Recovery 101

Work hard.  Train hard.  Play even harder.

If you live this kind of lifestyle, then you realize the necessity of proper recovery.  I will break it down simply into 5 easy steps:

COOL DOWN, EAT, STRETCH, MASSAGE, SLEEP!

1)  Cool Down =  5 – 20 minutes (depending on your workout) of light cardio, walking, or low intensity exercise can help you in many ways.  A cool down helps flush out lactic acid and hydrogen ions that would usually cause delayed onset muscle soreness.  This is the first step in a good recovery process.

2)  Eat =  Specifically, eat proper foods and in the right timeframe.  A combination of simple carbs and a protein source  must be ingested within 30 minutes post workout, preferably immediately afterwards.  PBJ, protein shake, turkey sandwich, or chocolate milk are common choices.  Eat another full meal within 2 hours as well.

3)  Stretch =

niceStretching is key for lengthening tissue and fascia, increasing range of motion, and decreasing risk for injury.  Static stretching after a workout combined with good deep breathing will increase blood flow, aid in muscle repair, and keep tissue lean and healthy.  Flexibility is essential for the athletes recovery.

4)  Massage = Combined with cool down, nutrition, and stretching, massage is the ultimate tool to aid in recovery.  Increasing circulation will allow blood and lymph to speed up recovery, flush toxins and metabolic wastes, and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to relax your mind and body.  Massage is also key for injury prevention and rehabilitation.  Depending on training intensity and consistency, an athlete can get a massage every week or, at least, once a month.  Self massage is also an option using foam rollers, tennis balls, and various other equipment.

Here is an excellent post on self myo-fascial release I wrote.  Check it out:

http://ericisselin.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/self-myo-fascial-release/

5)  Sleep = Pretty self explanatory.  Get at least 8 hours of sleep a night.

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Also, something I have personally been doing lately is swimming laps for recovery.   I usually swim around 500 meters at a slow, easy pace.  I find this loosens up my body and gets me ready for another day of training.  I also sleep like a baby.  Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Best in health,

ERIC
www.fitnessquest10.com

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The Importance of Sleep

A good night’s sleep is necessary to perform at the highest level in school, work, and/or sports.  Getting the correct amount of rest is vitally important to our body’s function, in reducing stress, and in keeping us productive.  It is generally recommended that adults get six to nine hours of sleep a night, but as we try to juggle the demands in our lives, sleep is often the first thing compromised.

Humans are unique in their ability to recognize and ignore circadian rhythms, curtailing sleep while traveling across many time zones or doing shift work.  Sleep deprivation may also be the result of disorders like sleep apnea, depression, or insomnia.  Any attempt to lose weight and recover from exercise will be undermined if the body’s sleep needs are not fulfilled.  Although it is often difficult to make sleep a priority, it is important to understand just how a sleep deficit compromises our ability to achieve our goals.

Our bodies produce and distribute a variety of hormones in response to the amount and quality of sleep.  The secretion of both melatonin and human growth hormone (HGH) are generated during deep sleep.  Melatonin chemically causes drowsiness and lowers body temperature synchronizing the body’s circadian rhythm and is also a powerful antioxidant.  HGH is an anabolic hormone that increases bone density, muscle mass, and immune system activity among its many functions.

When experiencing a sleep deficit the body produces cortisol and ghrelin.  Cortisol is a stress hormone that in high levels is known to cause weight gain, impair recovery in athletes, and decrease energy and alertness.  Ghrelin lowers the levels of the hormone leptin, stimulating the appetite – linking sleep debt to obesity.

Working out can increase your alertness, speed up your metabolism, and energize you.  Timing is important when it comes to getting the maximum benefits from a workout.  Although it is recommended that you work out in the late afternoon, working out close to the time of sleep can have a negative effect.  During exercise your body temperature and heart rate increase.  Studies have shown that working out at least 5 hours before bedtime allows the body enough time to “cool off” and return to a state that is appropriate for sleep.

It is important that we optimize the amount of time we allow ourselves to sleep.  Here are some recommendations that can help you in getting a good night’s sleep:

-Establish a good sleeping environment that is rid of distractions like noise, light, TV, computers, and phones.  An uncomfortable bed obviously will impact the quantity and quality of your sleep.
-Stick to a schedule.  Going to bed at the same time every night allows your biological clock to help you fall asleep.
-Exercise and eat properly.  Try to avoid either of these to close to bedtime.
-Don’t take naps after 3pm and limit them to 45 minutes or less when you do take them.  Taking longer naps late in the day makes it harder for you to fall asleep when it is actually bedtime.  Naps are a great way to re-energize the body, they just have to be done for the right amount of time and part of the day.
-Sleep in complete darkness.  Melatonin production by the pineal gland is maximized in darkness and inhibited by light.
-Do not do other activities in bed.  As a student, I know there were some nights I found myself studying in bed, but this can alter your mindset.  We have to program ourselves to sleep when we are in our beds.

Hope these tips help!

Ashley Walsh

www.fitnessquest.com

The World’s Mine Oyster

If your muscles are refusing to grow or make strength gains despite your relentless efforts in the gym, perhaps it’s time to look back a few centuries to the works of none other than William Shakespeare to help you break out of your training rut.  While Mr. Shakespeare hardly had the slightest notion that he was scribing a reference to one of the best, if not the best, testosterone-boosting food, we, on the other hand, are much more aware of the effect this wonderful mollusk can have on our hormone levels.

So what makes oysters so great at boosting T levels?  Well first and foremost, they are LOADED with zinc.  Zinc is a mineral that increases testosterone levels very well.  In fact, 1 cup of oysters contains approximately 147 milligrams of zinc, which is well over 900% of the required daily value.[1] Due to the fact that ingesting too much zinc can lead to side effects such as diarrhea and vomiting, it is suggested that a whole cup of oysters only be eaten once a week.  But even with this semi-rare consumption (once a week), your zinc levels will be high enough to pump up your body’s T levels.

Zinc is essential to allow your body to produce higher levels of testosterone for a couple reasons.  First, if zinc levels in your body are low then your pituitary gland is unable to produce a couple hormones necessary to induce testosterone production—luteinizing as well as follicle stimulating hormones.[2] Secondly, zinc prevents the production of the enzyme aromatase, which changes testosterone into estrogen.2

Another mineral found in oysters that is related to testosterone is magnesium.  According to a study in the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomechanical Analysis, men who have higher levels of magnesium have been found to also show higher levels of free testosterone, and more free testosterone means more testosterone that is available to be used by the body.[3] One cup of oysters contains approximately 87.5 milligrams of magnesium, which is roughly 22% of the recommended daily value, so this is well within the range of what a healthy human can handle.1

The third component of oysters that improves the production and use of testosterone is protein.  A higher intake of protein leads to higher albumin production, which means higher levels of free testosterone.3 However, understand that diets that are too high in protein, specifically diets that have a higher percentage of protein than carbohydrates, are thought to lead to testosterone being excreted through urine.[4] For one cup of oysters, you can expect to get around 11.4 grams of protein, which is only 23% of the recommended daily value.1 So, while eating a cup of oysters will by no means put you in danger of losing your hard-earned T down the drain in the men’s room, be mindful of your protein consumption relative to the other macronutrients.

Finally, oysters contain a very small amount of saturated fat, approximately 1.0 gram per cup, which has also been shown to increase T levels.1 More specifically, studies have shown that individuals who weight train displayed higher testosterone levels when following a diet higher in saturated fat than individuals who did not weight train.[5] The potential side-effects of indulging in a high saturated fat diet are well documented, but as long as this is kept in check and you are continuing to hit the iron, then you should be able to enjoy the effects of greater testosterone levels.

So if you have been getting nowhere in the weight room try adding a weekly dose of oysters to your diet and see the world in a whole new light.  As Pistol said, “The world’s mine oyster,” so start enjoying some oysters and start enjoying the world.

Charlie Cates

Intern Trainer, Fitness Quest 10


[1] http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/4192/2

 

[2] http://www.advance-health.com/zinc.html#Zinc,%20Testosterone%20and%20Men’s%20Health

[3] http://www.ergo-log.com/magnesiumtest.html

[4] http://www.thinkmuscle.com/articles/incledon/diet-01.htm

[5] http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_nutrition/saturated_fat_killer_or_testosterone_booster

SEO 101 (Keywords Reviled)

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Part 1 Google Keyword Tool

For this post I decided to do a video where I explain how to use the Google Keyword Tool to pick your keywords for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for websites as well as tagging. This post is more geared toward fitness professionals that are looking to improve traffic to their website, however anyone can benefit from learning how to use the Google Keyword Tool. Let me know what you think, and if you have any questions. Enjoy.

By Blake Gantney
Director of Marketing, Fitness Quest 10
www.FitnessQuest10.com
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At Least A 1000 Ways To Eat Oatmeal

Eat Breakfast or Else…

First, why breakfast?  It is extremely important that you start your day off right by fueling up, increasing energy, mental alertness, and giving your brain, body, and muscles the glucose they need to function.  Oatmeal is an awesome (if not the best) way to do just that.

The health benefits gained from regularly eating whole grains are tremendous.  Bad cholesterol levels will decrease(LDLs, low density lipoprotein), while good cholesterol is not affected (HDLs, high density lipoprotein).  In 1997, the Food and Drug Administration allowed whole grain foods to be labeled ” decreased risk of heart disease combined with a low fat diet.”   So yes, just eating oatmeal every morning can dramatically improve your heart health!  Very high in fiber, oatmeal will keep you full for hours too.

Breakfast of champions
Breakfast of champions

Oatmeal is CHEAP, EASY, and QUICK.  So no excuses all you lazy people!

Another great thing about oatmeal is you can put almost anything in it, and get even more nutrients out of your breakfast.  Some of my personal favorites are:  blueberries, sliced almonds, raisins, ground flax seeds, yogurt, peanut butter and jelly(try it before you hate it, yes YOU), apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, chocolate chips, etc…   Any combination of ingredients can be fun.  Get creative with it!

Here is a hilarious link I found.. 108 insane recipes for oatmeal,  YOU HAVE TO CHECK THIS OUT!! Some of these are just funny!  And some of these I would never try!

http://www.mrbreakfast.com/recipe_collection.asp?subcategoryid=7

So eat breakfast or else!  Also, let me know if you try any of these crazy recipes in a comments below… If you try it, I will do the same.

Best in health, nutrition, and fitness..

By Eric Isselin
www.FitnessQuest10.com

Drink Debate

Remember hearing about all those studies telling the world that chocolate milk is the best post workout recovery drink?  Sounds pretty good; after all who doesn’t like a big glass of cold, thick, chocolate milk to congratulate themselves on a workout well done?  So what exactly are the advantages of this classic drink over all of the expensive powders and fancy bottled beverages?  Is this truly the ideal food for post-workout consumption?  Here is my understanding of the studies…

Milk is a carbohydrate by definition, but it has a high amount of protein and, depending on the type, a substantial amount of essential fats.  Chocolate is a simple sugar that is palatable in the mouth and spikes energy via raising blood glucose levels, therefore enhancing mood through the endorphins that are already improving the individual’s energy levels and mindset post workout.  Sounds pretty good right?  Carbohydrates and tasty sugar to get the metabolism pumping for instant energy along with protein to metabolize the healthy fats your body craves – is it any surprise that studies strongly suggest that chocolate milk this is the best recovery drink around?

The problem lies in how the studies are fool-proofed.  To take the drink bias of both the study subject and the researcher out of the equation, the test needs to be “double blind.”  This means that the individuals who distribute and the individuals who consume the drink can have nothing to do with the mixing of the drink itself or the placebo, and any taste, texture, and consistency differences need to be so minimal that they are undetectable.  The researcher analyzes the results without knowing which drink is which, only that one drink is A and the other is B, and gives the results to the drink mixer who finally reveals each drink’s identity.

Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to make another drink that is similar enough to chocolate milk and contains the necessary nutrient combination to convince the researcher or the subject that they are the same substance.  As a result, people are more inclined to enjoy a drink they are familiar with and perform better in turn because of their upbeat attitude sparked by their enjoyment.  To put it simply, people are biased towards performing better after drinking chocolate milk over consuming an obvious placebo, but chocolate milk does serve as a great recovery food for after working out.

So then, if the chocolate milk tests are flawed, what drink do studies suggest is the real optimal recovery option?  Welcome to the world of Endurox®.  The magic formula for an ideal post-workout drink is 4g carbohydrate to 1g protein mix, so making supplements and powders that taste similar is relatively easy since they all have the same consistency.  What separates Endurox® from other 4:1 mixes is what types of carbohydrates and proteins are used and how they are combined to make a product that the body responds to better than it does to anything else (see below works cited for a summary of the two main products).

To sum it up, if chocolate milk is the easiest thing for you to grab after your workout then great because it works well and tastes like an afternoon out with an old friend.  But if you really want to do your body a favor by reducing the soreness of your post-workout while boosting energy and strength availability for your next session, Endurox® is an ideal way to go.

By Chelsea Ellwood
www.FitnessQuest10.com

Niles, S., Lachowetz T., Garfi J., Sullivan W., Smith J., Leyh B., & Headley S., (2001). Carbohydrate-protein drink improves time to exhaustion after recovery from endurance exercise. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online, 4 (45-52).

Effects of eleutherococcus senticosus (CIWUJIA) on fat metabolism and endurance performance in long distance runners. Endurox Excel Clinical Studies. The American College of Sports Medicine (2006).

Endurox® comes in several different forms, depending on the type of workout you are using it for and when you plan to consume it.  Restore, for example, is recommended for recovery after workouts lasting one hour or less.  It has been shown to help speed up recovery time and decrease lean muscle damage while using all natural ingredients with limited amounts of sugar.  On the other side of the spectrum, R4 is recommended for athletes working out for periods exceeding one hour, especially if they are partaking in multiple workouts in one day.  This version of Endurox® helps speed up recovery time by replenishing the muscles’ energy stores (glycogen) while reducing muscle damage for better endurance throughout the second workout.  It does all this with the majority of the carbohydrates not coming from sugar.  Both supplements as well as all other Endurox products are available from the Accel Sport website (http://www.accelsport.com/product-info/EnduroxR4.html) as well as in many nutrion stores.

Football and Yoga?

The world we live in today accepts health as being multidimensional – a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being as defined by the World Health Organization.  To maintain physical health, individuals must eat right and exercise regularly.  Mental health requires low stress levels and regular intellectual challenges.  Social well-being involves sustaining both an adequate economic status and positive relationships.  Holistic health incorporates improving and maintaining each aspect of health, and yoga provides a perfect avenue by which to practice such health.

During my first year of college, my school offered “sport yoga,” an intense style of yoga that improves flexibility, strength, and balance.  There are few things in life more entertaining than watching collegiate offensive linemen partake in a yoga class – the warm-up alone could have been a full workout for those poor boys.  Fortunately for them, the instructor made a conscious effort to spend individual time with each player during every class, knowing they only came because it was a requirement of their physical therapy program.  Coming into their first class, the injured athletes saw yoga as nothing more than one part of what stood between them and being allowed to return to the world of big hits and hard tackles.

Using her calming voice to ease them into relaxing their muscles through each movement, she turned and twisted the boys into warrior poses, pulled their shoulders long as they attempted to bend around their own bodies, and pushed their bodies toward the ground to guide them into child’s pose.  At the start of an injured football, lacrosse, or hockey player’s first class, he forcefully fought himself into positions he didn’t understand.  By the end of his first class, the stress released from his face as he thoughtlessly breathed through the motions, led only by the melodic sound of the instructor’s voice.

Strength, speed, and power athletes are not the stereotypical population of a yoga class, yet they came twice a week every week, even after their rehab program ended.  Physically, the boys were even more healthy with new strength in their smaller, stabilizing muscles, and flexibility to balance the strength of their main muscle groups and help reduce future injury.  But the benefits of yoga stretch far beyond these physical health benefits.

Pain was not an unfamiliar feeling to these athletes.  However, holding a position of pain for an unknown period of time required mental toughness – convincing themselves that this pain was beneficial and that they were capable of staying strong and not giving in to it required pushing their limits as the mind dictated what the body was truly capable of.  Above all else, the boys built up their relationship with themselves as they found trust in their body-mind connection.  They allowed that trust to relax them into furthering their potential within each pose.

What an amazing relationship they built, trusting a body that was broken to hold up through something it had never before attempted, and having the mental confidence to not back away from challenge out of the fear of breaking again.  Best of all, they found peace in this trust, moving their bodies in and out of each posture through the simplicity of breathing and focusing on nothing more than the moment at hand.

Yoga – a peaceful approach to health for the whole person.

By, Chelsea Ellwood

Intern Fitness Quest 10
www.FitnessQuest10.com