Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

Enhancing Overall Strength and Endurance by Introducing Aspects of MMA training

Enhancing Overall Strength and Endurance by Introducing Aspects of MMA training

By Alexia Kraus

It’s pretty obvious that the workout regiment and strength training of a mixed martial artist is gravely different than that of your average day-to-day gym goers. A MMA fighter has to build a body that can both take and outlast the punishment of the sport. This is much different than average gym goers who are usually looking for a healthy workout just to maintain their physique. However, this doesn’t mean that a MMA workout can’t fit in with the workout routine of an average person.

One of the biggest differences in a fighter’s workout routine is that it focuses on the whole body in one session rather than the different sets of muscle groups. Most people workout legs and back one day and arms and chest the other. Fighters, on the other hand, need their bodies to work as one complete unit. This is done in one session of a strength training regimen of dead lifts, squats, and chest presses. An exercise you don’t always see in the gym is jumping rope. Based on this fact, it would seem that most people don’t consider the fact that jumping rope requires all aspects of the body to be moving in order be done correctly. Mixing this exercise into a workout routine adds enormous value to your level of endurance while sharpening reflexes and reaction time.

Even things as simple as the training gear that MMA fighters use separates them from the rest of the gym pack. Fighters use MMA Training Equipment, such as MMA Training Gloves, as part of their workout while most people working out wear nothing more than old shorts and ripped shirts. This shows that not only do fighters workout differently, but they use the best equipment they can to maximize their workout and simulate the actual conditions that will exist in the ring. This doesn’t mean that average gym-goers can’t maximize their own workout. By adding aspects of the MMA fighter routine into their workout 2 or 3 times a week, an average person can build up a higher level of endurance and strength than they would normally be accustomed to achieving. This may not get them ready for the cage anytime soon, but it will definitely make their workout more effective.

Check out more information from Alexia and MMA training ideas at MMAindustries.com

Bikram Yoga at Home

 

As we all know by now, yoga is a fantastic tool to utitlize in your journey towards health and fitness.  It helps settle your mind, stretch, and tone your body.  There are a wide range of yoga varities available, however one such variety is Bikram yoga.  Bikram yoga is a special form of yoga that is practiced in a hot room with high levels of humidity.  This helps increase sweat and maximize weight loss.

Steps to performing Bikram yoga at home:

  1. Find a location in your home that can retain heat and humidity.  A bathroom or small bedroom would work best typically.
  2. If in a bathroom, turn up the shower to hot and let the room begin to steam up.  If you are in another type of room, use a humidifier and small space heater.  Using both for only 15 minutes should do the trick. 
  3. Wear warm clothing.  Long sleeves and pants tucked into socks.  Consider wearing a ski hat to retain even more heat.
  4. Put on some soothing, soft music in the background.
  5. Log on to Share It Fitness and follow along with one of 0ur live yoga classes, or 1-on-1 with your  own yoga instructor.
  6. Relax at the end of your session by laying on the floor and taking long, deep breaths of the hot, moist air.

5 Best Exercises for Bicep Size

These exercises are geared towards the individuals who are lifting for size and strength.  While size and strength are not always mutually attainable with one routine, these exercises aim to deliver both.

1.  Barbell Bicep Curl – This should be the first exercise of your bicep day.  Go heavier on this one and aim for 8 reps.  The majority of people can handle more weight on a barbell as opposed to a dumbbell, so this is ideal for adding strength.  Use a full range of motion (raise an inch from your chest, lower an inch from your upper thighs) and keep a straight back.  Far too often we see guys using too heavy a weight while doing bicep curls.  They lean forward, and back, and forward….as they struggle to lift the weight.  This is a waste.  Use good form and proper weight to notice the biggest gains.

2.  Incline Dumbbell Curls – An ideal exercise to prevent any momentum from assisting you lift the weight.  This puts full stress on the biceps, resulting in greater results.  This will require you to use a lighter weight, most likely.  Keep your back against the bench and slowly raise and lower the weights.

3.  Cable Curls – In order to fully develop a given muscle, you need to hit the deep muscle fibers as well.  Cable curls are good at doing this because their pattern of movement is so unsteady.  The constant pull of the cable will require all of your stabilization muscles to feel the burn.  Try using a rope, straight bar, or handles when performing this move.

4. Hammer Curls – By keeping your palms facing in throughout the whole movement, you place stress on a different set of muscle fibers in the bicep.  The muscle that is between the bicep and tricep comes into play here.  This is great at adding size and building strength in an often over-looked aspect of the arm.

5.  Concentration Curls – The classic bodybuilder move.  These are performed sitting down, with your elbow just above your knee.  These are sure to surge huge growth in your biceps.  The nature of the exercise places a great deal of stress on the bicep and removes the aspect of momentum.  Try using this one at the end of your workout to really finish off your biceps.

P90X Review

The P90X training system has been getting a lot of coverage lately.  While it has been around for some time now, like most fitness trends, it’s popularity surges and falls over a period of time.  p90X is geared towards both men and women who want to lose body fat, tone up, and “get ripped”.  Each DVD in the system features a series of exercises that must be carried out in order.  The goal of the system is to introduce “muscle confusion” to the mix.  Most people use the same, or similar workout, for months, or even years on end.  Their gains are minimal at best.  This in turn causes them to lose motivation and quit; an all too common occurence. 

P90X combats this by offering different training routines than most people are used to.  The intensity is also higher than most people are used to.  For 3-4 months, P90X seems like a great investment.  After that however, you face the same problem; performing the same routine over and over again.  P90X isn’t the be all end all.  Even training with this method will lead to plateaus (making minimal gains).  The issue now, however, is you are out $120 dollars and need to now turn somewhere else.

For the same price you can receive, not pre-recorded, but live fitness instruction from a real person on Share It Fitness.  You and your very own personal trainer will be working on your issues and goals together.  Workouts will vary week to week, which will continually confuse your muscles, keeping your gains and fat loss maximized.  Meeting via webcam with your trainer and having the ability to ask questions about an exercise or workout routine during the week are just two things P90X cannot deliver.

P90X makes a solid effort to help people get fit.  It achieves its goals on a short-term basis.  However, for long-term health and fitness, a finite set of pre-recorded workouts is not going to be the lifestyle changer you need.  A change of this magnitude requires a human touch, which Share It Fitness is prepared to offer.

Alcohol Fuels Bad Food Choices

So that glass of red wine not only adds 128 calories, but it may inadvertently add hundreds more due to poor food choices. That’s right, that 6 ounces of fermented grape juice (or 1 ounce of hard alcohol or 12 ounces of beer) contributes to a change in your dietary habits, for the worse.

A joint study by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) , published April in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association,  found that increasing your alcoholic beverage consumption is associated with a decreased diet quality. Reviewing the data of 15,000 U.S. adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the CDC, the research group found that increased  consumption of alcohol, any kind of alcohol, resulted in poorer food choices, including increased calorie intake and decreases in fruit, grains, and milk.

“Heavy drinking and dietary factors have independently been associated with cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and other chronic health problems,” said NIAAA Acting Director Kenneth R. Warren, Ph.D. “This finding raises questions about whether the combination of alcohol misuse and poor diet might interact to further increase health risks.”

We’re not talking frat boys here, but grown adults imbibing and lowering their food standards. Inebriation can make people a bit lazy, grabbing for a bag of chips or thinking starches like French fries will help to offset the effects of alcohol. Skipping meals in favor of happy hour is contributing to growing waistlines and an increase in obesity and other health problems.

Everything in life should be done in moderation, whether it is food, liquor or exercise. Moderate drinking, as defined by U.S. Dietary Guidelines, is one drink per day for women, and no more than two drinks per day for men. Don’t add insult to injury by piling useless alcohol calories on top of unhealthy food choices.

Via healthnews.com

Stretch it Out

As a person ages, the muscles will tighten and range of motion around your joints will decrease.  This will significantly affect a persons’ active lifestyle, as well as the ability to perform simply day-to-day tasks.  Tasks that used to come naturally, such as bending over to tie a shoelace, or reaching for something high in the closest are now extremely difficult.  Understanding the benefits of, and embarking on a stretching routine will help lengthen muscles, preseve your range of motion, and make daily living much more enjoyable.

A person with good health and fitness will have good cardiovasular endurance, muscular strength, and a limber body as a result of stretching.  Many people often overlook this third component.  Realizing the benefits of stretching is by far the easiest of the three components.  It does not require a large time committment or extreme physical expenditure. 

The benefits of stretching are numerous, here are just a few:

  • Increased circulation of blood
  • Increased energy, as a result of increased circulation
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Greater range of motion
  • Enhanced muscle coordination

 

Try the basic stretching routine below, 3 times a week to reach higher levels of flexibility and overall wellness.

  1. Hip Flexor Stretch – 2 sets of 20 seconds per side
  2. Butterfly stretch – 1 set of 40 seconds
  3. Piriformis stretch – 2 sets of 20 seconds per side
  4. Quadriceps stretch – 2 sets of 45 seconds on each side
  5. Hamstring stretch (on raised object) – 1 set of 1 minute on each side
  6. Hip Stretch – 2 sets of 45 seconds on each side
  7. Straddle split – 2 sets of 1 minute
  8. Floor straddle – 1 set of 1 minute
  9. Gastrocmenius stretch – 1 set of 1 minute per side
  10. Shoulder stretch – 2 sets of 20 seconds per side
  11. Triceps stretch – 2 sets of 20 seconds per side
  12. Chest stretch – 2 sets of 20 seconds per side
  13. Lat stretch – 2 sets of 20 seconds per side
  14. Biceps stretch – 2 sets of 20 seconds per side

 

Hold each stretch at the point of mild tension.  Do NOT bounce.  Try running through this routine two times if time permits.

Stretches found here.

5 Common Mistakes of Running

Running should be an enjoyable and stress-free activity. Many runners experience pain and discomfort because of wrong gear, form, and hydration.  Read about the most common mistakes made by runners and how to fix them! 

Shoes
Many runners have a favorite pair of running shoes they don’t want to give up. That comfortable, broken-in pair of shoes can be hard to give up.  Running shoes need to be discarded (for running purposes) every 300-400 miles, depending on weight and where you run.  Heavier runners (over 160 pounds) should change earlier than lighter runners, and outside/trail runners should change shoes at an earlier mileage than treadmill runners.

Also, make sure that you are wearing shoes that fit properly.  Some runners have specific wear or strike patterns that can cause pain.  However, these problems can be easily addressed by ensuring your shoes are the right fit.  Learn how to purchase the proper athletic shoes here. Changing and wearing the correct running shoes is essential to avoiding the most common running injuries such as knee, hip and other joint problems.

Happy Feet
There’s no doubt that races are exciting and exhilarating experiences.  Almost all runners have a story about starting a race at a faster pace because of the excitement and anticipation.  Inevitably, they hit a wall somewhere along the way and are zapped of their energy. The best way to prevent a runner’s crash is to be aware of your pace before the race starts and start slower than usual.  This way, by the middle of the race, you will have plenty of energy to finish off strong.  Also, it’s best to start off in the middle or back of the corral.  This way you aren’t tempted to keep up with speed demons.

Overstriding
Overstriding is when runners land on their heel, with the entire foot ahead of the body’s center of gravity.  This type of stride seems to be a good way to increase speed, but in reality, it slows you down.  Overstriding wastes precious energy since with each foot strike, there is a braking motion.  It is also one of the leading causes of running injuries.

The best way to correct this problem is to pay close attention to your running form until the motion becomes natural.  Try not to lunge forward with your feet, especially when running downhill.  Keep a short, slow arm swing to help keep your stride short and close to the ground.

Hydration
Many runners don’t realize how much fluid they lose during a run and don’t drink enough fluid.  Some choose not to drink because they worry about getting cramps.  Getting side cramps from drinking water is a myth.  Cramps can be prevented by deep mouth breathing and warming up properly. 

It is important to drink before, during and after exercise. An hour before exercising, try to drink between 16-24 ounces of water or a sports drink.  During a run, the general rule is to drink 6-8 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes.  If you workout more than 90 minutes, you should supplement your water with a sports drink.  After a run, rehydrate with 20-24 ounces of water for every pound lost.

Overtraining
Runners who are focused on training for a race or a personal goal are often extremely dedicated to the challenge, maybe even a little too much. The thought process tends to be: more miles = better performance.  In fact, this is not true!  Taking the time to recover is one of the most important parts of improving speed and efficiency. 

Running everyday or running too many miles causes burnout and injury.  If you are building up to a longer race, build your mileage incrementally.  Don’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% to reduce your chances of overuse injuries. After a harder run, take a day off to allow your muscles to recuperate.  Every 4th week, drop your weekly mileage by 50% (rest week) so that you don’t burnout. Schedule days off from running just as you would schedule a run.

Via FitAndFabLiving.com

Sardinian Pork Chops with Fava Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups shelled fava beans (about 2 1/2 pounds unshelled)
  • 1 cup pearl onions
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 (8-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork chops, trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 fresh myrtle leaves, coarsely crushed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

 

Preparation

1. Cook fava beans in boiling water 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain. Remove and discard tough outer skins from beans. Cook onions in boiling water 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. Pinch stem end of each onion; discard peels. Combine beans and onions; set aside.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add pork to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove pork from pan. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, wine, thyme, pepper, garlic, and myrtle; cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return pork to pan. Reduce heat, and cook 4 minutes; turn pork occasionally.

3. Add bean mixture, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup water, parsley, and basil to pan. Cover and cook 12 minutes. Remove pork from pan. Bring bean mixture to a boil; cook until reduced to 2 cups (about 4 minutes). Discard myrtle. Serve bean mixture with pork chops.

Nutritional Information

Calories:463 Fat:13.8g (sat 4.1g,mono 6.9g,poly 1.4g)

Protein:47.7g

Carbohydrate:36.7g

Fiber:12g

Cholesterol:98mg

Iron:5.2mg

Sodium:668mg

Calcium:103mg

Efisio Farris, Cooking Light, MARCH 2009

WOD

100 squats

5 muscleups

75 squats

10 muscleups

50 squats

15 muscleups

25 squats

20 muscleups

Improving Endurance

Every athlete wants long-lasting aerobic/anaerobic enudrance.  By working together, the body is provided with ATP (energy) for exercise.  Aerobic energy refers to the energy you receive when going for a light jog or brisk walk.  Anaerobic energy comes into play during high intensity activities for a short period of time, such as sprinting or power lifting.  To summarize, aerobic energy is produced in the presence of oxygen during low intensity activities for prolonged times.  Anaerobic is for short, intense bursts, and takes place without oxygen’s presence.  Improving both will have a bigger impact on overall endurance than improving only one.

Aerobic Endurance

The best way to increase aerobic endurance is by doing cardiovascular exercise, i.e. walking, jogging, swimming, biking, etc.  For beginners and intermediates, try working your way up to about 25 minutes, 4 days  a week of cardiovascular exercise.  For the well trained individual, try implementing HIIT or Tabata training.

Anaerobic Endurance

We all know the feeling.  You’ve been exercising intensely for a period of time and that dull burn starts to build in the muscle.  You fight past it, but sooner or later it will become too much to bear and the muscle grows weak.  This is the result of lactic acid buildup.  Lactic acid is a byproduct of anaerobic energy.  By training for anaerobic endurance, you increase your muscles’ tolerance to lactic acid buildup, thus giving you more time before fatigue sets in.  HIIT training is excellent here as it will positively affect aerobic as well as anaerobic endurance.  Essentially, you want to hit about 90% of your max heart rate for a brief period of time, then sink back to 70& of your max heart rate for a few minutes.  Think: sprint all out for 30 seconds, then walk for 2 minutes…repeat for 20 total minutes.  As your HIIT training advances, aim for a ratio of 2:3, or even 1:1 for the very fit. 

Example HIIT training schedule below:

Week Daily Schedule
Week 1 Day 1: Cardio session at 70% MHR for 20 mins in the a.m. Weightlifting session (upper body, chest/delts/tri’s) in the p.m.Day 2: HIIT session for 20 mins (example 1 from above).

Day 3: Off.

Day 4: Weightlifting session (lower body) in the p.m.
Day 5: Cardio session at 70% MHR for 20 mins in the a.m.

Day 6: HIIT session for 20 mins (example 1).

Day 7: Cardio session at 70% MHR for 20 mins in the a.m. Weightlifting session (upper body, back/traps/bi’s) in the p.m.

Week 2 Same as week 1.
Week 3 Increase cardio sessions in the a.m. at 70% MHR for 20 mins to 30 mins.
Week 4 Same as week 3.
Week 5 Change HIIT training from example 1 to example 2.
Week 6 Same as week 5.
Week 7 Increase cardio sessions in the a.m. at 70% MHR for 30 mins to 45 mins.
Week 8 Change HIIT training from example 2 to example 3.
Week 9 Deloading week. Get off HIIT for the whole week and decrease cardio sessions in the a.m. back to 30 mins per session.
Decrease weightliftin
g sessions from 3 to 2 per week.
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