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Thursday, 16 February 2012

The more mitochondria and cytochrome c you have more calories you can burn during exercise.

mitochondria functions and research

Mitochondria Functions - More mitochondria mean more PBs, but what do you have to do to get them?

Deep inside your muscles lurk a multitude of microscopic structures called mitochondria. Although infinitesimally small (they can't be seen with an ordinary microscope), the mitochondria are of major importance to your athletic efforts; as you increase their density, your performance capacity rises concomitantly.

That's because the mitochondria are the only places inside your muscle cells where carbohydrate, fat, and protein can be broken down in the presence of oxygen to create the energy you need to exercise. To put it simply, the more mitochondria you have, the more energy you can generate during exercise, and the faster and longer you can run, cycle or swim.

Intense scientific interest into the function of mitochondria during exercise dates back to the early 1950s, when physiologists noticed that the breast and wing muscles of chickens had few mitochondria, while those of pigeons and mallards contained high densities of the little structures. Of course, chickens can't fly, while mallards and pigeons are the endurance athletes of the bird world, leading researchers to believe that mitochondrial concentrations were closely related to exercise capacity.

Scientists were somewhat surprised to learn that mitochondria contain their own genetic material - and that all the mitochondria in an individual's body are inherited from one's mother, not father (this is because the egg contains mitochondria, while sperm cells are mitochondria-free). This may seem strange, since the egg is rather immobile and the sperm are distance swimmers, but the bottom line is that sperm are so tiny that mitochondria would weigh them down excessively on their harrowing passage toward the egg. The consequence of this, of course, is that you tend to inherit your exercise capacity from your mother, not your dad. If mum is a great endurance athlete, you tend to be one, too, while if dad is a sluggard, it doesn't matter too much.

Of course, scientists began fooling around with ways to increase mitochondrial densities. At first, it was believed that the mitochondria might be under hormonal control, and early research efforts were indeed able to show that mitochondrial numbers were increased when levels of a key hormone produced by the thyroid gland - thyroxine - increased. In laboratory rats, the simple addition of desiccated thyroid to normal rat food caused an explosive increase in mitochondrial size and density in both the heart and liver. Interest in thyroxine as a potential ergogenic aid increased temporarily, until it was discovered that above-normal concentrations of the hormone could produce some very undesirable side effects.

Training and multiplication
It was left to venerated exercise physiologist John Holloszy of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to show that chronic exercise could put mitochondrial numbers on the upswing. Holloszy simply asked one group of lab rats to run on treadmills for up to 120 minutes per day at intensities of about 50 to 75 per cent of VO2max for a period of 12 weeks, while a second group lolled in their cages. At the end of the 12-week period, Holloszy found that the running rats had increased their mitochondrial densities by approximately 50 to 60 per cent and had also doubled their concentrations of 'cytochrome c,' a key compound found inside mitochondria which is crucially important in aerobic energy production ('Effects of Exercise on Mitochondrial Oxygen Uptake and Respiratory Enzyme Activity in Skeletal Muscle,' The Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 242(9), pp. 2278-2282, 1967).

Of course, exercise physiologists then began wondering which type of training was best for perking up mitochondrial numbers. Should one train fast? Long and slow? Mix fast efforts with slow ones? How long should one exercise (how many miles per workout and week) in order to optimise mitochondrial density?

Holloszy and his co-workers at Washington University were the first to really tackle this question. In a fairly simple piece of experimental work, Holloszy et al had one group of rats running 10 minutes per day, another running for 30 minutes, a third group exercising for 60 minutes, and a fourth working for 120 minutes per day. Training took place five days a week for 13 weeks, and training intensity was fixed at about 1.2 mph (or about 32 metres per minute and 313 minutes for the 10K, which is an intensity of around 50- to 60-per cent VO2max for a healthy lab rat).

Not too surprisingly, the two-hour per day runners turned out to have the best mitochondrial set-ups. For example, compared to sedentary rats, the 10-minute per day exercisers had about 16-per cent more cytochrome c, while the 30-minute workers boosted cytochrome c by 31 per cent. However, rats who ran for an hour expanded cytochrome c by 38 per cent, and the two-hour rats increased it by 92 per cent!

Holloszy's study provided nice support for the specificity of training principle, too, for during a rugged endurance test staged at the end of the research period, the 10-minute rats lasted 22 minutes, the 30-minute ones for 41 minutes, the hour-long rats ran strenuously for 50 minutes, and the two-hour trainees stayed on the treadmills for a whopping 111 minutes! Of course, run time to exhaustion was directly related to cytochrome c concentration; the more c a rat had, the longer it could run at a tough pace ('Skeletal Muscle Respiratory Capacity, Endurance, and Glycogen Utilization,' American Journal of Physiology, vol. 228(4), pp. 1029-1033, 1975).

But What about intensity?
Holloszy's research was great, but it was also limited in application. The key problem, of course, was that he and his colleagues did not look at intensity of training as a mitochondrial-promoting factor, since all of his rats ran at the same speed. However, this research was used by many coaches and experts to prop up the idea that long-duration training (up to two hours per workout or more) was the best way to expand mitochondrial numbers and thereby enhance performance capacity. The philosophy of long, slow distance was the inevitable outcome of this research, and to this day coaches and running gurus sermonise about the critical importance of high-volume, moderate-intensity training for producing optimal 'aerobic adaptations' (meaning, essentially, more mitochondria and thus a higher aerobic capacity) in muscle cells. This philosophy is even carried to the point of absurdity by some exercise scientists, who claim that too high an intensity of training may actually destroy mitochondria.

So, it was up to other researchers to explore the intensity question, and Gary Dudley and his colleagues at the State University of New York at Syracuse did just that. Like Holloszy, Dudley had his rats training five times a week and used a variety of different workout durations, from five minutes up to 90 minutes per day. However, unlike Holloszy, Dudley restricted his study to only eight weeks and used a range of different training intensities - 100% VO2max, 85% VO2max, 70% VO2max, 50% VO2max, and 40% VO2max. Dudley also looked at how different intensities and durations influenced different muscle fibre types (fast twitch, aerobic fast twitch or 'intermediate', and slow twitch), which no one had ever done before ('Influence of Exercise Intensity and Duration on Biochemical Adaptations in Skeletal Muscle,' Journal of Applied Physiology, vol. 53(4), pp. 844-850, 1982).

In contrast to what Holloszy had found, Dudley was able to show that training beyond about 60 minutes per workout was without benefit in terms of increasing cytochrome c. In other words, a rat training at about 70 to 75% VO2max could upgrade cytochrome c by expanding workout duration from 30 to 60 minutes - but not by increasing workouts from 60 to 90 minutes. This was true at all intensities studied by Dudley - and also with all three muscle fibre types. Progressing beyond about 60 minutes per workout simply didn't have much value when it came to the mitochondria.

The faster you train, the better
However, Dudley's most interesting findings were those related to intensity of training. The Syracuse researcher was able to show that in fast-twitch muscle fibres, just 10 minutes of fast running (at close to 100% VO2max) per day was enough to roughly triple cytochrome c concentrations over an eight-week period. In contrast, running for 27 minutes at 85% VO2max daily only hoisted cytochrome c by 80 per cent, while 60 to 90 minutes at 70 to 75% VO2max nudged cytochrome c upward by just 74 per cent. So much for the theory that intense exercise can hurt mitochondria.

In intermediate muscle cells (those which are roughly half-way between fast twitch and slow twitch), a similar potency of intensity was detected. For example, just 10 minutes of fast running per day fattened cytochrome c as much as 27 minutes daily at 85% VO2max or 60 to 90 minutes at 70 to 75% VO2max. One can only think that a slightly greater amount of fast running would have given speed a definite mitochondrial edge over longer-duration exertions.

When it came to the slow twitch cells, however, the results were a bit different. As mentioned, running more than 60 minutes per workout had no positive effect at all on cytochrome c expansion. The best strategy for slow-twitch, cytochrome-c uplifting turned out to be running about 60 minutes per workout at 70 to 75% VO2max (or around 80 to 84 per cent of max heart rate), which hoisted cytochrome c by approximately 40 per cent. Gamboling along for 27 minutes at 85% VO2max was not far behind, producing a 28-per cent upturn. Fast running at close to 100% VO2max lifted slow twitch cytochrome c by around 10 per cent, a comparatively small gain but one that is not too surprising, given the fact that slow twitch fibres tend to be relied on less heavily than fast twitch cells during fast running. Not to belabour the point, but a 10-per cent increase is not consistent with the idea that fast training is 'hard' on the mitochondria in slow twitch muscles.

And, let's face it, a 10-per cent gain in the slow twitch fibres for 10 minutes of fast running represents an improvement of about 1 per cent per minute. In comparison, running at 85% VO2max lifted cytochrome c in slow-twitch fibres by the same 1-per cent per minute rate, and chugging along at 70 to 75% improved the mitochondria by just 40/60 or 2/3 of a per cent per minute. Again, one has to think that larger amounts of fast running would have pushed the mitochondrial gains toward those observed with slower running.

So what's the bottom line? As Dudley and his colleagues put it, an increase in the intensity of training brings about the greatest adaptive response in the mitochondria. Expressing the crucial importance of intensity another way, Dudley and co-workers said, 'For the same adaptive response, the length of daily exercise necessary to bring about the change becomes less as the intensity of exercise is increased.' In other words, 10 to 15 minutes of running at 5-K pace in a workout can do much more for you than running for 60 to 90 minutes at slower intensities.

Realistically, of course, it's difficult to train fast every day, so almost every athlete ends up with a balance of training, with some days hard and some easy. It's nice to know, however, that to significantly upgrade your muscle-cells' mitochondria, and therefore your VO2max and average racing and training speeds, you don't have to spend hour after hour trudging along. Upswings in your training speed are generally more productive than big upturns in total mileage. Gradual increases in your training intensity - even adding just a few minutes of faster working each day - can pay off with big muscle adaptations and excellent new PBs for you!
Owen Anderson

Thursday, 9 February 2012

What is the real resting metabolic rate of muscle?

The Myth about Muscle and Metabolism

One of the big myths about muscle and metabolism is the idea that for every pound of new muscle, your body will burn an extra 50-100 calories per day.

According to Adam Zickerman, author of Power of 10: The Once-a-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution, “three extra pounds of lean muscle burns about 10,000 extra calories a month.”

Zickerman also says that three extra pounds of muscle “burns as many calories as running 25 miles a week, or doing 25 aerobic workouts a month without leaving your couch.”
You’ve probably read similar claims that muscle “burns calories around the clock just to maintain itself, even while you are sleeping or sitting at a desk.”

When you gain muscle, your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories your body burns at rest) does go up. But this increase is a lot less than the 50-100 calorie figure you’ll often see written.

Where does the 50-100 calorie figure actually come from?
I have no idea. It just seems to be one of those myths that have been around for so long that its accuracy is no longer questioned, and probably exists for the same reason we have misconceptions about a lot of things. Somebody says something, somebody repeats it, and then we repeat it. Suddenly it’s established as fact.

In studies that have tracked changes in muscle mass and metabolism, it might appear that the metabolic rate of muscle is somewhere in the region of 50-100 calories per pound. But when you take a closer look, you’ll see that things are not quite so simple.

A good example comes from a study that tracked a group of 26 men during an 18-week program of resistance training. During the first eight weeks, the men gained roughly 2.8 pounds of fat-free mass. The average daily metabolic rate increased by 263 calories per day.

Dividing the increase in resting metabolic rate (263 calories) by the increase in fat-free mass (2.8 pounds) gives us a figure of 94 calories per pound. However, we can’t assume that this figure represents the metabolic rate of muscle.
Why not?

The first problem is the daily metabolic rate includes the energy cost of physical activity. We can’t say for sure that the increase in calorie expenditure was because of the extra muscle alone.

But that’s not the only problem.

From week 8 to week 18, the men gained another 1.8 pounds of fat-free mass. If muscle had such a big impact on metabolism, we’d expect to see another rise in the men’s metabolic rate. But this didn’t happen. Nor was there any change in sleeping metabolic rate during the study.

What’s more, methods for measuring resting metabolic rate and body composition vary widely in their precision and accuracy. We don’t know for sure if any change in resting metabolism is because of extra muscle, or whether it’s due to measurement error.

In addition, other studies show an increase in resting metabolic rate even when gains in fat-free mass are taken into account. Researchers think that mechanisms other than the increase in fat-free mass (such as changes in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system) are partly responsible.

And fat is not simply a “dead” tissue. It secretes proteins such as leptin and cytokines, which can affect your metabolism.

What is the real metabolic rate of muscle?

Muscle actually has a very low metabolic rate when it is at rest, which is most of the time.

And the metabolic rate of muscle pales in comparison to other parts of the body.
In fact, the heart and kidneys have the highest resting metabolic rate (200 calories per pound). The brain (109 calories per pound) and liver (91 calories per pound) also have high values. In contrast, the resting metabolic rate of skeletal muscle clocks in at just 6 calories per pound, with fat burning just 2 calories per pound.

Organ or tissue
Daily metabolic rate
Adipose (fat)
2 calories per pound
6 calories per pound
91 calories per pound
109 calories per pound
200 calories per pound
200 calories per pound

In other words, while skeletal muscle and fat are the two largest components, their contribution to resting energy expenditure is smaller than that of organs. The vast majority of the resting energy expenditure of your body comes from organs such as liver, kidneys, heart, and brain, which account for only 5% to 6% of your weight.

As is often the case with these things, not everyone agrees on the exact figure.
Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Robert Wolfe, Ph.D., Chief of Metabolism and Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Texas Medical Branch, points out that, “every 10-kilogram difference in lean mass translates to a difference in energy expenditure of 100 calories per day, assuming a constant rate of protein turnover.”

That’s 10 calories per kilogram of muscle, or a little less than 5 calories per pound — not too far away from the previous estimate of 6 calories per pound.

Rest versus recovery

I do want to make an important distinction between resting muscle and recovering muscle. The estimates of the resting metabolic rate of muscle I’ve just given do make one assumption — a constant rate of protein turnover.

However, most types of resistance exercise will accelerate protein turnover (an increase in the rate of protein synthesis and breakdown), which is going to increase calorie expenditure in the hours (and, in some cases, days) after exercise.

And there are studies to show that the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn after an intense workout.

When exercise ends, it takes time for everything to get back to normal. Depleted glucose and fat stores need to be refilled. Damaged muscle cells need to be repaired. All of this requires energy.

And the more rebuilding that has to be done, the more calories (mainly from fat) are being burned after your workout is over.

Or to put it another way, while the metabolic rate of resting muscle isn’t as high as previously thought, the metabolic rate of recovering muscle means that people with more muscle mass are going to burn more calories in the post-exercise period.

What all of this means for you
If you were to lose two pounds of fat and replace it with two pounds of muscle, your resting metabolic rate will increase by less than 10 calories per day.

It would take a vast amount of muscle to substantially increase your metabolic rate — far more than most people are going to build in the gym.

Which brings me to another important point.

Unless they’re very overfat, returning to exercise after a layoff, or just starting an exercise program, very few people gain a lot of muscle and lose a lot of fat at the same time. Your body just isn’t that great at doing both things at once.

That’s why I recommend you focus on one of two goals when you’re trying to get in shape — building muscle while minimizing fat gain, or, losing fat while preserving muscle.

Despite the fact that the resting metabolic rate of muscle is not as high as previously thought doesn’t mean that training with weights is pointless if you want to lose fat. Far from it. In fact, lifting weights will improve your body composition in a number of different ways.
Firstly, strength training burns calories (and fat). Not just during your workout, but – provided you train hard enough – after it’s finished as well.

Second, if you don’t do some kind of resistance exercise while you’re dieting, a lot of the weight you lose will come from muscle as well as fat.

If you are fortunate enough to gain a significant amount of muscle while you’re losing fat, the impact of the extra muscle on your resting metabolic rate will be small, and certainly won’t amount to 10,000 extra calories a month.

by Christian Finn

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Types of Fiber and Their Health Benefits

 Fibre benefits

There are several types of fiber that function differently and provide distinctive health benefits.

You may be familiar with the terms "soluble fiber" and "insoluble fiber," but within each category there are many different fibers. Soluble fibers bind with fatty acids and slow digestion so blood sugars are released more slowly into the body. These fibers help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and help regulate blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. Insoluble fibers help move waste through the intestines and control the pH levels in the intestines. These fibers help prevent constipation and keep you regular.

Most Americans get both types of fiber from two sources: Their diet and added “functional” fiber. Dietary fibers are found naturally in the fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains that we eat. Functional fiber, a growing trend in the food industry, is fiber that has been isolated and extracted from plants or animal sources and added to drinks and food products to boost their fiber content. Both sources offer the same health benefits.

Most nutritionists encourage getting fiber from whole foods that we eat because they contain many other healthful plant compounds. But if you don’t get enough fiber in your diet -- 25 to 38 grams a day is ideal -- added functional fibers can help fill in the gap.
Eating a wide variety of fibers is the ideal solution to gaining all the health benefits. This chart shows the most types of dietary and functional fibers, where they come from, and how they benefit health.

Types of Fiber
Soluble or Insoluble Sources Health Benefits
Cellulose,some hemicellulose
Insoluble Naturally found in nuts, whole wheat, whole grains, bran, seeds, edible brown rice, skins of produce. "Nature's laxative": Reduces constipation,lowers risk of diverticulitis, can help with weight loss.
Inulin oligofructose Soluble Extracted from onions and byproducts of sugar production from beets or chicory root. Added to processed foods to increase fiber. May increase beneficial bacteria in the gut as prebiotic and enhance immune function.
Insoluble Found naturally in flax, rye, some vegetables. Benefits heart health and possibly immune function.
Mucilage, beta-glucans Soluble Naturally found in oats, oat bran, beans, peas, barley, flaxseed, berries, soybeans, bananas, oranges, apples, carrots. Helps lower bad LDL cholesterol,

reduces risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Pectin and gums Soluble (some pectins can be insoluble) Naturally found in fruits, berries, and seeds. Also extracted from citrus peel and other plants boost fiber in processed foods. Slows the passage of food through the intestinal GI tract, helps lower blood cholesterol.
Polydextrose polyols Soluble Added to processed foods as a bulking agent and sugar substitute. Made from dextrose, sorbitol, and citric acid. Adds bulk to stools, helps prevent constipation.
Psyllium Soluble Extracted from rushed seeds or husks of plantago ovata plant. Used in supplements, fiber drinks, and added to foods. Helps lower cholesterol and prevent constipation.
Resistant starch Soluble Starch in plant cell walls naturally found in unripened bananas, oatmeal, and legumes. Also extracted and added to processed foods to increase fiber. Helps weight management by increasing fullness.
Wheat dextrin Soluble Extracted from wheat starch, and widely used to add fiber in processed foods. Helps lower cholesterol (LDL and total cholesterol), reduces risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The Benefits of Fiber: For Your Heart, Weight, and Energy

If you’re overweight and want some help losing weight, start eating foods high in fiber. Dietary fiber is not a magic weight loss weapon, but it has the power to help fill you up without filling you out.

Here’s why: One of the most effective ways to lose those extra pounds is to control hunger, the dieter’s Achilles heel. Hunger is affected by many things, including when you eat, and the composition of your meals -- the amount of fats, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and water content.

Eating healthy high-fiber foods makes you feel full, so you can resist eating more food than you need. Fibrous foods also can take longer to chew, giving your brain time to get the signal that you have had enough to eat.

Read on to learn about losing weight by eating a high-fiber diet.

How Dietary Fiber Helps Weight Loss

Studies show that most people eat about the same weight of food each day, says Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. If you choose high-fiber, water-rich foods -- such as broth-based vegetable soups, salads, fruits, and vegetables -- instead of foods without fiber and water, you can eat the same weight of food but feel full on fewer calories.
A 2009 study in the journal Appetite compared the satiety or fullness factor of apples, applesauce, and apple juice with added fiber before lunch. People who ate an apple before lunch ate 15% fewer calories than those who ate the applesauce or drank apple juice. This suggests that the fiber in the whole apple was more filling even when compared to the juice that had added fiber.

Beyond the fiber content, crunching and chewing a whole piece of fruit stimulates your senses and takes longer to eat. So psychologically, it may also be more satisfying than beverages or soft foods. Chewing also promotes saliva and the production of stomach juices that help fill the stomach.

Fiber at Breakfast Is a Healthy Weight Loss Habit

In its tracking of the eating habits of successful dieters -- those big losers who have kept weight off for years -- the National Weight Control Registry has found that most eat breakfast regularly. And cereal is one of their morning rituals.

In general, eating cereal -- especially high-fiber cereals -- is beneficial for weight loss, says fiber expert Joanne Slavin, PhD, RD, a professor at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul and member of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. “Studies that look at what people eat show those who eat more carbs, more fiber, and cereal in general weigh less than those who eat less fiber, carbs, and cereal.”

How Much Dietary Fiber Do You Need?

Most women should get at least 25 grams and most men 38 grams each day to gain all the health benefits of fiber, according to the Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intake. The problem is that most Americans get only about half that when not on a diet and even less when dieting, especially on low-carb diets.

Tufts University researcher and professor of nutrition Susan Roberts, PhD, has shown that people who eat 35 to 45 grams of fiber a day are less hungry when losing weight and lose more weight than people who eat less fiber. (But beware of consuming fiber as a bulk laxative; it can sap your body of needed nutrients and vitamins.)
“There is no downside to eating a diet rich in fiber,” Slavin says. “And the potential health gains are significant.”

Does Type of Fiber Affect Weight Loss?

Fibers come in a variety of forms:
  • Fiber is either soluble or insoluble: Soluble dissolves in water, insoluble does not. Both of these types are fiber are found naturally in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
  • “Dietary” fiber refers to the fiber found naturally in the foods that we eat.
  • “Functional” fibers such as inulin are added to packaged foods to boost their fiber content. These fibers are isolated or extracted from a plant or animal source, or they are manufactured.
Although all fiber is healthy, research indicates that fiber from whole foods may aid weight loss the most – likely because those high-fiber foods are also low in calories.
“As a registered dietitian, I always say ‘food first,’” Slavin tells WebMD.

“No one fiber is perfect, so eating a wide variety of fibers is the perfect solution to gain all the health benefits of fiber,” Slavin says. “Not only will you trim your waistline with a high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts, but also reduce the risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, diverticulitis, and constipation."

Add Fiber Calories Wisely and Slowly

Slowly adding more fiber to your diet can avoid bloating and gas by giving your body time to adapt. It is also important to drink plenty of liquids while increasing fiber.
Try these tips for adding more low-calorie foods to your meal plan to boost fiber while keeping calories in check:
  • Eat whole fruits instead of fruit juice.
  • Snack on veggies.
  • Make vegetables a main course.
  • Add a filling vegetable salad instead of a starchy salad as a side dish with meals.
  • Enjoy a bowl of vegetable-based broth soup before meals.
  • Start the day with a high-fiber cereal topped with fruit and low-fat dairy.
  • Eat more beans.
  • Make all your grains whole and limit them to a few servings each day.
  • Add nuts and seeds to your weight loss plan, but keep the portions small because they are high in fiber and calories.
Experts are quick to point out that fiber alone won’t peel off the pounds. You still need to eat a healthy, calorie-controlled diet and get regular physical activity. But controlling or maintaining your weight is easier with a diet rich in fiber.

WebMD Feature
Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

In, conclusion fibre can add bulk to food and tends to swell up when mixed with water. This makes you feel fuller so you tend to eat less - fewer calories going in. Fibre rich foods are low in calories and can be substituted for calorie heavy foods (for instance having a wholemeal wrap or crisp bread instead of a bagel). Also fibre can bind to cholesterol and some fats thereby making them unavailable for absorption by the body. Fibre can lower the glycemic index of a meal so allows for a slower absorption of sugars into the blood stream so there is a reduced insulin spike - high insulin in the blood can contribute to fat storage.

Can I dance away the alcohol?

Burning off calories from alcohol by dancing

9th January 2008, 23:17
as the title says..... im wanting to know, if i burn off the calories etc from drink by dancing all night in a club?

around 6 pints pre nightout in the pub then 12-16 bottles of VK while im in the club. dancing pretty much 90% of the night from maybe 11.30 til 3.00

how many calories you reckon are burnt off? would i burn them drinks off?

reason im asking is im getting a belly on me and i reckon its from drinking fridays and saturdays every week.

i eat healthily(ish)

cheers :)
9th January 2008, 23:50
LOL mate! thats hilarious! :y:

1) You don't actually burn through THAT many calories when doing exercise.
If you weighed 170lbs and ran 3 miles you would burn around 330 calories.


There are 90 calores in 1 unit of alcohol.

A pint can contain around 3.5 units!
1 pint (568ml) X 6%alcohol content = 3,408

Divided by 1,000 = 3.408, or 3.4 units. X 6 pints = 20.4 Units

VK is 4%? correct me if I'm wrong (I don't really drink at all - except the night before my competition I had to drink a bottle of dry white wine to dehydrate myself even more that I already was. mmmm, no alcohol for 6 months and then a bottle of wine! I was wasted).

Think the bottles are about 300ml so;

300 x 4 = 1200, or 1.2 units. X 16 bottles = 19.2 Units.

Add that to the beer 20.4 + 19.2 = 39.6 units of alcohol.

That means you drink, 39.6 UNITS of Alcohol in a night. x 90 calories = 3,564 calories.

By the way - 39 units of alcohol is nearly double the recommended intake for an average male, FOR A WEEK!

NOW, assuming you are around 160lbs in bodyweight, your body only needs around 3000 in a typical day.

So, including your diet (you may eat 3,500 calories in a day) and then your alcohol, you may have consumed in the region of 7,000 calories in a day. More than double what you need.

So, don't be surprised if you are adding weight.


Complex calculations show that you can drink as much as you are doing, and lose weight, if you dance for 16.34 hours in a night!!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

No equipment exercises that can be done anywhere to strengthen and tone the body

Calisthenics - Conditioning Without Equiptment

Lack of equipment is no excuse for not training. Anyone, at any fitness level, can train with two things that are available to everyone everywhere: the ground and your body.
Be creative in your application of these movements. Practice them, and incorporate them into workouts. They are an excellent as part of an active warm-up, done in isolation for strength development, or built into metabolic conditioning routines. Specific programming and repetition schemes will vary depending on the fitness levels and goals of trainees.


Push-ups can range in difficulty from very easy to so difficult that few people can do them. Adjusting the difficulty level is simply a matter of changing hand placement and body level to alter leverage and load. Keeping the body upright and the hands in line with the shoulders scales the pushup for people who are just beginning their fitness journey. Placing the feet high and moving the hands lower, toward the hips, increases the loads dramatically and can challenge world-class athletes.

Decline push-up

To do push-ups with little or no resistance, start in a standing position, arms-length from a wall. Extend the arms in front of you at shoulder height to place your hands on the wall slightly wider than shoulder-width. These push-ups (or, more literally, push-outs) are appropriate for beginners and those who are rehabilitating injuries. With the body almost completely vertical, these can be used to restore and build mobility in the arms and shoulders, to teach the plank body position, and to work toward a horizontal push-up on the floor. Even with this simple movement it is important to keep a rigid body and full range of motion (ROM). Each rep should bring the chest and face as close as possible to the wall and finish with the arms completely straight and the shoulders fully extended. The degree of difficulty can be additionally fine tuned by adjusting the distance of the feet from the wall. Obviously, the farther out they are - and the more acute the angle of the body - the more difficult they will be.

Knee push-up

Knee push-ups are another beginning push-up that starts flat on the ground, with the body supported by the hands and the knees (rather than the toes). Again, the body should be kept rigid and full ROM performed, with the knees as the fulcrum of the movement. Be sure to avoid the tendency to pike at the hips and stick out the butt; shoulders hips, and knees should always be aligned.
knee push upknee push up


Push-ups should be performed flat on the ground, supported only by the hands and feet. Do not arch the back (swayback) or pike (push your butt up in the air). Each push-up should contact the floor with the chest at the bottom and extend to a high hollow support with straight arms and actively extended shoulders at the top.

Clap push-up

Clapping the hands together at the top of the movement makes push-ups a very dynamic athletic movement. The clap forces you to push aggressively to get your hands off the floor. Adding a chest slap or clapping behind the back will further increase the dynamic requirement.

Incline Push-up

Moving the feet onto a raised surface increases the load on the arms. Raising the platform gradually is an excellent way to progress toward handstand push-ups.
incline push upincline push up

Handstand push-up

The first full bodyweight push-up. An individual should be able to hold a 20-second handstand against a wall with shoulders fully extended before attempting handstand push-ups. You can start with your feet against a wall to remove the balance requirement; practice these both facing the wall and with your back to the wall. Maintain a good straight, tight handstand position at all times. Once you can perform five to ten reps on the wall consistently, begin working them without a wall. Freestanding handstand pushups are an incredibly powerful stimulus, as they require rapid firing of shoulder stabilizers while maintaining a relatively heavy and dynamic load.
handstand push uphandstand push up

Pseudo planche push-up

Start with a standard push-up, but move the hands farther back under the body toward the hips, which increases the load on the arms. As you get closer to placing your hands directly under your hips, you will notice your feet beginning to slide on the floor. This is an indication that little of your weight is being supported by your feet. Eventually your feet will be able to come completely off the floor - though this will take most people years to accomplish.
pseudo planch push uppseudo planch push up

Handstand shoulder shrugs

This is an excellent drill to you learn to activate your shoulders. With a spot or against a wall, get into a handstand. Then, shrug up and down using only your shoulders. Keep your arms completely straight, and try to achieve as much movement as possible in your shoulders.
handstand shoulder shrughandstand shoulder shrug


"Core strength" has become a marketing term for numerous commercial fitness programs. The great majority of these programs, however, are focused on developing a "six-pack," not on developing a strong, functional core, and they are often inadequate even for that goal. Torso strength and stability are crucial for athletic endeavors. Having the ability to keep your midsection tight and to powerfully alter midsection positioning improves your power output and control in almost all functional and athletic movements.


Good old-fashioned sit-ups are an excellent way to strengthen the abs and hip flexors. There is some lack of the functionality in the sit-up movement on totally flat ground, as a flat surface does not allow most people�s abs to properly engage at the beginning of the movement. A rolled-up towel, or one of the commercial products designed for this purpose (such as an AbMat) can be placed under the lower back to avoid this limitation.
Sit-ups can be done with the feet anchored or not. Having the feet anchored generally increases the rate at which sit-ups can be performed, which intensifies the metabolic demand but also shifts the recruitment more to the hip flexors. To take the hip flexors out of the movement and require the abs to do the work, put the soles of your feet together, with knees splayed out to the sides, an AbMat or similar support under your lower back, and roll smoothly up into a fully upright sitting position, with no jerking in the motion.
To change the load on sit-ups, you can do them on an incline or decline, similar to push-ups. You can also alter your arm position to adjust the difficulty of the movement. Keeping the arms by the sides is easier, while keeping both arms straight overhead, by the ears, is more difficult. Holding weight at the chest or overhead further increases the demands.
sit upsit up


An N-up is a sit-up type movement in which the upper body and legs come together into a tuck. At the top point of this movement, you will be sitting, with only your butt touching the ground, knees to the chest, and torso upright.
n upn up


A V-up is like an N-up except that the legs are kept straight throughout the motion and the arms are extended straight overhead throughout the movement. Aim to be fully extended at the bottom and completely compressed at the top, with chin to shins and fingers to toes.
v up


Lie on your back and then lift your knees toward your chest aggressively so that you roll back into a tuck with your lower back off the floor.tuck uptuck up


L-sits can be performed on the ground, with legs extended straight in front of you and hands flat on the floor on either side of the legs. This requires a conscious effort to push the shoulders down to lift the body high enough to perform the L on flat ground. You can also do a straddle L, with hands on the ground between your legs. Progressions to the L-sit are discussed in Parallette Training - Volume 1.

Hollow rock

The starting position is lying on the back in a hollow. A hollow position for this purpose is one in which the pelvis is turned under (i.e., tail tucked), legs are lifted slightly off the floor, lower back is touching the ground, head and shoulders are lifted slightly off the floor, and arms are held by the ears, off the ground. From this position, rock smoothly back and forth, keeping the body tight, the hip angle constant (no piking of the hip), and the lower back rounded. Any thumping in the motion shows that the hollow position has been compromised, which indicates that the trainee�s abs are not strong enough to keep the pelvis turned under in this position. Continued training will alleviate this deficiency.
hollow rockhollow rock

Hollow hold

Start in a push-up position. Then slide your hands forward until you are in an extended hollow position with just your hands and feet on the floor. When first starting this exercise, it is OK to pike significantly, keeping your butt high in the air. The key is to get the shoulders completely open. Once this position has been obtained, you can begin to extend your hips and approach an open hollow position. As you build strength in this position, point your toes so that you are supported on the top of your feet. A rolling device can be connected to the hands and/or feet to increase the demands and to allow for movement in and out of the position.
hollow holdhollow hold

Advanced leg lift

Start by lying on your back with your legs straight. Place each hand on the floor, palm down, just under each respective gluteus. While keeping hollow and looking at your toes, lift your legs. Just before your legs reach vertical, extend your torso should to lift your lower back off the floor. The top point of this move is the position known as a "candlestick."
advanced leg liftadvanced leg lift


Start by lying on your stomach on the floor. Lift your legs and chest off the floor then return to a prone position. Make sure your heels are squeezed together throughout and your legs are kept straight, as this increases the demand of the movement.
arch uparch up

Standing leg lift

Hailing from ballet training, standing leg lifts strengthen hip muscles while increasing active ROM. Start standing, either holding onto a stable object or freestanding. Then lift one leg as high as you can (keeping base leg straight ... not like photo..). Keep the lift controlled and at a moderate pace so it is a lift, not a kick. Keep both legs straight the whole time, and the torso aligned. Do not lean in any direction. The leg lift can be performed to the front, to the back, and to the side.
standing leg liftstanding leg liftstanding leg lift

Side conditioning

Start by lying on your right side, using your left hand on the floor in front of you for balance. From this position, lift your legs and shoulders simultaneously and then return to the start position. Repeat on the left side.

Arch rock to hollow rock

Lie on your back in a hollow position, perform a few hollow rocks, and then roll sideways onto your stomach, without touching the ground with either your hands or your feet. Then perform a few arch rocks and roll, again without hands or feet touching the ground, back onto your back. This sequence can be repeated to cover distance, or back and forth in a small area.

Leg lift straddle-down

Start on your back in a hollow and lift your legs to vertical, then straddle both legs out to the sides and swing them down to the start position. Then reverse the motion, straddling the legs in the hollow, bringing your legs up to vertical, and then lowering them, feet together, to the start position.
leg lift straddle downleg lift straddle downleg lift straddle down

Rear leg lift

Start lying on your stomach. Lift one leg up the back as high as you can and return to the start position in a controlled movement. Legs should be kept straight throughout.
rear leg lift

Hip adduction

Lie on your right side and lift your left leg as high as possible and return to start position. Keep both legs straight throughout. Repeat on left side.

Hip abduction

Lie on your right side with your right leg on the floor and extended in line with your body, and your left leg bent, with the left foot on the floor in front of your hips. Then lift your right leg as high as possible (inner thigh toward the ceiling) and return to the start position in a controlled movement.

Squats, jumps, and sprints

You can't be a CrossFitter for long without learning the fundamental importance of frequent, well-executed unweighted squats (detailed in CrossFit Journal issue 4). There are numerous no-equipment variations that build on that foundation.


A single-leg squat. While holding one leg out in front, perform a full squat with the other leg. This movement will be quite difficult and will require assistance for most people at first. Holding onto a stable object will allow you to perform the movement properly and gradually wean yourself of the support. A stretch band or stretch tubing can also be used for assistance. With the stretch band secured to an object overhead (such as a pull-up bar, for example), you can grab the band with one hand for stability and support. As you get stronger in this movement you can grab the band at a lower point to reduce the assistance or use a lighter-weight band. As with regular squats, pistols can be performed with a jump at the end, including a jump onto a raised surface.

Pistol roll

Starting from a stand on one leg, squat down, roll onto your back into a candlestick position (high on your shoulders with both feet pointed toward the ceiling), and then roll forward to single-leg stand again. The raised foot will never contact the ground. It is important to maintain proper squat technique as you squat and return to standing. Many people will try to lean forward over their foot and allow their heel to rise off the floor, which can lead to injury.
Pistol RockPistol RockPistol Rock
Pistol RockPistol RockPistol Rock

Squat jump

Perform a squat and then explode upward to jump as high as you can. This is a very aggressive, dynamic movement. This should be performed only by trainees who have a good bodyweight squat, since doing squat jumps improperly can be hard on the knees. Increase the challenge and motivation by jumping onto a raised object. The height of the object can be increased incrementally as your power improves.

Sequence jump

Bound across the ground in a series of two-footed jumps, making each jump as explosive as it can be and minimizing contact time with the ground. Think of punching through the ground with your legs. Actively anticipate the ground and start driving with your legs slightly before impact, so that you bounce immediately into the next jump. Objects or lines can be used to set targets or a course and to make the movement a challenge or competition. This exercise should not be performed on pavement because of the impact involved.

Short-distance sprints

Repeated short-distance sprints are an excellent training modality. The metabolic demands are high and the loads on the legs are limited only by the trainee�s motivation. Place two lines 12 to 30 meters (40 to 100 feet) apart. Sprint from one line to the other, rapidly changing direction at the line. To add variety, add another movement at each line, such as a push-up, v-up, or any other exercise.

General movements


To do a burpee in its most basic form, start from standing, squat with your hands on the floor, and jump your feet back to put you in a prone position with straight arms (as at the top of a push-up). Then bring your legs forward into a squat again and return to standing. This basic version is also sometimes called a squat thrust. Several modifications can be made to the burpee to increase its demands: add a push-up in the prone position, add a jump at the end as you return to standing, perform the burpee under a bar and jump up to do a pull-up in each rep, etc. Be creative with burpees and see what variations you can come up with.

Jumping Jack

Most people have done jumping jacks in a PE class at some point. They are an excellent way to warm up, and they can be included in a conditioning set either as a station where fatigued muscles are allowed to recover while metabolic demands are kept high, or as a significant component of a metabolic conditioning circuit. Jumping jacks should be practiced both with arms and legs in concert (legs straddling while arms are swung upward) and in opposition (legs straddling while arms are brought down).

Mountain climbers

Start in a prone position with hands on the floor and arms straight, as if at the top of a push-up. Then pull each knee in to your chest in a rapid alternating pattern.
Mountain ClimbersMountain Climbers

Handstand and press handstand

Handstand and press handstands are excellent exercises for developing strength and kinesthetic awareness. Technique and progressions are described in depth in CFJ issues 17 and 43.

By Roger Harrell.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Plyometric Exercises – Using Plyometrics to Build Speed and Power

Plyometric jumping exercises can build power and speed if done properly

Many athletes and trainers use plyometric jumping exercises to build power and speed, improve coordination and agility and effectively improve sports performance. It's also important to recognize that these are high risk exercises and if performed incorrectly or performed without a solid base of training, plyometrics can increase the risk of injury.

What are Plyometric Exercises?
Plyometric exercises are specialized, high intensity training techniques used to develop athletic power (strength and speed). Plyometric training involves high-intensity, explosive muscular contractions that invoke the stretch reflex (stretching the muscle before it contracts so that it contracts with greater force). The most common plyometric exercises include hops, jumps and bounding movements. One popular plyometric exercise is jumping off a box and rebounding off the floor and onto another, higher box. These exercises typically increase speed and strength and build power.

Safety of Plyometrics
Experts in the field of exercise science have varying opinions of plyometrics. The American College of Sports Medicine states that "that plyometric training is a safe, beneficial and fun activity for children and adolescents provided that the program is properly designed and supervised." (Read more in Plyometric Training for Children and Adolescents).
The American Council on Fitness also recommends plyometric exercise if done properly. And the National Strength and Conditioning Association offers a position stand in favor of plyometrics.

Plyometrics (and any impact exercise) can increase the risk of injury if you don't follow certain safety precautions. The tremendous force generated during these moves requires that athletes use them sparingly and with proper training.
The most important aspect of a safe and effective plyometric program is developing a safe landing technique. This means the athlete lands softly on the toes and rolls to the heels. By using the whole foot (and a larger surface area) for landing it helps dissipate the impact forces on the joints. The other key to proper landing is to avoid any twisting or sideways motion at the knee.

Plyometrics Safety Tips

  • Plyometrics are recommended only for well-conditioned athletes
  • You should have high levels of leg strength prior to performing plyometrics
  • Warm up thoroughly before starting plyometrics
  • Start slowly with small jumps and gradually build up
  • Land softly (see above) to absorb shock
  • Allow plenty of rest between plyometric workouts
  • Stop immediately if you feel any pain in your joints
  • Pay attention to Injury Warning Signs.
  • Use footwear with plenty of cushioning
  • Perform plyometrics on soft or cushioned surfaces only
This plyometric training program has been used to prevent ACL injuries in women soccer players.

Keep in mind that you can develop a great deal of strength and power without resorting to plyometrics, but if you participate in sports that require jumping and landing, plyometric training may be beneficial to improve skill and performance.

Plyometric Training for Children and Adolescents, December 2001,
American Council on Exercise, Plyometrics: Controlled Impact/Maximum Power, Fit Facts, 2001, M01-076 PLY - 52.


Jump to a Thinner You with Plyometrics

Looking for a mega-watt workout that’ll shrink your thighs, butt and belly all at once? Look no further! Plyometrics uses quick jumps to tone muscles, increase metabolism and strengthen the nervous system. Here’s a guide to get started…
Plyo-what? Do you know the high-impact workout called plyometrics?

Eastern Europeans developed it to help train Olympic athletes in the 1960s. Today, plyometrics helps beginning fitness enthusiasts rev up their metabolism and burn lots of calories in a short time.

A word of caution: Plyometrics can be tough on the joints, especially for obese or older people. Check with your doctor before beginning this exercise program.

Here are some tips for performing plyometrics:

  • Before you start, stretch for 10 to 15 minutes to help loosen muscles and joints.
  • Start slow, then increase the speed between jumps as you become more comfortable with the exercises.
  • Use your arms for balance.
  • Always land with knees bent (not locked) to “cushion” the joints on impact.

    Ready to start? Try these five basic plyometric exercises and the short “learning” workout that combines the five. If these moves are easy, then challenge yourself with the final move: a rapid 10-minute fat-burning workout.

    The movements are intense and performed quickly, but they’re a lot of fun!

    Squat Jumps
    This move combines a squat with a jump.

    Step 1: Bend into a slight squat and place your arms straight and parallel to the floor.

    Step 2: In one quick motion, jump into the air, then land with knees bent in a slight squat.

    Step 3: Repeat.

    Lateral Jumps
    In this exercise, you jump from side to side over an object. Start by using a line on the floor or some tape, then increase the difficulty (over time) by switching to a higher object, such as a small aerobics step.

    Step 1: Stand on one side of the object and bend into a slight squat.

    Step 2: In one quick motion, jump over the object sideways and land with knees bent in a slight squat.

    Step 3: Then jump to the other side.

    Front Jumps
    This exercise is like the lateral jump, but you jump from front to back, not side to side.

    Step 1: Stand behind the object and bend into a slight squat.

    Step 2: In one quick motion, jump over the object and land with knees bent in a slight squat. Note: For balance, keep arms in front of you, parallel to the floor.

    Step 3: Then jump from front to back.

    Alternating Lunges

    Step 1: Stand with your right leg forward and left leg back. (Rest hands on your hips.) Bend into a slight lunge.

    Step 2: In one quick motion, jump and switch your feet while in the air. Land with knees bent in a slight lunge, with your left foot forward and right foot back.

    Step 3: Repeat, alternating foot position with each jump.

    Single-Leg Hop
    This exercise is a harder version of the jump squat because you use only one leg.

    Step 1: Stand on one leg, with your arms out for balance, and bend into a slight squat.

    Step 2: In one quick motion, jump into the air, then land on the same foot with your knee bent slightly.

    Step 3: Regain balance and repeat.

    Now that you know the basic moves, combine them for a sweat-pumping workout!

    For beginners:Try this short “learning” workout.

    The Learning Workout
    Single-Leg Hop – 4 repetitions (4 reps on each leg)
    Alternating Lunges – 6 repetitions
    Front Jumps – 6 repetitions
    Lateral Jumps – 6 repetitions
    Squat Jumps – 6 repetitions

    Remember: Rest between each exercise.

    More advanced: Once you’ve mastered the beginner drills, try this fat-burning routine!
    10-minute Plyometric Cardio Workout15 seconds (each leg) of Single-Leg Hop
    30 seconds of rest
    30 seconds of Alternating Lunges
    30 seconds of rest
    30 seconds of Front Jumps
    30 seconds of rest
    30 seconds of Lateral Jumps
    30 seconds of rest
    30 seconds of Squat Jumps
    Rest for 1 minute
    Repeat one time

    Congratulations – you’re finished! Keep these up, and you’ll feel – and see – results in no time!

    Joel Marion

    Plyometric exercises use a lot of power so burn a great deal of calories but can damage joints easily. To minimise impact for jumping don't jump too high or too far and land on a softer surface such as grass. Also, make sure you are reasonably fit. 

  • Low Intensity Cardio or High Intensity Cardio for weight loss?

    Low Intensity Cardio or High Intensity Cardio?

    Everyone knows that a good cardiovascular workout improves your general health, and that the results will vary depending on the frequency and intensity which with you exercise. So, which type of workout is right for you?

    Cardio routines are classified according to the average heartbeat rate maintained during the session, which is expressed as a percentage of maximum heart rate (MHR), the greatest number of times your heart can beat in a minute.

    MHR can be calculated using the following formula: = 206.9 -- (0.67 x age)
    Low intensity cardio is performed at 60 – 70 % of MHR, and is any kind of exercise that allows you to maintain a comfortable, easy pace throughout the duration of the session.
    It is often associated with aerobic / steady state exercise, which is any kind of activity which allows you to keep a regular heart rate for an extended period of time. Examples of low intensity aerobic activities include gardening, a gentle stretching routine, or a long, slow walk or cycle.

    It is also possible to do a hybrid aerobic-interval training at low intensity. This kind of exercise involves alternating short periods of low impact aerobic training with short periods of rest, repeated for as long as it takes to reach 20 -- 30 minutes of activity in total. When done by untrained beginners, or people who are too overweight to perform bouts of aerobic activity for any length of time, the goal is to increase the level and intensivity of the activity whilst bringing down the amount of time spent resting. This type of training is also used by strength and power athletes during recovery periods in between high intensity training, and is usually referred to as tempo work.

    By contrast, high intensity cardio is any type of exercise which challenges your body and leaves you breathless and exhausted. During high intensity cardio your target heart rate zone should be 70 – 80 % of MHR.

    Though a high intensity cardio workout can be aerobic, like endurance running, it is most often associated with interval training. High intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions last for 15 -- 20 minutes and involve alternating short periods (30 -- 90 seconds) of intense activity with longer periods of either total rest, or very low activity. 

    In the end, whether you’re doing aerobic exercise or interval training, it’s all about how hard you are pushing yourself.

    Low intensity cardio vs high intensity cardio
    Despite the debate surrounding the advantages and disadvantages of low and high intensity cardio routines, results of studies carried out over the past few years do allow some conclusions to be drawn.

    Level of preparation
    Low intensity cardio be done by just about anyone at any level of fitness. Little, if any, warm-up is needed, and it´s easier to maintain a steady pace for a long time. It does not need to involve a structured, scheduled workout, you can pick an activity that you already do on a daily basis and simply do it for a bit longer, like walking more or taking the stairs more often.

    However, for many people, this type of exercise can get boring as it takes a long session to get significant results, and the only factors you can use to push yourself further and improve on your fitness level are speed, incline and duration. 

    High intensity cardio is generally considered more interesting because it can be practiced with any activity which allows the intensity level of the exercise to be easily adjusted, like running, cycling, skipping or using a variety of gym equipment. There are also more ways in which you can alter the workout to push your body further (speed, amount of repetitions, length of rest periods, bodyweight vs free weights, exercise duration etc).

    However, it requires a moderate to high initial level of fitness and a lot more motivation. If you are not motivated, working at such at high intensities can result in an inconsistent workout schedule, or even burnout.

    Health benefits
    Even exercising at modest intensities will improve your general level of fitness, increasing your lung capacity and improving your cardiovascular fitness, which in turn lowers ´bad´ (LDL) cholesterol and risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. Improved blood circulation also permits the fatty acids in your bloodstream to move more efficiently into the muscle, meaning that fat is more readily available when you need the fuel. 

    Exercising regularly is a good way of managing your weight, and it will help your body become more efficient at processing oxygen, allowing your cells to metabolise and burn fat more efficiently. Regular exercise also reduces the number of stress hormones in your system, and seems to produce chemical changes in the body which enhance your psychological fitness and alleviate the symptoms of moderate depression.

    However, after some (relatively) small improvement in general fitness and the initial loss of excess fat, the results achieved by low intensity exercise tend to plateau. When this happens, the only way to build on the initial results is to push yourself to do more.
    High intensity cardio provides you with all the health benefits associated with low intensity cardio, but it delivers better results, and it also delivers these results faster. 

    Exercising at high intensities also increases endurance. During periods of great activity, when our body is running out of oxygen, it shifts to from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism. Lactic acid, the end product of this process, begins to accumulate in the muscles as its cells are unable to burn it off quickly enough – that’s the pain that you feel just before muscle fatigue sets in. High intensity training allows you to increase your lactic acid threshold, the point at which the lactic acid begins to accumulate in the muscles, meaning that you can work harder, for longer.

    High intensity workouts also boost your metabolism during and after exercise. Every exercise session generates a certain amount of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), sometimes called ´exercise afterburn´. EPOC represents the extra oxygen the body has to consume after a workout just to get the body back to it’s pre-exercise state (replenishing energy and oxygen stores, removing lactate, bringing body temperature and heart beat down to pre-exercise levels, etc). 

    It can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 48 hours for the body to fully recover to a resting state, depending on the intensity and duration of the workout, as well as the level of fitness and gender of the athlete. A high intensity workout will produce a significantly longer period of EPOC than a low intensity workout, during which oxygen, and calories, are also consumed at higher levels.

    Weight loss and the fat-burning zone
    Most of the war of words in the low versus high intensity training discussion has been over weight loss and the so-called fat-burning zone.
    Though your body always uses fats and carbohydrates, and some protein, as energy sources, the proportion of each substance used changes depending on the intensity of the exercise done.

    During periods of low activity, a person´s body uses fat as its primary source of fuel; fat provides over twice the amount of energy than an equivalent amount of carbohydrate or protein, but it takes more time to convert to energy. When operating at higher intensity levels, the body turns towards carbohydrates as a primary fuel source, as they can be converted to energy much faster than fat, making them more readily available for the body’s immediate energy needs. 

    The fat-burning zone varies per person, but is thought to be around 60 -- 70% of MHR, thereby falling in the low to medium intensity exercise range. A person out this zone will burn a higher proportion of fat calories as a percentage of total calories burnt.
    However, if you increase the intensity of the exercise you will burn more calories in total, and, depending on the duration of the session, more fat calories.

    For example, if a person exercises at 60% MHR for a half hour walk and burns 300 calories, and 50% of those calories are fat calories, they have used up 150 fat calories.
    If a person exercises at around 80% MHR for half an hour burns 450 calories, if 40% of those are fat calories, they have used up 180 fat calories. This gives them a higher overall calory burn, and a higher amount of fat calories burnt.

    Low intensity cardio is good for initially dropping weight when you are very unfit, and for keeping your weight down. There is also evidence to suggest that, because the low amount of effort involved, it’s easier for people doing low intensity workouts to exercise consistently, and stick to diets.

    However, as the overall calorie burn from low intensity cardio is much less during the same period of time, if you are serious about losing weight, you will have to put more effort into your exercise routine.

    It is also better to vary the type of exercise you do if you want to keep losing weight. Doing a lot of aerobic exercise in particular, allows your body to adapt to the activity and become more efficient at burning calories whilst doing it; this means that you will keep having to increase the amount of time you spend on the same exercise if you want to continue seeing results.

    Risk of injury
    With exercise always comes a risk of injury. Low intensity cardio however does, in general, present a lower risk of injury than high intensity cardio. 

    Any kind of endurance training can generate overuse injuries as you are subjecting certain parts of your body to stresses for a long period of time (for example, joggers often have knee injuries). People not interested in improving their endurance levels can avoid this problem by simply changing the type of exercise they are doing. 

    At high intensity levels there is also the risk of over-training. This is what happens when someone is training excessively and/or not eating properly, and can result in a loss of muscle mass. When the body has exhausted its blood glycogen (carbs), it starts to break down (catabolise) protein, to get the energy it urgently needs; if the person’s diet does not contain enough protein and overall calories to sustain them through their workout, the protein is provided by their muscle tissue.

    Performing at a high intensity for too long (which depends on the fitness level of the athlete) has also been shown to increase the levels of catabolic hormones like cortisol in the blood, which can cause the breakdown of muscle tissue.

    The results of excessive aerobic training on the body are nicely demonstrated when you consider the thin physique of a marathon runner who has specialized in endurance training, as opposed to the bulkier form of a sprinter who generally trains for short intensive bursts.
    Excessive training of a certain muscle group and its supporting muscle groups can also lead to local over-training, sometimes suffered by bodybuilders or strength/power athletes. This is because when you work out at high intensities, you are causing microscopic tears in your muscles, and your body needs both the time and the right nutrients to repair the tissue damage caused by the workout and rebuild bigger, stronger muscle.

    The problem can be exacerbated when the person is also dieting to lose fat. The lessened calory intake simply makes the body have to dip further into its fuel reserves, sacrificing more muscle tissue along the way.

    Other than persistent pain and stiffness in the muscles and joints, over-training can cause lowered testosterone levels and can lead to psychological problems like depression, irritability, mood swings, insomnia and an inability to concentrate. It can, however, easily be avoided by keeping the intensity of your training program under control.

    Studies have also found that long sessions of aerobic training (like long distance running) can lead to the production of free radicals in the body. Unless these are neutralized by antioxidants in the diet, they can damage important cellular structures and accelerate the symptoms of aging. However, regular exercise has also been shown to enhance the body’s antioxidant defense system, so this kind of damage is normally found in “weekend warriors”, people who are generally inactive but sporadically participate in long sessions of physical activity.

    Training schedule
    Low intensity cardio sessions are generally longer than high intensity ones, as it takes more time to burn the same overall amount of calories. However, as low intensity cardio is mostly low impact, it can be done on a daily basis, depending on the fitness level of the person and the amount of time they have available.

    Conversely, high intensity cardio is very time-efficient as the sessions are short and provide rapid results. However, because of the impact that working at high intensities has on the body, this type of workout should not be done daily, as you run the risk of over-training and injury. Unless you are exceedingly fit, it is recommended that you keep your high intensity sessions to 2 or 3 times a week, and have rest periods in between. 

    If you do want to exercise in between high intensity sessions, doing some low intensity cardio has its advantages: the easy activity keeps the blood flowing and can be psychologically beneficial, and bodybuilders in particular can also use the activity to burn off the extra calories they are eating to keep up their muscle, whilst avoiding the problems which come with over-training.

    Which type of cardio workout is for me?
    Studies have shown that tailoring a routine to your individual needs is the best way to get results, and the type of cardio that you choose to do should depend on your fitness level and goals. However, the following generalizations can be made.
    Low intensity exercise is for:
    • Very overweight people and unfit beginners, and those who are not motivated enough to do more intensive exercise
    • People recovering from injury, and people with certain chronic health problems like congenital heart disease, asthma and arthritis
    • Pregnant women and the elderly
    • People who are trying to burn fat, especially in conjunction with a low-fat diet
    • People wanting to exercise in between high intensity training sessions
    High intensity exercise is for people who are moderately to very fit, highly motivated and:
    • Want to lose fat
    • Want to increase their endurance levels
    • Want quick results and are pressed for time
    • Get bored easily
    Combining a variety of routines will prevent your body from adapting to any particular type of physical activity, as well as protecting you from overuse injuries and keeping you interested in your workouts.
    Whichever type of cardio routine you choose, it should be one you are motivated to do and will be able to sustain.


    Cardio Exercises for Bad Knees

    Exercising with bad knees can be a very painful experience. A bad knee can cause immense amounts of pain and greatly hinder the freedom of movement. Performing cardiovascular exercises with bad knees can therefore be very hard to accomplish, and can even cause significant amounts of damage in the long run. Here are some cardio exercises for bad knees that should be relatively less painful on the knees.

    If you have had a serious knee injury in the past, or are recovering from some form of knee surgery, you must learn about cardio workouts for bad knees and include them in your exercise programs. Doing so can considerably lessen the amount of pain that you feel, and also chase away the risk of injury, and aggravating the bad knee. Any form of cardio exercises for bad knees that involves some form of impact being received on the knee, can only be harmful for you, not to mention painful. As a result, it is crucial to learn and practice some of the best exercises for bad knees.

    Cardio Exercises for Bad Knees

    It is important for you to remember that you must not bend your knees excessively, even while performing these knee exercises. If your knees are being bent at an angle that they are blocking the line of sight to your toes, this means that they are being bent excessively. This puts a lot of extra pressure on the kneecap, and any injury or surgery that you have had on that knee cap is bound to get aggravated. Here are some of the best exercises for bad knees that you can carry out to ensure that your knees stay injury free.

    To perform this exercise you must use a step bench or a staircase. What you need to do is place your left foot on top of the step, and use your calf muscles to push your body up. Slightly touch the step with your right foot, and then place the right foot back down immediately. Repeat this exercise with your right foot now. Remember to keep your knee straight and to keep it in line with your ankle.

    Side Lying Leg Lifts
    This is widely known as one of the most effective cardio exercises for bad knees. You need to lie on your left side, with your head resting in your left arm. Now slowly raise your right leg (which is parallel to the ground) up in the air, and then slowly lower it as well. Repeat this exercise for both legs as many times as you want.

    Partial Squats
    To perform this exercise you must stand a few feet away from a chair or a bed. Keep your feet shoulder width apart, and keep your knees straight. Now bend forward using your waist and hip until your forehead touches the chair or the bed. Use your hands to push you back to your original stance. Remember to keep your knees straight at all times, or else these cardio workouts for bad knees will be rendered ineffective.

    Calf Raises
    This is an exercise that is very popular for building up the calf muscles, but it is an extremely useful exercise for bad knees as well. Stand with your feet hip width apart, and slowly raise both your heels off the ground simultaneously, so that you are now standing on your toes. Do not bend your knees, and carry out as many repetitions as you are comfortable with. You can also use a wall or a chair for balance.

    Straight Leg Raises
    This is also one of the very popular cardio exercises for bad knees. Sit with your back against a wall or any other flat surface. Bend your right knee but keep your right foot firmly on the ground. Now slowly lift your left leg as high up off the ground as you can. Hold it there for a few seconds and then gently lower it back to the ground. Repeat this exercise for your right leg as well.

    Hamstring Stretch
    Lie flat on the ground on your back. Keep your left leg flat on the ground and stretch it as straight as possible. Now loop a towel under your right thigh or your right knee, and pull the leg towards you as far as you possibly can. Hold the leg in place for a few seconds before you release the towel, and then repeat this exercise with your other leg. It is widely accepted that this is one of the best cardio exercises for bad knees, and helps in strengthening the hamstring as well.

    Short Arc Knee Extensions
    The posture for this exercise is similar to that of the straight leg raises. Sit with your back against a wall or any other flat surface. Place a basketball under your left knee, and slowly lift it in the air while simultaneously straightening it. Lift as high as possible and then gently lower it to the same position as before. Now repeat this exercise with the right knee.

    Exercise Bike
    Most people who wish to carry out cardio exercises for bad knees prefer the exercise bike. This is one of the best cardiovascular exercises, and the impact on the knees of a person is absolutely minimal. There is no risk of an accident or falling down as well, and it burns many calories. This is one of the most favorite tools for somebody with bad knees or joint problems.

    Like cycling, swimming too burns calories, builds calories, strengthens muscles and provides low impact to the knee. It is a great form of cardiovascular exercises, and it provides many varied benefits at the same time. For someone suffering from bad knees, this is a great mode of exercise.

    So as you can see, the best cardio exercises for bad knees are those that put the least strain on the knee joints and the knee cap, thus resulting in the least amount of knee pain. Any form of exercise or physical activity that puts strain on the knees will only be harmful in the long run, and great caution must be taken in order to avoid aggravating a bad knee further.
    Rahul Thadani

    Wednesday, 1 February 2012

    Amazing abs article to get six pack abs

    The Great Abs Mistake - Crunches And Situps And Still No Abs

    After 18 years in the fitness business, “How do I get great abs” is still BY FAR the most frequently asked question I receive out of the 30,000+ emails that come into my office every month. No doubt, it's because abs are the one body part that most people are the most frustrated with. Although their questions are often phrased differently and each person’s situation seems unique, my answer to “how do I get great abs” is almost always the same… and you’re about to hear it...

    "1,000 Sit-Ups And Crunches A Day and Still No Abs!"

    One question I received recently REALLY got my attention because a young guy told me he was doing 1,000 crunches and sit ups a day and said he still couldn’t see his abdominals. He wrote:

    “Tom: I have been working out for around a year now and I cannot get my lower abs into any type of shape. I'm starting to see my upper abs a little bit, which is great, but despite doing 900 various crunches, ab roller, and 100 sit-ups four days a week, along with my regular workout on the weights, I still have a tire around my waist. What else can I do?”
    What did I tell him? Well, I gave him the same answer I’ve given thousands of people over the years, which is the only true “Secret” to great abs...

    It takes training to increase strength, build endurance and DEVELOP the abdominals, but to SEE the definition in your abdominals - or any other muscle group for that matter - is almost entirely the result of low body fat levels.

    This may sound counter-intuitive, but if you can't see your abs, it's not an issue of “muscle development” at all. You simply have too much body fat covering up the ab muscles. The lower abdominal area also happens to be the one place that most people - especially men - store the body fat first.

    There's a Scientific Reason Why Your Lower Ab Flab Is The Last Place To Go: Belly Fat - A Big Problem

    Most people don't have their fat distributed evenly throughout their bodies. Each of us inherits a genetically determined and hormonally-influenced pattern of fat storage just as we inherit our eye or hair color. In other words, the fat seems to "stick" to certain areas more than others.

    There's a scientific reason for this. Your fat cells are not just inert "storage tanks" for excess fuel. They are actually endocrine glands which send and receive signals from the rest of the body. You could say that your fat cells "talk to your body" and your body "talks to your fat cells." This occurs through a hormone and receptor system.

    For body fat loss to occur, you must first get the fat cell (adipocyte) to release the fat into the bloodstream. THEN, the free fatty acids must be delivered to the working muscles where they are burned for energy.

    For fat to be released, the hormone adrenaline (epinephrine) must be secreted and send a signal to your fat cells. Your fat cells receive this hormonal signal via adrenaline receptors called adrenoreceptors.

    Fat cells have Beta 1 (B1) and Alpha 2 (A2) receptors. B1 receptors are the good guys. They activate hormone sensitive lipase, the enzyme that breaks down the fat and allows it to be released into the bloodstream to be burned. A2 receptors are the bad guys. They block the fat-releasing enzymes in the fat cell and encourage body fat formation.

    How Body Fat Storage Patterns Affect You And Keep Your Abs From Showing

    What's the point of all the physiology? Well, it turns out that in men, the lower abdominal region has a higher concentration of A2 receptors, so this gives us one possible explanation of why the lower abdominal region is often the first place the fat goes when you gain it, and the last place it comes off when you're losing it. (Incidentally, the fat in women's hips and thighs is also higher in A2 receptors). This situation is dictated by genetics and by the hormonal and enzymatic pathways we discussed.

    Think of ab fat like the deep end of the swimming pool. No matter how much you protest, there is no way you can drain the deep end before the shallow end. However, don't let this discourage you. Lower ab fat WILL come off, it will simply be the last place to come off. First place on - Last place off.

    This helps to explain why abdominal exercises have little impact on body fat loss. It's a huge mistake to think that hundreds or thousands of reps of ab exercises will remove lower abdominal fat, except to the degree that it burns calories and contributes to the calorie deficit. What removes the fat - all over your body - is a calorie deficit and that comes from decreasing food intake, increasing activity, or a combination of both.

    What I suggested to this young man was cutting back the ab training, spending the time he was wasting on excess ab exercises for more intense, calorie-burning cardio and weight training for the rest of the body. I also suggested he do an accounting of his food intake, get his nutrition in order and decrease his calories slightly if necessary.
    As it turned out, his diet was a mess, and as nutrition experts like to say, "You can’t out-train a lousy diet."

    It's a monumental error to think that 1,000 reps of ab work a day will make your abs finally "pop" when your diet is a disaster and that's leading to fat storage. It’s not that ab exercises aren’t important. But all the ab exercises in the world won't help as long as you still have body fat covering the muscles. You can't "spot reduce" with abdominal exercise and YOU CAN'T SEE YOUR ABS THROUGH A LAYER OF BODY FAT!

    My Championship-Winning Ab Workout Routine

    Personally, I only do about 15 minutes of ab work two times per week, with anywhere from two to four exercises for about 10-25 reps per exercise. Forget about thousands of reps of sit ups – it’s a waste of time. The reason my abs look the way they do is not from endless repetitions, but because I get my body fat down into the single digits with a highly specialized fat-burning diet program.
    Here’s a recent ab routine that I've used (for bodybuilding/ ab-development purposes). I do this routine only twice a week and I change the exercises approximately every month so my body doesn't adapt. I prefer slightly higher rep range than other muscle groups, but as you can see, it is far from doing a thousand reps a day.

    Lousy DietWorkout A1

    • A1 Hanging leg raises
    • 3 sets, 15-20 reps
    Superset to:
    • A2 Hanging knee ups (bent-knee leg raises)
    • 3 sets, 15-20 reps
    • (no rest between supersetted exercises A1 & A2, 60 sec between supersets)

    Workout B1

    • B1 Weighted swiss ball crunches (or weighted cable crunches)
    • 3 sets, 15-20 reps
    Superset to:
    • B2 Incline Bench Reverse crunches
    • 3 sets, 15-20 reps
    • (no rest between supersetted exercises B1 & B2, 60 sec between supersets)

    How To Use Cardio For MAXIMUM Fat-Burning

    Times have changed since the Aerobics revolution of the 1970's and 1980's. For years, aerobics was the darling of the fitness world. Then scientists began to acknowledge the benefits of weight training - for everyone, not just for bodybuilders.

    Recently, the pendulum has swung the other direction and we've actually started hearing fitness "experts" suggesting that cardio should be kept to a minimum or even avoided completely. That's the way things tend to go in the fitness world - they swing back and forth in trends, from one extreme to another. Lots of cardio or no cardio.

    I suggest you avoid trend-hopping and pay close attention to what actually works, by people who know what they are talking about (such as bodybuilders, who are the leanest muscular athletes in the world). Doing nothing but cardio is a mistake. But cutting our cardio completely is also a mistake. The truth lies in the middle. Maximum fat burning occurs when you combine cardio training and weight training together.

    Those who are genetically gifted with above average metabolisms will find that a slight drop in food intake and just a few days a week of cardio will usually do the trick. However, most people who are struggling with fat loss (sometimes referred to as "endomorph" body type) are simply NOT burning enough calories to get the results they want. The answer for them is more activity to burn more calories.

    For health and weight maintenance, I would suggest 3 short cardio workouts per week, about 20-30 minutes per session. But for maximum fat loss, I recommend 4-7 days per week of cardio or other physical activity for 30-45 minutes (based on results), at a moderate pace. You can mix up the type of cardio you do, or choose the type you enjoy the most - stationary cycling, stairclimbing, elliptical machines, aerobic classes and other continuous activities are all excellent fat burners (it doesn't have to be indoors or on a cardio machine).
    If time efficiency is a concern for you, you could do 2-3 of those cardio workouts as high intensity interval training and you'll achieve very good results even with briefer workouts. Even as little as 20-25 minutes per session can get great results IF your intensity level is high enough. Remember, seeing your abs is about low body fat. Low body fat is about burning calories and creating a calorie deficit. The calorie deficit is created by increasing the number of calories you burn and or decreasing the amount of calories you take in from food. Increasing intensity is one way to burn more calories in less time.

    NOTE: To reach the "ripped" 3.7% body fat level you see in my photos, I do cardio 7 days a week for 30-45 minutes per session, in addition to my 4 weight training workouts per week.
    Woman performing crunches

    7 Nutrition Secrets For Great Abs

    That leads us to nutrition. Many people say that "abdominals are made in the kitchen, not in the gym," and there's a lot of truth to that. You can do thousands of reps of ab work every week, but if your nutrition is not in order, you can forget about getting a great set of 6-pack abs.
    1. Eat about 15-20% below your calorie maintenance level. If you use a more aggressive calorie deficit of 25-30%, then do not keep calories too low for too long; increase calories to maintenance or maintenance +10-15% 1-2 days per week.
    2. Spread your calories into 5-6 smaller meals instead of 2-3 big ones. Be very conscious of portion size. If you eat too much of anything (even "healthy" food), you can say goodbye to your abs. Period.
    3. Eat a source of complete, high quality lean protein with each meal (egg whites, lean meat, fish, protein powder, etc)
    4. Choose natural, complex carbs such as vegetables, oatmeal, yams, potatoes, beans, brown rice and whole grains. Start with aprox. 50% of your calories from natural carbs and reduce carbs slightly (esp. late in the day) if you are not losing fat.
    5. Avoid refined, simple carbs that contain white flour or white sugar.
    6. Keep total fats low and saturated fats low. Aim for 20% of your total calories from fat (and no more than 30%). A little bit of "good fat" like flax oil, fish fat, nuts & seeds, etc is better than a no fat diet. Essential fatty acids actually assist the fat burning process.
    7. Drink plenty of water - a gallon is a good ballpark to shoot for if you are physically active.
    1000+ reps of daily ab work is an amazing feat of endurance, but that’s not how you get visible, 6-pack abs! If you were to do 1,000 reps of ab exercises every day, you would have outstanding development in your abdominal muscles and you would definitely have great muscular endurance. Unfortunately, if your abs are covered up with a layer of fat, you will never see them even if you do 10,000 reps a day!

    You Condition and Strengthen Your Abs With Specific Ab Exercises...But The Secret To Seeing Your Abs Is Reducing Your Body Fat!

    I once saw a photo of a man who broke one of the Guiness World Records for sit ups. It was the most paradoxical thing, but this man did not have any abdominal muscle definition. He was not obese or overweight at all, mind you, but he had a small enough layer of body fat that the muscular defintion did not show through. I've never seen a better real life example which demonstrates the basic principle discussed in this article:

    You get great abs from reducing your body fat, and you reduce your body fat by creating a caloric deficit through nutrition and metabolism-stimulating and calorie-burning exercise.
    I've spent my entire career - through more than 18 years and 28 bodybuilding competitions - studying the science and practicing the art of body fat reduction. I speak from experience and I walk my talk as you can see from my pictures.

    Tom Venuto