Monthly Archives: March 2014

Change up your workout to get better results

By | Exercise | No Comments

Lateral_LungeChanging up your workout routine is great for progressing the body as well as keeping your head in the game. Boring workouts get boring results. We’ve taken three common exercises and modified them to make them more challenging and more interesting – the squat, the lunge, and the pushup.

The Overhead Squat. Begin with feet shoulder width apart while holding a barbell overhead. To stabilize the bar in the overhead position, you must extend the arms while engaging the muscles of the upper back and shoulders. Once the bar is stabilized overhead, you can move into the squatting portion. Slowly squat down as you inhale, ensuring that your heels stay heavy, while pushing your hips back and maintaining the natural curve in your low back. Drop down to a comfortable and stable depth. Exhale as you stand back to the top, but don’t lock your knees all the way out. Repeat. With the bar overhead, it becomes a total-body exercise and requires much more balance, stability, and flexibility than a typical squat.

Common Mistakes: Never let your knees travel forward of your toes and don’t allow your elbows to bend.

Regression: If a weighted overhead squat is too challenging, grab a lightweight bar or stick and perform the same motion without a load.

The Lateral Lunge. Place feet wider than shoulder width and turn feet outward at a slight angle. With a dumbbell resting on each shoulder, shift your weight laterally and sit back on the heel of your bent leg while you allow your other leg to extend. At this point, your bent leg should have a 90 degree bend as your opposite leg should be fully extended. Return to your starting position and repeat on the other leg. This lateral movement adds a new dynamic that will stress muscles differently than a traditional lunge.

Common Mistakes: Never let either heel pop off the floor – you must push your hips back and keep your posture upright.

Regression: If your flexibility doesn’t allow you to drop into the lateral lunge, hold on to a stationary object so you can support yourself as you push your hips down and back until you can perform the lunge with the desired range of motion.

The Hand Release Pushup. Take a traditional pushup position with hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart, feet together, and maintain a straight line from shoulder to ankle. Slowly drop down into the pushup until you feel your chest touch the floor. At this point, raise your hands off the floor so your weight is resting on your chest and toes. Push your hands hard into the floor as you return to the top of the pushup. Repeat. The hand release pushup requires much more stability and power than a traditional pushup.

Common Mistakes: Don’t let too much of your weight rest on your hips or thighs. If so, your hips may sag as you try to push back up to the top position.

Regression: If you can’t maintain proper form with the traditional hand release pushup, set up so your knees are resting on the floor rather than your toes. This position takes more weight off the upper body and also lessons the strain on the core. It should allow you to move through proper range of motion while maintaining safe and effective form.

So switch up a few common exercises and see how challenging they can be.

Nutrition to Get You Through Your Workouts

By | Exercise, Nutrition | No Comments

Sports nutrition

Q: I often get nauseous while working out. I’ve tried eating a few different things before workouts, but what do your recommend I eat so I can get through my workouts without getting sick? -Jaime

A: Jamie, pre and post-workout nutrition is extremely important, not only to avoid feeling sick during workouts, but to allow you to perform at your best while maximizing recovery.

Eating the wrong foods or missing the timing of your meals could cause extra stress on the digestive system, a spike or drop in blood sugar, or just an overall sense of weakness.

Practice the following tips and take full advantage of your pre and post-workout meals.

Don’t overlook the importance of water. If you’re dehydrated, your workout performance will suffer and you will feel exhausted. Dehydration increases your chances for headaches and head rushes, muscle cramps, nausea, and poor overall performance – not the recipe for a healthy workout. Chronic dehydration can’t be corrected by simply drinking more water during your workout, so stay properly hydrated consistently by drinking half your bodyweight in ounces of water a day. So if you weigh 160 pounds, you need around 80 ounces of clean filtered water daily. You may need more or less depending on your activity levels.

Timing of calories and nutrients before and after each workout is key. A pre-workout snack should be consumed about 30-90 minutes prior to your workout depending on the complexity of the food consumed. A meal or snack will take more time to digest than a simple liquid shake. A post-workout snack should be consumed immediately after or up to 45 minutes after the workout is completed. Your cells are like a sponge during this time and have already begun the recovery process – so nutrient ingestion is a must.

The types of foods consumed will affect your results.  A great option for pre and post-workout nutrition is to bracket your workouts with a simple liquid shake. Add the following ingredients to a shaker bottle and shake well: 6 oz. orange juice, 6 oz. coconut milk, 6 oz. coconut water, and 1 scoop whey or egg protein. This will ensure simple carbs and medium chain fatty acids for energy, protein for muscle repair, and electrolytes to maximize hydration. Drink half the shake before your workout, and the other half after. Another option is 6oz. of Greek yogurt with a quarter cup of blueberries and a Tbsp. of flax oil mixed in. The goal is to get a balance of healthy macronutrients but not to consume so much that you feel bloated or weighed down.

Listen to your body. If you’re feeling weak or you find yourself shaking or you sometimes have a headache during your workouts, chances are your blood sugar is out of the ideal range. Try changing the timing and types of foods you’re eating before your workouts so you don’t get spikes and dips in blood sugar. If your stomach feels bloated during your workouts you may have to lighten your snack or allow more time for digestion. If you feel ravenous following your workouts, ensure that you’re getting enough sustenance in your post-workout snack and that you’re consuming it within 45 minutes of your workout.

So prepare yourself for a great workout and feel the difference it makes.

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