amount of oxygen consumed. Using the previous formula of VO2 max x weight x time we plug in the numbers 50 x 60 x 10 and find that they would consume 30,000 millilitres or 30 litres of oxygen. If 1 litre of oxygen burns 4.85 calories then this person will burn 30 litres x 4.85 calories or will burn 145.5 calories while running as fast 7as they can for 10 minutes. Now it takes a person of about 60 kilograms approximately 100 calories to travel one mile. So 145.5 / 100 = 1.45 miles. In conclusion then a person with a VO2 max of 50, weighing 60 kilograms and running as fast as they can for 10 minutes will travel 1.45 miles.

You don’t need to know your VO2 max to figure out how many calories you burn at rest. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is the number of calories you need to consume each day. What we are going to figure out is the number of calories you burn just breathing. The previous way to figure out your daily caloric needs should not be forgotten. Let’s do the math. We still use the previous formula of VO2 max x weight x time. This time your VO2 max is 3.5 which is the amount of oxygen you consume at rest. So 3.5ml/kg x 60 kg x 1,440 minutes (1 day) = 202,400 millilitres or approximately 202 litres of oxygen per day at total rest. You know that 1 litre burns 4.85 calories so 202 litres x 4.85 = 980 calories. So a person weighing 60 kilograms will burn approximately 980 calories per day doing absolutely nothing…just breathing.

All physical activity is beneficial and although high intensity workouts are sometimes necessary for athletes who are competing at high levels, they are not necessary for you if you are just simply trying to make physical activity a part of your daily life. A problem that often arises with beginners is burnout. They overdo themselves and quickly become tired, bored or injured and end up quitting what they so enthusiastically wanted to achieve. Knowing your VO2 max will show you your limits and help you to avoid this beginner’s pitfall.

As I mentioned earlier, you could ask your doctor or a fitness laboratory to test you for your VO2max but it could wind up being expensive. The formula in the book ‘Get Fit Stay Fit’ is simple and fairly accurate. There are however several factors that you need to calculate. Take your time and once you calculate your VO2 max you’ll be able to calculate the physical activities that are best suited for you to achieve a lifetime of physical fitness. Also after the age of 20 your VO2 max starts to decline, partly because of a 3 to 4 percent loss of your hearts stroke volume each decade. This means your heart delivers less blood to your working muscles and less blood means less oxygen is delivered to your muscles that need it and this means energy levels will drop.

Time erodes your system leaving you less energy efficient. There is a theory that states cells can only divide a certain number of times. Once the cell is unable to replace itself it will eventually die. This may give the answer to the question to when we’re older and get injured it takes longer to recuperate. Since the damaged cells aren’t replaced by new cells, they’re replaced by non functioning scar tissue, and a little bit of function is lost as the remaining cells pick up the slack.

We may not be able to stop the aging process but there is significant proof that proper rest, nutrition and physical activity will slow the process down. Here is a list that shows the age-related declines of an average person between the ages of 30 and 75.


Brain Weight 8
Blood supply to brain 20
Nerve Conduction 10
Spinal Nerve Axons 37
Kidney Filtration 31
Muscle Mass 16
Muscle Strength 37
Lung Capacity 15
Max Heart Rate 25
Stroke Volume 30
VO2 MAX 44
Basal Metabolic Rate 12
Taste Buds 64
Body Fat 30% increase

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !


j0272598The following article is a small excerpt from one of my books.  I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

Studies of the way we walk have revealed that muscle imbalances develop because the muscles of your lower body gradually shorten over time. These large muscles of your lower body will remain shortened for the rest of your life if proper stretching is not performed. Before I get into how to perform these proper stretches, it’s important to understand a few mechanical things about your body.

Tendons are the most inelastic connective tissue in your body, and they attach your muscles to your bones. All muscles have a tendon of origin, which is attached to the more stable bone and a tendon of insertion which is attached to the more moveable bone. Tendons are stronger than both the muscle and the bone covering that it attaches to. Tendons can be torn or ruptured if loaded beyond their strength but since they are very strong, what usually happens is the muscle tissue or the bone covering tears before the tendon. What all this really means is that tendons can not be stretched.

Your ligaments help to stabilize and reinforce your joints by connecting bone to bone. Your ligaments can take an enormous amount of force for a very brief time and if the force is not removed, the ligament will tear or rupture. If a ligament is damaged it usually takes between eight to twelve weeks for it to regain its strength. During that time your joint must be protected and supported by either taping it or using a brace. When your ligaments are put under stress by incorrect stretching, they will gradually elongate. As the ligament elongates it becomes weaker and is unable to properly bind the bones of the joint that it is suppose to support. If the ligament is continually put under stress by repetitive stretching beyond the ligaments tensile strength, it can become permanently elongated and can lead to chronic inflammation which may lead to arthritis.

When a muscle is working properly, it is expending energy by either shortening or elongating to produce motion across a joint or it’s maintaining its length by resisting the tension and holding your body in place. In reality nothing really stretches when stretching.

When a muscle group is placed under force, the muscle contracts and millions of myofilaments, shorten to respond to the loading force. The muscle is now using energy to resist this force. If the tension is held long enough, and the muscle is not overloaded, the muscle will eventually relax back to its original resting length. This happens by overlapping protein fibers sliding past their original resting length and will continue their sliding until there is no longer any tension on the muscle. Energy is stored in your muscles during this sliding process, giving your muscles more power.

You can now define strength as how large your muscle is, how much load it can hold and how much tension it can hold without tearing. If you want to increase your power, you can hopefully see how important stretching is. Since a muscle uses its greatest tension when its at its greatest length, it can therefore lift a greater load if it is pre-stretched from its resting length prior to receiving a loading force. The bottom line is you get strength by increasing you muscle mass by exercising and you get power by elongating your muscle fibres through stretching.

The danger when exercising without stretching is that the length of your individual muscle fibres become shortened by repetitive use and fatigue. Over time this muscle shortening may cause imbalances that can lead to ligament damage, joint hyper mobility and loss of function and power. Stretching helps to prevent this shortening of your muscle fibres and helps to prevent injuries.

Before you start any stretching routine you should perform a gentle set of warm ups. Warm ups are not stretches, they are usually a gentle repetitive motion that increases blood flow and warms your muscles. Ideal warm ups would be walking, cycling, treadmill, rowing and stair climbing. Running slowly and skipping rope are generally not good warm up exercises and may lead to injuries.

For an example, a person walking normally and weighing 63 kg. (140 pounds) will hit the ground with their body weight plus 20 percent or 75 kg. (168 pounds) per square inch of impact force. The same person running well, but not sprinting and not jogging will land with an impact force of about three times that of their walking force or in this case 225 kg. (504 pounds) per square inch of impact force. When a person jogs slowly they reduce the body’s ability to handle impact and at the same time has increased the amount of weight bearing impact it has to handle. Jogging slowly has a loading force of about four times that of walking or in this case 300 kg. (672 pounds) per square inch of loading force. A training error is running slowly to warm up. Overtime it will create degenerative changes to your knee, pelvis and spine.

Stretches should be simple and be able to be performed by you without the aid of a partner. The stretch must also isolate only one major muscle or muscle group and be in a position where it is not expending energy to maintain its position. A good example of this would be the ‘runner’s stretch’ this is really not a stretch because the hip flexors are contracted, working and expending energy in order to stabilize your trunk as you lower and raise your body. A proper stretch should also not load other structures such as ligaments or joint capsules. Any stretch that places an abnormal stress on the ligament will slowly cause permanent damage. An example of this would be the hurdlers stretch. In stretching the hamstrings of one leg, the ligaments of the opposite knee are placed under abnormal stress.

When stretching, if you load the muscle harder it will serve no purpose except that it will take longer for it to relax back to its original resting length and also there is a higher risk of injury due to over stretching. Stretches also cannot be timed. The tension must be gentle, steady and constant so as to allow the muscle fibers to relax and slide past their current resting length. The time it takes to relax back to its original length will vary from person to person and from day to day. You have to listen to your body and hold the position until the tension in your muscle is gone.

You should stretch immediately before a skill level activity or sporting event to best take advantage of the increased power in your muscle. If you stretch a half-hour before an event, the muscle will contract back to its original resting length and the stored energy will dissipate as heat and the energy that was stored by stretching will have been wasted.

In the book ‘Get Fit Stay Fit’ it will describe and show you how to properly perform stretches. The problem won’t be in your ability to perform these stretches but to adopt a new approach to stretching and improving your flexibility. The more flexible a joint is, the greater its ability to move through a complete range of motion and function more efficiently and resulting in an increase in physical performance.

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !


j0194286The following article is a small excerpt from one of my books.  I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

If you have ever suffered from any sort of injury you know how frustrating it can be, not to be able to do things that you normally do. If you’re physically active chances are that sometime in your lifetime you will suffer from some sort of injury.

Most common injuries are strains and sprains. Strains are usually associated with overuse and involve a torn or stretched muscle. Sprains on the other hand involve stretched or torn ligaments, usually in the ankles, knees, wrists or fingers although any joint can be sprained. It is often difficult to differentiate between sprains and strains, however sprains are usually the result of some type of trauma, whether it’s a fall or a sudden twist. This is not to say that all injuries are sports related, you can be injured at work or doing household chores. Often you can pinpoint a single incident that caused your injury, but more often then not it’s an accumulation of years of misuse and improper techniques that may or may not be triggered by a single incident.

The following is a list of what I feel are ten of the most common injuries. In the book ‘Get Fit Stay Fit’ there are suggested treatments, tips and the best exercises to help strengthen these injured area.


Back pain is a common ailment that will affect over 90 percent of the population at one time or another. It can range from a nagging pain to a pain that is so severe it can be totally incapacitating.


This is one of the most common injuries in sports where the arm is used in an overhead motion. When your arm is lifted overhead or twisted in a certain direction, the pain is usually felt on the tip of your shoulder or part way down the shoulder muscle. In severe cases pain may be felt at all times.

Your shoulder is a ball and socket joint, but the socket in not very big and the shoulder is relatively unstable. This puts a lot of stress on the muscles and tendons that move your arm and help to support your shoulder. The tendons and bursae are prone to becoming inflamed as they go through a very tight channel of bone. When your arm is raised the channel becomes even smaller and is even more vulnerable to becoming inflamed. Think of your bursae as fluid filled sacs that prevent friction. To best describe this, take your hands and rub them quickly together. This creates heat from the friction of your hands. Now imagine that you place a zip lock plastic bag containing a few drops of oil, between your hands and rub briskly. You will probably find that your hands move more freely and without a lot of friction or heat. This is how the bursae function.


Although these injuries are common amongst racquet players and golfers it is also common in the home and workplace. The condition consists of an inflammation of the tendons in the elbow area. In tennis elbow, it effects the muscles and tendons that bend back the wrist and fingers. With repetitive use the muscle and tendons become overworked and inflamed. This pain is felt on the outside of the elbow. In golfer’s elbow it effects the muscles that flex the wrist and fingers and the pain is felt on the inside of the elbow. Initially you will feel the pain when you are performing at your sport but gradually it will effect your daily activities as simple as raising a glass.


Carpal tunnel syndrome or medial nerve entrapment, is a common injury that effects both athletes and workers. The problem is simply the result of excessive pressure on the median nerve, which is used by the hand and wrist. This nerve travels from the neck, down the arm, across the front of the wrist and into the hand. If this nerve receives excessive pressure or is damaged, the hand will become weak, numb and tingly.

There are several medical problems that effect the function of the median nerve, which include; diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, smoking, and circulation problems. If the nerve is not damaged by disease it can be injured by the thickening of the overlying ligaments and tendons. This often occurs with tasks that are repetitive in nature such as assembly line workers or keyboard operators. The nerve can also be damaged in sports like boxing and weightlifting, where the wrists are wrapped too tight, which hinders the function of the nerve.


These bruising injuries occur in contact sports like; football, hockey, soccer, rugby and basketball, where your muscles are vulnerable to bumps and blows. These injures can also happen in sports where the muscles are overused like in cycling or jumping. The main damage in this type of injury is bleeding into the muscle after a blow is incurred. The severity of this type of injury can vary from mildly uncomfortable where you experience a swollen tender muscle and pain causing you to limp when you walk, to totally incapacitating and needing crutches to walk.


This syndrome comprises up to 50 percent of all overuse injuries pertaining to you knee. The syndrome is caused by an irritation of the under surface of the patella (kneecap). The pain is evident with sports that require deep knee bends, climbing stairs or after sitting for long periods of time. The patella or your kneecap is a moving part that glides up and down a groove in your thigh bone (femur) as you bend and straighten your knee. The pain is caused by compression of your kneecap and thighbone, which increases as you bend your knee. This irritation of the kneecap causes inflammation, which causes the pain. This syndrome is most common in children and teens and they will gradually grow out of this problem.

This maltracking of the kneecap in the femoral groove is most common in people who have wide hips, knock knees or a rotation of their lower legs. Other causes include; flat feet, weak inner thigh muscles, tight outer knee structures, muscle inflexibility or previous knee injuries.


These injuries are often referred to as a torn cartilage. The Meniscus is a crescent shaped shock absorber which lies between the femur (thighbone) and tibia (shin bone). There are 2 cartilage, one on the inner side of the knee and one on the outer side of the knee. The inner medial meniscus or cartilage is more prone to injury then the outer cartilage.

The cartilage can tear due to overuse or more often the tear is a result of a single traumatic movement. With a torn cartilage, there generally is not a lot of inflammation, however if the torn fragment is large, it may cause the knee to catch between the bones and act like a door jam causing your knee to either lock or give way.

If left untreated, most of these injuries will not heal and will continue to cause you pain and lack of mobility. Reducing the pain, improving your mobility and strengthening your knee are the main goals in your recovery.


Ankle sprains are usually the result of your ankle turning in and are not just injuries that happen to athletes but can happen to anyone at anytime. Often athletes participating in sports with side to side movements are more vulnerable. Running on a level surface does not cause as many ankle sprains as cross country running, trail running or hiking. Ankle injuries are often immediately painful and incapacitating. If treated quickly and properly, your ankle should heel well, but if untreated the injury can often develop into a chronic problem.


This is a common foot problem that starts as a dull intermittent pain in your heel and may progress if not treated to a sharp persistent pain. It is usually most painful, first thing in the morning as you take your first steps of the day. The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous material that is attached to your heel bone and fans towards your toes at the bottom of your foot and is responsible for maintaining the arch of your foot. Fascia by the way are different then tendons in ligaments in that they form sheaths around entire muscles. They can withstand momentary high levels of stress without rupturing, however long periods of stress will cause them to become permanently elongated. The shortening of the fascia is usually due to age, cold, poor posture and muscular imbalance and can reduce your range of motion.

This injury is usually the result of repetitive stress and is most common in runners, walkers and racquet sport players. As the fascia is pulled away from the bone, the body reacts by filling in the space with new bone or what is known as heel spurs. The heel spurs are generally not the initial problem but a result of the main problem. Since it is difficult to rest your foot, a vicious cycle develops and is aggravated with every step.


Degenerative joint disease or wear and tear is the most common joint disease in humans. There is a progressive wear of the joint covering or cartilage and as the cartilage wears away, the bone underneath reacts by getting harder and forms rough, long spurs on the surface of the joint. This can occur on any joint but it usually effects the large weight bearing joints like your hips and knees. Osteoarthritis can occur in many ways, but is often brought on by excessive, repetitive forces that are applied to your joint, like that of a baseball pitcher.
The main symptom is pain and the joint may become stiff, causing you to have a limited range of motion. Also you may hear or feel a popping or cracking in your joint when it is moved.

When it comes to any injury, you should really use your common sense and let PAIN be you guide. If it hurts stop. Most running injuries for example are the result of going too far, too fast. If you have inflicted an injury of this nature on yourself, you also have the power to heal yourself, provided you listen to your body and do the proper things. Also fatigue can play a factor in some injuries. For example when a runner becomes fatigued their knees become stiffer, to protect against collapse and therefore don’t operate as efficiently as a shock absorber. So perhaps with a lack of focus and poor mechanics, improper foot plants may occur leading to an injury.

Performing strength, conditioning and flexibility exercises on a regular basis is an excellent way to help prevent injuries. You should also not be afraid to consult experts either in the medical field or sports industry about your injury and concerns. In today’s high tech world often the difference between playing in pain and enjoying the game you love could be in the equipment you use. Perhaps it’s a more flexible shaft on your golf clubs, less tension on your racquet, a different grip size, new supportive shoes or even a brace. Whatever it takes to get you playing again pain free is what it is all about, so get out there and get active.

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !

Training Camp

bd07135_The following article is a small excerpt from one of my books.  I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

There’s a lot of things in sports that you as a player can’t change, so the best thing for you to do is to come prepared, knowing that you’re in your best possible condition. You might not be the strongest, fastest or most talented player but if you give it your all and work hard, good things will happen. Working hard often means being motivated to perform and if you are motivated you will eventually get results. This means setting realistic goals. You might not be the best player, but what you can and should aim to do is to be consistent, and to never give up no matter how high the odds are stacked against you. Next to natural talent and ability, mental toughness is one of the greatest attributes that any player can bring to the game. The greatest victory doesn’t come at the end of the race but in the ability to compete day in and day out.

Most competitive players have a strong desire to win, but along with this strong desire to win you should also be emotionally prepared to deal with any failures you may encounter. You should not dwell on past performances, good or bad, but instead learn from the game and move on. If you think too much and start to second-guess your performance, you’re not ready to play the game and you could end up getting injured. Concentration and playing with confidence will also help you to find success.

In the book ‘Get Fit Stay Fit’ it shows you some of the best ways that you can prepare to play your sport. It will also show you what some of the pros do to ready themselves for a season of competition. Now you don’t have to be a professional player to benefit, in fact if you play tennis you might find some of the baseball training camp drills worth a try. Whatever it takes for you to get into shape, stay healthy, injury free and most important helps you to perform at your best, while having fun is worth doing. You may even develop your own style training camp, taking bits and pieces from different sports to personalize your very own routine.

Here’s a look at some of your body parts and what benefits they have to your overall performance.


The development of your quadriceps muscle helps knee and hip extensions and these muscles are essential in jumping for height, running, kicking, skipping, leaping, and pushing movements. Strong quad muscles are required in sports such as basketball, volleyball, soccer, football, baseball, hockey and track events like high jumping and the long jump.

Strong hamstrings help in running, and kicking to bring the lower leg under the thigh as the leg moves forward during the push off action.

Strong calf muscles are essential for standing, walking and running long distances. They provide the initial push to propel your body forward and upward. They’re also used in jumping, especially in volleyball and basketball. They’re also important in sports that require both running and jumping like racket sports, basketball and baseball.


A strong well developed chest, back and shoulders will help you in all sports. There are however some exercises that are specific to help you in certain sports. Chin ups, for example will help improve you in sports that require throwing, tackling, rowing and climbing movements. Front pull downs will help rowers, your backhand stroke in racket sports, archery and batting in baseball. Dumbbell flyes help in football tackling and various punches in boxing and martial arts. They will also help your forehand in racket sports and throwing a ball sidearm. Shrugs play an important role because they strengthen the muscles that help you to raise your arms as high as possible, so you can catch or hit a ball like in tennis, baseball, football and basketball. A strong and fully developed mid back and shoulders will help to keep your shoulders safe and injury free.

It’s important to have strong shoulders in all sports, especially in sports that require you to raise your arms and reach upwards like in blocking a shot in basketball and overhead hitting actions like in a tennis serve or overhead shots. Shoulder also help in volleyball, catching an overhead baseball, guarding and rebounding in basketball as well as playing a vital role in swimming strokes especially freestyle, butterfly and backstroke. Your shoulders also help you to raise your arms and are very important to football linemen when blocking and helping boxers to execute an uppercut.


Strong biceps help elbow flexion and the muscles involved are important in activities that require chinning, climbing, and pulling your body up. Wrestlers and football players rely on their biceps for grabbing, squeezing and holding onto opponents. The elbow flexing is also used in catching and throwing a ball, ground strokes in racket sports, and your back swing in golf. Strong biceps also help in movements, which require you to twist your hand and pull in like turning a doorknob and pulling the door open.

Your tricep muscle helps elbow extension and is necessary for activities that require strong pushing or explosive straightening of your arms. Sports that use pushing movements are shot put, various gymnastics movements, and baseball batting. Explosive arm straightening helps in tennis serves, throwing a punch in boxing or karate, passing in basketball and throwing a ball overhead in baseball.


Strong abdominal muscles play an important role in flexing the spine an action that’s important in sports like gymnastics, wrestling and diving. Strong abs will also help you to pitch better in baseball, better soccer throw-ins, baseball batting, also golf and boxing. Lower abdominal strength is very important in all sports, which require you to lift your legs high as in gymnastics, runners’ hurdles, kicking in soccer and football and karate. Lower ab strength also helps dancers to raise their legs in ballet leaps and other dance steps.

In the book ‘Get Fit Stay Fit’ it takes a look at 8 different sports and how to best prepare to play the game. They are; Running, Baseball, Basketball, Figure Skating, Football, Golf, Hockey and tennis.

One thing all athletes are starting to realize is that next to talent and ability, being in top physical shape is essential to success. To increase your endurance and stamina you need to run, cycle and increase your aerobic ability.

To increase you flexibility you need to stretch and to increase your strength you need to weight train.

You also have to make sure you eat a sensible, well balanced diet and avoid dehydration by drinking lots of water. Neglecting proper nutrition will affect your ability to train, increase your risk of injury and ultimately affect your performance.

How much you improve is really up to you and how much you are willing to challenge yourself. You may or may not become an elite athlete but if you give it your best, one thing is for sure, you’ll be in great shape.

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !

Training Smart

traini1The following article is a small excerpt from one of my books. I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

Have you ever gotten into your car to go somewhere specific and not known how to get there, and if you didn’t know where you were going, you would usually ask directions or check out a map to see what the best way there would be.  Well think of training your body in a similar way.  We have over the years of training, and having coaches train us forgotten why we are doing what we are doing.  We do certain exercises for a number of reps and sets and don’t really know why, just that we have to do it because that’s the way they’ve done it for years.

When you begin to understand why you’re doing what you are doing, then its easier for you to accomplish your goal and become the best you can be.

In the gym I often ask people what they are doing and I often get the same response…3 sets of 10. I ask why?  There answer is because!  I suggest why don’t they just do one set of 30 and go home, and they look at me like I’m from mars. Do you know what energy system you are training, ATP, Lactate, Glycogen or fat?  Are you training for strength, power, quickness, endurance or a combination?  And if you don’t know what you are doing and why, then why are you training at all?  To get maximum performance you must start thinking of training your body smart and begin to train from the inside out.

The first energy system is the ATP system.  ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the chemical compound which provides the energy to power muscle cell contraction. A single ATP molecule contains an amino acid base (adenosine), a sugar (ribose) and three phosphate groups. The energy of the ATP molecule is stored in the phosphate groups, and when these high energy phosphate bonds are broken during the processes of cellular metabolism, the energy is then available for muscle contraction and other vital cellular functions..  However the cellular storage capacity for ATP is limited, and at maximum work levels ATP stored in the muscle is depleted within 10 seconds.

What this means is that it is physiologically impossible to ask an athlete to perform at 100%…Full out for more than 10 seconds. They simply run out of ATP.

Now let’s think about this for a moment.  We’ve all had coaches who have asked us to perform wind sprints.  We start at one end of a playing field and sprint to the other end and back.  They then ask us to do it again…and think we can do it faster then the first…and the third time should be faster then the first two. These coaches don’t understand the energy systems and how to best train them, because if they did, they would realize that after 10 seconds of sprinting you start to slow down and no matter how hard you try you can not run faster….no ATP.

Now if you are training to play football, the average play lasts less then 10 seconds so what you’d like to do is develop the athletes ability to perform at maximum level for 10 seconds at a time.  So wouldn’t it be better instead of wind sprints to run full out for 10 seconds and see how far you can run…then stop….walk jog…catch your breath and when you are fully recovered run full out again.  This recovery time initially may take upwards of two minutes, but eventually you should be able to cut the recovery time to less then 30 seconds…the time it takes to regroup and start the play all over.

Now after running full out for 10 seconds you begin to slow down and the Lactate System begins.  During this intense exercise period, the cardiovascular system of heart and lungs is unable to supply sufficient oxygen to individual muscle cells. Under these circumstances, energy can continue to be produced for a short period period of time and does not require oxygen. This is  referred to as anaerobic. During the lactate system there is an accumulation of the metabolic by-product lactic acid, and thus, the “burn” felt in overworked muscles. This system is not meant for long-term exercise, as the accumulation of lactic acid and rapid depletion of cellular glucose stores quickly contributes to muscular fatigue. However this Lactate system allows you to perform at this level of intensity for between 10 seconds and 3 minutes and since this system does not need Oxygen, you are burning mostly carbohydrates.  Now while you are in this system your body is resynthesizing ATP and putting it back in case you need to go full out for 10 seconds again.

After approximately 3 minutes, your body begins to slow down some more, and thus switches energy systems, this time to the glycogen energy system, which needs oxygen and is therefore aerobic.  And this system lasts from about the 3 minute mark to about 2 hours.  And finally after 2 hours your body will start to burn fat as its primary source of energy.

So molecules of readily-available glucose are stored  in the  body, as glycogen. The storage of glycogen in your body requires both water and space, so therefore relatively little is stored in your body.  Fats, on the other hand, are far more efficiently stored and therefore can be accumulated almost without limit.  The advantage of utilizing glucose as an energy source is that it is more quickly available than fats, and while it is most efficiently metabolized in the presence of oxygen, it does not require oxygen to produce energy.

Fats are the fuel of greatest importance to the endurance athlete. While their utilization absolutely requires the presence of oxygen, and is not as quickly available as glucose and   its supply within the body is almost unlimited.

The disadvantages of fats as a fuel source is that they absolutely require the ongoing presence of oxygen within the cells to produce energy, and they are the slowest of the three sources to become available after the onset of exercise. A third feature, which may at times become a distinct disadvantage, is that while glycogen may be utilized by itself,  fats require a small but critical amount of glycogen to produce energy.

Think of glycogen as a small pile of fast-burning kindling, and fats as heavy, thick logs. While the logs will supply far more total heat, they cannot burn well without kindling. On the other hand, kindling will burn rapidly and well, its relatively small supply will soon run out, leaving you without the energy to burn the logs. Therefore, the key element in energy management is to rely on fats as the primary fuel source, and to conserve the limited supply of glycogen for “kindling” and for carefully planned spurts of anaerobic activity.

The body is well adapted to utilizing the fuel most suited to the exercise at hand. At rest and during moderate exercise, with plenty of oxygen available, the body will utilize primarily fats, the fuel in greatest supply, with just enough glycogen being used as kindling to produce energy at its highest efficiency. As the intensity of exercise increases, as during a tough hill climb or a prolonged sprint, oxygen supplies may become insufficient and energy utilization shifts from the oxygen, to those which do not require oxygen.
Fats are utilized less and less, while glycogen becomes more and more important—so that at maximum intensity, the reliance on glycogen is approaching 100%. At this intensity of exercise, glycogen stores are rapidly depleted, and the accumulation of lactic acid greatly increased.

Once you know what system you need, and sometimes you end up using combinations of several, you can then perform at the top of your game without getting tired, and this will result in you having less injuries and being able to give it your all for an entire game.  So you owe it to yourself to understand what system you are training….The ATP system, which lasts for up to 10 seconds (anaerobic), the Lactate System (anaerobic) which lasts from 10 seconds to about 3 minutes.  The Glycogen system (aerobic) which lasts from 3 minutes to 2 hours or the Fat System (aerobic) which takes you past the 2 hour mark for long distance or endurance athletes.

Now that you know what energy system you are training, what are you training for?  Are you training for, strength, power, endurance or some combination.  In order to know what you’re doing let’s try to understand the terms.

Strength is defined as the maximum force you can exert in one voluntary contraction.  In other words what is the maximum amount of weight you can bench press, one time by yourself.  Power is work divided by time.  The athlete who can do more work in the same amount of time has more power.

Almost all sports involve power to some degree, so if you can lift a certain amount of weight 3 times while someone else can only lift it once…you have more power and therefore an advantage.

Muscular endurance is also involved in a lot of different sports, and just because you can leg press 900 pounds, doesn’t mean you can bike or ski all day long without getting tired.  You will eventually run out of strength because you have trained the wrong muscles to do the wrong things.

Training is very specific.  So during the off season you may train for strength and power and now about 8 weeks from the start of your season you begin to train for muscular endurance.  This involves performing the same exercises, but doing 30 to 50 reps with lighter weights and less rest in between sets. Training like this should allow you to perform all day long without getting tired.

So when you are designing your exercise program, you should know why you are doing what you are doing and not just 3 sets of 10 or 15…just because everyone else is.  You should choose a weight that you can lift for 15 reps only…and can’t do the 16th rep.  Then rest and drink water and do the second set.  This time you will probably only be able to do 10 to 12 reps. Rest and Drink again. (the reason you should keep drinking is that 78% of your muscles are water and if you don’t fuel them, they can’t perform) Now for the third set you will probably only be able to do between 6 and 8 reps. Now you will stay at this weight until you can do 3 sets of 15 reps.  Once you can accomplish this it means your muscles have adjusted so now it’s time to either add more weight, increase the reps, or change the angle in which you are working and start all over again.  You must train from a wide grip to a narrow grip, from a dumbbell to a barbell, from standing to sitting, from lying to standing up. This is how weight training is done.

Now during exercise and playing sports, you’re going to end up with something that is called oxidative stress (read Total health) Basically you have a bunch of good cells trying to do good things being constantly attacked by free radicals who try to steal the good things out of your good cells. This makes you weaker, and every time you get a weaker cell you get less performance. So in order to combat these free radical you have to have good nutrition…you must be willing to eat good food.  And the best defense against free radicals are anti oxidants which are found in Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. (In 1997 the American Institute for Cancer Research released it’s recommendations for a plant based diet, centered around Fruits, vegetable, whole grains and beans.  This diet with 6 to 12 servings a day provides the antioxidants, vitamins and protective phytochemicals that can prevent and or repair cell damage.)

Nutrition equals Performance, and if you don’t fuel the cells properly, you can’t perform.  During Competition the most important nutrient you can get is water…not a sports drink!!!  This will also help to prevent cramps due to lack of water. After Competition you should also start immediately to refuel you body, so you can begin to repair the tissue damage that has occurred in your body, so that you can be prepared to perform at the next practice or game.

Training smart will help you to perform at the top of you game.

I know you want to get in shape and look great. Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. In my book ‘Get Fit Stay Fit’ You will learn how to select and combine your diet with exercise, so that you can be the best you can be.


exrciseThe following article is a small excerpt from one of my books. I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

When you exercise, you breath heavier and faster, your heart beats faster, your muscles hurt and you sweat. These are all normal responses to exercise and your body has an incredibly complex set of processes to meet the demands of working muscles. Every system in your body is involved.

Any type of exercise uses different muscle groups to generate motion. In running and swimming, your muscles are working to accelerate your body and keep it moving. In weightlifting, your muscles are working to move a weight. Exercise means muscle activity!

In strenuous exercise, just about every system in your body either focuses its efforts on helping your muscles do their work, or it shuts down. Your heart beats faster during strenuous exercise so that it can pump more blood to your muscles, and your stomach shuts down during strenuous exercise so that it does not waste energy your muscles can use.

When you exercise, your muscles act something like electric motors. Your muscles take in a source of energy and they use it to generate force. An electric motor uses electricity to supply its energy. Your muscles are biochemical motors, and they use a chemical called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for their energy source. During the process of “burning” ATP, your muscles need three things:

  • They need oxygen, because chemical reactions require ATP and oxygen is consumed to produce ATP.
  • They need to eliminate metabolic wastes (carbon dioxide, lactic acid) that the chemical reactions generate.
  • They need to get rid of heat.

In order to continue exercising, your muscles must continuously make ATP. To make this happen, your body must supply oxygen to the muscles and eliminate the waste products and heat. If these needs are not met, then you become exhausted and you won’t be able to keep going.

ATP is required for the biochemical reactions involved in any muscle contraction. As the work of the muscle increases, more and more ATP gets consumed and must be replaced in order for the muscle to keep moving.

Because ATP is so important, the body has several different systems to create ATP. These systems work together in phases. The interesting thing is that different forms of exercise use different systems, so a sprinter is getting ATP in a completely different way from a marathon runner!

ATP comes from three different biochemical systems in the muscle, in this order:

  • Phosphagen system
  • Glycogen-lactic acid system
  • Aerobic respiration

A muscle cell has some amount of ATP floating around that it can use immediately, but not very much, only enough to last for about three to 10 seconds. To replenish the ATP levels quickly, muscle cells contain a high-energy phosphate compound called creatine phosphate. The phosphate group is removed from creatine phosphate by an enzyme called creatine kinase, and is transferred to ADP to form ATP. The cell turns ATP into ADP, and the phosphagen rapidly turns the ADP back into ATP. As the muscle continues to work, the creatine phosphate levels begin to decrease. Together, the ATP levels and creatine phosphate levels are called the phosphagen system. The phosphagen system can supply the energy needs of working muscle at a high rate, but for no more then10 seconds.

Muscles also have big reserves of a complex carbohydrate called glycogen. Glycogen is a chain of glucose molecules. A cell splits glycogen into glucose. Then the cell uses anaerobic metabolism (anaerobic means “without oxygen”) to make ATP and a by product called lactic acid from the glucose.  About 12 chemical reactions take place to make ATP under this process, so it supplies ATP at a slower rate than the phosphagen system. The system can still act rapidly and produce enough ATP to last about 90 seconds. This system does not need oxygen, which is handy because it takes the heart and lungs some time to get their act together. There is a definite limit to anerobic respiration because of the lactic acid. The acid is what makes your muscles hurt. Lactic acid builds up in the muscle tissue and causes the fatigue and soreness you feel in your exercising muscles.

By two-three minutes of exercise your body responds to supply working muscles with oxygen. When oxygen is present, glucose can be completely broken down into carbon dioxide and water in a process called aerobic respiration. Aerobic respiration can also use fatty acids from fat reserves in muscle and your body to produce ATP. In extreme cases (like starvation), proteins can also be broken down into amino acids and used to make ATP. Aerobic respiration would use carbohydrates first, then fats and finally proteins. Aerobic respiration takes even more chemical reactions to produce ATP than either of the above systems. Aerobic respiration produces ATP at the slowest rate of the three systems, but it can continue to supply ATP for several hours or longer, so long as the fuel supply lasts.

When you start to look closely at how your body works, it is truly an amazing machine! (Training smart)

If you are going to be exercising for more than a couple of minutes, your body needs to get oxygen to the muscles or your muscles will stop working. Just how much oxygen your muscles will use depends on two processes: getting blood to the muscles and extracting oxygen from the blood into the muscle tissue. Your working muscles can take oxygen out of your blood three times better then when your muscles are resting. Your body can increase the flow of oxygen-rich blood to working muscle by;

  • Increasing the local blood flow to the working muscle
  • By diverting the blood flow from nonessential organs to your working muscles
  • By increasing the flow of blood from your heart
  • By increasing the rate and depth of your breathing

These mechanisms can increase the blood flow to your working muscle by almost five times. That means that the amount of oxygen available to the working muscle can be increased by almost 15 times!

When you exercise, your blood vessels in your muscles dilate and the blood flow is greater. Your body has an interesting way of making those vessels expand. As ATP gets used up in working muscle, the muscle produces several metabolic by products (such as adenosine, hydrogen ions and carbon dioxide). These by products leave your muscle cells and cause your capillaries (small, thin-walled blood vessels) within the muscle to expand or dilate. The increased blood flow delivers more oxygenated blood to the working muscle.

When you begin to exercise, a remarkable diversion happens. Blood that would have gone to your stomach or kidneys goes instead to your muscles. This helps increase the delivery of oxygenated blood to your working muscles.

Your heart, which is also a muscle, gets a workout during exercise, and its job is to get more blood out to your body’s hard-working muscles. Your heart’s blood flow increases by about four or five times from that of its resting state. Your body does this by increasing the rate of your heartbeat and the amount of blood that comes through the heart and goes out to the rest of your body. The rate of blood pumped by the heart (cardiac output) is a product of the rate at which your heart beats (heart rate) and the volume of blood that the heart ejects with each beat (stroke volume). In a resting heart, the cardiac output is about 5 litres a minute (0.07 L x 70 beats/min = 4.9 L/min). As you begin to exercise and your heart is pumping at full force, the cardiac output is about 20-25 litres per minute.

As your heart gets more blood to your working muscles your lungs and the rest of your respiratory system need to provide more oxygen for the blood.  As your lungs absorb more oxygen and the blood flow to the muscles increases, your muscles have more oxygen.

Now that you have increased the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your muscles, your muscles need to get the oxygen out of the blood. An exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide is the key to this. A protein called hemoglobin, which is found in red blood cells, carries most of the oxygen in the blood. Hemoglobin can bind oxygen and/or carbon dioxide; the amount of oxygen bound to hemoglobin is determined by the oxygen concentration, carbon dioxide concentration and pH. Normally, hemoglobin works like this:

  • Hemoglobin in red blood cells entering the lungs has carbon dioxide bound to it.
  • In the lungs, oxygen concentration is high and carbon dioxide concentration is low due to breathing.
  • Hemoglobin binds oxygen and releases carbon dioxide.
  • Hemoglobin gets transported through the heart and blood vessels to the muscle.
  • In muscle, the carbon dioxide concentration is high and the oxygen concentration is low due to metabolism.
  • Hemoglobin releases oxygen and binds carbon dioxide.
  • Hemoglobin gets transported back to the lungs and the cycle repeats.

As you exercise your metabolic activity is high, more acids (hydrogen ions, lactic acid) are produced and the local pH is lower than normal. The low pH reduces the attraction between oxygen and hemoglobin and causes the hemoglobin to release more oxygen than usual. This increases the oxygen delivered to your muscles.

While you exercise your body is using energy and producing waste, such as lactic acid, carbon dioxide, adenosine and hydrogen ions. Your muscles need to get rid of these wastes in order to continue to exercise. The extra blood that is flowing to your muscles and bringing more oxygen can also take this waste away.

Your body heats up when you exercise, and you sweat. The sweat evaporates from your skin, removing heat and cooling your body. Evaporation of sweat removes fluid from the body, so it is important to maintain fluids for blood flow and sweat production by drinking water and/or sport drinks. Sports drinks also replace ions (sodium, potassium) that are lost in the sweat, and provide additional glucose to fuel anaerobic and aerobic respiration.

Evaporation of sweat is an important cooling system that can efficiently remove heat. However, if exercise is done in a hot, humid environment, then sweat does not evaporate. This reduces the efficiency of this system and you may be subject to heat stroke, which is a life-threatening condition. (Your core body temperature rises to 40 degrees C or 104 degrees F)  You can avoid getting heat stroke by wearing shorts and other loose clothing, drinking plenty of water and exercising in cool weather (below 82 degrees F or 28 degrees C).

If you exercise regularly or if you are an athlete in training, you are trying to make your muscles work better. Three major factors in muscle performance are strength, power and endurance.

Muscle strength is the maximal force that your muscle can develop. Strength is directly related to the size of the muscle. Muscle fibres are capable of developing a maximal force of 3 to 4 kg/cm2 (average = 3.5 kg/cm2) of muscle area. So, let’s say that you have increased your muscle size from 100 to 150 cm2, then the maximal resistance that you could lift could be increased from 350 kg (770 lb) to 525 kg (1,155 lb).

The power of muscle contraction is how fast the muscle can develop its maximum strength. Muscle power depends on strength and speed [power = (force x distance)/time]. A person can have extreme power from muscles (7,000 kg-m/min) for a short period of time (about 10 seconds) and then power reduces by 75 percent within 30 minutes; this aspect is important for sprinters because it gives them great acceleration.

Muscle endurance is the capacity to generate or sustain maximal force repeatedly.

Strength, power and endurance may be due in part to the distribution of two basic types of fibers, fast twitch and slow twitch. Fast-twitch fibers are capable of developing greater forces and contracting faster and have greater anaerobic capacity. In contrast, slow-twitch fibers develop force slowly, can maintain contractions longer and have higher aerobic capacity. Your genes largely determine whether you have more of one kind of muscle fiber or another. Sprinters tend to have more fast twitch fibers. Marathon runners tend to have more slow twitch fibers.

You can help your body to exercise better by eating the right foods. If you want to do well, you should try to increase the stores of glycogen in your liver and your muscles. Athletes eat solid, high-carbohydrate diets (breads, pasta) the night before competition, and liquid, high-glucose diets in the morning before competition. Sports drinks containing glucose are good to drink during competition to replace fluid and help to maintain your blood glucose levels.

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