Archive for the ‘Recovery’ Category


Most of us may find it relaxing yet some think it’s the boring part of their workout, but we all know that Stretching is a very important component of our training and exercise routine.

What are the benefits of Stretching or Flexibility Training?

  • Stretching or Flexibility training reduces the stress and tension in the exercising muscles.
  • Stretching can help improve posture by balancing the tensions placed on joints.
  • There are studies that prove that improved flexibility reduces the risk of injury during exercise and daily activities because the muscles are more pliable.
  • Stretching improves performance not just in sports and exercise, but most importantly in everyday activities.

 

Do you know that it also matters what kind of stretching you do and when?

To get the most out of your stretching routine, do Dynamic Stretching before your workout, that is, moving your limbs and joints to its full range of motion (like doing arm/hip circles, etc, or sometimes mimicking the movement of your activity or sport for a few repetitions before doing the actual movement of your activity. Dynamic Stretching will properly warm up the muscles and joints that you will be using.

Do Static Stretching after your workout — that is, holding specific stretches for each muscle group for 20-30 seconds to let your muscles regenerate. Static Stretching may be the more familiar type of stretching, but it has to be done with precaution. New studies have shown that doing static stretching before training or a competition may be detrimental to performance and can even result to injury. However, it is most beneficial when done after a strenuous activity. Hold static stretches for 20 to 30 seconds per body part for maximum results.

Stretching regularly improves flexibility and minimizes risk for injury.
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Watch the video below for more information about Stretching:

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The prevalence of various supplements and ergogenic aids today can be very confusing not just for the recreational athlete, but even for seasoned competitors who aim to improve their performance. The supplement industry is taking advantage of the increasing number of people who are now more conscious about their health. While some are clinically backed by science to deliver results (glutamine, creatine and protein), other supplements have received skepticism on whether they really work or whether they simply produce a ‘placebo effect.’ Some pills offer almost all of the performance enhancements that you can think of, and you can be quite sure that if a product does that, it’s definitely false. Still, there are supplements such as Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) which are proven by science to be beneficial to performance.

What are Branched Chain Amino Acids?
Branch chain amino acids or BCAA’s are composed of three essential amino acids namely leucine, valine, and isoleucine. Essential amino acids are nutrients that can only be derived from food such as especially meat, dairy products, and legumes. On the other hand, non-essential amino acids can be produced by the body. ‘Branch chain‘ refers to the chemical structure of these three essential amino acids.

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What are the known uses of BCAA’s?
Branch chain amino acids have been used in medicine for treatments of various diseases which includes brain conditions due to liver disease, a movement disorder called tardive dyskineseia, and to treat poor appetite in kidney and cancer patients. It is also being used to help slow muscle degeneration in patients who are confined to bed.

BCAA’s are also known to prevent fatigue and improve concentration. Athletes have been using Branch chain amino acids to improve exercise performance by reducing protein and muscle breakdown during intense training.


Are BCAA supplements effective or are they just a waste of time (and money)?
A study has proven that although BCAA’s does not directly enhance athletic performance, they still produce a postive effect on muscle recovery and the immune system. According to the study, “Data show that BCAA supplementation before and after exercise has beneficial effects for decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle-protein synthesis. Muscle damage develops delayed onset muscle soreness: a syndrome that occurs 24-48 h after intensive physical activity that can inhibit athletic performance.

Another study performed by Green et al (2007) observed the effects of BCAA supplementation on endurance exercise through measuring blood samples. 9 untrained men performed 3 series of 90 minute bouts of cycling at 55% of VO2 max. They performed the cycling bout once with BCAA’s, once with a carbohydrate drink, and once with a non calorie containing drink.

Blood samples were taken at 4, 24 and 48 hours following exercise. The study showed that the blood samples of those who took BCAA’s had lower accumulation of waste products, which minimized soreness for the cyclists.

These studies suggest BCAA’s could certainly benefit sportsmen and gym goers by buffering waste product accumulation in muscles, thus preserving muscle tissue and promoting quicker recovery.
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When should BCAA’s be taken or ingested?
Branch chain amino acids are usually taken prior to exercise or training. BCAA’s are ‘free form,’ which means that they do not require much time to be digested. The contents of your supplement should contain 50% leucine, 25% isoleucine, and 25% valine. BCAA’s should be taken with water before and after training, and even with any other pre or post workout supplement. For those who aim to build muscle mass, BCAA’s can be taken with whey protein for faster absorption and for additional nutrients.

According to consumerlab.com, there is no apparent toxicity or danger associated with BCAA supplementation. They recommend anywhere from 1 to 12 grams.

Should I take BCAA’s?

The benefits of Branch chain amino acid supplements are proven to be effective. However, before you take BCAA’s or any supplements, talk to your coach, sports nutritionist, or doctor for advise. Know your goals – Why are you participating in exercise or training? Are you aiming to be a bodybuilder? Are you going to compete in a race? BCAA is an answer to the question ‘What supplements can help improve my performance?‘ or ‘What can help build my muscles?‘ but other factors should be considered. For any supplements, don’t take them for vague reasons unless you really need it and you are advised to take it. Remember that sometimes, eating a healthy diet and getting enough rest could do a lot more than taking a supplement.

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Athletic supplements such as Branch chain amino acids do have a role and are effective ergogenic aids, but like any other aspect of your training, taking supplementation should match your goals.

Did you know that according to top10supplements.com, the best BCAA supplement is Optimum Nutrition?

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Click here.

Source:
Green B.K, Woodard J.L, White J.P, Arguelle E.M, Haymes E.M., (2007). Branched-chain amino acid supplementation and indicators of muscle damage after endurance exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exercise Metabolism; 17(6): 595-607

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Watch Naudi Aguilar show a few stretches to alleviate low back pain.

He shows a technique to help improve the function of the lumbo-pelvic hip complex. The lumbo-pelvic region is commonly the place with highest responsibility when it comes to lower back pain. In this video, he covers a technique that relaxes a hip flexor muscle via the use of a static stretch to help promote balance furthermore eliminating one of the roots of lower back pain.

 


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If you are an office worker who is dedicated to running but your low back pain from long hours of sitting keeps you from achieving more, then read ahead!

How do you run with pain?

You don’t have to!

The sacroiliac joints – the bones that connect the lowest tip of your spine (sacrum) to your hip bones (iliac) – are considered a source of most lower back pain when your hip becomes compressed, or if there is asymmetry or misalignment of the hips which leads to joint dysfunction and subsequent pain. Compression of the pelvis occurs when seated for a long time, and rotation of the hips occurs in both cycling and running, and combining these two factors can be the cause of low back pain. An especially significant correlation can be seen between low back pain and lack of internal hip rotation mobility.

The development of asymmetry in the hips and improper muscle lengths in the hip rotator muscles can be caused by frequently assumed postures, like sitting for long periods or time or being bent over on a bicycle for hours in the saddle.

This was important to know, and a key to the secret of eliminating the low back pain.

The book “Run With No Pain” is the official, easy and practical step-by-step exercise routine for eliminating low back pain in athletes and includes over 30 exercise videos that teach you exactly how to implement each section of the program.

If you’ve been going to Physiotherapist or a Chiropractor for your pain, then this eBook is definitely much cheaper!

Download it from amazon to your kindle or iPad for only $7.66!

strength training

Running is generally a uniplanar activity since the movement occurs mostly in the sagittal plane (moving forward and hopefully not or backward). The muscles that support movement in the transverse and frontal planes are left untrained. Runners should choose a cross-training activity that lets the overworked muscles rest and heal while properly working all the other muscles that are usually underdeveloped. Pilates works the core and the extremities in all body planes that will help runners achieve maximum stability.
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Here are some other reasons why Pilates is good for runners:

  • Pilates is a functional exercise and conditions the whole body through natural and flowing movements. This helps develop a runners coordination.
  • Pilates is a body and mind workout that assists in improving proprioception – knowing where your body and extremities are in space. This is important for runners to keep their balance since the movement in running is done on alternating single leg (imagine balancing on one leg, then alternating between legs at a fast pace). This also helps runners to maintain proper footing especially on uneven surface which would help prevents slips and sprains.
  • The Breathing Principle of Pilates engages the right muscles and would help runners breathe efficiently and maintain correct running posture.
  • Overall stamina will improve as muscular endurance in the abdominals, pelvis, hip, and back increase. This is important especially for long distance runs.
  • Pilates combines strengthening the agonist (contracting) muscle while actively stretching the antagonist (opposite) muscle, which will increase range of motion on joints and improve a runner’s flexibility.
  • Pilates is a diverse exercise that can be very challenging! There’s a widespread misconception that Pilates is only for girls because the exercises are usually done in a mat and doesn’t use dumbbells, and because women usually outnumber the men who practice Pilates. It may be surprising for some to find out that even NFL players do Pilates! The bodyweight resistance component of Pilates is actually what makes it challenging. DeMarcus Ware, a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys said “Power is nothing without a rock-solid core. Pilates is the key to activating it. Guys, don’t be fooled just ’cause women do it. It’s no joke. Try it and you’ll find out real quick.
  • ========== o ==========Many athletes and even Olympians do Pilates as their cross training because of the improvements in strength, flexibility, balance, and control that it offers. Lola Jones, a World Champion Hurdler said “When my core strength is at its peak, I can run more efficiently and maintain that extra edge.

    Also, Lawrence Frank who is the Head Assistant Coach of the New Jersey Nets (now known as the Brooklyn Nets, with Jason Kidd as the Head Coach at the time of this writing.) said “Pilates [is] an excellent conditioning tool for the NBA. The strength, agility and performance of my players have increased and Pilates has become such an essential part of our workouts that we take a reformer to our away games. I even have a Reformer for my own home use.

    Leading a Pilates session for Runners.

    Leading a Pilates session for Runners.

    The core training that Pilates offers help improve running efficiency, flexibility, and minimize risk for injury. The dynamic and challenging exercises of Pilates makes it one of the best options for cross-training.
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Pilates is an exercise method that is starting to gain recognition in the Philippines as people search for alternative ways to get fit apart from just pumping iron in the gym. You may have a vague idea of what it really is, and like some people, associate it with yoga because it’s done on a mat, incorporates breathing techniques, and focuses on flexibility. If you’re a guy, you might have the connotation that this method is reserved for girls since it’s ‘more on stretching‘ and doesn’t use any equipment.

Pilates is developed by a man named Joseph Pilates who was born in 1883 (so it’s a lot ‘younger’ than yoga). His father was an outstanding gymnast, and his mother practiced naturopathy. Joseph Pilates was sickly as a child and suffered ailments such as asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever. This did not cause him to be discouraged, but it made him dedicate his life in improving his well being and pursuing fitness. He studied anatomy by himself as he also immersed himself in different physical activities such as skiing, body-building, boxing, yoga, and gymnastics. By age 14, it is said that he had sculpted his physique to such an extent that he poses for anatomy charts!

Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates and Contrology

Joseph Pilates was originally a gymnast, boxer, and circus-performer. He moved to England in 1912 and taught self-defense to police schools and the Scotland Yard. When Britain entered the World War, he was also imprisoned in different internment camps. Despite of the unfortunate turn of event, this was the start of developing his method. During his imprisonment, he taught exercises to his fellow inmates and improvised on techniques. Because of limited resources inside the prison, he disassembled the beds and used the springs for resistance exercises to rehabilitate the injured and sick. Talk about hardcore!

Joseph Pilates doing an exercise for the neck, back, abdominals, and legs.

Joseph Pilates doing an exercise for the neck, back, abdominals, and legs.

A significant effect of following Joseph Pilates’ holistic approach to health was shown during the 1918 influenza epidemic. Crowded internment camps were good breeding grounds for the virus. However, all those who followed his routine survived the epidemic! After the war, he continued teaching police officers and he also worked with dancers and gymnasts. He was asked to train the New German army, but he was disappointed with the social and political condition of his country so he decided to immigrate to New York. On the boat, he met his wife Clara, a nurse. They got married and founded Joseph Pilates’ studio named “Contrology.”

Joseph Pilates doing one of the diverse exercises in Contrology.

Joseph Pilates doing one of the diverse exercises in Contrology.

Joseph Pilates’ method focuses on breathing, proper posture, and rehabilitation of physical ailments. He wrote several books about his method including Your Health published in 1934 and Return to Life Through Contrology published in 1945.  Dancers, gymnasts, physical therapists, and martial artists have benefited from his method.

He trained instructors Romana Kryzanowska and Ron Fletcher, who developed their own methodology (Romana and Fletcher Pilates) since Joseph Pilates doesn’t stick to one way of teaching exercises – he always considers different body types and abilities. Movements from different practices and disciplines have been adapted to Contrology. He even developed exercises that were based from the natural movements that animals do, like the cat stretch, swan dive, and seal. Other exercises have names that people may be familiar with, like the swimming, rolling like a ball, side-bend, cork-screw, jack knife, saw, and boomerang. This makes the exercises easier to remember and understand.

Today, the method continues to improve and evolve. Many techniques are developed and you can find different kinds of exercises based on his method with the addition of modernized equipment, but the main aspects of Contrology are maintained: breathing, proper posture, and balance. To recognize the man behind this holistic approach to fitness and wellness, the method was renamed Pilates.

Pilates is a method developed by a man who was passionate about being fit and achieving control over one’s body. His experience in diverse fields and practices made his method a very dynamic and efficient way to exercise. Pilates helps achieve proper posture and spinal alignment, correct breathing, develop a strong core, and gain flexibility and balance. It trains your body and your mind to work together for a more efficient movement. The exercises require not only muscular strength and endurance, but also focus and concentration. Whether you are a sedentary person or a professional athlete, you are sure to benefit from Pilates.

So if you’re looking for a challenging and holistic workout, Pilates might be for you!

Try Pilates now in your home through this 12 week program!