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Calf cramps can affect performance whether you workout on a treadmill, are a runner, or take part in any type of activity that has you running around. These 5 tips may help you avoid the pain and improve your performance.
There are several factors that can lead to your calves cramping and let’s take a look at some of the things that can possibly be a cause.
* Loss of essential salts
* Added muscle strain
* Blood flow restriction
Here are five steps that can help prevent calf cramps from happening and ruining whatever activity you are involved in.
1. Warm Up and Cool Down
Yes, I am sure you know this but do you actually do it? Seriously if you are involved in any fitness routine or sport, then it is crucial to have a proper warm up. When I say proper warm up it should include any movement to get the blood flowing followed by gently stretching your muscles. A proper warm up can help you avoid getting calf cramps and can also help lessen the chance of getting an injury that can often occur to muscles that are not properly warmed up.
Since we are talking about warming up, we should also remember the importance of cooling down. Cooling down after any fitness routine can also help prevent the risk of injury and the possibility of cramping. Stretching as this time might be more effective as the muscles have been more than warmed up.
There are some great products available that can assist with stretching of the calf muscles. Let’s take a look at two of my favorite to use to stretch the calves.
A foam roller is a great piece of fitness equipment that anyone serious about there fitness regimen, whether it be exercise or a sport, should be using. Foam rolling, which was once just used in therapy, has hit mainstream because of all the positive benefits it has.
The Medi-Dyne Pro Stretch is another great apparatus for stretching the calf muscle and also the anterior tibialis, which is located on the front of your shin.
I have left some links to these products below if you are interested in them.
2. Train For What You Are Preparing For
You may not have heard this before but it is something to consider. For example, if you are training for a sport, you will practice the necessary skills required and prepare your body for the strain that you will endure in the event. An exaggerated example would be if you only train for sprinting and then try to run a marathon, your body may not be prepared for the length of the marathon compared to the length of a sprint. This lack of preparation for the longer event could lead to cramping.
Cramping also can occur from the added strain you may be putting your calf muscles through. Even the slightest of incline can be enough added strain to cause you to cramp up, especially if you never prepared your muscles with training at an incline. Training for the specific manner you are going to be involved in can have your muscles ready for the added stress.
3. Stay Hydrated
Whatever fitness regimen or sport you are doing, chances are you will be sweating. When we sweat it is our body’s way of cooling itself down. The body is mainly made up of water and considering the fact that when you sweat you lose fluids, it is important to drink to stay hydrated.
The importance of staying hydrated can not be stressed enough as your body will demand you get hydrated.
Dizziness and rapid heart beat are just some of the signs that you may be getting dehydrated. Another good indicator would be if your mouth and lips start to feel dry. Of course there may be times in your regimen that you can’t take in fluids so it is important to have some ready for you as soon as you can take it in.
4. Wear Comfortable Clothing
This one is sometimes hard to get across. If you are just worried about looking fashionably good while possibly sacrificing performance, then that may be a downfall. It is important not to risk injury or cramping by wearing clothing that is so tight that it will restrict your body’s ability to move or restrict blood flow.
Wearing the proper clothing can save you from experiencing the pain of getting cramps in your calves.
5. Proper Nutrition
We know that when we sweat we lose fluids but what should be known is that you also lose nutrients. There is plenty of speculation that calf cramps can be caused by the lack of such things as sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, or magnesium.
Here is a list of foods that may help in preventing cramps:
Calf cramps can be detrimental in any fitness routine or sporting activity and can take you right out. Try these steps to help prevent calf cramps and hopefully to bettering your performance. If you feel nothing is working then seeking the help of a health professional is always recommended.
The post Calf Cramps: 5 Tips To Help Prevent Your Calves From Cramping! appeared first on Exercise and Nutrition Tips.
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You just finished your workout and did a little stretching but are you aware of some of the benefits of foam rolling could give your muscles? Having greater mobility in your muscles is something we all could use and self-myofascial release, which is a self masaging technique such as foam rolling, is an awesome technique that has gained in popularity in recent years mainly for the therapeutic aspect it can give you in everyday life or after a workout.
There are many therapists such as Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists who rave about the effectiveness a foamroller has on an individual’s body. Foam rolling allows you to get a full range of motion with your muscles which can lead to better performance. What once was only used by fitness professional and therapists has now hit main stream and is used by people of all fitness levels and ages.
Why Our Muscles Are Tight
Our muscles are wrapped in what is called fascia, which helps them move smoothly. When we overuse or cause trauma to our muscles, the layers of fascia can get small tears in them. This can lead to the fascia not healing properly and causing an adhesion. These adhesions can cause pain or discomfort or just the feeling of being tight. The use of a self-myofascial technique can help with these adhesions. This is where foam rolling comes in.
When an individual is suffering with muscle soreness or immobility, a foam roller, can be used as therapy for soft tissue therapy. The use of a roller can put pressure on adhesions causing them to release and have your muscles working at optimal levels again.
The technique of foam rolling can be used to work on such areas as: hamstrings, hip flexors, gastrocnemius, priformis, adductors, quadriceps, trapezius, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi and more. Foam rolling can also help with such things as headaches or stiff necks. The way a foam roller works is by placing the foam roll underneath the muscle tissue you want to work on, roll on and off the muscle while placing pressure on it, to stretch out the area.
Here Are Some Of The Advantages A Foam Roller Can Give You
There are many benefits of foam rolling as it is designed for a person to help release trigger points to allow for improved performance in fitness or sports and normal function in every day life activities.
It is always recommended to see a physician before starting any exercise routine but once cleared I am sure they will agree with the many benefits a foam roller can give.
Do you have experience with a foam roller? Have you experienced the benefits of foam rolling? Feel free to share your experience with a foam roller by leaving a comment below. Have a great day!
Improved cardio fitness can lead to health benefits like a lower risk of getting many health disorders, improvement in endurance and your energy levels, the strengthening of your heart and lungs and plenty more. These five great cardio bodyweight exercises below can be performed anywhere and at anytime for better cardiovascular fitness.
The burpee is the king of cardio bodyweight exercises as it can have you burning a lot of calories while using many different muscle groups. To do the burpee, follow these instructions:
With your knees bent, put your hands on the ground about shoulder width apart.
Slowly bend your arms as you kick your legs out behind you, stopping when your nose comes close to the ground.
Straighten your arms slowly, bring your knees back in, jump as you stand up.
After you land, repeat the steps again as many times as you can.
The video above demonstrates on how to do a burpee.
2 – Jumping Jacks
The jumping jack, which we learned how to do as kids, is actually a great way to burn some calories. This often forgotten exercise involves many muscle groups along with elevating your heart rate. To do the jumping jack just follow these instructions:
With your hands by your side and feet together, stand up straight.
Jump up in the air, lift your hands over your head, and kick your feet out to the side.
Jump in the air again while bringing your feet together and lowering hands back to your side again.
Repeat these steps as many times as you can.
Here For A Video Demonstration Of The Jumping Jack
3 – High Knees
High knees are a great bodyweight cardio exercise that is simple to do but yet challenging. To do the high knees just follow these instructions:
Bring up your right knee about hip height while standing up and raise your left arm up around shoulder height. Lower left arm and right foot back down.
Do the same with your right arm and left knee.
Lower your left foot and right arm back down.
Repeat these steps as many times you can.
Here Is A Video Demonstration Of High Knees
4 – The Mountain Climber
The mountain climber is one of my favorite cardio bodyweight exercises that can have you burning many calories. To do the mountain climber exercise, follow these instructions:
With your hands on the ground about shoulder width apart, bend your knees.
Bring your left leg up and straighten your right leg out behind you.
Switch your leg positions by jumping with both feet off the ground leaving your left leg now out behind you and your right leg being bent.
Jump again and switch thew positions of your legs again.
Perform these steps for as many repetitions as you can do.
Here Is A Video Demonstration Of The Mountain Climber Exercise:
5 – Step Up
The step up is another cardio exercise using your bodyweight that works off many calories and really gets the heart pumping. This exercise can be performed with anything that is strong enough to step onto, whether it be a set of stairs, an aerobic step, or any other sturdy object. To do the step up, follow these instructions:
Stand in front of the object that you are going to be stepping on.
Alternate stepping up with your right foot and then your left foot.
Step off with your right foot and then step off with your left foot.
Perform these steps as many times as you can.
Here Is A Video Demonstration Of The Step Up
Cardio bodyweight exercises can be a versatile, fun way to enhance your cardiovascular fitness and burn calories. Add these exercises in a couple times a week and you will find an improvement to you cardiovascular fitness along with the many health benefits that having better cardiovascular fitness can have on your everyday life.
The topic for my post today is about people who seem to be overly obsessed with exercise and working out, but is this really something that should be classified as exercise addiction. The question is whether there really is some truth about having an addiction to exercise as it can have some similar characteristics to other behavioral addictions along with some possible harmful consequences. Even though there is yet to be a definition of what exercise addiction is, it is agreed that it does comprises withdrawal, impairs normal functioning, causes an exercise buzz, and can put a strain on relationships; these are all similar to other addictive behaviors. Research is continuing on exercise addiction, also known as excessive addiction, to give us a better understanding on this subject.
Similar to other addictions, one of the characteristics is a need, or a compulsion, to exercise frequently. This may include exercising multiple times a day, several weeks without a day off, not letting an injury stop a workout, and putting exercise before other important activities going on in their life. The constant training can cause a strain on a significant other or even have them missing many children’s functions.
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There also can be a withdrawal. This can also occur when a person is not exercising, which fuels the need to workout even more. Someone with a possible exercise addiction will often avoid normal day-to-day activities because of the fear of not getting enough exercise on that day.
This compulsion can also lead them to withdraw from every day activities. They may lack interest or motivation in social activities that are not exercise related which can lead to avoiding their social networks.
If and injury ever occurs that may not even stop them. When someone is dealing with exercise addiction, they may try to work through an injury. Instead of taking the precaution of resting an injury, they will try to engage in some type of exercise to fulfill their need. The strong desire to do some sort of exercise will be stronger than the injury itself.
As of right now there is no formal treatment of exercise addiction as research continues. However, treatments for other addictions may be applied here. Initially, it is up to the person to realize there may be a problem. Without realizing this, any treatment probably wouldn’t work. Next, the long road of changing their behaviors and thoughts towards exercise must begin. The goal would be to find a balance between healthy exercise and being active in everyday activities. This may take some time to accomplish depending on the severity and the amount of time this has been going on.
Unlike an addiction to a drug or to alcohol a person can and should keep exercise a major part of their life but learn to balance other aspects of life. If a person has low self-esteem and exercise has helped them build it up, they must be helped to realize that other areas of their lives that can be just as strong. Family and friends can be a big help to someone with an addiction to exercise as they can help support them and hopefully help them create a much needed balance.
In some cases, exercise addiction is a very real addiction like other behavioral addictions are and can share many of the same characteristics as well as treatment options. Thankfully, with support from family and friends or in extreme cases, professional help, finding a healthy balance between exercise and everyday life is possible. The number of people who may suffer this addiction is really small but it is something that is out there.
Everyone needs exercise. The key is to find that balance and enjoy a happy healthy lifestyle.
What is your opinion? Do you think exercise addiction is real? Do you think society is just putting another label on something? Feel free to comment and thanks for reading my post.
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Are you one of those people who are just going through the motions at the gym and not aware of the possible benefits you may be missing from high intensity workouts? Exercising mindlessly will not get you the results you want so it is a must to make sure you are getting the most out of all your workouts. One of the major parts of designing your exercise program is to make sure you are working out with intensity levels to get you results. Often when people start a workout program they are often confused about high intensity training and fear that working out hard will lead to burning out.
Depending on your fitness goals, both high intensity workouts and low intensity training can be used in a successful workout routine. In this post I will discuss high intensity workouts and low intensity workouts which I hope will help you determine when to add them to your fitness program.
This is by far the best way to get results as it can take less time and you can get more out of your workout. In this busy, fast paced world we are often pressed for time so why not get the most out of the time you are spending on working out. With a high intensity workout you will be putting your body under a much harder workout which can in turn burn more calories. The reason for high intensity trainingto being successful is that fact that you are training your heart rate to a much higher level than you would working out at a lower intensity. This in turn will have you burning more calories and really cranking up your metabolism. You also burn more calories from fat per minute than you would doing a low intensity workout. This is a major factor why people are seeing better results and prefer high intensity training. If the goal is to increase strength, burn more fat, all in less time, then this is the right choice for you.
Unfortunately, many will avoid this type of training because they just can’t do it or just don’t want to physically push themselves. Yes, this type of training isn’t for everyone as you should be cautious when doing high intensity training as not to overdue it and cause overtraining or injury. High intensity workouts such as sprinting, plyometrics, and bodyweight exercises are all great ways to use high intensity training.
This is often the more traditional way people train but the results are not as great as using a higher intensity. It may not be as effective but training with a lower intensity still has its place. Many people who often are not time constricted will use a lower intensity and workout for a longer period of time. Some will find this type of workout will allow them much more stress relief. Even though it will take more time to get results, you can still burn fat and get results as long as you are consistent.
Fact is, low intensity training may be the best type of workout for some. The elderly is one group that needs a low intensity workout included in their lifestyle. Low intensity workouts can give the benefits of exercise without risking injury. Speaking of injuries, those who may be dealing with some sort of injury can benefit also from this type of exercise program. Also, many people who are trying to increase muscle mass and still burn some fat, will often use a lower intensity workout. Lower intensity workouts will not deplete muscle mass compared to a higher level of working out. Some ways of a lower intensity workouts could be done with jogging, ellipticals, treadmills, all without doing any higher intervals.
So, what do you think is best for you? Are you ready to push yourself and get better results or are you just starting out and need to work up to a higher training level. Even if high intensity training is the way to go for you, some days you may not feel up to a work out like that, so why not do a lower intensity workout, after all it is still better than doing nothing. Whatever your choice is, consistency is key. Any workout program that followed on a consistent basis will promote good health, effective weight management, and a better well being.
If you are looking to burn more calories and increase your metabolism, consuming these metabolism boosting foods might give you the help you have been searching for. Eating the wrong types of food on a daily basis can limit the number of calories you burn by slowing down your metabolism. On the other hand, the proper foods can jump start your metabolism which in turn can have you burning more calories through the day. In this post I am going to list five great metabolism boosting foods you should try.
Broccoli is an nutritional super food with so many benefits like getting extra fiber, calcium, and vitamin C, into your diet. It contains numerous nutrients that will help boost your immune system and keep your immune system strong. Broccoli can be a great source of energy, is low in fat, and high in protein. The high fiber content of broccoli can also support heart health, lower bad cholesterol, and keep you feeling full.
2) Chili Peppers
Chili peppers are great because of their metabolism boosting properties that will temporarily increase the calories burning process in two ways: First, chili peppers will raise your body’s temperature with their hot and spicy nature which can cause your body to use extra calories to try and regulate this temperature change. Second, chili peppers can increase the amount of fat you burn after you eat them.
Flaxseeds have become a very popular for improving your health. They contain protein and fiber which are both know to rev up your metabolism because it takes extra calories for your body to burn to digest them. Flaxseeds also contain the important healthy fats which keep your body running at an optimal metabolic rate.
Salmon is another great metabolism boosting food as it contains a large amount of protein in each serving. Salmon also contains high levels of the healthy fats our bodies desperately need along with numerous vitamins and minerals that will help keep your metabolism at an optimal level and ensure that you are burning the maximum number of calories possible each day.
If your preference for getting your protein is from vegetables, soybeans are an excellent way to meet your needs and keep your metabolism running high. With just a single cup serving of soybeans you are provided with 29g of protein and also 10g of fiber, both which have your body burning more calories during digestion. Soybeans are also rich in a lot of other essential nutrients, many which are contribute to having an optimal metabolism.
If you are looking to add some metabolism boosting foods to your diet, these five foods above will be a great way to give your metabolism a boost. Watch the video I provided for additional foods that boost metabolism.
If you are getting frustrated because you are exercising and still having trouble losing weight, it may just take looking at things in a different way. The truth is that you can exercise every day and still not get results and there could be many reasons for this. In this post I will try to discuss some reasons you may be exercising and not losing weight.
There is no doubt that a majority of the time it is a poor diet that is keeping the pounds on. You may be wasting all the hard work in the gym or in your home workout by ruining it at the dinner table. If you ask most people about their diet and most will say the same thing. Many people think they are eating healthy but if they were to actually journal what they ate for a week they may be surprised. Those added hidden calories from flavoring, salad dressing, gravies, and many sugary drinks can really get you off course.
You should always be aware of what you may be eating and drinking, especially when out. If you are not preparing your food then you are leaving yourself open to added sodium, sugars, and fats. Also, many foods with the claim of fat-free can be just as bad if not worse. They may have the claim of no fat but often that is replaced with added salts and sugars. Cooking your own meals will give you the knowledge of the ingredients and the amounts used compared to the unknown of eating out or prepared meals.
The intensity of a workout is crucial to targeting the fat zone and to achieve weight loss. When it comes to weight loss people will often think long bouts of steady state cardio is the best way. The fact is your intensity is what is most relevant. It is important to get the heart rate in a zone where you are burning the fat stored in the body.
A great way to achieve this is using high intensity interval training (HIIT). It doesn’t matter if you are using a cardio machine or walking around the park, there is always a way to increase the effectiveness. Using HIITwill assure you to get the most out of your workout. An example of high intensity interval training would be running for 1 minute, walking for 2 minutes, and then repeating the process for the duration of your workout.
Whether it be in a class, on a treadmill, or in your living room, get the most out of what you are doing by making sure you raise your intensity throughout your program.
3- Doing The Same Routine
If your exercise routine consists of doing the same type of workout over and over then your chances of getting results are slim. When it comes to working out, challenging different muscle groups and keeping the routines fresh can go a long way to burning fat. Mixing it up can help target different muscle groups creating a balanced physique. Try switching up cardio equipment and switch up the levels. I have personally seen people waiting to use a certain machine even though other machines are open. If you always wanted to try a specific class then do it because you may surprise yourself and find you liked it.
Again, the last thing you want to do is just go through the motions in your workout routine, so you should have the mindset of getting the most out of what you are doing. This also goes for weight training as you can mix up the number of sets, reps, weight, and types of exercise being used. The great thing about exercise is there are so many different ways to get in better shape so why not take advantage of as many as possible.
If you are unsure if you can start a weight loss exercise routine always seek the advice of a physician. With that being said, it doesn’t matter what your exercise of choice is, if you are having trouble losing weight, it could just be a few tweaks to your exercise routine to jump start the weight loss again. The thing is, don’t give up because it could just be trying new things or tweaking your current routine to get better results, but just remember this, committing to exercise is often the hardest part, so once you commit you are well on your way!
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A major reason people avoid walking is that they feel it burns to few calories compared to doing other cardio exercises. Such exercises such as running and cycling can have you burning a substantial amount of calories more in an hour compared to walking. True, but did you know there are some simple techniques that you can try to increase the amount of calories you can burn while walking. This post will give you 5 ways to add to the calories burnt while walking.
1: Include Weights
A simple but effective way to increase your calorie burning is to carry some weights. A great way to add this additional weight is by using ankle and wrist weights that can weigh anywhere between 1-5 lbs or more depending on your level of fitness. If you are looking for something a bit more challenging, try adding some weight to a backpack to increase your resistance which will lead to burn more calories while walking.
2: Climb Some Hills
A very challenging way to increase the amount of calories you burn while walking is to climb hills instead of walking on a flat surface. Walking hills not only will get you sweating but it will also add some variety to your walking program to help in challenging your body. Also, with the addition of adding hills it can break up chance of adapting to walking on flat surfaces and have you burning more calories by giving you a more challenging workout.
3: Performing Interval Sprints
If you’re looking to really increase your calorie burning while walking then interval sprints are a great way to achieve this. Adding in intervals of sprinting, running, or jogging can double or even triple your calorie burning and will make your walking routine more challenging.
4: Add In Some Bodyweight Exercises
Adding in some bodyweight exercises can bring your walking routine to a new level as you can work muscle groups that aren’t necessarily used when walking. The great thing about bodyweight exercises is that they can be performed anywhere, at anytime, without the need for any equipment and for a long as you want. Such bodyweight exercises as push-ups, jumping jacks, squats, lunges, knee-ups, and many more can all increase your calorie burning.
5: Try Using Nordic Poles
Nordic poles are a great way to incorporate the muscles in the upper body into your walking routine which will lead to an increase in the amount of calories that you will end up burning. In addition to bringing your upper body into the action, Nordic poles can also take the pressure off your joints and knees while walking.
By adding in these 5 tips into your walking routine, you can turn walking into an effective calorie burning exercise and increase the fat burning process. So if you avoided walking because of the lack of calories you thought it may burn, give it another shot using some of these tips and have some fun!
All across the world, people are doing everything possible to achieve a flat stomach. However, this is such a popular topic that many myths have been created about getting a flatter stomach. In this post I will address some of thes myths about getting a flat stomach and hopefully have you believing the truth.
Myth 1: Spot Reducing Stomach Fat
One of the biggest and most popular stomach toning myth is the ability to target a certain area such as a belly with ab exercises to eliminate the fat from your midsection. You just can’t spot reduce where you would like. Of course this would be great if it was true but unfortunately there is more to it than that.
The main focus of developing abs and losing stomach fat is to reduce your overall bodyfat percentage. To accomplish this it is important to stick to a healthy diet plan that is filled with natural, unprocessed foods and focus doing both cardiovascular and weight training exercises. Doing this on a consistent basis will have your body fat levels dropping, muscles toning, and your belly looking tighter and flatter.
Myth 2: Exercise Only Will Get You Abs
Another popular myth to getting abs is that you can eat whatever you want as long as you workout. Of course working out helps you get leaner and burn fat but exercise alone will not cover up a poor diet.
It is crucial to stop eating high calorie, processed food, and start making changes to eating healthier. This healthy eating plan will spark the fat burning process and give you a solid foundation for your exercise program.
Myth 3: Daily Ab Training
For some reason people will treat the abdominal muscles differently than other muscles and want to train them on a daily basis. Training your abs on a daily basis is not only a myth but it can limit you from making progress and also increase your risk of getting injured.
Train your abs like any other group and work them a 2-3 times per week. This training method will help strengthen your core and will give your abs enough time to recover.
Myth 4: Exercise With High Reps Only
Another flat stomach myth is believing your core muscles will only respond to high repetition, no resistance exercses. True, there are some benefits to high repetition, no resistance exercises, but doing just this type of training will only get you so far and prevent you from getting optimal results.
If you want to get the most of your ab training then a combination of high reps with no resistance and low reps with resistance will get you the most out of your training. This type of combination will help strengthen and define the midsection.
Myth 5: Buying the Magic Product or Supplement
The last myth in the list is buying into the fact of getting six pack abs with a special product or supplement. Believing that a fat burning gel, ab belt, or any supplement is all that will be needed to melt away the fat without the discipline of proper nutrition is just a recipe for failure. The truth with these products is that very few will give you any type of results and aren’t worth the money invested.
So instead of chasing the magic product or gimmick, try going with what is proven to work and that is the discipline of proper nutrition and consistent exercise. Doing it the right way will keep the results lasting longer without hurting the wallet or the body.
I hope this post gives you a better understanding on some flat stomach myths that many have been wrongly informed to believe. Again, nothing can beat putting in the hard work in your training and proper eating!