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HMB and Fitness

shirtless man working out with dumbell

A healthy diet and regular workouts are the two key ingredients to developing fitness, but to push your body that extra level by building serious muscle many top athletes use supplements such as HMB.

HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutryate) is a branch of the amino acid Leucine: a substance found in protein-based food like fish and chicken. However, HMB is in short supply and so the body cannot feel its benefits as much as it could do if given a larger dose.

An Ironmagazine.com report in 2010 discusses how the supplement helps protect the breakdown of muscle proteins and actively stimulates tissue growth, so you can take it either before or after exercise and you’ll get the best of both worlds. Studies have shown that leucine contributes to protein synthesis, especially the small amounts of HMB already in the body. Any addition, therefore, is beneficial when building muscle and you only need a small dosage – three grams per day – to boost your recovery and enlarge skeletal muscles.

Combine this dosage with regular exercise and a good diet or protein and vegetables – plus carbohydrate intake before you work out to fuel the body through intense periods – and you’ll soon discover you’re getting fitter and stronger.

According to Bodybuilding.com, those who take HMB over a three-week period are more likely to bench-press greater weights than others taking a placebo. The supplement is also used to increase fatigue endurance during long bouts of physical exercise, so you can work out for longer and push through previously unreachable targets.

Remember, HMB services all muscle protein so you should set targets in both the lower and upper body to reap the supplements full benefit. Try setting a simple timed 100 press-up target alongside a reasonably weighted leg-press target and see if you can beat it each day. The more you exercise and take the supplement the stronger you should become and that time will drop off the clock.

Achieving your physical peak is difficult without the aid of supplements such as HMB, which have proven beneficial for both men and women over long periods of time.

  

What to Look for When Buying Fitness Equipment

two people working out in the gym

When it comes to maintaining good health, the importance of sticking to a proper fitness regimen simply cannot be overemphasized. Fitness plays a major role in overall health, and is just as important as diet in many ways. A proper fitness regimen will help you to:

• Maintain good health
• Look your best
• Lower your BMI

For a lot of people, getting to the gym on a regular basis can be next to impossible. Whether it be based upon motivation, scheduling, proximity or otherwise, there’s no getting around the fact that sticking to a proper gym regimen can be difficult. One of the best ways to bypass this issue is to set up fitness equipment within your own home.

When shopping for fitness equipment, there are a variety of things to look for before making a purchase. Since machines can be rather expensive, you’ll want to do a fair amount of research before throwing money towards anything. For best results, keep the following in mind when you set out on your search.

Shop Online

The main reason why many people feel as if home fitness equipment isn’t for them is because they don’t believe they can afford it. While these fears can sometimes be valid, there are plenty of ways to find machines that don’t cost a fortune. One thing to consider is buying exercise equipment online for a way cheaper price than in-store. The Internet has taken competition in the marketplace to an entirely new level, and there’s never been a better time for the consumer to jump on-board. Plus, there’s more variety to choose from online than you would ever find at a brick and mortar retail store; just another reason to browse the web.

Don’t Overshoot Your Needs

When you’re shopping for new fitness equipment, you should always strive to look for machines that feature only what you need out of them. The more amenities a piece of equipment features, the more expensive it is likely to be. This can be very beneficial to those who are extremely serious about their fitness goals, but it can be overkill for those who are simply looking to get fit. Instead, look primarily for machines that feature all the basics without any of the extra fluff. You’ll not only end up saving money, but you’ll probably save yourself from a fair amount of confusion and headaches as well.

Be Careful Buying Used

Used fitness equipment can truly be perfect for those who are on a tight budget, but this isn’t to say that it doesn’t sometimes come with issues. Fitness equipment tends to take a beating – cardiovascular machines are especially affected. If you buy used without knowing what you’re looking for, you may end up with a machine that is ready to break down as soon as you start working out on it. This is not only dangerous, but can result in an utter waste of money. Only attempt to buy used fitness equipment privately if you know exactly what you’re looking for an are well-versed on the finer points of different machines.

Fitness equipment can be vital in improving your health, and outfitting your home with a few machines doesn’t have to be as out of reach as it might seem.

  

The Romanian Deadlift

Some use the names Stiff legged deadlift (SLDL) and Romanian deadlift (RDL) interchangeably, which is a mistake, because the two exercises are very different. However, both exercises do target the same muscles, which are the glutes, hamstrings and lower back, commonly called the posterior chain.

rdl_1

One of the primary differences between the RDL and the SLDL is that the RDL works the spinal erectors statically, because there is no movement in the spine during the exercise. In contrast, the SLDL works the spinal erectors more dynamically because of the rounding and un-rounding (flexion and extension) of the low back. The result of this movement is a great deal of undue stress on the lower back.

I’m not a big fan of the SLDL outside of light warming up and stretching. The rounding or flexion of the back in this exercise as one lowers the weight causes a high degree of stress on the ligaments of the spine. Spinal flexion in and of itself, let alone under a load, can be very damaging to vertebral disks, increasing the risk of disk herniation. Performing the SLDL with any degree of load needed to stimulate a growth and strength adaption would be a huge error.

Before we go any further, it’s been said that the RDL gets its name from a Romanian Olympic lifter who supposedly was seen performing the exercise with over 600lbs prior to winning a medal and setting a world record. Since the lifter was Romanian, the movement was dubbed the Romanian deadlift. Whether this is true or not, I’m not sure. I only know for sure what I’ve read, and have been told this story several times, and RDL is how most in the know refer to this exercise.

Compared to teaching the squat, deadlift or Olympic lifts, the RDL is easy. One starts the exercise standing with straight arms holding dumbbells or a barbell. One can use an over-under grip or double overhand. If the load is too much for the grip, which can be the case especially with heavy dumbbells, lifting straps can be used.

rdl_2

Keeping your back in a neutral position, start to move your hips back and lower the weight. The knees are bent slightly. While lowering the weight, it’s imperative to keep the back in a neutral position. A good way to ensure this is to perform the movement with your head up. Never, I repeat never, look to the floor while performing the RDL. The spine will follow the head. If you look down, your back will round. If the movement is performed correctly, you should feel the tension on your hamstrings.

From athletes, to bodybuilders, to powerlifters, the RDL is a superior exercise that should be included in any training program. Moderate reps of 6 – 8 are generally the best for most lifters. Higher reps can be used, but be aware of back fatigue, which can result in a breakdown of form.

It’s worth stressing that even though RDLs are known for causing severe hamstring soreness, the lower back is heavily involved. I would caution anyone squatting or deadlifting prior to doing RDLs to watch your form. The lower back can tend to fatigue and increase the risk of injury when performing the RDL in this sequence.

  

To use stable or unstable exercises, that’s the question

Unstable surface training (UST), also referred to as stability training (ST), has gained tremendous popularity in the last several years. Unfortunately, for the average person just trying to improve themselves physically, the popularity of stability training has exploded into the mainstream. Why do I think this explosion in popularity is unfortunate? Because, like any industry, the fitness industry is full of people trying to make a buck anyway they can.

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The fitness industry preys upon people’s insecurities; the fitness industry is always looking for something new because of the ease at which they can hook consumers with an “easier”, “faster” way to look better. UST is not popular because it is more efficacious than traditional training, but because of a tremendous media campaign. They know there’s huge money in marketing a piece of equipment and/or workout program, especially when it’s backed by pseudo-scientific studies.

Some UST device advertiser’s claim their product is the key to achieving a strong, fit, balanced, functional body. They claim that no longer does one need to lift weights, push them self to get stronger, or even go to a gym. Just use an advertised device, like the Bosu ball, with a few dumbbells or just body weight, and viola! You will magically become fit. They are preying on people’s ignorance, and in many cases, inherent laziness.

Truth be told, UST has only proven its usefulness in the rehab setting and only with respect to ankle stability to any degree. There is no research to support the efficacy of UST in healthy people over traditional training. Several studies report that training on an unstable surface offers no increase in the electromyography (EMG) of the muscles involved in core training and no increase in athletic performance.

UST exercises have been shown to adversely affect movement velocity and range of motion when performing traditional ground based exercises like the squat. Hence the ability to exert force, power or move at high velocity is hampered during UST. This is simply because the loads needed to perform the exercises are too light to produce a significant adaptive response. These results are not conducive to building strength, muscle or explosiveness.

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