Functional Training Circuit

If you want to get more out of life, then functional training can help.

Functional Training CircuitFocusing on compound movements that mimic everyday actions of life, functional training can make it easier to climb stair, lug the groceries home and lift up junior when he needs a hug. It’s all part of tuning into your body and recognizing the areas where you need to work harder.

By incorporating functional training into your workout program a couple of times a week, you can improve your quality of life immensely.

Functional training helps to improve balance, core strength and stability, strength and flexibility. Functional training is used by everybody from athletes to rehab patients to improve performance.

Functional Training Workout

Deadlifts – this is a great exercise to help teach you how to lift properly. It increases the strength in your legs, hops, back, core and arms, especially when you use a barbell. Standing in front of your barbell, keep your back straight and bend down to grab your barbell. Lifting the barbell and yourself up, straighten your legs, pushing up through the heels and keeping a straight back. Return the barbell to the floor and repeat for 3 sets of 12 reps.

Clockwork Lunges – using dumbbells, lunge forward concentrating on bringing your front knee into a 90-degree angle. Push off and take your lunge to the side, then push off again to take your lunge behind you. This is one rep. Switch and do the same on the other side. Repeat for 3 sets of 12 each leg.

Squats with Bicep Curls to Shoulder Press – using dumbbells, lower yourself down into a squat, keeping your back straight, As you straighten your legs, curl your arms up into a bicep curl and finish with a shoulder press and straight legs. Repeat for 3 sets of 12 reps.

Side Lunges with Twist – holding one dumbbell in your hand, bend into a side lunge with the opposite leg, bringing your weighted hand down in front to touch the ground on the outside of your ankle. Carefully twist your body up to center bringing your arm across your body, keeping the elbow bent. Repeat for 3 sets of 12 reps each side.

Standing Overhead Triceps Extensions – helps to increase thoracic strength, working the mid-back, chest, core and predominantly, your triceps. Holding a dumbbell or kettlebell above your head, bend the elbows and then push against the resistance of the weight as your straighten your arms, keeping the plane of your arms solid and straight above your head. Repeat for 3 sets of 12.

Superset to Bent Over Dumbbell Rows – holding one heavy dumbbell or kettlebell between your hands, bend over with a flat back and pull the weight into your chest. Repeat for 3 sets of 12.

Run through this circuit all the way from beginning to end before repeating for a total of 3 sets.

Watching TV Can Shorten Your Life

One of the easiest ways to improve your health is to turn off the TV and get active.

Watching TV can shorten your lifeThere are legitimate reasons why television is bad for your health and most of these point to improving your health.

It’s not just that you’re inactive and your metabolism slows down when you’re in front of the TV, or that you’re more tempted to munch on some fattening snack during an intense moment of your favorite show, it’s also the fact that you’re missing out on life and replacing real-life face time with real people for the fake world of TV.

A new study out of the University of Queensland, Australia, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine now shows that the more time you spend in front of the TV, the shorter your life will be. In essence, how long you spend in front of the TV will determine how long you live.

Sound too far-fetched?

Based on data collected from 11,000 subjects aged 25 and over, this study shows a direct correlation between the amount of time you watch TV and your expected life span. So accurate is this data that they have narrowed it down to this formula:

1 Hour of TV a Day = 22 Minutes Reduced Lifespan

Someone who watches six hours of TV a day will live five years less than a more active person. And the stats are similar for those people who can’t pull themselves away from the computer screen.

So what do you do?

Keep active and make sure you’re not mindlessly munching during your show. Store some dumbbells in the TV room in full sight and get in a few reps while you’re watching TV. Get up and move during commercials. This would be a perfect time to get in some stretching and flexibility poses.

Healthy Eating Begins at Home

Cravings for high-fat, sugary foods are a natural response hard-wired into humans since the caveman days.

Healthy Eating Begins at HomeBearing this in mind, it seems unreasonable to expect people to tell their brains to prefer spinach over donuts.

A new study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at the emotional response to food based on someone’s surroundings.

“Over the course of evolution in a world of food scarcity, humans and animals alike have been biologically programmed to elicit more powerful food over what they eat and they found reward responses to high-caloric foods” than to less-fattening fare, the study notes.

When at home, people eat healthier than when they dine out. People are more comfortable and relaxed at home and this is reflected in their mood and response to food. Home-cooked meals elicit positive feelings and it is easier for people to accept healthy food as part of this positive environment and feel satisfied after eating it.

The report, by Prof. Ji Lu of Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Catherine Huet, and Prof.. Laurette Dubé of McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, concludes that “the home is a privileged environment that nurtures healthy eating and in which healthier food choices trigger and are triggered by more positive emotions.”

This pattern may help to explain why people make better choices at home than when eating out, says Prof. Dubé, senior author of the study and scientific director of the McGill World Platform for Health and Economic Convergence.

This study involved 160 healthy-weight, white English-speaking women, which may have added some bias to the results. More research needs to be done on a more representative sample, including different genders and age groups from children to seniors.

The scientists of this study are taking the results even further to suggest that creating a positive environment may help to enforce these healthy-eating behaviors.

Such strategies could rely on factors such as “interpersonal communications, home design and atmospheric cues” including “music, dining landscape, and kitchen equipment, which have all been found to induce positive emotions in both everyday and laboratory contexts.”

Eating at home is a great way for families to spend some quality time together and offers up a great opportunity to teach your kids healthy eating so they too can pass the message along to their kids.

Source:

McGill University. “Home is where the healthy meal is.” ScienceDaily, 28 Jul. 2011. Web. 15 Aug. 2011.

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM

Virtual Worlds Opening Doors for People who Hate the Gym

With more and more of our lives being consumed by computer electronics, a lot of people are ditching the gym for the comfort of their own homes and signing up for online personal training and workouts.

Virtual Worlds Opening Door for People who Hate the GymOnline diet and workout trackers are becoming more popular and there’s no shortage of them online. To test the efficacy of these programs, researchers out of Indiana University devised a study entitled “Comparison of a Face-toFace versus Virtual World Weight Loss Program” that compared participants enrolled in a fitness club to those who worked out at home with their computers. The results were surprising. Both groups were successful in losing weight, but the online group showed greater improvement in attitudes towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

“It’s counter-intuitive, the idea of being more active in a virtual world, but the activities that they do in a virtual world can carry over into the real world,” said Jeanne Johnston, assistant professor of kinesiology at Indiana University. “Through visualization and education, they can try activities that they had not tried before.”

The fitness computer program involved in this study was based on the concept of a 3D virtual world, where participants used an avatar to interact with others registered in the program in a simulated fitness club.

“The virtual world program was at least as beneficial as the face-to-face program and in some ways, more effective,” Johnston said. “It has the potential to reach people who normally wouldn’t go to a gym or join a program because of limitations, such as time or discomfort with a fitness center environment.”

Most of the participants in the study were overweight and obese females and there was an average age difference of about 10 years between the Face-to-Face Group (average age 37) and the Virtual World Group (average age 46). The study lasted for 12 weeks and involved about four hours a week of counseling in nutrition, physical activity, healthy lifestyle habits and the benefit of social support systems.

Both groups showed an average weight loss of 10 lb and similar decreases in BMI and body fat; however, both groups were not equal in changing behaviors. The online group displayed more positive attitudes towards exercising in challenging situations like bad weather, vacation time and low-energy days. This group also showed more favorably when it came to changing lifestyle habits, including regular exercise and healthy eating.

It’s a known fact that most fitness clubs intimidate those who suffer from being overweight and obese. Fitness clubs are often teeming with beautiful, buff bodies and when you don’t fit that image, you’re more likely to avoid them at the risk of your health and physique. With virtual world weight loss programs, you get the support of other members just like a fitness club, together with the expert advice of trainers and dieticians all in the comfort of your own home.

Source:

Indiana University. “Weight loss success in a 3-D virtual world.” ScienceDaily, 3 Jun. 2011. Web. 6 Jun. 2011.

How to Enhance Your Quality of Life

When you think of anti-aging, the immediate thing that comes to mind is wrinkles and looking younger, but the fact is that anti-aging covers everything from physiological changes like loss of memory and libido to health issues like weight gain and age-related diseases like heart attack.

How to Increase Your Quality of LifeSo let’s take a look at diet and exercise and see what you can do to help slow down the anti-aging process.

Exercise

When it comes to exercise, there are a few areas you want to pay attention to:

  • Testosterone Optimization
  • Build Muscle to Combat Age-Related Muscle Loss
  • Train your Heart
  • Flexibility to Add Life to your Body
  • Balancing Exercises to Increase Stability
  • Stretching and Relaxation Techniques to Improve Mental Stress

Testosterone Optimization (yes, even  the ladies need this)

First of all, if you’re not exercising regularly yet, then you need to start right away. When you do train, make it count. Training with intensity can significantly raise your testosterone levels, especially when you include compound exercises like squats and push-ups. With increased testosterone, you increase your chances of gaining muscle, which is very important for keeping an aging body strong and physically able.

You can increase your testosterone by using a T-booster. When taken before your workout, these supplements can enhance your testosterone and help you build lean muscle tissue. Not to mention the added benefits of an increased libido.

Build Muscle to Combat Age-Related Muscle Loss

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle due to age. It happens to everybody. As we age, we lose muscle and gain fat and need to exercise more than at any other time in our lives. With loss of muscle comes loss of strength and before you know it, you’re calling your son to unscrew the pickle jar. Don’t let it happen to you. Include two to three weight training sessions into your workout regime every week and you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel and how stronger and more muscular you become.

Train your Heart

Cardiovascular exercise is a must to help keep your lungs and heart strong. As we age, our lungs lose their ability to process oxygen and our V02 Max becomes compromised. The best way to improve this is to make sure you’re working that heart at least 5 times a week for 30 minutes. Intense training also works the heart, so when it comes to cardio, it doesn’t have to be pounding it out on the treadmill. You have options. The important things is to exercise regularly and don’t cheat yourself out of the many benefits exercise can offer.

Flexibility to Add Life to your Body

Flexibility is crucial to ensure that your body can weather the aches and pains and stiffness of aging. Take the time to have a good stretch after you exercise. Your body will thank you.

Balancing Exercises to Increase Stability

Taking Yoga and incorporating balancing exercises into your workout program can help with stability. Some 23,000 people die each year due to a fall, which could have been avoided had they been more steady on their feet. Hiking has also been shown to help strengthen a person’s gait, which is enhanced from hill climbing and uneven terrain.

Stretching and Relaxation Techniques to Improve Mental Stress

Stretching, relaxation, flexibility and balancing all fall under the same umbrella and can all be achieved through Yoga and taking a couple of sessions a week. Yoga also helps to improve breathing and induce relaxation to relieve stress, which can help with mental faculty.

Diet

When it comes to diet, the most important things you need are antioxidants and Omega-3.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants contain powerful substances called phytonutrients that help longevity as they gobble up free radicals – oxygen molecules that play a role in the onset of illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s.

As we age, we become more susceptible to the long-term effects of oxidative stress and inflammation at the cellular level. Supplementing with an antioxidant like R-ALA after working out can help oxidative damage caused by intense training. Also make sure to include lot of antioxidants in your diet like blueberries, sweet potatoes, cherries and green tea.

Omega-3

Omega-3 is necessary all-round health but targets the brain and heart to maintain optimum functioning. Omega-3 also has anti-inflammatory effects in the body and this can help alleviate inflammation, pain and disease associated with aging.

There are many things you can do to improve your health and increase longevity. It all starts with a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Improving your quality of life so you can age gracefully will open up all kinds of opportunities so you can enjoy your old age.

Protein

Supplementing your diet with a high quality whey protein isolate powder is a must to combat sarcopenia and increase lean muscle, which translates into added strength and a younger physique.

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM