Category Archives: Uncategorized

Benefits of Incidental Exercise

This week, TargitFit is pleased to bring you an informative fitness article by Carla Sacca:

Park a few blocks away from work and walk to the office to work incidental exercise into your schedule. Source

Sometimes life gets so busy that it’s almost impossible to find time for structured exercises in your daily routine.

If that’s the situation you’re in, don’t worry. It’s not the end of keeping fit and enjoying all the benefits of exercising. There are many other ways to increase your activeness without hitting the gym or going for a run.

One such strategy is incidental exercises. All it requires is to put in a little more effort to help the impact of lack of exercise.

Read on to learn more about incidental exercises and the benefits they bring you.

What Is Incidental Exercise?

Incidental exercise refers to any movement you can fit into your schedule. It’s not structured like typical exercise, such as working out, running, or doing yoga. It’s exercise through  day-to-day activities.

When you increase your movement during the normal course of your day, it may be easier to get more exercise than if you make workout plans you don’t keep for various reasons.

There are many ways you can increase incidental exercise in your daily routine, including:

  • Using the staircase instead of the escalator or lift
  • Doing your chores manually (or using your hands instead of using machines or electronics)
  • Walking to the bus or train station or to work
  • Take a walk with coworkers during breaks
  • Remaining standing and walking around the office while at work
  • Parking your car farther away and walking to the shopping mall or workplace
  • Gardening from time to time

Benefits of Incidental Exercise

Regular incidental exercise has many health benefits. In fact, health experts are continually researching and discovering more of these advantages.

Here are some benefits of incidental exercise:

1. Improves Cardiorespiratory Fitness

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) improves your cardiorespiratory system. Similarly, regular incidental exercise is essential in helping improve how your heart, lungs, and circulatory system perform.

Just simply walking a few miles to work or anywhere can significantly boost your cardiovascular fitness.

2. Reduces Risk of Death

According to one study, incidental exercise reduces incidences of death from chronic kidney disease by about 41%.

The researchers observed that spending just two minutes walking  for every hour spent sitting can make a big difference, especially if you have underlying health conditions.

We all know how physical inactivity is dangerous for people with chronic conditions, and that’s where incidental exercises come in. They’re relatively easier to do and they fit into the busiest of schedules.

3. Promotes Weight Loss

Imagine what sitting in your office chair all day could do to your body weight, not to mention if you take in excessive calories while engaging in very little physical activity. Combine these two factors, and you have a recipe for weight gain.

Incidental exercise is a way to counteract weight gain. Walking around the office or maybe parking far away from the workplace to walk for a few minutes will burn calories to  help reduce your body weight or keep it from escalating

 5. Maintains Strength and Fitness

To get through your day  effectively, you need to be physically fit. And you need to exercise to achieve this strength and fitness.

The good news is, amid your busy schedule, you can engage in incidental exercises that promote strength and fitness.

For example, every time you take a phone call, you could stop and do ten or so squats. Or, when you’re watching your favorite TV show, you could incorporate doing stretches or a few yoga poses into the commercial breaks. This way, you have every-day reminders to really develop a good routine of health and fitness.

6. Good for Mental Health and Overall Wellbeing

Cleaning the house, washing your car, and walking to the shops or workplace has mental health benefits too. You’re moving away from your busy schedule, which allows you time to refresh your mind.

Remember, even the mind gets exhausted, and with all the stresses that come with work, incidental activities help ease things up. They clear up your mind and improve your overall well-being.

7. May Relieve Body Pain

Often, when any part of your body is in pain, it also affects other parts of your body and sometimes just about everything you do.

Fortunately, no matter where you are, there’s always an opportunity to engage in incidental exercises. These exercises promote movement of the neck, shoulders, arms, and other body parts. The outcome would be reduced pain in your shoulders or any other part if they were aching.

Make sure the movements and exercises you carry out are associated with pain reduction for effectiveness.

Take swimming as an example. For people who suffer from arthritis or joint or chronic pain, swimming can be transformative. It’s a great way to get your cardiovascular health up without hurting your joints. The water will support your weight, ensuring your joints and spine don’t take a hit, but you still get good muscle work in, especially when doing exercises that focus on your large muscles, like in your legs.Using a kickboard is perfect for this.

For those who have back pain, stretching and yoga are excellent ways to stay fit while increasing mobility range and decreasing pain. It helps to strengthen the back while improving flexibility and increasing range of movement. Just note that anything that involves the back needs to be done carefully and gently, especially when building strength for the first time.

Does Incidental Exercise Mean Stop Structured Exercises?

No, it doesn’t mean you should quit structured exercises. In fact, the ideal lifestyle includes a combination of both structured exercises and regular incidental activities.

However, if you can’t find time for the structured exercise sessions, increasing the amount of incidental exercise you do is useful. You’ll benefit from most any movement you add to your day.

Final Word

Now that you understand the benefits, why not challenge yourself to incorporate several incidental exercises into your everyday routine? They’re fast and easy, and it can be a fun challenge to add as many as you can.

Whether it’s cycling, walking, gardening, taking the stairs, making your calls while standing, or meeting friends for a walk instead of sitting in a café, the gains can be significant and well worth your time.

Carla Sacca is the owner of All Things Kids and Fitness at Home Australia.

Souper Way to Lose Weight


The cooler weather of autumn brings more than shorter days and warmer clothes. Fall is perfect soup weather and–who knew?!–souping is an effective weight loss strategy. While not everyone believes that soup is a meal, the truth of the matter is that it depends on the soup. Turns out, souping can be a healthy, effective way to tweak your diet and you might be surprised at how satisfied you feel after a bowl full of goodness.

Souping Concept

The best soups are filled with whole veggies and fiber that make you feel satisfied longer.

Many soups are low-cal AND they’re packed with nutrition and help keep you hydrated, too. The fact is, soup is soup-erior (yes, pun totally intended; sorry/not sorry) to juicing as a way to cleanse the body, increase energy, and kick-start fat loss. While juicing leaves substantial mounds of fiber in your juicer’s waste container, soup utilizes whole vegetables and sometimes fruits, and that includes the fiber content. Since fiber is typically digested slowly, that means a bowl of fiber-filled soup will keep you feeling fuller, longer than a smoothie. Soups are usually filled with healthy veggies, too, so it’s a terrific way to eat better on top of feeling more satisfied while eating less. Your budget gets a bonus from souping, as well: it’s less expensive to cook up a big pot of soup that will feed you for several meals than it is to buy all the produce you need for one smoothie, according to Yoga Journal.

The Fiber Issue Is More Important Than You Think

Ditching the fiber when you juice doesn’t only sabotage hunger control. It essentially turns a healthy piece of fruit into the enemy. As Forbes points out, the fiber in whole fruit helps your body release the sugar from the fruit into your bloodstream at a slow pace that’s easy to handle, so your pancreas doesn’t go into insulin overload. Gulp down the juice from about three oranges or apples (an average number to produce one glass of juice), and all that sugar, natural though it may be, gets dumped into your system, forcing your body to kick out more insulin. You might as well go on an all-soda diet if your grand scheme to lose weight centers on juicing.

Don’t View It As a Cleanse

Soup for lunch will get you through the day as well as reduce your overall caloric intake and help you eat healthier.

“Cleanses” sound ultra-healthy, but they’re intended to be short-term and not lifestyle-defining. You have to be realistic and understand that, regardless of whether you opt for juicing or souping or something entirely different, it’s not intended to be a lasting change. You’re supposed to do it for a day or two as a reset, then move on to the next phase of your diet. The thing about souping, however, is that it can be one of those small changes you make for the long haul. Instead of eating soup for every meal, use it as a meal replacement for one meal a day–lunch, for instance. Even when you bookend your soup lunch with a full (but reasonable and healthy!) breakfast and dinner, you’ll be eating fewer calories overall and eating healthier, more wholesome foods and that’s how you get on the right track to lasting weight loss. Think you’ll get bored with soup every day? Not likely when you have a variety of recipes to choose from. Start your collection with satisfying, delicious soups from Men’s Health and Yoga Journal.

Souping Tips

Decadent, creamy soups get a reduction in fat and calories and a nutritional boost from healthy cream alternatives.

Healthy Women reminds readers that not all soups are healthy simply by virtue of being soup. Decadent, creamy soups are usually jam-packed with fat which kicks up the calorie count. That doesn’t mean you have to avoid cream-based soups; you just have to be creative when cooking them. For example, a head of cooked cauliflower that’s been pureed is a tasty way to create a thick and creamy texture in soup without using cream, and the cauliflower will increase the nutrition of the soup at the same time. Pureed navy beans are another healthful alternative to adding cream to soup, one that increases the protein content as well as the fiber content.

 

 

 

Chunks of lean meat make your favorite soups even heartier while delivering all-important protein.

And speaking of protein, one of the best things about a good, hearty soup that fills you up is the chunks of lean meat in it. What’s more, you can customize practically any soup recipe to make it vegetarian or pack it with protein from sliced or shredded chicken breast, cubes of steak, or delicate flakes of fish.

Don’t Cut Back–Eat More Often To Kick Start Weight Loss

Cutting back or entirely eliminating meals for reducing calories seems like the logical thing to do when you’re trying to lose weight. However, the opposite approach can charge your metabolism and encourage your body to let go of the fat it’s holding on to. The experts and the studies all point to eating more often instead of only eating once, twice, or the common three meals a day to program your body for losing weight.

3 Vs. 5

Skipping meals makes your body want to hold onto fat for survival.

American society is conditioned to eat three squares a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Just because that was the way you were brought up, though, doesn’t mean it’s the only or best way. In her book on lasting weight loss, Dr. Melina Jampolis points out that eating more frequently helps maintain muscle mass and keeps blood sugar and metabolism stable. Essentially, your body is like that paranoid, needy person you dated in college, constantly requiring reassurance. If you go for more than three or four hours without eating, your body will freak out and start conserving energy because it thinks you’re trying to starve it. Your resting metabolism will slow, and your cells will put a sleeper hold on fat stores. If you don’t eat every few hours, your body will do what it can to ensure it uses as little fuel as possible to hopefully live to see another day.

And as for the muscle mass piece of the puzzle, remember that your body will use muscle for energy when it goes into starvation mode. By eating more frequently, you’ll assure your body that it isn’t in danger of starving and it will leave your muscle tissue intact. Consequently, since maintaining lean muscle mass actually burns calories, your metabolism will increase.

Stay Mindful of Calories

Cut down your meal sizes and add in 2 snacks a day, a protein bar or trail mix.

When stress over reducing calories has you eating less than three meals a day, the thought of increasing the number of times you eat might make your head explode. The secret is to spread your calories out over the course of five meals instead of getting them all in one or two sittings. Eating smaller portions during actual sit-down meals and then supplementing with protein bars or shakes in between meals is the easiest way to accomplish that, especially if you work a typical 9 to 5 job. That method still allows for three meals a day, and you’ll easily be able to munch a protein bar or suck down a shake during breaks at work.

Drinking a protein shake 20 – 60 minutes before your workout can count as one of your 5 meals and will help burn calories.

 

As for fitting a workout into your eating schedule, or vice-versa, while you don’t want to exercise immediately after eating, you do need some fuel in your system. Otherwise, your body will slip into conservation mode. The ideal timing is to exercise 20 minutes to an hour after having a protein shake. Research shows that timing your workout after ingesting protein, specifically whey, elevates your resting metabolism up to 48 hours after your workout and can encourage fat burning.

Your Last Meal (…of the Day…)

Officially close your kitchen for the night to enforce the evening eating cut off.

So, if you’re eating five times a day, you might wonder how close to bedtime your last meal of the day should be. Most experts agree that it isn’t a good idea to eat and then immediately hit the sack, but they disagree on a specific amount of time between your last meal and bedtime. Some experts say that you should at least give it 2 hours after you eat before you go to bed, but that is mostly for digestion reasons rather than weight loss plans. One study performed in the Department of Exercise Sciences at BYU examined restricting night eating and focused more on avoiding eating between certain hours than on the amount of time between dinner and bedtime. It showed that when subjects effectively shut down the kitchen at 7 p.m. and didn’t eat again until 6 a.m., they reduced their caloric intake and experienced modest weight loss.

Going to bed neither full nor famished will help keep your body from holding onto excess weight — and you’ll sleep better, too.

If you’re trying to lose weight, take a cue from BYU. Decide on a time to place the kitchen off limits. Runner’s World advises posting a sign, if it helps, to remind yourself and support your evening eating cut off. What you eat for your last meal of the day matters, too. Go light on the fat, protein and carbs. That’s not to say you can’t have food that contains any of that, just limit the amounts. Your last meal should be the lightest of the day and designed to get you through the night to breakfast. After all, going to bed hungry red flags your body that it could starve. In the end, it’s all a balancing act. Put 2 to 4 hours between your last meal of the day and bedtime. That will ensure that you’re neither full nor famished when you hit the hay, and will provide the opportunity to burn a few more calories, whether it’s doing housework or walking the dog before you call it a night.

Thinking About Losing Weight? Sleep On It

If you’ve adjusted your diet, increased your cardio, and are resistance training but you’re still not  losing weight, building muscle or both, it’s time to take a look at your sleep habits. Sleep tends to be the first thing on your daily schedule that gets cut when there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do every important thing. The problem is that, regardless of where you place sleep on the “importance scale,” it’s vital to your health, and the lack of it could be the deal-breaker when it comes to increasing muscle mass and losing weight.

Sleeping the Pounds Away

Your metabolism will work more efficiently when you get enough rest, making it easier to eat right and lose weight.

OK, it’s really not that simple. You still need to exercise and eat fewer calories than you burn each day to lose weight. However, a study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology found that sleep deprivation is linked to obesity. After reviewing the conclusions of over two dozen studies from around the world, the research consistently showed lower BMI numbers for those who slept 7 to 8 hours each night, with the odds for obesity going up for those who slept 5 or fewer hours.

Sleep for Building Muscle

You don’t need to inject growth hormone! Manufacture it naturally when you get proper sleep.

If you’re serious about resistance training, you know how important it is to allow your muscles to rest. That’s why you’d never work a muscle group two days in a row, and you likely wait 48 to 72 hours before you work the same muscle group again. It’s the rest rather than the workout — or more accurately, the two together — that builds muscle. However, just laying off a day or two between working the same muscle groups doesn’t meet the requirements of “rest.” You actually need sufficient sleep to accomplish the rest necessary to build muscle. According to researchers, growth hormone is released throughout slow wave sleep. Plus, for those wanting to justify lack of sleep and discount the effects on muscle mass, a study published in the Medical Hypotheses Journal found that insufficient sleep interferes with muscle recovery and is even associated with muscle atrophy. Yikes!

How Much is “Enough?”

Don’t kid yourself — not being able to make it through the day without feeling exhausted or dozing off is one of the signs you aren’t getting sufficient sleep.

Once you understand the importance of getting enough sleep to further your weight loss plans and/or help build muscle, the next question is, “How much is ‘enough’ sleep?” Unfortunately, it’s not the same answer for everyone. Age along with a number of individual factors including genetics affects that number. You might be tempted to just keep depriving yourself of sleep, justifying it with the fact that you seem to function normally on just a few hours of shut-eye. Simply getting through the day isn’t enough, though. It’s true that research has proven that a very small percentage of the population possess a genetic mutation that allows them to feel fully rested on less than normal sleep. However, Scientific American points out that the mutation is “exceedingly rare.” The majority of adults actually need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep nightly, according to HelpGuide.

So! The dilemma then becomes how to figure out your personal sleep requirements. Business Insider recommends taking advantage of some vacation time to get a feel for your natural sleep needs. For a 1 to 2 week period, go to bed when you feel tired instead of pushing yourself to watch the end of Conan the Barbarian for the 285th time. Don’t set the alarm clock but, instead, allow yourself to sleep until you wake up naturally. Do normal things during the day such as walking the dog, getting some exercise, running errands. Since caffeine and alcohol affect the quality of sleep you get, the advice is to avoid or at least limit those elements during the experiment. Within a few days, you should start to notice a pattern which will give you an idea of your optimal sleep time, as well as what part of the day you’re naturally programmed to be awake and functioning. Turns out 9 to 5 isn’t necessarily the most common or perfect pattern for everyone.

Bonus Health Benefits

Getting enough rest affects your overall health and makes you feel like a million bucks!

Those who aren’t actively trying to lose weight or build lean muscle mass might think this is an informative yet irrelevant article — but they’re wrong on the second count. Getting enough sleep is significant to everyone’s health in general, and vital for avoiding catastrophic illness. Lack of sleep interferes with melatonin production, a hormone that’s essential to your immune system. It helps reduce inflammation and even protects you from cancer. Additionally, Business Insider reports that people who don’t get enough sleep have an increased risk for heart attacks, have higher blood pressure, and are more likely to develop diabetes.

So — enough, already! Let’s just get some sleep.

5 Reasons Why Tennis is a Great Way to Stay Fit and Healthy

This week, TargitFit is pleased to bring you an informative fitness article by Anna Kucirkova:

What is the absolute best sport for staying healthy?

Many people would say running, biking, swimming, or basketball. After all, these sports all involve high amounts of cardio sustained over long periods of time. Plus, these sports have a huge cultural presence and are the first things that come to mind when thinking of exercise.

But would it surprise you to know that out of all the sports, tennis, squash, and badminton have been scientifically proven as the most effective ways to stay healthy?02221803

Analyzing a recent study of English and Scottish adults, the Daily Mail notes:

The racquet sports reduce the risk of death by 47 per cent compared to doing nothing, researchers discovered.

The study, which looked at the impact of different sports on health of people with an average age of 51, found swimming cut the risk of death by 28 per cent, aerobics by 27 per cent and cycling by 15 per cent.

In other words, if you want to stay healthy longer, get out on that tennis court!

The study analyzed health surveys (covering approximately 80,000 people) in both England and Scotland from from 1994-2008 to arrive at their conclusions.

Of course, this does raise some very specific questions, such as:

  • Why are racquet sports better than other sports?
  • Are there disadvantages to other sports like running that aren’t found in tennis, squash, and badminton?

In this post, we’re going to explain exactly why tennis is the best sport for staying in shape.

#1 – High Intensity Intervals

02221801

 

All my life I’d woken up to tennis, tennis, tennis. Even if I don’t go to practice, I’m thinking about it all day. – Serena Williams

Unlike sports such as running and cycling, tennis involves a massive amount of quick sprints. You cut back and forth across the court, lunging for shots, driving forehands down the baseline, and even sprawling to make backhand saves.

This rally between Nadal and Djokovic is a prime example:

This type of intense activity followed by brief breaks is often called “high intensity intervals” and is regularly used by top athletes to maintain peak performance.

As Harvard Health Publishing notes:

“Tennis great Bjorn Borg allegedly described a tennis match as “a thousand tiny sprints.” During a match, the frequent short bursts of high-intensity activity, interspersed with longer periods of lighter, less vigorous movements, are a perfect example of interval training. This workout strategy — which can be adapted to almost any type of exercise — seems to be a good way to boost cardiovascular fitness, according to exercise experts.”

High intensity interval training (HIIT) has been consistently proven to be more effective for burning fat and losing weight than sustained cardio like running. Yes, both tennis and running elevate the heart rate for an extended period of time, but when it comes to burning off harmful belly fat, HIIT is a better solution.

#2 – Full Body Workout

Tennis is a perfect combination of violent action taking place in an atmosphere of total tranquillity. – Billie Jean King

Sports like cycling and running provide workouts for very specific areas of the body, predominantly in the legs and hips. While it’s crucial to exercise these muscles, tennis provides an intense workout for the entire body.

Consider all that your body is doing while playing tennis. When you serve, you drive upwards with your legs, torque at the waist, and launch your arm forward at an incredible speed. When you run across the court to return a ball, you’re working your thighs, calves, arms, and shoulders. A backhand utilizes your triceps and forearms.

Vogue magazine, which is much more known for fashion than sports, comments:

“With its emphasis on quick, explosive movements, dynamic strength, endurance, and agility, tennis is perhaps the original cross-training workout—a fact we’ll be reminded of when watching the world’s top athletes crush 140-mile-per-hour serves and send balls zipping down the line at the U.S. Open over the next few weeks. One look at their powerful frames proves that while high-intensity interval training studios and dance-cardio sessions generate plenty of buzz among fitness enthusiasts these days, there’s still little that compares to the total-body sculpting benefits—or the sheer satisfaction—of a well-played tennis set.”

If even Vogue concedes that tennis is the ultimate body workout, there’s probably some truth to the matter.

#3 – Fewer Repetitive Movements

02221802

 

When you do something best in life, you don’t really want to give that up – and for me it’s tennis. – Roger Federer

Some sports are known for injuries due to specific repetitive movements. Baseball pitchers, for example, often encounter shoulder problems due to the stress of throwing a ball 100 times per game. Runners struggle with shin splints, joint pain, and foot issues because of the constant pounding associated with jogging mile after mile.

While tennis certainly does have some repeated movements, such as the serve, it also varies significantly. Rallies involve striking the ball from many different angles, sprinting back and forth, and often lunging. These movements have a cross-training effect, strengthening all the muscles and preventing injuries that come with repetitive movements.

Additionally, tennis can actually improve your bone density. As Health Fitness Revolution notes:

“Playing tennis isn’t good for your muscles alone; it has a positive impact on your bones as well. Exercising regularly can increase your peak bone mass and can slow the rate of bone mass loss over time. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), bone mass peaks around age 30 and begins to decline after that. You can maximize your bone mass prior to that age through exercise, and continuing to exercise after 30 can slow the rate of bone loss. The NIH names tennis as one of the weight-bearing activities well suited to building strong bones.”

If you want to avoid the stress injuries common with other sports, tennis is a great alternative.

#4 – Flexibility and Coordination

I submit that tennis is the most beautiful sport there is and also the most demanding. It requires body control, hand-eye coordination, quickness, flat-out speed, endurance, and that weird mix of caution and abandon we call courage. It also requires smarts. Just one single shot in one exchange in one point of a high-level match is a nightmare of mechanical variables. – David Foster Wallace

Tennis requires an astonishing amount of flexibility and coordination. If you play, you’ll be forced to put your body in positions it isn’t used to, stretching and loosening your muscles.

These astonishing shots show just how much flexibility and coordination is required:

Because of this, you should make a concerted effort to stretch before and after each game.

Tennis also demands that you coordinate your muscles precisely. You need to focus on the ball and control all your muscles as you strike it. If you waver for even a moment, it can be the difference between an ace and a fault. Practicing tennis helps you develop coordination in ways that you didn’t know were possible.

It also strengthens your ability to intensely focus on a single goal for a short period of time. The moment you lose focus, the ball zips by you or you strike it incorrectly.

#5 – Social Interaction

02221804

 

What is the single most important quality in a tennis champion? I would have to say desire, staying in there and winning matches when you are not playing that well. – John McEnroe

Some sports, by their very nature, can be solitary. Long distance running. Weight lifting. Swimming.

Tennis on the other hand, always requires at least one other person to play. This social interaction creates a community aspect to the game, allowing you to deepen friendships, get a workout, and get some intense competition all at the same time.

Because humans are social creatures, interaction is deeply healthy, both for our mental and emotional well being.

Tennis is a fantastic sport both for the body and the mind.

Conclusion

Few sports compare to tennis. It combines the intense action of a boxing match with the elegant movements of a ballet. It brings together intense speed and precise movement in shocking ways. And it allows us to enjoy a game while also getting an incredibly healthy workout.

There will always be a place for sports such as swimming, cycling, and running. But if it’s health you want, tennis may be your ticket.

Anna Kucirkova speaks 3 languages and has a passion for kids and writing. While she has been to many places in Europe and SE Asia, she still wants to explore the rest of the world.

This article first appeared on tennisdrills.tv.

Hardcore Wrestler Training Routine

The right workout regimen will give you the power you need to take down any opponent. Photo by Chris Chow on Unsplash

School will be back in session shortly and school sports will soon be in full-swing. If you’re serious about wrestling, whether you’re in college or high school, you need to be dedicated to a lifestyle change. Training hardcore to become the best wrestler you can be is about more than just the workout, it’s also about the right diet and getting plenty of rest. If you have the discipline and determination, you can go from weakling to powerhouse, capable of taking down almost any opponent in your path.

The Three Day Workout Regimen

Including some time on cardio machines will help build endurance to carry you through every round in every match.

There are as many different opinions about the frequency of workout days and where to fit in rest days as there are wrestlers and trainers. Although three days on, one day off-type workouts are popular, some trainers will put you on a six-day schedule that has you working out every other day and resting on the days between, while others prefer an alterntive 3-day workout, such as the one former pro-wrestler Ric Drasin favors, performing it in six consecutive days and taking Sundays off to rest.

Rest Up

Part of a hardcore training regimen includes getting enough sleep every night in addition to scheduling a rest day. Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

Working out hardcore means you’ll be tearing your body down to rebuild it, a process known as hypertrophy. Along with scheduling rest days from your workout schedule, you have to be conscious of getting enough sleep every night. Although the Sleep Foundation reveals that there is no magic number for everyone, their studies have shown that, on the average, teens require 8 to 10 hours per night and adults may need up to 9 hours, but some individuals may only need 7 hours of sleep nightly. As for the day before a meet, trainers don’t recommend taking the day entirely off. A light workout the day before you wrestle will keep your strength up.

Nutrition

09151605

Multivitamins formulated for athletes help ensure your body has the nutrition it needs to stay strong.

To stay lean while building muscle and having plenty of energy, most athletes including wrestlers follow diets that focus on high protein and low fat, and add a couple of snacks to their three-meal-a-day regimen. Healthy protein to include in your diet can come from egg whites, fish, chicken or lean beef, and protein supplements. Be sure to include fiber from whole grain cereals and breads as well as from fruits like apples. A complete multivitamin formulated for athletes will help round out your nutritional needs and give you what you might not be getting from food. Trainers and athletes alike attest to the value and effectiveness of giving yourself a “cheat day” to eat things not allowed on the training diet. By knowing that you can have a treat on a specified day, it won’t be as hard to stick with strict eating habits the rest of the time.

Commit or Quit

Training hardcore is a lifestyle, not something done on a whim. Consider what is involved and what will be required of you in order to be successful. Be realistic and decide whether or not you’re up to the challenge. It’s better to take on a hardcore training routine knowing what you’re getting into and being prepared to see it through instead becoming discouraged and quitting a few weeks in.

Want to Build Muscle and Strength? Go Nuts!

While it is general knowledge that nuts are a good source of protein, you may not be aware that bodybuilders rely on nuts, both when they’re preparing for a meet and in the off-season, too. For pros and amateurs alike, the muscle building secret relies on nuts that carry specific benefits. We’ve posted more than a few articles that focus on other types of nuts and their benefits but today’s spotlight is on an exceptionally super nut: the Brazil nut. Let’s not get into whether they’re actually a nut or a seed. Instead, let’s talk about the ways Brazil nuts are awesome.

Health Benefits for All

Although Brazil nuts are one of the best protein sources for muscle growth, they have basic health benefits for everyone, whether or not they’re trying to build muscle. More on the very specific nutritional elements of Brazil nuts in just a moment–first, it’s important to know their overall nutritional components work together to help protect against heart disease, some types of cancers and can help alleviate anxiety and the symptoms of asthma, AIDS, and skin disorders, according to The Daily Meal. Nuts.com reveals that Brazil nuts are rich in magnesium, too, which promotes the absorption of calcium to keep teeth and bones healthy and strong.

Perfect Protein

Many foods that have the reputation of being some of the best sources of protein are actually incomplete proteins because they contain only a handful of essential amino acids. You need to eat other types of proteins with them to gain the muscle-building benefits of protein. However, in his book “Laugh With Health,” health and nutrition expert Manfred Urs Koch points out that Brazil nuts are exceptionally effective for building muscle because they’re a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids:

  • lysine
  • methionine
  • tryptophan
  • phenylalanine
  • isoleucine
  • leucine
  • arginine
  • threonine
  • valine

Considering bodybuilders spend small fortunes on supplements for muscle growth to get these amino acids, it’s easy to see why the Brazil nut is a valuable muscle building secret.

Although many nuts are relatively low in methionine, Brazil nuts happen to be particularly high in that essential amino acid. Methionine and arginine make up two-thirds of the bodybuilding staple creatine. Additionally, arginine is a key ingredient in the majority of nitric oxide supplements and increases growth hormone levels, according to Muscle & Strength.

What About Fat and Calories?

03011803Nutrition and You claims that Brazil nuts are high in calories, but one ounce (about six to eight nuts, according to Cleveland Clinic) equals one serving, and that serving carries less than 190 calories. Not too shabby for a quick snack that provides energy and protein and will help curb your hunger if you’re dieting. So here’s the rub: most of those calories are derived from fats. HOWEVER, keep in mind that Brazil nuts happen to be high in monounsaturated fats, the “good” fats. You know, they’re the ones that help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and help increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol. The key, as with any food, is keeping control of the calories. Shape reminds readers that your snack of Brazil nuts should be included in your daily calorie count instead of in addition to it. What’s more, restricting carbs in your diet means you can be a little more lax with fat intake, especially if it’s a “good” fat.

The Selenium Issue

03011802

No need to binge on Brazils. An ounce or less a day is more than enough to benefit you.

Nutritional deficiency is a pitfall for athletes and dieters. However, Brazil nuts are especially high in selenium, which promotes glucose absorption, an essential element when building muscle and dieting. Additionally, selenium is vital for thyroid health, and you know how important a functioning thyroid is for metabolism, energy, cardiovascular health, and weight control.

There’s always a catch and, in the case of selenium, you can have too much of a good thing. If you do any research, you’ll find warnings of selenium poisoning. It’s a serious issue. A scan of the National Institutes of Health‘s selenium information page turns up a warning that reads like a drug company disclaimer: “…common signs of selenium poisoning include brittleness or loss of hair and nails, skin lesions, nausea,  diarrhea, fatigue…acute selenium poisoning can cause myocardial infarction, kidney and/or cardiac failure and, in some cases, death.”

Remember that those issues will only arise if you eat too many Brazil nuts. Stick to one serving or less each day, and you’ll garner all the benefits without the risk.

DIY Hack: Get the Perfect Glowing Self-Tan at Home

This week TargitFit is pleased to bring you an informative article on tanning, by Maria Jose Meneses:

Summer means it’s time to get out your swimsuit and show off your beautiful bronze tanned skin. If you’re not ready to hit the beach just yet, there’s no need to fret. Thankfully, getting ready for summer is easy, and you can get a gorgeous glowing tan at home so you can step out in confidence. Whether you choose to self-tan using a sunless tanner or prefer to go natural with sunlight, there are a few essential things to keep in mind before you start the self-tanning process. Check out this guide that includes tips and advice to ensure that you get the perfect self-tan at home.

Sunless Tanning

How to set up your space

Using a sunless tanning product is an easy way to get a rich tan at home. Before you start applying your favorite product, it’s vital to set up your space so that it’s ready for your tanning DIY session.

-Choose the best places in your home that are easy to clean and where the sunless tanner won’t stain fabrics or carpets. A room without much furniture is ideal since you won’t need to worry about getting the product on the couch or your favorite chair.

–When applying self-tanning products, it’s always best to do so inside. If you apply it outdoors, you might end up sweating afterward, which causes the tanning solution to run and streak.

-Ideally, apply your self-tanner in a cool or cold place with plenty of air conditioning. Don’t forget to have plenty of old towels around so you can wipe off messes and keep your hands and the items around you clean.

Types of Self-Tanners

You can purchase self-tanners in a variety of formulas, depending on your needs and preferences, including:

Self-tanning mousse. This self-tanner comes in a canister and delivers a nice foam-like consistency. Self-tanning mousse is thicker and darker than lotion, and it’s best to apply it using a mitt so you get even coverage. Mousse tends to give you more coverage with less streaking than some other formulas.

Self-tanning lotion. Self-tanning lotion typically develops within six to eight hours of application. While this is a popular choice for many people, it’s best to use lotion only if you have experience applying it since there is very little room for mistakes. If you apply a tanning lotion to an area by accident, it’s difficult to fix the error since most lotions are potent and deliver a powerful punch of color to your skin upon contact.

Self-tanning mist. Think of self-tanning mist as a convenient tan in a can. This formula is super easy to apply, and it also helps you tan those hard-to-reach areas, such as your back or the back of your upper thighs. Use a mist in even strokes, and apply it using a circular motion to get an even application.

Self-tanning serum. A self-tanner serum is typically to tan your facial skin. This product is an excellent way to get an even tan that matches the rest of your body, and you can apply it gradually until you reach your desired level of darkness. Most self-tanning serums include other ingredients to moisturize and hydrate your skin, too.

Self-tanning oil. If you prefer oil to serum, self-tanning oil is an excellent choice to give your face and neck a healthy glow. Look for a self-tanning oil that works overnight so you can incorporate it into your beauty routine before bedtime.

Steps for tanning at home

Once you set up your space and you’ve chosen your self-tanning products, it’s time to get started.

Get ready the day before. The day before you apply self-tanner, get your skin prepared by shaving or waxing excess hair. Ensure that you have a smooth surface to apply the tanner to, or else it might not absorb evenly into your skin.

Exfoliate. Before you apply a self-tanner, exfoliate your skin from head to toe with an oil-free exfoliator. This step is crucial since it will keep your tan from looking uneven or splotchy.

Moisturize. Apply a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer or lotion to just the dry spots of your skin. This includes areas like the knees and elbows so that your skin is smooth and ready to absorb the self-tanning product. Dry areas tend to absorb more product, making them look darker if they’re not prepared beforehand.

Apply your self-tanner of choice. After you’ve prepped your skin, you can apply your self-tanning product of choice using a mitt or applicator sponge. Avoid applying the product with your hands to prevent staining of your fingers and underneath your fingernails.

Face first. Begin your sunless tanning by applying the product to your face first. This will give you a good idea of just how dark or light the rest of your tan should look when you’re ready to apply it to the rest of your body.

Start at the bottom. After you tan your face, begin applying the product starting at your feet and ankles, and work your way up from there. Use slow, even motions and apply just enough product to absorb into the skin. You can always go back over areas that look too light or that need some touching up.

Pro tips

Here are some pro tips about tanning with a self-tanner at home.

Wear gloves. Always wear gloves or a mitt when applying self-tanner, so it doesn’t stain your fingernails or the palm of your hand.

Clean up mistakes. Wipe off excess tanner as you go and clean up mistakes as soon as you notice them before the product starts to change color in areas where you didn’t plan to apply it.

Wait before getting wet. Give your self-tanner time to work and avoid getting wet after applying it until everything is completely dry and fully absorbed. Avoid taking a shower for at least a few hours, so the tanner has time to do its job.

Don’t sweat. When you apply self-tanner, make sure you do so in a cool place where you won’t sweat, which can cause severe streaks and unevenness.

Avoid deodorants and antiperspirants. Don’t apply deodorant before you self-tan, or it can create a barrier that will make your underarms look white or may turn them an odd green color. Feel free to apply deodorant later after you’ve showered and the self-tanner is fully absorbed.

Don’t apply a second coat. Applying the second coat of self-tanner can make your skin look too dark or unnatural. As long as you apply the first coat in sections and go slowly, you should end up with a beautiful, even tan.

Afterward, wear dark loose clothing. After you apply self-tanner, make sure you wear loose clothing that won’t cling to your skin to keep the product from streaking. Wear dark clothing that won’t leave a permanent stain behind.

Sun Tanning

How to set up your space

Before you start soaking up the sun, it’s essential to set up your new sun tanning space.

Choose a place at home where you’ll get plenty of sun and privacy. A balcony, garden, or terrace are all good locations.

Try not to suntan under a patio umbrella or a tree, or else your suntan will end up looking uneven.

Place a comfortable lounge chair or outdoor sofa in your tanning area so that you can lie down comfortably. A large beach towel laid on the ground or a balcony is another good option.

Steps for sun tanning at home

Follow these easy steps to make sure that your natural suntan turns out beautifully.

Exfoliate. Apply a high-quality exfoliator to your body to remove dead skin cells and give you a smooth surface to start from. This will also help to reduce or eliminate excess flaking once your tan develops.

Put on a small bathing suit. When it comes to getting a tan, the smaller the bathing suit, the better. Wear something that exposes enough skin so that you’re getting a complete tan over as much of your body as possible.

Get your essentials. Remember to gather a few essentials together before you start tanning, like a large bottle of ice water, entertainment like music or a movie on your tablet, and a comfortable chair or towel.

Apply a high SPF tanning oil. Although your goal is to get bronze, it’s still important to apply a high SPF tanning oil, preferably one that is 30 SPF or higher.

Pick the right time of day. The best time of day to get a fast tan is between the hours of noon and 3 p.m. when the sun is the strongest. This is also the time of day when the sun can do the most damage, so keep this in mind and never forget to apply some form of sun protection. Those with fair skin should tan in the morning or after 3 p.m. to help reduce the risk of sunburn.

Reapply tanning oil hourly. Don’t forget to reapply your SPF tanning oil every hour to protect your skin from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.

Pro tips

Keep these pro tips in mind if you decide to get a “natural” suntan at home.

Repeat regularly. To get the best, deepest glow, you’ll need to repeat your sun tanning sessions regularly. Try to do so every other day just to give your skin a break.

Stay hydrated. Sitting in the sun for prolonged periods can cause dehydration. Always make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water whenever you’re outside tanning or any time you’re in the sun.

Eat foods with beta carotene. Beta carotene is a natural plant pigment that gives food like carrots and other vegetables their bright coloring. Eat foods that are high in beta carotene to speed up the tanning process and to help you get a beautiful tan without burning.

Wear a strapless or a swim brief for better results. Wear a strapless bathing suit or swim trunks without a shirt to prevent lines from showing once your tanning session is complete.

Don’t fall asleep! Make sure you stay awake the entire time you’re outside tanning, or else you could end up with a serious sunburn. If you start to feel sleepy and can’t stay awake, go indoors and try again another time.

Keep these simple tips in mind to help you get ready for summer. From applying a self-tanning product to sunbathing in your backyard, it’s easy to get a perfect bronze tan with the right tools and some patience. By the time your self-tanning DIY sessions are complete, you’ll be ready to hit the beach and show off your new gorgeous glow.

This article originally appeared on Porch.com

Maria Jose is a Marketing Specialist and does Content Marketing at Porch. She is passionate about animals and her hobbies are reading, writing, traveling and music.

The Best And Worst Foods For A Satisfying Sleep

A late-night snack of the wrong kinds of foods can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. Source

This week, Targitfit is pleased to bring you an informative article by Debbie Woodliffe:

Sleep is an elusive creature sometimes. You never really know if you’re going to have a lovely deep REM cycle or an uncomfortable night where your brain just won’t shut up. It’s tricky, but the food you eat during the day has an impact. You need to know things such as:

  • Eating before you sleep – good or bad?
  • Foods that disrupt sleep
  • Foods that help you sleep

Read on to explore the relationship between food and sleep to see if you can improve your rest…

Eating Before You Sleep – Good Or Bad?

So, eating before bed. There are urban myths like cheese giving you nightmares and eating late makes you gain weight – but what’s the truth?

It is true that when we wind down for the night, our metabolisms do slow down marginally to allow our bodies to recover from the hard day behind. Everything slows down – your mind and your heart rate, your temperature reduces, and all your muscles relax. So, it’s fair to assume that the food we eat before bed is more likely to be stored as fat than it is metabolised. This has been supported by studies from Northwestern University researchers and more.

On the other hand, some studies say when you eat does not affect your weight at all. Instead, it’s the quality and type of food combined with your physical activity levels that impact your weight gain or loss.

It’s a tricky subject, and unfortunately, there’s no one clear answer. However, you know your own body better than anyone, and you feel when you need fuel. So, it’s best to listen to yourself and eat when your body needs it. The trick is being able to tell the difference between munching out of boredom or routine or actually needing fuel.

Top Tip:

Cheese does not give you nightmares (unless you’re lactose intolerant). Any unsettled sleep is probably just your body digesting food and disrupting your natural sleep-wake cycle.

But don’t just listen to your hunger and cravings. What you eat has a huge impact on your sleep – especially if you have conditions like heartburn or acid reflux. Lying down after eating can often make these conditions worse as it’s easier for stomach acid to access your throat when reclined. The UK’s National Health Service recommends sleeping with your head and chest raised above your waist to restrict access, and to avoid anything triggering like coffee, tomatoes and spicy foods at least 3-4 hours before bed.

Even without health conditions, certain foods can both help or hinder your natural circadian rhythm.

Foods That Disrupt Sleep

There are loads of foods to avoid before you try to sleep if you want a decent 40 winks. We’ve mentioned spicy foods and caffeine-filled beverages, but there are so many more:

  • Fatty foods

We’re talking burgers and cheese, fried things – anything that has a high-fat content. These kinds of fatty foods amp up your stomach acid production to aid digestion. And, as we’ve already mentioned, doing this before bed can lead to heartburn and acid reflux when you lie down.

  • Caffeine

This one is pretty obvious – caffeine is a stimulant. It works to keep you alert and can stick around in your body for up to 5 hours after consumption, so it’s best to go decaf or forego it all together in the evenings.

  • Alcohol

A good old-fashioned nightcap may seem like the ideal to help you drop off, but it could be disrupting your sleep overall. While it has sedative properties, these can mess with your natural REM cycle and result in lower-quality sleep and a shorter duration.

  • Water

Too much of a good thing can be detrimental. Drinking or consuming water-rich food and drink before bed might give you a full bladder during the night, meaning you have to get up. Not ideal!

  • Sugary foods

Sugar messes with your glucose levels and is a stimulant like coffee. Considering your blood sugar levels already fluctuate naturally during sleep, giving it added fuel and artificial sugar isn’t going to help.

Foods That Help You Sleep

So, there are a lot of foods to avoid, but what about all those stories centred around a warm glass of milk helping you off to sleep? Are they true? Well, here are a few sleep-friendly options recommended for late-night snackers:

  • Fruits

Not overly sweet options, but sour cherries, berries or kiwi fruits are a healthy, sleep-friendly option as they are full of beneficial vitamins and sleep-friendly natural hormones like melatonin.

  • Milk

It’s an obvious one, but it does help thanks to the naturally occurring melatonin within it. Heating helps you feel warm and cozy, which can promote sleep as well. For further sleep encouragement, some add malt powder to their late-night milky drinks. It adds extra vitamins to your beverage and tastes lovely when heated up.

  • Nuts

Nuts are all-around good for you. They’re a source of beneficial fats, proteins and are full of healthy vitamins. Almonds, walnuts and cashews are good snacking options for sleep as they have higher levels of melatonin.

If you have a sweet tooth, a few squares of dark chocolate will be a fine snack before bed, but don’t overindulge. The key is to avoid stimulating foods and stick to calming, sleep-friendly foods. And to only eat when you need to. 

Sleep can be a tricky task, but all you need to do is take a look at what you’re eating and how you’re sleeping. With a few tweaks and watching what you eat, your REM cycle will be happier, and you’ll feel much more well-rested.

Debbie Woodliffe is a writer currently working for Affinity Agency based in the UK. Her main goal is to help others learn and develop through her writing.

The Amazing Muscle Recovery and Pain Management Tool You’re Not Using

Are you one of the many who have written off foam rolling as just another exercise fad? It’s understandable. You look at that rigid foam cylinder and wonder how rolling it under various parts of your body could possibly do anything. That’s the problem with judging books by their covers. It’s the same way with the TargitFit Trainer. You can’t even begin to imagine what an incredible workout you’ll get on it. You have to jump in and give it a try. But, I digress…

If you suffer from tight muscles, impeded range of motion, neck, back, or leg pain, or trigger-point sensitivity otherwise known as knots in your muscles, give foam roller exercises a chance. We’ll quote some of the research and benefits below, but personal experience reveals that you’ll feel so much better after as little as a 5-minute session, you won’t hesitate to add a foam roller to your regular routine every time you exercise.

How Does it Work?

If you’ve never had a really good deep-tissue massage, then you might not understand what foam roller exercises can do for you. However, if you’ve experienced the bliss of a skilled massage therapist working the knots out of your muscles—and aches and pains along with them—then you’ll get the picture. It’s the same type of myofascial release, but it’s DIY.

Although the roller is made of foam, the material has very little give. As you roll it under your body, gravity works with your body weight and the ultra-firm roller to essentially massage away tension, relax your muscles, and alleviate joint stress and muscle tissue soreness. In fact, the benefits of foam rolling also include:

  • breaking up scar tissue and lengthening muscles
  • decreased muscle tension
  • correcting imbalances in muscles
  • increasing range of motion
  • improving circulation for better neuromuscular efficiency

What’s more, studies have also found foam rolling to be useful for aiding recovery after intense exercise as well as increasing muscle activation and even vertical jump height (!).

“Yes, but how does it work?” you may be asking. Just like with massage, foam rolling gets your blood flowing, bringing more oxygen to the muscle tissue to help it repair and work properly. Also, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the pressure deactivates undue muscle spindle activity that causes muscles to tense, shorten, knot up, and become imbalanced.

Real Results

If you’re still skeptical and wonder how well foam rolling could possibly work, would you believe a personal testimony? After chiropractic adjustments and wearing a soft collar failed to provide lasting relief from pain in my neck, shoulders, and upper back, I found a YouTube video demonstrating a couple of foam roller exercises for those specific areas and gave them a try. OMG doesn’t even describe how I felt after spending less than 10 minutes doing the exercises. It alleviated my pain for the rest of the day and increased the range of motion in my arms and neck—I could finally turn my head to look to the side, lift my arms above shoulder height, and my fingers aren’t numb or tingling! The level of excitement over those seemingly small accomplishments should tell you what kind of pain and restrictions I’d been living with.

Full disclosure, the pain and restricted mobility came back the next day, but not as severely. So, 2 days after first trying foam rolling, I went through the exercises again and then performed a 20-minute yoga routine for stress-relief. It was the first time I’d been able to exercise in a week. The result was another pain-free afternoon and evening and I still feel great. The ultimate result? I’ll be starting all my workouts—yoga, resistance training, and even cardio—with foam rolling as part of my warm-up routine. Also, I will still visit the chiropractor and massage therapist as needed but, if these early indications end up being long-term benefits, that “as needed” basis will probably be less frequent than it has been over the last few years.

Miraculous Foam Roller Exercises You Should be Doing Right Now

By now, you get that I consider foam roller results to be magical. When you live with restricted mobility and a lot of pain, and something can take that away immediately, how else can you describe it? Still, before we turn you lose with a handful of foam roller exercises, there are a few things you should know. First, there are different sizes of foam rollers with different diameters and lengths. Smaller rollers are easier to transport and store and are good for targeting specific body parts. Larger rollers are still pretty useful for most areas of the body and are especially good for larger muscle groups like your back or leg muscles.

Super-firm rollers or ones with ridges might be a little hard-core if you’re new to foam rolling. Opt for a softer, smooth roller at first to avoid discomfort.

You can get foam rollers with different firmness levels, too. Women’s Health warns that firmer rollers provide deeper pressure, even to the point of pain, if you’re not careful. I’ll admit: my first experience did include a little pain. My roller is quite firm and there are two smooth sides alternating with two sections of grooved ridges. But I adjusted, limiting the amount of pressure I allowed my body to create and using the smooth sides when I was doing the exercises on my ribs and lat muscles. Approaching it mindfully, my foam roller session went from “ouch!” to “hurts so good!

Up front, you should know that it’s advised not to use foam rollers to apply direct pressure to your spine, including the cervical area that makes up your neck. Also, don’t rush things. Time magazine points out that of all the studies done on foam rolling exercises, the ones that had the best results were those in which participants spent 90 seconds or more on each individual exercise.

The exercises that are most often associated with foam rollers tend to be for the legs such as:

glutes…

…quads…

…hamstrings…

…IT bands…

…and calves.

However, I found exercises that work great on the upper back and shoulders, including the area between the shoulder blades. Here’s that awesome sequence that worked wonders for me:

There are also roller exercises that target the lower back:

And, although you’re not supposed to use rollers directly on your cervical spine, there are ways it can be used to increase mobility and alleviate pain and tension in your neck:

Foam rollers…who knew?