Incredibly FIT Program

abs abuse acai berries achieve achilles achilles heel achilles stretch active activity addiction adp aerobics agave agave nectar Age aging albumin alcohol alcoholic drinks almond butter almonds amino acid amino acids Aminos anabolic animal fat anorexia antioxidant antioxidants antioxidents anxiety appetite apples applesauce arginine artichoke artichokes arugula asian asian cucumber asparagus Athlete Athletes atp avocado avocados awareness bacteria baed chips baked Baked Chips bakes Balance balance diet balanced meals balsamic vinegar banana banana bites banana pudding bananas barley baseball basil basketball basmati rice bcaa bean spread beans beats beef Beet Chips beets behavior bell peppers benefits binge drinking biotin black bean black beans black pepper bloating blood blood cells blood circulation blood flow blood pressure blood sugar blood vessels bloodstream blueberries blueberry body body fat body synthesis body type body weight Bodybuilders Bodybuilding bok choy bond bone density bone disease bone marrow bone mass bones boredom brain Brain Activity brains bran bread bread crumbs breakfast breakfast bowl breathing Broccoli broccolini budget build building burgers burpies butternut squash cabbage cables caffeine cajun seasoning cake calcium calcium caseinate calf raises calisthenics calories cancer cantaloupe capers carbohydrates carbs cardio Career carrots casein caseinate casserole catabolic caveman cavities cayenne pepper celery cells cheat meal chemicals cherries cherry salsa cherry tomatoes chest press chia seeds chicken chiles chili powder chipotle chips chives chocolate chocolate milk chocolate mousse choices cholesterol Christmas cilantro cinnamon citrulline clean eating Climate coconut coconut oil Coconut Water Coffee cold collard greens Commitment Community Competition Competitor complete protein complex carbohydrates complex carbs compote concentration conditioning confidence consistency contraction control cookies cooking Cooling core corn cottage cheese counting calories courage couscous coworkers crackers craisins cranberries cranium craving cravings creatine crispy crock pot crunches cucumber cumin Curls daily goals dairy free dates deadlift debt deceiving Dedication dehydration delay onset soreness delicious delts depression deprivation dessert determination Detox diabetes diabetic friendly diet diet tips dietary diets Digestion dijon dill dinner dinner ideas dinner salad dinners dip dipping sauce Discover disease Disease Prevention disorders dna dopamine dream dreams dressing drinks dumbbells easy easy prep easy recipes easy to make easy to make protein Eating eating right eating tips edamame educate efa efficiency effort egg egg salad egg white egg whites eggplant eggs Electrolytes emotional eating emotions empty calories enchilada soup encourage encouragement Endurance Energy enzyme enzymes essential fatty acids Essentials excuses execise exercise exercises fads Failure faith family fast fast food fat fat burn fat content fat free milk fatfree fatigue Fats fatty acid fatty acids fatty foods fda fear fearless fennel seed FerrigKNOW ferrignos fiber finance fire grilled fish fit fitness goals fitness routine Fitness Tips flank steak flax seed flaxseed Flex fluids Focus folate folic acid Food food labels food tips foof form fresh fresh corn friends friendship fritata frittata fructose fruit fuel fun fusilli future Gains garlic garlic. low fat gastric motility gatherers Gatorade gazpacho gender genes genetic code genetics ginger give back glucogenic amino acid glucose gluten free glycogen Goals goat cheese Golden Age Golden Era grains granny smith apples granola grape nuts grape tomatoes greek greek yogurt green bean green beans green chili green onion green onions green tea grilled Grilled Chicken grits grocery shopping ground turkey Growth guacamole guidance guidelines guilt free gym Gym Buddy h20 Habits HAMSTRING hangovers happiness hash Health health tips healthy healthy breakfast healthy dip healthy eating healthy italian healthy lifestyle healthy living healthy meals healthy mexican Healthy Muscle healthy recipes healthy snack healthy snacks Heart heart disease heart rate heel stretch herbs heredity high calorie high intensity hiit hobbies Holidays holistic home made homemade honey hormones hotel diet hummus hunger hungry hunters Hydrate hydration Hydrolyzed casein protein hypoglycemia hypohydration ice illness image imagine immune system immunity improvement incline press increase endurance incredible hulk incredibly fit Incredibly FIT Program infused ingestion ingredients Injury inspire instincts Insulin intensity iron italian jalapeno jalapeño peppers jogging Joints kalamata olives kale kale chips ketchup kettle bells Kettlebell KFC kidney kids kiwi kosher salt krebs cycle labels lactic acid lactose free lactose intolerant lat pull down lats league lean lean meat lean protein leg raise Legs lemon lemon juice lemons lentils lettuce lettuce wraps leucine life coach lifestyle lifestyles lift lifting Ligaments light italian light prep lime lime juice lime wedges limes limits liquid meals liters liver liver failure longevity losing weight lou ferrigno low calorie low calorie dessert low calories low carb low carbs low fat low fat burritos low fat cookies low fat desserts low fat dressing low fat meals low fat muffins low fat recipes low fat yogurt low sodium lunch lunch healthy snacks lunch ideas lunges lungs lysine machines macronutrients magnesium mammalian target of rapamycin mango manifest mantra marching sprint marinade marinara sauce marinated martial arts massage Mc Donalds McDonalds meal plan meal plans Meal Prep meals measure meat meat loaf meditation memory Menatl Performance menopausal mental fatigue mental health menu mesomorph mesomorph diet mesomorphs metabolic metabolic rate metabolic syndrome Metabolism mexican micellar Micellar casein microwave milk mind set mindful mindful eating mindset minerals mint mint leaves moderation money Monster Energy Drinks mood motivation mozzarella mozzarella cheese mozzerella Mr. Olympia mtor muffins multivitamin muscle Muscle Groups muscle growth Muscle Mass muscle repair muscle soreness muscle strength Muscles mushroom mushrooms music mustard Natural natural protein nature negative nerve cells nervous system New Years Resolutions nicoise Nitric Oxide nitrogen no bake no excuses no fried non fat nutrients Nutrition nuts oats obesity olive oil omega 3 omega3 onion onion powder onions options orange juice orange roughy oregano organic osteoporosis oven fried Overeating Oxygen oyster sauce p70S6K Pain paleo diet Pantothenic Acid papaya paprika parfait parmesan cheese parsley passion pasta Patience patterns pay it forward peach peaches peanut butter peanut oil pecans peer pressure Peers pepper peppers Performance personal power perspective pesto physical physical health physique pineapple pinto beans pizza bites planks planning play list poached poblano pomegranate popsicles pork portion control portion sizes portions portobello mushrooms positive Post Workout potassium potates potato chips potatoes Power powerful powerlifting prawns Pre Workout pre-diabetic preacher curl pretzels prevention prioritize Pro Athlete probiotics processed foods program Propel protein protein bars Protein Drinks Protein Powder protein shake Protein Shakes protein synthesis pudding pull downs pull ups pulldowns pumping iron pumpkin seeds pushups quesadillas quick quiet quinoa reality recipe Recipes recovery Red Bull red meat red onion red onions red pepper red wine vinegar reflect refocus refreshing relationships relax repetition Replenishing reps resistance training Resolutions Rest restaurant restaurants Results reverse curl reverse lunge ribeye rice cakes rice vinegar ricotta ridicule roasted romaine lettuce roots rosemary Routine running safety sage salad salmon salsa salsa verde salt saturated fat saving savory scallions science sea salt seafood seeds self esteem self sabotage serotonin serrano chile serving size servings sesame seeds Sets sex shake shallots shanna ferrigno shiitake shin shin splint shin stretches shrimp sickness side dish simple simple carbohydrates simple carbs situps six pack size skeleton skewers skin skinny guy sleep smart eating smoothie smoothies Snacking snacks snap peas sober social media socializing society sodium sodium caseinate solutions soreness soup sour cream southwest soy soy isolate soy milk soy sauce spears Speed spending spices spinach spirituality sponsor Sports Sports Drinks sports league Sports Teams SPRINT sprinting sprints sprouts squash Squat squats st. john's wort steak steel cut stevia stew stimulants stir fry strain strawberries strength strength training strengthening stress stress eating stretching stuffed peppers substances Success sucrose sugar sugar free sunflower oil sunlight superman supplement supplementation Supplements support suppressant surgery sweat sweet potato sweet potatoes sweeteners sweets swole 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  • 10 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress TODAY

    Most doctors will tell you that many of today's ailments are caused not by viruses or bacteria but stress. Everyday people are becoming more stressed and not doing anything to minimize it. Whether it's with nutrients or stress relieving techniques, reducing stress will help you live a healthier life.

    Although we experience stress all the time, our stress levels are highest when we are under pressure; and it's those high stress levels that do us the most harm over time. There are many healthy and unhealthy ways of dealing with stress. Unhealthy ways of dealing with stress are temporary and, in the long run, can be detrimental to your health. Below is a list of unhealthy ways of dealing with stress that can damage your health and eventually ruin your life:

    Drinking alcohol

    Using pills (prescription/over the counter) or illegal drugs to relax

    Smoking

    Withdrawing from others

    Overeating or under-eating

    Aggression or physical violence

    Avoidance

    Here are a few stress-busting nutrients and techniques that you can use on a daily basis to help you reduce stress before it reaches a level that may affect your life, health, and well-being.

    Pantothenic Acid -This helps control the action of the adrenal glands, which play a crucial part in the stress response. Some foods enriched in pantothenic acid are cereal grains, legumes, lamb, chicory greens, endives, and mushrooms.

    Vitamin C - During stressful times, vitamin C is depleted quickly. Vitamin C deficiency can worsen anxiety and irritability and can lower your immune system. Be sure to load up on vitamin C during stressful times to help give you the extra boost you and your immune system need. Kiwis, oranges, broccoli, sweet bell peppers, and raspberries are just of few fruits and vegetables that are enriched with vitamin C.

    Zinc - Zinc is crucial to your well-being. It plays a role in at least 80 different enzyme reactions and is a brain neurotransmitter. Some of the foods that contain Zinc are poultry, whole grains, oysters, and nuts.

    Magnesium -Magnesium helps reduce stress by lowering homocysteine levels, which in turn can help lower your risk of stroke, heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's disease, and many degenerative diseases. Some good sources of magnesium are brown rice, okra, swiss chard, spinach, and almonds.

    Working Out - Exercise perks you up! By exercising, you help reduce the level of stress hormones like cortisol. Physical activity also helps increase endorphins (your body's feel-good chemicals), which can naturally boost your mood and battle depression.

    Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) - Your body's cells need a continuous supply of these fatty acids in order to function at their peak. The body uses EFA's to repair membranes and cells, absorb nutrients, get rid of harmful waste from the body, reduce inflammation, and increase the activity of another chemicals derived from endothelial cells (endothelium-derived nitric oxide), which cause arteries to relax and dilate. EFA's also reduce the production of messenger chemicals called cytokines, which are involved in the inflammatory response associated with atherosclerosis. Needless to say, EFA's are essential in maintaining your health and well-being. EFA's are found in foods like salmon, mackeral, sardines, flax seeds, walnuts, leafy green veggies, olive oil, and avocados.

    St. John's Wort and Valerian - Both of these herbs have been known to produce a calming effect. Either one is good to help relieve stress. However, it is not recommended that you take Valerian and St. Johns Wort together.

    Meditation - Meditation is a powerful antidote to stress. Relaxation techniques such as visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help you activate the body's natural relaxation response. When practiced regularly, these relaxation techniques lead to a reduction in your everyday stress levels. These techniques also help you to stay calm and collected in the face of life's unexpected challenges.

    Massage - A simple massage can be an immediate stress reliever by reducing tension in your muscles. It's a great way to relax, relieve stress and anxiety, and reduce muscle soreness. A massage can also cause your body to release natural painkillers and boost your immune system. There are few sensual experiences that rival a full body massage for stress relief.

    Talking with a Friend or Counselor - When we are stressed, a good way of getting relief is talking with a friend or counselor. Sharing your feelings and problems helps you let go of those things that are causing you turmoil, angst, and tension.

    Nourish your body, mind, and spirit everyday, and you will be better able to reduce stress and live a happier and healthier life.

    As always, please consult a physician before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, or wellness program.

  • 15-Minute Quick and Dirty Workout

    If you find yourself with very little time to workout, don't forgo the session altogether. Even a 15-minute bout of the right exercise will deliver cardiovascular, muscular, and weight loss benefits. Here are some tips for a quick work out.

    Full Body

    • 3-minute warm-up: cardio machine or walking

    • Lat pull down or row machine: 2 sets, 10-20 reps

    • Superset: chest machine press or dumbbell press, 2 sets, 10/20 reps

    • Kettlebell sumo squats: 2 sets, 12-25 reps

    • Superset: kettlebell bent or straight-leg deadlift, 2 sets, 10-20 reps

    • 3 sets of 10-15 burpies: no more than 30 second rest in between sets

    • 100 crunches

    Individual Body Parts

    If you are on a workout schedule where you are only focusing on 1 or 2 body parts per session, the best way to spend 15 minutes is this:

    • Pick a body part - let's say back

    • Pick an exercise - let's say pull ups

    • Pick a rep range from 50-100 ( depending on your strength and conditioning)

    • Now start your first set and do as many as you can - whatever number you get to - that's how many you just knocked off of the rep range

    • Keep doing sets until you get to that rep range - even if you're only doing 1 rep at a time at the end

    It's a hell of an intense quick 15 minutes - and you're done.
  • Stay Fit While Traveling

    If you are a frequent business traveler, you must be used to stumbling upon tireless agendas, long meetings, and jetlagged sleepless nights. And if you are planning for a leisure trip, you must have also prepared yourself for the annoying airport security queues, extended hours on the plane, and crazy weekend traffic on the road. But have you also taken into consideration the diet mines which are placed in your airplane, hotel, and highway restaurants with the sole objective of messing with your healthy eating efforts and erasing your past dieting triumphs?  Not yet? Read on to learn the nuances of eating healthily and staying fit while traveling.

    The In-Flight Diet

    Air travelers usually bring their own snacks from home or pick up something to eat en route.  Bag of nuts and dried fruits, apples, banana, oranges, and single-serve packages of peanut butter and crackers or rice cakes are excellent travel mates for the trip ahead.

    Though the lure of inexpensive, fast and filling fast foods is immense, remember to steer clear of the high-calorie sweetened beverages and skip the fat laden entrée’s, fried snacks, salted nuts, doughnuts, and burger combo meals. Not only will you not have broken your diet plans, but you'll feel much more comfortable while you travel. A grilled chicken sandwich without the mayo, pasta with vegetables and tomato sauce, quesadillas, egg white omelets, whole wheat bagels, yogurt, and fresh fruit smoothies prepared with low-fat milk are other healthy options at airport restaurants. If time and budget permits, sleuth around the terminal and find a nice place to enjoy a nutritious sit-down meal before boarding.

    Depending on the airline, you may be offered either an option of trying the ‘in flight’ meals or to buy ‘on board’ meal packs. For meals, go for deli sandwiches and rolls with egg or lean meats as filling, veggies or salads as side dish, and fresh fruits for dessert. And when the beverage cart comes closer, pick up plain water, green tea over sodas, lattes, and alcoholic drinks.

    On the Road Diet photo courtesy of needoptic

    The typical highway fare of chips, sodas, and microwave-ready foods can pack on extra calories, sodium, and fats and leave you feeling sluggish and likely to experience a sugar crash. Even if you are planning to hit the road early, be sure to have a small breakfast of oats and milk or toast with peanut butter at home. Starting the journey on a full stomach will help you to stay alert and energetic and ward the junk food cravings away.

    Pack string cheese, crackers, bran cookies, low-fat protein bars, almonds, hard-boiled eggs, and plenty of water for your trip. During gas or restroom breaks, scoot through the convenience store aisles for healthy foods which can be eaten later. Do simple stretching exercises such as neck and shoulder rolls and ab-strengthening tummy suctions in between long driving or sitting in the car sessions to ease strained muscles, digest food better, and burn a few calories.

    At Hotel Diet

    It is possible to enjoy a healthy meal at the hotel without blowing a hole in your budget or diet. Read the menu carefully and select the items that use steaming, braising, roasting, or sautéing as cooking methods. Go for smaller-sized burgers and sandwiches without the fried sides. At food outlets, select an entrée with veggies and lean meat, that’s aren't battered or fried. Ask for the dressings, sauces, mayo, and honey to be served on the side so that you can control the quantity you use. Start your meal with a salad packed with veggies to help control hunger and feel satisfied sooner. Order foods that do not have creamy sauces or gravies. Choose main dishes that include vegetables - such as stir fries, salads, and kebobs.

    Special Cases

    People with special needs such as pregnant women, diabetics, or children must take extra care about what they eat and drink. Don't hesitate to mention your special meal preferences to the airline or restaurant staff and ask for tailored meals to suit your taste and health conditions.

    The Bottom Line

    While traveling need not be an excuse to splurge in unhealthy temptations, meals away from home should also not bother one to the extent of being a freak or spoilsport. The idea is to make some smart choices and have fun with family or friends without letting the diet to go on a travel spree too.

  • Golden Age Diet Plan for the Beginner: The Mesomorph

    This article goes hand in hand with our previous article:
    Golden Age Building Routine for the Beginner: The Mesomorph

    Of the three major body types, mesomorphs have the easiest time of adding muscle mass, but eat poorly or too much and you won't see the results you're looking for. You'll want to eat a diet high in protein and find the right balance of good carbs and fat.

    This might involve a little trial and error, but you'll get it eventually. It will be necessary to eat four to six smaller meals per day, rather than the traditional two or three larger ones. You want to keep the flow of nutrients into your body consistent and continuous.


    BASIC GUIDELINES

    • Keep it healthy

    • Monitor your fats. It's protein and complex carbs that are the focus for this body type.

    • As a guideline, start with a 35% protein, 45% carbs and 20% fats combination. Monitor your energy levels and growth and adjust accordingly. If you're energy level is low, you might want to add a little extra fat.

    • Embrace protein - aim for 1.5 grams per lb of body weight.

    • For total calorie intake, aim for 15 times your weight.

    Use this as a basis for your diet:

    THE MESOMORPH DIET

    BREAKFAST: Oatmeal with milk, hardboiled egg

    SNACK: Tuna, apple

    LUNCH: Brown rice, vegetables, grilled chicken

    SNACK: Protein shake with milk

    DINNER: Grilled fish, potato, salad, non-fat greek yogurt

    Remember, these are very general guidelines for a very general body type.


  • Sports Drink or Water?: What to Drink During Exercise

    There are a lot of options when deciding what to drink before, during, and after a workout. If you go by what is advertised to you, you'd be drinking Red Bull before a workout, coconut water during, and Gatorade afterwards. But most of us know that most of this is just marketing.

    Here are the basics:

    FOR MOST OF YOU, DRINK WATER.

    Unless you're training for a competition or working out intensely for over an hour, water is the answer. Good food and water will get you great results, and you really don't need anything else - on average. Big Lou likes to drink coffee in the morning before a workout - otherwise, he sticks to water. You want to be eating properly before and after a workout and stay hydrated - that is the key. We all know that water is important. But let's recap.Drinks

    WHY WATER?

    • Over 60% of our bodies are made up of water – brains 70%, lungs 90%, and lean muscle tissue 75%.

    • Blood, which carries oxygen and disease fighting cells and diffuses waste, is almost 83% water.

    • We need to replace close to 10 cups of water daily, either by drinking it or extracting it from the food we eat.

    • Water performs a lot of important tasks

      • Regulates Temperature

      • Helps Weight Loss: Water helps the release of fat by-products.

      • Lubricates Joints

      • Mental Performance: Water helps power the brain.

      • Disease Prevention: Water helps detox the body and maintain cell health.

      • Energizes muscles: Water helps keep the balance of electrolytes in the cells, essential for healthy muscle.

    HYDRATION BEFORE WORKOUTS

    Make sure you are drinking water throughout the day. Try and drink at least two glasses of water before a workout - one within an hour and one right before. Do not wait to be thirsty. Thirsty means your body has begun to dehydrate. For those of you in cold climates, don't hold back. Your body is using energy to keep itself warm - and also using water to cool back down.

    HYDRATION DURING WORKOUTS

    On average, drink 8 ounces of water for every 15 minutes of exercise. This doesn't have to be all at once. Also, this is just an average. Once you start making water a regular part of your workout routine, you'll notice more thirst - AND MORE SWEAT! This means your body is getting more efficient at cooling, detoxing, and digesting the water.

    THE EXCEPTION

    For athletes and those exercising intensely for over an hour, you may need to add carbs to your drinks. Stay away from sports drinks with too much sugar. You'll want a drink with some carbs and sodium. You can always dilute the drink with water as well.

    HYDRATION AFTER WORKOUTS

    Drink at least 2 glasses of water immediately after your workout. Within the hours following your exercise, continue to drink water periodically. Remember, you are burning calories and using energy well beyond your workout, your body still needs water. Drink beyond your feeling of thirst. You are working towards replenishing all the water lost and then some.

    If possible, weigh yourself  before and after your workout for a week to get an estimate of how much water you tend to lose. Make sure you are drinking MORE than this weight in water. For building, you'll want to follow up your workout with a protein shake which will give you everything you need - water, vitamins, minerals, protein, aminos. This should be followed by a meal of lean protein and complex carbs once you've cooled down and your body is ready to focus on digesting solids.

  • Salt: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    When it comes to being inquisitive and demanding about our food choices, the amount of salt in our foods draws as much attention as its notorious buddies: fats and sugars. Overwhelming statistics on detrimental effects of excess salt intake, a slew of studies linking salt with hypertension risk, and emphasis on benefits of salt restrictive diets by health professionals surely presents a strong premise against the consumption of this culinary must have. It’s time that we unravel the truth behind the sodium story with a pinch of salt.

    Sodium vs Salt

    Types of salts may vary as per their source and chemical constitution, but they all contain sodium. Sodium is an essential mineral, needed by our body for a broad spectrum of vital functions. Sodium derived from foods or dietary sodium works synergistically with other minerals to regulate our body’s fluid balance, transmit nerve impulses, and control blood volume and muscular activity. The most common route of entry for dietary sodium is in the form of sodium chloride or table salt: 1 teaspoon of table salt contains 2300 mg of sodium. Sodium is also found in natural foods such as milk, celery, beets, additives like sodium benzoate, MSG (mono sodium glutamate), baking soda (sodium bi carbonate), and an entire gamut of processed foods.

    The lion’s share of research on sodium and health has focused on high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and heart failure. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, too much sodium can increase your blood pressure and your risk for a heart attack and stroke. The message from American Heart Association is even more severe: “Americans of all ages, regardless of individual risk factors, can improve their heart health and reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by restricting their daily consumption of sodium to less than 1500mg.” USDA guidelines are more liberal and regard 2300mg of sodium per day (or one tsp of salt) as safe limit for healthy, non-African American individuals below 51 years of age. Whatever be the healthy cut off level, trying to tame the sodium intake is going to be a challenge - especially since the majority of the sodium in the American diet comes from the jarred sauces, pre-packaged soups, cured meats, salad dressings, and restaurant food. Knowing the good salt from the bad and ugly ones is the recipe to keeping your sodium in check.

    The Ugly Ones

    Though shoving the salt shaker off the dinner table may serve as a first step towards sodium restriction, it is the hidden sources of sodium which we must watch out for. Harvard Medical School study points out that almost two thirds of our sodium come from food bought in stores and a quarter from restaurant foods, including fast food and pizza. Soy sauce, cheese, cold meats, french fries, breads, and rolls and pretzels top the list. As evident, it is incredibly tough to stay below the recommended levels, even if we are indulging in a fast food only occasionally. An average American consumes approx 3430mg of sodium a day which is already double the allowed limit.

    ‘Bad’ Salt

    Table salt can be spared the label of ‘ugly salt’ only because it doesn’t sneak into our diets without our knowledge and contains added iodine (needed for healthy thyroid function). Although salt helps regulate the body's fluids, too much salt will cause your body to retain water, leaving you looking bloated and puffy. Table salt isn't necessarily harmful, but using too much in our food can lead to the same adverse effects as "hidden" salt - cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, dementia, sleep apnea, and kidney disease.

    Good Salt

    We need approx 500mg of sodium per day for the normal functioning of our body. Experts agree that the best way to add sodium in our diet is through natural sources. Fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, fresh meats, fish, eggs, and beans are all relatively low in sodium and definitely a better choice over canned vegetables and processed meats. Unrefined salts such as sea salt and rock salt contain the same amount of sodium as in regular iodized salts but often serve as a better choice, owing that to presence of trace minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and manganese.

    Salt Guidelines

    If you suffer from high blood pressure, are on a sodium-restricted diet, or are just looking to really show off your new fit body, you may want to follow these guidelines in order to keep your salt intake to a minimum:

    • Plan menus around fresh foods.

    • Learn to cook creatively using flavorful herbs and spices. Vinegar, lime juice, citrus zest, basil, and oregano usually do the trick.

    • Get in the habit of reading food labels before buying.

    • Increase consumption of potassium rich foods such as bananas, dark greens, and dried apricots to balance the sodium in your diet.

    • When buying food packages, look for sodium free, low sodium or unsalted versions. Avoiding products with more than 200mg of sodium per serving.

    The Bottom Line

    There is no doubt that we consume salt in quantities much higher than considered safe, but luckily the fix for this is easy. Cutting down on convenience foods and choosing fresh foods today is a tiny price to pay now as opposed to suffering disease and complications later.

  • Water: Drink It. There are No Excuses.

    Water is one of the most important ingredients to the survival of the human body. For starters, over 60% of our bodies are made up of water - brains 70%, lungs 90%, and lean muscle tissue 75%. Blood, which carries oxygen and disease fighting cells and diffuses waste, is almost 83% water. We need to replace close to 2.4 liters of water daily, either by drinking it or extracting it from the food we eat.

    How Much Water Should I Drink?

    The general rule regarding daily water intake is eight glasses of water a day. Some suggest calculating a more specific amount by taking your weight and dividing by 2, leaving you with the ounces of water you should drink a day. Regardless of the average recommendation, however, we need to take into account a multitude of circumstannces when assessing our water needs (e.g. weight, age, lifestyle, health, etc). Sports medicine doctors may look at things differently than family medicine doctors when it comes to their reasons for ‘prescribing’ the proper water intake for you.

    If you're thinking of stepping up, or down, the amount of water you drink, remember to consider factors such as, your age, diet, and activity level - even the time of year and where you live makes a difference. In hot climates and high altitudes, the body has to work harder to stay cool and deal with rapid breathing. Both of these things, use up fluids up faster.

    When making any changes in your diet and/or health care regime, consulting your health care provider is always a good idea. A history involving heart or kidney disease can decrease the amount of water excreted, making it important to your health to decrease the amount of water you drink. Medications can also affect the amount of water you should drink, or, when you drink it. Women pregnant or breast-feeding need 2-3 liters a day to stay hydrated for the mental and physical health of themselves and their babies.

    Water and Exercise

    Exercise makes your body work harder to heat up the muscles, photo courtesy of fox_kiyokeep them warm, and cool down the body. Even short bouts of it can make you sweat, thus loosing fluid. So, there is a demand for extra fluids to help your body stay hydrated when engaging in exercise. Water also helps to keep joints moving smoothly, thus helping to prevent injury and aid in recovery time in between training sessions. During physical activity, remember, you need to replenish more often, and you don’t always need to be thirsty to need the drink.

    Dangerous of Dehydration

    No matter what we do, the importance of water remains the same. Without this vital substance, stagnation and congestion of all sorts can occur.  Symptoms of dehydration include headaches, a slow digestive process (constipation), skin problems, and weight gain. Additionally, when we get dehydrated, our body temperature has trouble remaining stable, we have a slower reflex response, and our thinking can become ‘fuzzy’ from lack of concentration. This can cause poor decision-making in everything we do from our exercise routine, to our daily work and family chores.

    So You're Not  a Water Drinker?

    Some think you actually have to stand there and start your day with a huge glass of water every morning. "There, that's one!" But you don't have to plug your nose and down all that water at once. Like any other new regime you add to your life, working it slowly into your daily routine is the route to go. Fill up a water bottle. When you're at home or work, keep it in the area you spend most of your time in and continuously drink from it. When it's empty, fill it up. Funny thing about water, it seems the more you drink, the more you want to drink.

    The Bottom Line

    It may take you 2 weeks to be able to finish that ‘1 bottle in a day.’ That's okay, no pressure. You're still drinking more than you did before and slowly conditioning your body to having, and wanting, that extra water. You'll see, it'll work.

  • Grocery Shopping Tips

    When you are trying to lose weight or even just maintain a healthy-eating lifestyle, a trip to the grocery store can feel like entering a battlefield. Everywhere you turn, you’re assaulted with the sights and smells of not-so-good-for-you foods. It’s enough to sway even the staunchest of will powers and good intentions.

    If that’s a familiar feeling to you, there’s a good reason why, and it has very little to do with the strength of your resolve. In fact, there’s a psychology behind the layout of grocery stores that focuses on moving product and earning money while placing little emphasis on the health of the shoppers. Don’t despair. There are many ways to avoid the landmines and pitfalls in the grocery store. Here are some tips to help you get through your shopping trip without guilt and with your good intentions intact.

    • Be prepared. Don’t step foot into the grocery store without first having a plan in place. This plan can be as detailed as a menu plan and corresponding list for the week or as simple as an overview of the foods you’ll eat and a more general list of the necessities. Shopping from a list, and only a list, can be a huge factor in keeping both your shopping and eating habits on track.

    • Don’t shop when you’re hungry or in a bad mood. Both of those things can make you give in to temptation much more readily than you would if you were shopping on a full stomach while in a good mood.

    • Avoid triggers like the bakery section or the candy aisle whenever possible. If the smell of a freshly baked donut or the sight of your favorite candy bar wrapper is enough to knock-out your will power, stay away. Either quickly walk by those sections or avoid them altogether by taking a detour down another aisle.photo courtesy of dan north photo courtesy of dan north - Limit the number of trips to the grocery store. Each trip to the store is another potential slip-up in your good intentions, so skip the daily trip by planning ahead and only going once or twice a week.

    • Stick to the perimeter. There you’ll find the fresh produce, meats, and dairy products that make up the core of a healthy diet. It’s in the middle aisles where you’ll run into trouble with processed foods, sugary treats, and salty snacks. It’s no accident that the store is laid out like that either. It all goes back to the psychology of the grocery store layout. Why is the milk, the one item many people are likely to make a quick run to the store for, all the way in the back? According to Psychology Today, having to walk down the aisles to get your basics makes it more likely you’ll pick up some delectable, impulse buy placed precisely at eye level along the way.

    • Shop with an accountability buddy. Aside from turning your grocery shopping into a fun social experience, shopping with an accountability buddy can be a great way to keep you on track. Head to the store with someone who knows your goals and the importance of your food choices.

    The Bottom Line

    The secret to weight loss or long-term healthy eating success begins with the foods that you eat. Since many, if not all, of the foods you eat are purchased from the grocery store, understanding the psychology of the grocery store layout and taking steps to insure you stay on track can go a long way toward helping you succeed.

  • Top 10 Seemingly-Healthy Snack Foods That Will Destroy Your Weight Loss Efforts

    Have you ever wondered why, despite your hardest efforts and strict diets, you just can’t seem to drop that excess weight?

    What many fail to realize is that just because a product says “low calorie” or “fat-free,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will aid you in your weight loss endeavors. Realizing that those healthy little treats may be in fact destroying your progress is a very important thing. Here is a list of 10 “healthy snacks” that can derail you on your track to healthier living.

    TRAIL MIX

    Who in their right mind doesn’t have a favorite type of trail mix?  From chocolate trail mix to spicy trail mix, there are so many to choose from, but there can be a lot of hidden calories in it.“White flavor,” for instance, is one of the main ingredients in pretzels, yet it has no actual nutritional substance and converts itself to sugar in your bloodstream quickly. Add that in with other things like sugar-laden dried fruit and chocolate and what happens? Cravings!  Thus, trail mix, should be something you avoid altogether unless you're an expert label reader.

    "FAT-FREE" YOGURT

    Fat free is one of the biggest fads of the past 30 years - and we use the word fad on purpose. Many items that carry that label today are created to sell you a healthy product while ignoring certain basic healthy rules - trading fat for some other ingredient you don't need. If it has the fat-free label on it, it generally means it’s time to take a closer look. Some fat-free yogurts have 15 grams of sugar. They may not sound like very much, but 15 grams of sugar in a tiny container makes absolutely no sense - especially if the goal is weight loss and general health. They say if you want something done right, do it yourself, and that is exactly the case here. Instead, buy some plain, fat-free Greek yogurt, then proceed to add in your own fresh fruit with either a pinch of sugar or some honey.

    BLUE-CORN TORTILLA CHIPS

    Yet again, in an attempt to make profit off of the lack of attention to detail by the general public, blue-corn tortilla chips have been marketed as the “healthy alternative” to tortilla chips. Next time you’re at the supermarket, compare a bag of blue-corn tortilla chips and a regular bag of tortilla chips. You’ll be surprised to find that although the blue-corn chips may be less in sodium, everything else is almost exactly the same.

    One important thing to remember, when changing your diet, is to follow the recommended serving size.

    TORTILLA WRAPS

    The truth is, tortillas, either flour or corn, are high in both carbs and calories. So the next time you decide to order that chicken or steak wrap, remember that just because it’s in a wheat tortilla, it is not much better for you than a regular one. Take into account the sauce or dressings used in it, and you have yourself a delicious, calorie-laden snack.

    SMOOTHIES

    You know what the best kind of smoothie is for you? The ones that you make at home. When you buy a smoothie from a stand, store, or even a gym, remember that most of the time the extra ingredients can bruise your diet more than you think. So what exactly goes into that delicious strawberry-banana smoothie? Sugars and an ice-cream based mix, and that’s not including the whipped cream or chocolate syrup that you might get on it.  Instead, opt for eating some actual fruit several times a day.

    POWER AND PROTEIN BARS

    Common sense might tell you that something with chocolate and peanut butter might not be healthy, but when it comes inside of a fancy wrapper that says “protein” on it, your mind may think otherwise. This is not the case, not even in the least. That said, power bars do absolutely give you an energy boost, but how they do it is a different story. Most power and protein bars contain a lot of high fructose corn syrup and other artificial ingredients. If weight loss is your goal, then avoiding these glorified candy bars is a wise decision.

    PRETZELScourtesy of anotherlunch.com

    As touched on before, pretzels offer basically no nutritional value. But because of fad diets, pretzels became the weapon of choice for dieting potato-chip addicts. While pretzels are much better for your than actual potato chips, the fact still remains that you’re essentially eating empty calories, which in turn leaves you hungry and holding an empty bag of pretzels.

    GRANOLA

    One important thing to remember, when changing your diet, is to follow the recommended serving size. Granola is no exception to the rule. Sadly, granola is actually one of the worst things to eat when losing weight. Although seemingly healthy on the outside, on the inside, granola can rack up some serious calories if not eaten by the serving size.

    FLAVORED RICE CAKES

    Unlike granola, rice cakes are one of the least diet-damaging entries on this list. They are low in calories, and they are filling. The problem is that, like pretzels, they have almost no nutritional value. This can create a serious problem if you’re not paying attention. Some flavored rice cakes are absolutely scrumptious - and with good reason. Most of these have added sugars and artificial flavoring. Not only are you not getting anything nutritious out of them, you’re now racking up the calories as well.

    LOW-FAT MUFFINS

    There really isn’t much to say about low-fat muffins because when it boils down to it, a muffin is a muffin. Although it may say “low-fat” or “fat-free” (like many yogurts do), it does still include many of the calories that can be found in regular muffins.

    THE BOTTOM LINE

    The main thing to keep in mind at all times when trying to lose weight is not to be fooled by fancy wording. Always check the nutrition facts and ingredients before buying it. But one thing that any dieter should know is this: one mistake can be rectified, but constant mistakes are going to set you back. Ignorance will not leave you in bliss, just an expanding waistline.

  • Golden Age Building Routine for: The Mesomorph

    Here's the second installment in our beginner routines. At first glance this make look a little daunting, and you're right. This is an original Pumping Iron days workout. It got a little intense back then. If you're looking for

    somatype

    Of the three body types (ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph), mesomorphs have the easiest time adding muscle mass, but even their quest for mass is fraught with pitfalls.

    Mesomorphs' metabolisms are so finely tuned and efficient that everything they eat is used. If they eat largely protein, they become muscular, but if they consume too much fat or carbs, they can become quite fat. The trick then is for the mesomorph to eat a high protein diet and adjust the fat and carbohydrate levels to either maintain or reduce body fat levels.

    Here is a very basic four day split building routine for that guy that is looking to maintain balance - The Mesomorph. It is a jumping off point for your training. You'll have to adapt it to your own body depending on your age, experience, and fitness level. If you can't do one or more of the exercises in this workout due to lack of equipment, feel free to substitute any other basic exercise for the same muscle group.

     

    MONDAY & THURSDAY
    EXERCISE SETS REPS
    Situps 1-3 50
    Donkey Calf Raises 4 10-15
    Seated Calf Raise 3 10-15
    Squats 6 15/12/10/8/6/4
    Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 10-15
    Upright Row 4 12/10/8/6
    Seated Pulley Row 4 12/10/8/6
    Nautilus Pullover 4 12/10/8/6
    Preacher Curl 4 12/10/8/6
    Alernate Dumbbell Curl 3 10/8/6
    Dumbbell Wrist Curl 4 15-10
    TUESDAY & FRIDAY
    EXERCISE SETS REPS
    Leg Raise 1-3 50
    Standing Calf Machine 4 10-15
    Leg Press Calf Raise 3 10-15
    Incline Press 4 12/10/8/6
    Dumbbell Bench Press 4 12/10/8/6
    Military Press 4 10/8/6/4
    Bent Laterals 4 8-12
    Lat Pushdown 4 8-12
    Dumbbell Triceps Extention 3 8-12
    Reverse Curl 3 8-12
    Neck Strap 4 15-20

       

    If you're given a range (8-12, 10-15, 15-20), do a number of repetitions within that range. The 10/8/6 reps means one set of first number, add weight and do one set of second number, and add weight again for a set of third number, etc. The weight jumps should be roughly 15-20% between sets. So if 100 is your first set on the squat, the second would be 120 and the third 140. It's essential to push hard to steadily increase exercise poundage.

    ferrigno_meso

     

    The final repetition of the last set should be absolutely the last rep you can do. Only by going close to "failure" like this can you be assured of getting the most out of each exercise. However, while the final set should be to max, the sets leading up to it should be 75-90% of maximum.These first sets build muscle but also warm up your muscles and joints for the all-out final set. Without a good warm-up, you are likely to injure yourself. You will also not be able to thoroughly stimulate your muscles with the final set unless fully warmed up. It's difficult for me to tell you how fast you should be progressing, because everyone is different and everyone moves at a different pace.

    While you may progress more quickly or slowly, you should be able to increase leg and back exercises about 5 five pounds per week and other body parts five pounds every other week. These are very general guidelines for a very general body type. This routine acts as a base for you to build on. Happy Building!

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