There are dozens of reasons to hit snooze and roll over, telling yourself you’ll work out later in the day or tomorrow. STOP PROCRASTINATING! Rise and shine sunshine! You can do it and here for your reading enjoyment are 10 wonderful ways to get your butt going.
Ever notice that when you exercise in the morning, you feel more alert and productive all day? It’s no coincidence — a morning workout has several advantages for your body and your mind. First, exercise jump-starts your metabolism, and keeps you burning calories at a higher rate all day. Also, you get your exercise out of the way and don’t have to worry about not having time for your workout routine, should something unexpected come up during the day, explains Alice Burron, MS, a Wyoming-based personal trainer, spokeswoman for the National American Council, and author of Four Weeks to Fabulous. Read More
Nitric oxide occurs naturally in the body; its purpose is to relay information from cell to cell. Its primary purpose is increasing blood flow by enlarging or dilating blood vessels, which is why this is a supplement occasionally given to patients with cardiac concerns. In at least one study it’s been shown to be effective for decreasing blood pressure in individuals with hypertension or high blood pressure.
The supplement isn’t nitric acid but arginine or L-arginine which is an amino acid; a building block for the production of the gas. Arginine is in foods like spinach, sesame seeds, crab, shrimp, and white meat turkey. Studies have linked arginine supplements to increased blood flow and human growth hormone production, some athletes — especially bodybuilders — take oral arginine supplements to assist in improving performance and strength.
The supplements don’t seem to have serious or long term negative side effects, says Dr. Gary Green, a clinical professor in the UCLA School of Medicine’s division of sports medicine. But some studies, he adds, beg to differ about those performance-enhancing abilities.
The reason body builders and other athletes take N.O. prior to and after workouts is because N.O. dilates blood vessels allowing for increase blood flow. This is advantageous in removing lactic acid build up, improves flow of oxygen to muscles and carbon dioxide away from muscles, and supplying nutrients to muscles during and post workout allowing for faster muscle growth and recovery.
How does XtremeNO compare to other brands? This is a great brand. The flavor is fruity without the biting, battery acid after- taste. The pill itself is easy to take, unlike the powder forms when half the NO powder in clumps or clings to the side of the glass. If you have ever used a cheap NO before, you know exactly what I’m talking about. This is an above standard NO product.
Their blend offers a longer, bigger pump, too. The extended release formula offers all day blood vessel dilation, supplying more nutrients to the muscles. The end result is you look better – longer. A bonus to taking XtremeNO is long after you have taken it there are added advantages, like being able to perform better in bed. This got me ripped fast. I recommend the product. Click here for more info.]]>
The pistol squat is one of the most valuable exercises an athlete can have in his little black book of tricks when training for strength, power, and increased muscle. Of course, that depends on whether or not the athlete can actually perform pistols. The truth is most can’t and won’t without a lot of work. After trying a few times and failing, most give up and never try again.
The pistol squat requires balance and strength. It is a unique exercise, easy for some and incredibly difficult for others. Going straight into performing a pistol without any prior one-legged training will probably leave you falling on your ass. This is where the exercise progressions come in. They ease you into the swing of things and get you squatting on one leg.
There are many athletes who are extremely powerful with weighted squats well over 500 pounds, but fail every single time they attempt pistol squats. Then there are those who have an unusual talent for making pistols look easy. Many gymnasts are able to pump out repetition after repetition of this exercise. Pistols strengthen the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and hips, but one of the most valuable benefits they provide is injury prevention. They significantly strengthen the knee structure over time. They can also even out strength imbalances because you perform them on just one leg.
When compared to barbell squats, single leg squats greatly reduce the stress placed on the lower back and spine making it a more ‘back friendly’ exercise option for those with back problems. No other body weight exercise builds lower body strength like pistols do, but they can take time to master, so I’ll show you the best exercises to use to build up to them. If you attempt them and fall down, don’t frown. Just get back up and start working on the progressions. Pistols are a very advanced exercise and it takes time to become proficient with them. However, the benefits and strength gains they produce are more than worth the work. Read More
Scientists are uncovering evidence that short periods of fasting, if properly controlled, could achieve a number of health benefits, as well as potentially helping the overweight, as Michael Mosley discovered.
I’d always thought of fasting as something unpleasant, with no obvious long term benefits. So when I was asked to make a documentary that would involve me going without food, I was not keen as I was sure I would not enjoy it.
But the Horizon editor assured me there was great new science and that I might see some dramatic improvements to my body. So, of course, I said, “yes”. I am not strong-willed enough to diet over the long term, but I am extremely interested in the reasons why eating less might lead to increased life span, particularly as scientists think it may be possible to get the benefits without the pain.
How you age is powerfully shaped by your genes. But there’s not much you can do about that.
Calorie restriction, eating well but not much, is one of the few things that has been shown to extend life expectancy, at least in animals. We’ve known since the 1930s that mice put on a low-calorie, nutrient-rich diet live far longer. There is mounting evidence that the same is true in monkeys.
Power is Strength
Jump squats have been shown to improve lower body power output over resistance training or stand-alone box jumps (3-4). Increased power generally translates to an increased 1RM.
To that end, the absence of power movements in your training could be the limiting factor in your squats. If you’re not training in some way to create force as fast as possible, then you’re limiting the firing rate of muscle action and as a result, leaving weight on the rack.
The quicker you can recruit your entire lower body into the squat, the greater force you can produce, and ultimately the more weight you can move.
Safe to Start?
If you can jump and it doesn’t hurt, you’re safe to jump squat. However, once you begin loading the lift, the risk for injury is greatly amplified. Learning proper landing mechanics becomes top priority.
Here’s the quick and dirty:
- Follow a normal squat pattern with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Once you reach squat depth, explode up.
- Upon landing, focus on keeping the chest up and track your hips back behind you.
- Absorb the impact – don’t try to take the blunt force. Make sure that your knees don’t cave in.
If there’s any knee deviation inside of the midline of the ankle, don’t continue. Get your glutes firing first.
- Once you feel confident in your landings, start loading the exercise with sandbags or dumbbells.
- Jump with the weight in your hands but ditch the weight before landing. Throw the weight beside you or to the front if it’s a sandbag.
Why dump the weight? You still increase power but you’re not stressing the fibers as much (5). Basically, it’s neural system training at its finest!
Don’t worry, after a few weeks you can start increasing the difficulty with other loading methods.
Suit Up to Level Up
Once you’ve mastered the unloaded landing, using a weighted vest is the next progression. The weighted vest is the most “natural” as it allows you to perform a loaded jump without restricting arm motion.
- Perform the same jump squat but now absorb the load when landing.
- After landing, brace and absorb the stress into an athletic stance and repeat.
After getting proficient with the weight vest you can move back to the dumbbells or sandbags. This is essentially the same movement as before only now you hold the weights when you land. A combination of the two (weights plus vest) may be used to reach the prescribed load.
The eccentrically loaded portion of the lift adds a greater force component to the exercise and creates greater stability in landing (5). This transfers to the field by improving the ability to absorb hits, recover from sprinting, and show stability in cutting, not to mention a heavier squat in the weight room (3).
Barbell Jump Squats
The final progression is the actual barbell jump squat. Using a barbell allows exceptionally heavier loads to be used versus dumbbells and weight vests. Trying to achieve very heavy loading with heavy dumbbells eventually hurts your knees. In short, stick with the barbell.
The bar should remain on the upper back. Pulling down on the bar as you jump keeps it from flying up and crashing down on your neck. Use a bar pad if needed to disburse the load.
Barbell jump squats remove all arm action from the movement. However, you gain true lower body power development in return, so there’s a lot to gain if the correct load and technique is used.
Look, I’m not going to lie to you, like some of those “other” professional fitness columnists I could name, but won’t, because I don’t read much about fitness (boring). The secret of motivation is not some psychological bullshit. I don’t want to sit you on a couch and grab a notepad and raise my eyebrows expectantly as you explain to me how you were molested long ago. That’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to motivate you to achieve hardcore fitness extreme in a dynamic paradigm. In this paradigm of hardcoreness, motivation is not some sort of trick that you do with your brain. News flash, genius: this is fitness. Brains have nothing to do with it. Carl Jung was a stone cold pussy, I bet (not familiar with his work). There is only one foolproof method that I know of to motivate you to achieve your physical fitness goals in a consistent and hardcore manner, unless it is raining out:
Sorry, “diet gurus” and Good Morning America “Seven Minute Ab” bullshit-of-the-month specialists with telegenic faces—motivation is not some Stuart Smalley self-affirmation bullshit that Sally Jesse Raphael’s favorite life coach is only too happy to sell you for three easy payments of $19.95. Motivation is more caffeine. “Oh, I can’t get up early enough in the morning to go to the gym, I’m so tired.” Really? More caffeine. “Oh, after work I don’t feel like going to the gym, I just want to ‘veg out’ on my sectional sofa.” Really? More caffeine. “Oh, I already went to the gym once today, I think that’s plenty.” Really? Have you tried taking a nap to rest your weary muscles momentarily in preparation for Round Two—and more caffeine?
EXERCISE 1 // (4 sets of 10 reps, 1 min rest periods)
Begin by standing in front of a boulder that you can lift with moderate effort. Keep a negative arch in your back, heave it up like a power clean.
From the squatting position, drive it upward with your legs, shoulders and arms and throw it forward as if you were shooting a basketball. Run up to it and repeat.
Ten of these repetitions make one set; rest one minute and repeat three more sets. For an added challenge, clearly mark the starting and ending locations of the boulder on your first set and try to cover the same distance for each subsequent set.EXERCISE 2 // (4 sets of 20 reps, 2 min rest periods)AMMO RE-SUPPLY
Begin by filling two ammo cans with sand and lock the lids on. With a negative arch in the back, bend at the waist and grab a can in each hand. Perform 10 “dumbbell” rows and then sprint 30 yards with a can still in each hand.
Drop one and perform 20 “can presses” (use two hands to press the can overhead). Pick up the dropped can and sprint back to the starting point, holding a can in each hand.
Drop the cans and perform 20 push-ups. That’s one set. Rest two minutes and repeat. For an added challenge, time yourself and don’t slow down for more than five seconds on each set.
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Getting regular aerobic exercise does wonders for your health, decreasing the risk of obesity and diabetes, strengthening the cardiovascular system and perhaps even staving off Alzheimer’s disease. The problem is that many people aren’t getting the maximum benefit from their cardio workouts because they’re either using the machines wrong or failing to pace their exercise correctly.
If you’re using an elliptical machine, for instance, don’t set the resistance so high that you can’t work out comfortably without leaning on the machine for support. “Hunching over or using a death grip on the machine handrail because your incline or resistance is too high for you cheats your body and can throw off your alignment, jarring your spine, shoulders and elbows,” says Scott Danberg, the director of fitness at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami.
He suggests challenging yourself enough that it’s a tough workout but not so much that you can’t use a natural gait with a light grip while you’re on the machine; this goes for any cardio machine. For a harder workout on the elliptical, Danberg says you can hold on lightly with one hand and move the other arm, switching arms periodically. “Save the reading for after your workout so you can focus on good form,” he says.