Tag Archive | "current"

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Butt sculpting and core strengthening workout

Why the bosu ball? “By adding an unstable surface, a BOSU ball increases activation of the rectus abdominus and facilitates extra activity per exercise than a stable surface would,” says Meaghan.

 

1. Sit-up

3 sets / 12-15 reps

1. Begin by lying on the Bosu ball with your hips just off the edge of the ball. Place your hands behind your head to gently support your neck.

meaghan-terzis-situp-1.jpg

 

2. Exhale and curl your upper body over the Bosu ball. Hold for a brief second at the top before slowly returning to the starting position.

meaghan-terzis-situp-2.jpg

Words/workout: Meaghan Terzis
Photography: James Patrick 

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Source –

Butt sculpting and core strengthening workout

Posted in Aerobics, Bodybuilding, Exercises, Fitness Equipment, Personal Fitness Training, Training Methods, Weight TrainingComments Off on Butt sculpting and core strengthening workout

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Medicine ball workout

Complete this routine as a timed circuit or do five rounds (20 reps each exercise).

The gist:

A medicine ball is a weighted ball roughly about 35 centimetres in diameter, and comes in a variety of weights from one kg to 11 kg. They are inexpensive, and available in hard plastic, dense rubber or synthetic leather material.

Medicine balls add a twist to your current workout to keep it challenging enough to elicit progress. This workout is designed to improve your overall athletic performance, firm up your core, and increase your muscular power and stamina. Use of the medicine ball will also help improve your coordination, balance and flexibility.

The kit:

You will need a timer and a medicine ball for this full-body workout. Refer to the workout chart. This four-week circuit-style workout will keep you on your toes, and your heart rate going!

The list: 

The workout comprises six exercises that target all areas of the body. Start with the first exercise, complete as many reps as you can within the recommended amount of work time (see chart), rest for the recommended amount, then continue on to the next exercise. Repeat until all of the exercises are done. As the week’s progress, the circuit gets more challenging. Record your results so you can properly keep track of your progress.

For Weeks 1–2:

Once all of the exercises in the circuit are complete, rest 90 seconds, and repeat the entire circuit two more times.

For Week 3: 

Once all of the exercises in the circuit are complete, rest 60 seconds, and repeat the entire circuit two more times. 

For Week 4: 

Once all of the exercises in the circuit are complete, rest 60 seconds, and repeat the entire circuit three more times. 

Tip: For beginners, use a lighter weight medicine ball. For an extra challenge and to increase your power, use a heavier ball.

teresaworkout.jpg

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Medicine ball workout

Posted in Bodybuilding, Exercises, Fitness Equipment, Personal Fitness Training, Training MethodsComments Off on Medicine ball workout

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Core blimey! The ultimate Lower Ab Workout

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Most of us will have a goal to work towards on our journey to becoming fitter and healthier – we wouldn’t be motivated without it! But while these may vary from weight loss to building strength, there’s no denying that a flat stomach remains the stamp of what many consider a ‘fit’ bod. If it’s not a rigorous bout of abs-focused classes that we put our bodies through, it’s the yo-yo dieting in a bid to banish the bloat as fast as humanly possible.

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Core blimey! The ultimate Lower Ab Workout

Posted in Diets, Exercises, Sports nutrition, Weight lossComments Off on Core blimey! The ultimate Lower Ab Workout

<div id="DPG" webReader="131.413503972"><div class="side-bar" webReader="-16.5656565657"><div class="c9"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/al-kavadlo-vital-stats.jpg"/></div><h3 class="article-title c10">Vital Stats</h3><a href="http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/AlKavadlo/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Bodyspace"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2013/bodyspace-social-icon.png" width="20" height="20" border="0" class="c11"/></a><a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/AlKavadlocom-Were-working-out/205151489148" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Facebook"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2013/facebook-social-icon.png" width="20" height="20" border="0" class="c12"/></a><a href="https://twitter.com/AlKavadlo" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Twitter"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2013/twitter-social-icon.png" width="20" height="20" border="0" class="c12"/></a><a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/alkavadlo" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="YouTube"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2013/youtube-social-icon.png" width="20" height="20" border="0" class="c12"/></a><p><strong>Name:</strong> Al Kavadlo, CSCS<br /><strong>Occupation:</strong> Trainer, author, instructor<br /><strong>Website:</strong> <a href="http://www.alkavadlo.com" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">www.alkavadlo.com</a></p></div><p>Over the last few months I've been getting more emails than ever, but often the same questions keep coming up. And for every person who writes to me, there are probably 20 more thinking the same thing but just not bothering to type out a message.</p><p>That's a big part of why I love to publicly answer questions I get from my readers! In this edition of Ask Al, I discuss everything from how to get better at pull-ups, to how to use speed to your advantage, to why I'm such a big sellout.</p><p>Feel free to drop me a line in the comments if you have a question about how to keep growing and progressing in the difficult world of bodyweight training!</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Zh_xtaQKXNU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>
<h3 class="article-title">QI've been training pull-ups for almost a year now. When I first started I went from 2 pull-ups to 10 in only a few months. I've been stuck at 12 reps for the last two months. What should I do?</h3>
</p><p>What you're experiencing is common. It's simply a matter of diminishing returns; the better you get at anything, the harder it gets to continue progressing. Be prepared to put in the time and effort if you want to take your pull-ups to the next level. It might feel like you've been at it a while, but in the grand scheme of things a year is not a very long time. Having said that, here are a few methods you can experiment with to hopefully increase your reps:</p><h4>Pull-up supersets</h4><p>Try doing a set of Australian pull-ups immediately after a set of standard pull-ups. Take a long break, then repeat the superset again. It's a great way to keep working your pulling muscles beyond failure once you can no longer perform any more pull-ups. You can do this 3-4 times in a single workout, but make sure you give yourself a few days rest afterward.</p><img src="images/2014/new-ways-to-build-bodyweight-strength-for-years_graphics-1.jpg" width="560" height="296" border="0" class="c13"/><h4>The rest-pause method</h4><p>After a brief warm-up, do as many pull-ups as you can, and then continuing to hang on the bar for a few seconds. After you catch your breath, try to do one more, then one more, and then maybe even one more. You might be surprised at how many extra reps you can squeeze out this way, and you will get an amazing forearm pump from all the extra hanging!</p><h4>Pyramid sets</h4><p>Start with one pull-up, then come off the bar and take a short break. Next, perform two pull-ups, then after another break, do three. Continue this pattern until you reach the point where you can no longer add another rep. Then start working your way back down.</p><p>
<h3 class="article-title">QI work a job where I spend several hours a day loading boxes and moving things. I want to start training calisthenics, but I'm worried about overdoing it. What do you recommend?</h3>
</p><p>Well the good news is you've probably built a decent base of strength already just by being active on a regular basis, but it's great that you want to do more. I recommend starting with just one or two days each week of bodyweight work to give your body time to adapt. Try doing your workouts on days where you don't have to work, so your muscles have recovery time. Ideally if you have two consecutive days off, do your workout on the first day and then take a rest day the next day.</p><img src="images/2014/new-ways-to-build-bodyweight-strength-for-years_graphics-2.jpg" width="560" height="339" border="0" class="c14"/><p>Since you'll only be able to train a couple of times per week, full-body workouts are going to be the best way to go. You might eventually build enough strength and stamina that you can add in more days of training and possibly train calisthenics on the same days that you have work, but you will see how that goes as you progress. Be patient, respect your body, and give yourself recovery time when you need it.</p><p>
<h3 class="article-title">QI read somewhere that it's best to exercise slowly when practicing calisthenics for strength, but I see most people cranking out their push-ups as fast as possible. Which is the right way?</h3>
</p><p>Though some coaches insist on slow, deliberate reps for strength training, I believe that there's room for variety when it comes to rep tempo. Super-slow training can definitely help build control and stability, especially when you're working through the sticking point on certain difficult exercises, but it's not the only way to approach your training.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Owo0vKDTsQs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>For example, explosive movements like jump squats and clapping push-ups are better for building power. In my opinion, it's good to practice your exercises at different tempos. Once you've honed a move, you should be able to control it and make it graceful at any speed.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/BadkW_63ows" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>
<h3 class="article-title">QI read an article you wrote that basically said training certifications are a bunch of crap. It seems a bit hypocritical to now offer your own cert with the PCC. I mean, really, a certification in bodyweight training?</h3>
</p><p>I'm flattered you've been following me closely enough to have read those earlier writings. You actually remind me a lot of myself—I'm always questioning everything! I bet we have a lot in common. And you're right, there are a lot of crappy PT certs out there. That's part of why I wanted to do the <a href="http://www.dragondoor.com/workshops/pccworkshop/?apid=4e8cb1ea167b0" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Progressive Calisthenics Certification</a>. Though it may seem unnecessary to you, with the current popularity of calisthenics training, the demand for a bodyweight strength certification was undeniable. It was going to happen eventually with or without me, so I figured, who better than me to teach it?</p><p>Mahatma Gandhi said: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." By leading my own certification, I can personally make sure that quality knowledge is bestowed and high standards are upheld. PCC has a physical test to establish a baseline of competency in performing the fundamental exercises, something that is lacking in almost every mainstream fitness certification. It's scary that there are personal trainers out there incapable of doing proper pull-ups or even bodyweight squats, and who got certified simply by memorizing and regurgitating information. That's why a theoretical understanding of exercise will never be enough to pass the PCC!</p><p>I'll still be the first one to tell you, however, that just having a certification—even the PCC—doesn't mean that you are going to be a successful trainer. I can help point people in the right direction, but it's up to each individual to take the journey for themselves. In fitness and in life, we're all personally responsible for our own success or failure.</p><p><a href="http://www.dragondoor.com/b73/?apid=4e8cb1ea167b0" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/images/2014/al-kavadlo-streetching-your-boundaries-book-banner.jpg" width="560" height="144"/></a></p><br /><br class="c15"/><h3 class="article-title">Recommended For You</h3><div class="c18" webReader="6.68632075472"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/stretching-for-strength-a-better-approach-flexibility-training.html"><img src="images/2014/stretching-for-strength-smallbox.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="114"/></a><div class="c17" webReader="8.91509433962"><h4 class="c16"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/stretching-for-strength-a-better-approach-flexibility-training.html">STRETCHING FOR STRENGTH</a></h4><p style="display: inline;" class="webReader-styled">
Reports of stretching's demise have been greatly exaggerated. In this excerpt from Al Kavadlo's new book, the bodyweight training chief helps you build an effective, personalized practice!</p></div></div><div class="c18" webReader="4.91048034934"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/bodyweight-bust-four-bodyweight-training-myths-debunked.html"><img src="images/2014/4-bodyweight-myths-debunked-smallbox.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="114"/></a><div class="c17" webReader="6.04366812227"><h4 class="c16"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/bodyweight-bust-four-bodyweight-training-myths-debunked.html">BODYWEIGHT BUST! FOUR BODYWEIGHT TRAINING MYTHS DEBUNKED</a></h4><p style="display: inline;" class="webReader-styled">
Don't believe that high-level calisthenics are only for athletes who look a certain way. Everyone can benefit from the unique challenges that come with bodyweight training!</p></div></div><div class="c18" webReader="5.72282608696"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/push-yourself-one-arm-push-up-and-beyond.html"><img src="images/2013/one-arm-push-yourself-smallbox.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="114"/></a><div class="c17" webReader="7.04347826087"><h4 class="c16"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/push-yourself-one-arm-push-up-and-beyond.html">ONE-ARM PUSH YOURSELF!</a></h4><p style="display: inline;" class="webReader-styled">
Sometimes the toughest strength moves don't involve any iron at all. Heed the call of the one-arm push-up and discover how tough progressive calisthenics can be!</p></div></div></div><div class="padded-content article-content mod-about-the-author" id="article-about-author" webReader="37.5957446809"><h4 class="article-section-header">About The Author</h4><div class="ata-left-column" webReader="6.91304347826"><div class="ata-author-name"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/al-kavadlo.html">Al Kavadlo, CSCS</a></div><div class="author-gradient-button"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/al-kavadlo.html">VIEW AUTHOR PAGE</a></div><p class="ata-author-summary">Al Kavadlo, CSCS is one of the world's leading experts in bodyweight strength training and calisthenics.</p></div><div class="ata-right-column"><div class="ata-author-image-frame"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/al-kavadlo.html"><img src="images/2013/writer-al-kavadlo-sig-new.jpg" alt=""/></a></div><div class="ata-view-all-articles-link"><ul class="bb-chevron-list bold-type"><li><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/al-kavadlo.html#articles" class="bold-type">View All Articles By This Author</a></li>
</ul></div></div></div>

New Ways To Build Bodyweight Strength!

Over the last few months I’ve been getting more emails than ever, but often the same questions keep coming up. And for every person who writes to me, there are probably 20 more thinking the same thing but just not bothering to type out a message.

That’s a big part of why I love to publicly answer questions I get from my readers! In this edition of Ask Al, I discuss everything from how to get better at pull-ups, to how to use speed to your advantage, to why I’m such a big sellout.

Feel free to drop me a line in the comments if you have a question about how to keep growing and progressing in the difficult world of bodyweight training!

QI’ve been training pull-ups for almost a year now. When I first started I went from 2 pull-ups to 10 in only a few months. I’ve been stuck at 12 reps for the last two months. What should I do?

What you’re experiencing is common. It’s simply a matter of diminishing returns; the better you get at anything, the harder it gets to continue progressing. Be prepared to put in the time and effort if you want to take your pull-ups to the next level. It might feel like you’ve been at it a while, but in the grand scheme of things a year is not a very long time. Having said that, here are a few methods you can experiment with to hopefully increase your reps:

Pull-up supersets

Try doing a set of Australian pull-ups immediately after a set of standard pull-ups. Take a long break, then repeat the superset again. It’s a great way to keep working your pulling muscles beyond failure once you can no longer perform any more pull-ups. You can do this 3-4 times in a single workout, but make sure you give yourself a few days rest afterward.

The rest-pause method

After a brief warm-up, do as many pull-ups as you can, and then continuing to hang on the bar for a few seconds. After you catch your breath, try to do one more, then one more, and then maybe even one more. You might be surprised at how many extra reps you can squeeze out this way, and you will get an amazing forearm pump from all the extra hanging!

Pyramid sets

Start with one pull-up, then come off the bar and take a short break. Next, perform two pull-ups, then after another break, do three. Continue this pattern until you reach the point where you can no longer add another rep. Then start working your way back down.

QI work a job where I spend several hours a day loading boxes and moving things. I want to start training calisthenics, but I’m worried about overdoing it. What do you recommend?

Well the good news is you’ve probably built a decent base of strength already just by being active on a regular basis, but it’s great that you want to do more. I recommend starting with just one or two days each week of bodyweight work to give your body time to adapt. Try doing your workouts on days where you don’t have to work, so your muscles have recovery time. Ideally if you have two consecutive days off, do your workout on the first day and then take a rest day the next day.

Since you’ll only be able to train a couple of times per week, full-body workouts are going to be the best way to go. You might eventually build enough strength and stamina that you can add in more days of training and possibly train calisthenics on the same days that you have work, but you will see how that goes as you progress. Be patient, respect your body, and give yourself recovery time when you need it.

QI read somewhere that it’s best to exercise slowly when practicing calisthenics for strength, but I see most people cranking out their push-ups as fast as possible. Which is the right way?

Though some coaches insist on slow, deliberate reps for strength training, I believe that there’s room for variety when it comes to rep tempo. Super-slow training can definitely help build control and stability, especially when you’re working through the sticking point on certain difficult exercises, but it’s not the only way to approach your training.

For example, explosive movements like jump squats and clapping push-ups are better for building power. In my opinion, it’s good to practice your exercises at different tempos. Once you’ve honed a move, you should be able to control it and make it graceful at any speed.

QI read an article you wrote that basically said training certifications are a bunch of crap. It seems a bit hypocritical to now offer your own cert with the PCC. I mean, really, a certification in bodyweight training?

I’m flattered you’ve been following me closely enough to have read those earlier writings. You actually remind me a lot of myself—I’m always questioning everything! I bet we have a lot in common. And you’re right, there are a lot of crappy PT certs out there. That’s part of why I wanted to do the Progressive Calisthenics Certification. Though it may seem unnecessary to you, with the current popularity of calisthenics training, the demand for a bodyweight strength certification was undeniable. It was going to happen eventually with or without me, so I figured, who better than me to teach it?

Mahatma Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” By leading my own certification, I can personally make sure that quality knowledge is bestowed and high standards are upheld. PCC has a physical test to establish a baseline of competency in performing the fundamental exercises, something that is lacking in almost every mainstream fitness certification. It’s scary that there are personal trainers out there incapable of doing proper pull-ups or even bodyweight squats, and who got certified simply by memorizing and regurgitating information. That’s why a theoretical understanding of exercise will never be enough to pass the PCC!

I’ll still be the first one to tell you, however, that just having a certification—even the PCC—doesn’t mean that you are going to be a successful trainer. I can help point people in the right direction, but it’s up to each individual to take the journey for themselves. In fitness and in life, we’re all personally responsible for our own success or failure.

 

Recommended For You

STRETCHING FOR STRENGTH

Reports of stretching’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. In this excerpt from Al Kavadlo’s new book, the bodyweight training chief helps you build an effective, personalized practice!

BODYWEIGHT BUST! FOUR BODYWEIGHT TRAINING MYTHS DEBUNKED

Don’t believe that high-level calisthenics are only for athletes who look a certain way. Everyone can benefit from the unique challenges that come with bodyweight training!

ONE-ARM PUSH YOURSELF!

Sometimes the toughest strength moves don’t involve any iron at all. Heed the call of the one-arm push-up and discover how tough progressive calisthenics can be!

About The Author

Al Kavadlo, CSCS is one of the world’s leading experts in bodyweight strength training and calisthenics.

Link:

New Ways To Build Bodyweight Strength!

Posted in Bodybuilding, Exercises, Nutrition, Warm up, Weight TrainingComments Off on New Ways To Build Bodyweight Strength!

10 online and app-based training programs

10 online and app-based training programs Can’t get to the gym during the week? A new breed of web and app-based training programs takes the excuses out of the busy.Whether you do best with a real-life traininer to keep you accountable, learn best from demos or written instructions or prioritise tracking tools, here are 10 pocket gyms to suit those who don’t have access to a gym.1. trainingonline.comHIT: Devised by a qualified trainer, the customised programs on this free site answer goals such as weight loss, strength conditioning and general fitness. The fitness library contains more than 200 exercises complete with video demonstrations, iPod-ready instructions and printer-friendly versions perfect for lunchtime sessions.

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10 online and app-based training programs

Posted in BodybuildingComments Off on 10 online and app-based training programs

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5 Muscle Misconceptions That May Stall Your Muscle Growth

It can take years to construct a building, but it only takes seconds to destroy one. The same holds true for the body. It is easier to lose fat than it is to build muscle.

The rate of fat loss can climb as high as 3-5 pounds per week depending on initial levels. The most amount of muscle a natural athlete can gain is 2 pounds per month! And that’s just in their first year; that snail rate decreases as time goes on.

Unfortunately, most people do not maximize the process of hypertrophy (muscle building). They’ll typically commit several mistakes along the way, and those can cut gains as much as 50%. The errors can be as simple as not consuming enough calories, or performing too much high-intensity work, to as complex as meal timing. These are five of the most prevalent mistakes.

1 KILLER CARDIO

The current craze is HIIT-style cardio (high-intensity interval training), which involves 100 percent effort followed by a short rest. HIIT has earned the reputation as the best cardio to preserve muscle. However that’s not entirely deserved.

In the same manner that doing too much low-intensity steady-state cardio can slow down muscle gain or even eat away at your hard-earned muscle, HIIT cardio can impede muscle gain. Without boring you with too much detail, doing HIIT too much and too often has the tendency to activate the enzyme AMPK. If that happens, too often muscle growth will be inhibited.

2 OVEREATING

Eating every two hours causes muscle cells not to respond to stimulation (to grow) from amino acids. For those of us wanting to build muscle, unless you are retired swimmer Michael Phelps (the most successful Olympian ever) who required 12,000 calories daily, there is no need to eat every two hours; it decreases muscle growth.

3 AN EMPTY BAR

There is no way around it: In order to grow, your muscles must be placed under enough physical duress to require them to adapt in anticipation of the next training session. That means the building of new contractile muscle fibers, a process otherwise known as myofibrillar hypertrophy. Mainly, that can only be accomplished by adding weight to the bar over time. In other words, increasing the amount of weight used to train in a given rep range over time is the best way to grow. People who fear the heavy weights, and lift with empty bars are misled by gimmicks and misconceptions.

4 LIFT LIGHT OR GO HEAVY?

‘Go heavy or go home,’ is the mantra heard across gyms worldwide. But, there are two critical avenues of muscle growth: myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Myofibrillar hypertrophy is the growth of actual muscle fibers, which is mainly induced by lifting heavy—generally 70-85 percent of your one-rep max. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy—which occurs with high reps—is the increase of the content of muscle cells responsible for converting glycogen to ATP.

ATP is something you want whatever your goal. It’s the body’s ‘energy currency’ for muscle contraction, protein synthesis (construction of muscle fibers) and a host of numerous metabolic processes. Thus with a lack of the ATP build-up (that comes with sarcoplasmic hypertrophy) required to support protein synthesis, the trainee hits a plateau with muscle growth. The muscle fibers don’t have enough of what they need to grow.

It is worth noting that although the phases of hypertrophy are separated for general instruction purposes, there is an overlap between both. Even during the high repetition phase— a cornerstone of sarcoplasmic hypertrophy—the trainee will still experience some myofibrillar hypertrophy. Going heavy shouldn’t always be your go-to move. You need both.

5 CARBOPHOBIA

People will try to lose fat while gaining muscle, so they cut consumption of carbohydrates severely. The misconception here is that without carbs, high-intensity activities cannot be properly sustained. That means you can’t add weight to the bar and so you might struggle to grow.


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See original article: 

5 Muscle Misconceptions That May Stall Your Muscle Growth

Posted in Bodybuilding, Exercises, Nutrition, UncategorizedComments Off on 5 Muscle Misconceptions That May Stall Your Muscle Growth

<div id="DPG" webReader="148.057517659"><p>Every New Year, you tell yourself that things are going to be different. This time you are going to muffle the inner voice that coos you into weaknesses, like skipping the gym, gobbling up that lonely-looking bagel at work, or having <em>just one last</em> drink at Happy Hour. Alas, the year's just barely begun and you hear that devilish inner voice roaring louder than ever.</p><p>According to a study by Muraven and Baumeister in the "Psychological Bulletin," <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18444745" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">willpower is a finite resource</a> and draws from the same resource pool as self-regulation. That's to say, decisions you make throughout the day—big or small—gradually <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10748642" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">chip away at your self-control</a>. By the end of the day, it's natural to find the couch much more mesmerizing than a set of dumbbells. That's why it can be extra difficult to stay focused.</p><p>Thankfully, the following five strategies can help you triage your resolution-making and redirect your focus on the things that matter most. Hark, your ideal physique will be realized yet!</p><p>
<h3 class="article-title c11">1 Find the Right Workout Schedule</h3>
</p><p>Does it feel needlessly stressful to squeeze in a workout at your current proposed timeslot?</p><p>If so, take a hard look at your schedule once more. Find that sweet spot to avoid time conflicts and potential disruptions. For example, if your current plan has you speeding to the gym right after work but you end up compromising due to "things that come up," this timeslot clearly is not ideal.</p><img src="images/2014/5-ways-to-push-through-your-resolutions-1.jpg" width="560" height="480"/><p>Hone in on a time in the day when you can consistently have a moment of Zen and are left with no excuses to avoid exercise.</p><p>Instead, hone in on a time in the day when you can consistently have a moment of Zen and are left with no excuses to avoid exercise. Try early mornings before work, school, or any other obligations.</p><p>People who complete workouts in the morning tend to stay better committed to their workout program and goals. They're also ready to tackle the rest of the day with gusto.</p><p>
<h3 class="article-title c11">2 Match Your Workout and Nutrition With Your Goals</h3>
</p><p>Most people will agree that any exercise is better than no exercise. Ideally, though, you want a workout and nutrition program which drives you toward your goals.</p><p>For example, if your goal includes massive strength gains, the standard protocol first calls for a large stimulus to the muscles in question through a weight-training program with proper load progression.</p><p>Although there are many cardiovascular and recovery benefits to steady-state cardio, it should have a smaller emphasis in your program, since excessive cardio could shuttle caloric usage elsewhere instead of toward muscle growth.</p><p>
<h3 class="article-title c11">3 Hire a Trainer</h3>
</p><p>For people who firmly believe in "making their own selves," enlisting the help of a professional might seem like a cop-out. After all, they do cost a shiny penny.</p><p>However, this could be one of the best investments you could make for yourself, if funds allow. First and foremost, they help you set a realistic goal, which is crucial to keeping you motivated.</p><p>Far too often, people get carried away with a goal like, "I want to fit in my Speedo from college." Trainers will help you refine your goal to something much more sustainable. Afterward, they provide structure, and an exercise program tailored to your fitness level and personal schedule.</p><p><img src="images/2014/5-ways-to-push-through-your-resolutions-2.jpg" width="560" height="383"/></p><p>Perhaps more important, hiring a trainer turns into personal accountability. Because you pay for this expert's time, showing up to your sessions becomes an obligation, not an option. You gain an ally, someone who will help you stay on track and wishes to see you through to the end.</p><p>Simply put: It's a lot easier to stay consistent when you've got a coach or trainer checking up on you.</p><p>
<h3 class="article-title c11">4 Remember to Reward Yourself</h3>
</p><p>Work hard, get rewarded. You're hardwired to look for a positive payout that doesn't make you feel like a chump for embarking on this journey to an ideal body. Whether that payout be in the form of a tangible reward, like a delectable treat or a massage; or visible progress ("Wow, my arm is so big now that my shirt may just rip!"), you need to be ready to sing the praises of your accomplishments, no matter how big or small.</p><p>Not doing so could rob you of motivation. It's all about positive reinforcement to keep your eyes on the prize. Celebrate little victories by rewarding yourself in whatever way you think is reasonable and appropriate.</p><p>Were you able to add 10 more pounds to your deadlift this week? Eat an extra helping of your favorite protein and tell yourself: "Body, you're awesome!"</p><p>
<h3 class="article-title c11">5 If All Else Fails, Re-Evaluate Your Goal</h3>
</p><img src="images/2014/5-ways-to-push-through-your-resolutions-3.jpg" width="289" height="258" border="0" class="right-image"/><p>You are more likely to commit to micro-changes when they stand within the margins of what you already do.</p><p>In the end, it all comes down to the parameters of the goal. Is it realistic or concrete enough? An ambitious goal like "I want to lose X number of pounds" offers far too little clarity on how to proceed. Think about a smaller-scale change like replacing a morning bagel with an omelet (or many other <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/contest-prep-nutrition-5-tasty-breakfast-recipes.html">breakfast recipes</a> found on Bodybuilding.com).</p><p>Here you are more likely to commit since this micro-change stands within the margins of what you already do. In this case, you already eat breakfast—so why not just eat something that works toward your goal?</p><p>I hope you can apply some, if not all, of these steps and avoid having to discount another fruitful year.</p><p>Few people can be 100 percent committed 100 percent of the time. Don't be too hard on yourself when you slip. Remember that a setback is only a setback if you let it completely throw you off your horse.</p><p>Have you made a health-focused New Year's promise to yourself? Share it in the comments below and talk about your plan to overcome it!</p><h5>References</h5><ol class="dpg-list"><li>Vohs KD et al. Making choices impairs subsequent self-control: a limited-resource account of decision making, self-regulation, and active initiative. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008 May;94(5):883-98</li>
<li>Muraven M, Baumeister RF. Self-regulation and depletion of limited resources: does self-control resemble a muscle? Psychol Bull. 2000 Mar;126(2):247-59.</li>
</ol><br class="c14"/></div><div class="padded-content article-content mod-about-the-author" id="article-about-author" webReader="40.009569378"><h4 class="article-section-header">About The Author</h4><div class="ata-left-column" webReader="6.54088050314"><div class="ata-author-name"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/sclark.htm">Shannon Clark</a></div><div class="author-gradient-button"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/sclark.htm">VIEW AUTHOR PAGE</a></div><p class="ata-author-summary">I’ve been working in the field of exercise science for the last 8 years. I’ve written a number of online and print articles.</p></div><div class="ata-right-column"><div class="ata-author-image-frame"><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/sclark.htm"><img src="images/2013/writer-shannon-clark-sig-new.jpg" alt=""/></a></div><div class="ata-view-all-articles-link"><ul class="bb-chevron-list bold-type"><li><a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/sclark.htm#articles" class="bold-type">View All Articles By This Author</a></li>
</ul></div></div></div>

Don't Lose Hope! 5 Ways To Push Through Your Resolutions

Every New Year, you tell yourself that things are going to be different. This time you are going to muffle the inner voice that coos you into weaknesses, like skipping the gym, gobbling up that lonely-looking bagel at work, or having just one last drink at Happy Hour. Alas, the year’s just barely begun and you hear that devilish inner voice roaring louder than ever.

According to a study by Muraven and Baumeister in the “Psychological Bulletin,” willpower is a finite resource and draws from the same resource pool as self-regulation. That’s to say, decisions you make throughout the day—big or small—gradually chip away at your self-control. By the end of the day, it’s natural to find the couch much more mesmerizing than a set of dumbbells. That’s why it can be extra difficult to stay focused.

Thankfully, the following five strategies can help you triage your resolution-making and redirect your focus on the things that matter most. Hark, your ideal physique will be realized yet!

1 Find the Right Workout Schedule

Does it feel needlessly stressful to squeeze in a workout at your current proposed timeslot?

If so, take a hard look at your schedule once more. Find that sweet spot to avoid time conflicts and potential disruptions. For example, if your current plan has you speeding to the gym right after work but you end up compromising due to “things that come up,” this timeslot clearly is not ideal.

Hone in on a time in the day when you can consistently have a moment of Zen and are left with no excuses to avoid exercise.

Instead, hone in on a time in the day when you can consistently have a moment of Zen and are left with no excuses to avoid exercise. Try early mornings before work, school, or any other obligations.

People who complete workouts in the morning tend to stay better committed to their workout program and goals. They’re also ready to tackle the rest of the day with gusto.

2 Match Your Workout and Nutrition With Your Goals

Most people will agree that any exercise is better than no exercise. Ideally, though, you want a workout and nutrition program which drives you toward your goals.

For example, if your goal includes massive strength gains, the standard protocol first calls for a large stimulus to the muscles in question through a weight-training program with proper load progression.

Although there are many cardiovascular and recovery benefits to steady-state cardio, it should have a smaller emphasis in your program, since excessive cardio could shuttle caloric usage elsewhere instead of toward muscle growth.

3 Hire a Trainer

For people who firmly believe in “making their own selves,” enlisting the help of a professional might seem like a cop-out. After all, they do cost a shiny penny.

However, this could be one of the best investments you could make for yourself, if funds allow. First and foremost, they help you set a realistic goal, which is crucial to keeping you motivated.

Far too often, people get carried away with a goal like, “I want to fit in my Speedo from college.” Trainers will help you refine your goal to something much more sustainable. Afterward, they provide structure, and an exercise program tailored to your fitness level and personal schedule.

Perhaps more important, hiring a trainer turns into personal accountability. Because you pay for this expert’s time, showing up to your sessions becomes an obligation, not an option. You gain an ally, someone who will help you stay on track and wishes to see you through to the end.

Simply put: It’s a lot easier to stay consistent when you’ve got a coach or trainer checking up on you.

4 Remember to Reward Yourself

Work hard, get rewarded. You’re hardwired to look for a positive payout that doesn’t make you feel like a chump for embarking on this journey to an ideal body. Whether that payout be in the form of a tangible reward, like a delectable treat or a massage; or visible progress (“Wow, my arm is so big now that my shirt may just rip!”), you need to be ready to sing the praises of your accomplishments, no matter how big or small.

Not doing so could rob you of motivation. It’s all about positive reinforcement to keep your eyes on the prize. Celebrate little victories by rewarding yourself in whatever way you think is reasonable and appropriate.

Were you able to add 10 more pounds to your deadlift this week? Eat an extra helping of your favorite protein and tell yourself: “Body, you’re awesome!”

5 If All Else Fails, Re-Evaluate Your Goal

You are more likely to commit to micro-changes when they stand within the margins of what you already do.

In the end, it all comes down to the parameters of the goal. Is it realistic or concrete enough? An ambitious goal like “I want to lose X number of pounds” offers far too little clarity on how to proceed. Think about a smaller-scale change like replacing a morning bagel with an omelet (or many other breakfast recipes found on Bodybuilding.com).

Here you are more likely to commit since this micro-change stands within the margins of what you already do. In this case, you already eat breakfast—so why not just eat something that works toward your goal?

I hope you can apply some, if not all, of these steps and avoid having to discount another fruitful year.

Few people can be 100 percent committed 100 percent of the time. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you slip. Remember that a setback is only a setback if you let it completely throw you off your horse.

Have you made a health-focused New Year’s promise to yourself? Share it in the comments below and talk about your plan to overcome it!

References
  1. Vohs KD et al. Making choices impairs subsequent self-control: a limited-resource account of decision making, self-regulation, and active initiative. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008 May;94(5):883-98
  2. Muraven M, Baumeister RF. Self-regulation and depletion of limited resources: does self-control resemble a muscle? Psychol Bull. 2000 Mar;126(2):247-59.


About The Author

I’ve been working in the field of exercise science for the last 8 years. I’ve written a number of online and print articles.

Original article:

Don't Lose Hope! 5 Ways To Push Through Your Resolutions

Posted in Bodybuilding, Exercises, Nutrition, Uncategorized, Weight TrainingComments Off on Don't Lose Hope! 5 Ways To Push Through Your Resolutions

<div id="DPG" webReader="276.53321765"><p>If you take your health seriously (and you must since you're reading this), then you likely already know which foods to eat and which to avoid (hint: any processed foods). Even though you're armed with this knowledge, you might still be shortchanging yourself on some real health benefits hidden in the foods you eat.</p><p>To unlock the complete nutritional potential of your food, remember that vegetables, fruits, and the other whole foods we eat are also living organisms. As such, they have their own self-defense biomechanisms to protect them from predation. It just so happens that the byproduct of these biological machineries—things like trace elements, carotenoids, polyphenols, flavonoids, and phytochemicals—can protect us from health problems, too.</p><p>Our bodies are smart like that. Throughout history, humans have uncovered a host of medicinal benefits and compounds within our food. It's time to think about maximizing the full nutritional potential of these same foods. While you think you've got something as simple as a potato all figured out, some lessons about spuds may still surprise you.</p><h3 class="article-title">Hack No. 1: </h3><p>Garlic offers tremendous health benefits, but many people shoot themselves in the foot by the way they cook with it. People tend to chop garlic and immediately toss it into a heat source. There's no doubt the added garlic adds an incomparable depth of flavor; unfortunately, the rush to the skillet kills garlic's primary health benefits.</p><img src="images/2014/7-nutrition-hacks-1.jpg" width="276" height="233" border="0" class="right-image"/><p>Once you chop the garlic, keep it away from heat and let it sit for 8-10 minutes before you cook with it.</p><p>Garlic contains a protein element called alliin and a heat-sensitive enzyme called alliinase. Only when you slice or puncture garlic's thin membrane do alliin and alliinase synthesize into the <a href="http://jac.oxfordjournals.org/content/53/5/832.long" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">antimicrobial and cancer-fighting compound allicin</a>, which may have the ability to fight cancer and heart-related conditions.</p><p>Garlic sounds amazing so far, but here's the rub: A group of clever food chemists pointed out that applying heat immediately after cutting garlic destroys the alliinase—that same enzyme required for forming the most valuable component of garlic. By that point, a majority of its healing properties literally go up in flames.</p><p>The good news is that you can still cook garlic and reap its rewards (and tastiness) simply by letting the cut-up garlic rest a bit. That's it. Once you chop the garlic, keep it away from heat and let it sit for 8-10 minutes before you cook with it. This brief waiting period allows the allicin to fully come together. It'll stay intact even through later cooking.</p><p>Alternatively, you could eat your garlic raw—but then you'd be repelling more than just vampires. Your mate, friends, and coworkers might steer clear, too.</p><h3 class="article-title">Hack No. 2: </h3><p>The skin is its biggest nutritional asset of many fruits and vegetables. Far too often, people will discard the top layer, thinking it's dirty and gross, but they end up throwing away many helpful nutrients in the process.</p><img src="images/2014/7-nutrition-hacks-2.jpg" width="293" height="244" border="0" class="right-image c11"/><p>The solution to getting around excess amounts of pesticides and still being able to enjoy produce in its entirety is to buy organic versions.</p><p>The outer layer functions as a defense against hazardous elements like mold, grazing predators, insects, fungi, and ultraviolet rays. This protective effect builds a higher concentration of nutrients—like antioxidants and —within the skin and the tissue below it.</p><p>Think of how your calluses form in response to repeated chafing. By eating the produce skins, you take in all the nutrients a vegetable or fruit has to offer.</p><p>"But, won't I ingest a bunch of pesticides?" you ask. Current agricultural practices make this a legit concern, but it just means you have to be extra careful.</p><p>Despite your rigorous scrubbing and washing, nasty chemicals can still penetrate deep into the produce's inner tissue and then enter your body.</p><p>The solution to getting around excess amounts of pesticides and still being able to enjoy produce in its entirety is to buy organic versions of produce listed under the "<a href="http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">dirty dozen</a>," which tend to be the most contaminated.</p><h3 class="article-title">Hack No. 3: </h3><p>The fast-digesting starches in a typical modern-day spud actually spike your blood sugar about as high and as quickly as eating sugar with a spoon. This is especially true of the standard supermarket varietals like the white-fleshed Russet or Idaho potato.</p><p>Although our bodies are designed to manage the rapid rise of blood glucose from high glycemic foods with a hormone called insulin, consuming copious amounts of sugary foods on a regular basis can lead to a condition called insulin resistance.</p><p>At that point, blood glucose can no longer be properly controlled without meds. The unfolding of this process usually leads to type 2 diabetes, which can lead to heart problems, kidney failure, and amputations if left untreated.</p><p>What is a tater-loving person to do?</p><img src="images/2014/7-nutrition-hacks-3.jpg" width="560" height="354"/><p>Simply cook the potato and then chill it in the refrigerator for approximately 24 hours.</p><p>Simply cook the potato and then chill it in the refrigerator for approximately 24 hours. The cooler temperature lowers the glycemic index of the starches, which makes for 25 percent or so reduction in the resulting rise in blood glucose. Your pancreas will thank you, since it's responsible for releasing that ever-so-important-glucose-corralling insulin. Excess demands placed on the pancreas by repeated glucose spikes are thought to damage the organ over time.</p><p>From that point on, the chilled tater will keep its low glycemic rating for you to enjoy, free from worry. You could also slow down starch digestion by adding dietary fats to your potato (and really any other starch).</p><p>So ignore those judgmental head shakes, as a pat of grass-fed butter or even some bacon bits won't necessarily turn that baked potato into a nutritional trainwreck.</p><h3 class="article-title">Hack No. 4: </h3><p>Adding fats to otherwise low-calorie vegetables may sound counterintuitive, since in some cases the act of eating vegetables is a way to avoid consuming excess fats. But you're not doing yourself any favors by skipping out on them.</p><p>Dark leafy greens—kale, swiss chard, and spinach—as well carrots and tomatoes, which have beta carotene (the precursor to vitamin A) and lycopene, respectively, are chock full of fat-soluble vitamins like <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/vita.html">A</a>, <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/vite.html">E</a>, and <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/vitk.html">K</a>. They need to partner up with dietary fats in order for our digestive systems to adequately absorb and utilize them for our body's benefit. Not including these fats is like bringing a hot date to the prom, but ditching him at the punch bowl for the rest of the night—no point.</p><img src="images/2014/7-nutrition-hacks-4.jpg" width="560" height="365"/><p>Dark leafy greens need to partner up with dietary fats in order for our digestive systems to adequately absorb and utilize them for our body's benefit.</p><p>This doesn't mean you should drown your vegetables in a vat of full-fat dressing or wads of butter to ensure nutritional benefits. A study in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" concluded that a minimum of 6 grams is needed for optimal absorption. That's about a small handful of nuts or a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.</p><p>Plus if you're already eating said vegetables with other food sources like a 6-ounce steak, you're already well on your way to fat-soluble vitamin paradise. Your best bet, though, might be to toss in slices of avocado, a tasty, fatty super-food.</p><h3 class="article-title">Hack No. 5: </h3><p>Boiled vegetables remain a staple among people on low-fat and bodybuilder diets. Boiled chicken and vegetables, anyone? Certainly, it's fast, convenient, and easy to clean up. But have you ever wondered why the cooking water turns green after the broccoli floats around for a while? Perhaps even sadder is that the water gets promptly dumped out without so much as a shrug, leaving nothing but a fibrous clump of less-nutritious green matter that can barely be called broccoli.</p><img src="images/2014/7-nutrition-hacks-5.jpg" width="560" height="420"/><p>If you want to take advantage of eating vegetables in the first place, consider sauteeing your vegetables with some grass-fed butter, or even steaming them.</p><p>It turns out that boiling vegetables is perhaps the fastest way to lose nutrients. Aside from being the quickest step toward absolutely tasteless food, boiling vegetables leaches all the valuable water-soluble nutrients into the cooking water. At that point, you should just drink the water in order to salvage the loose nutrients. (No, I'm not joking.)</p><p>If you want to take advantage of eating vegetables in the first place, consider sauteeing your vegetables with some grass-fed butter, or even steaming them. That way you avoid losing nutrients to the water bath and increase the nutrient bioavailability from the added fats (as I mentioned previously).</p><h3 class="article-title">Hack No. 6: </h3><p>For reasons that are as mysterious as the ingredients list of a Twinkie, slicing up carrots <em>after</em> they've been cooked provides more nutritional value than doing so <em>before</em> they've been cooked.</p><img src="images/2014/7-nutrition-hacks-6.jpg" width="186" height="294" border="0" class="right-image c14"/><p>For some, this can be a disappointing realization, since raw carrots are some of the most portable and convenient vegetables to snack on.</p><p>Surprisingly, cooking the carrot whole and then chopping it up works both as a nutritional <em>and</em> a flavor enhancement. Cooked carrots tend to taste more sweet, but more important, you retain approximately 25 percent more of a cancer-fighting compound called falcarinol, which protects the carrot from fungal diseases in nature.</p><p>Since carrots also contain beta carotene—the healthy stuff that makes them orange—you'll need to remember to eat them with some fats to absorb the nutrient.</p><h3 class="article-title">Hack No. 7: </h3><p>Nuts of all kinds are packed with protein, <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/omega-3-6-fatty-acids.html">omega-6 fatty acids</a>, and trace minerals, and are a fantastically filling and convenient snack. Unfortunately, nuts in their unaltered form also contain high amounts of "anti-nutrients," more specifically phytic acid, lectins, enzyme inhibitors, and in some cases, even mold.</p><p>Phytic acid and these anti-nutrients are not digestible in humans and wreak havoc in the body because they hungrily cling to minerals like <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/calcium.html">calcium</a>, <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/iron.html">iron</a>, <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/zinc.html">zinc</a>, and others. Consuming a large quantity of these nuts without first putting them through a process called sprouting could lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone density loss.</p><img src="images/2014/7-nutrition-hacks-7.jpg" width="254" height="200" border="0" class="right-image c15"/><p>Sprouting a nut essentially involves soaking it in water (salt water, or sometimes an acidic solution works, too) for a preset length of time. The exposure to wetness mimics something that occurs in nature when the nut releases enzymes to break down the anti-nutrients. What this ultimately means is that properly sprouted nuts have increased nutritional value for your body and make them more digestible.</p><p>The <a href="http://pacificfit.net/soak-time/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">soak time</a> depends on the type and quantity, and can range from a few hours to a full day.</p><h3 class="article-title">Start Hacking</h3><p>There's certainly no shortage of information on which foods enhance vitality, fight disease, and help to preserve quality of life. Yet I am willing to bet that you didn't know about one or more of the "nutritional hacks" I just mentioned. And there's no shame in that.</p><p>Centuries if not millennia of passed-down wisdom on how to cultivate, store, and prepare these foods set the foundation; it's up to you and me to help educate others on how they, too, can reap greater health benefits from their food.</p><p>You have any kitchen secret or nutritional hacks to share? Log in to BodySpace and join me in the comments below!</p><h5>References</h5><ol class="dpg-list"><li>Ankri, Serge, and David Mirelman. 1999. "Antimicrobial Properties of Allicin from Garlic" Microbes and Infection 2:125-29.</li>
<li>Song, Kun, and JA Milner. 2001 "The Influence of Heating on the Anticancer Properties of Garlic" Journal of Nutrition 131:1054S-57S.</li>
<li>Ek, Kai Lin et al. 2012. "Glycemic Effect of Potatoes." Food Chemistry 133:1230-40.</li>
<li>Hornero-Mendez et al. 2007. "Bioaccessibility of Carotenes from Carrots: Effects of Cooking and Addition of Oil." Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies 8:407-12.</li>
<li>Brown, M. "Carotenoid Bioavailability is Higher from Salads Ingested with Full-fat than with Fat-reduced Salad Dressings as Measured with Electrochemical Detection." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2004; vol 80: pp 396-403.</li>
<li>Hurrel, Richard F. 2003. "Influence of Vegetable Protein Sources on Trace Element and Mineral Bioavailability." Journal of Nutrition 133:2973S-2977S.</li>
</ol><br class="c16"/></div>

7 Nutritional Hacks For Greater Health Benefits

If you take your health seriously (and you must since you’re reading this), then you likely already know which foods to eat and which to avoid (hint: any processed foods). Even though you’re armed with this knowledge, you might still be shortchanging yourself on some real health benefits hidden in the foods you eat.

To unlock the complete nutritional potential of your food, remember that vegetables, fruits, and the other whole foods we eat are also living organisms. As such, they have their own self-defense biomechanisms to protect them from predation. It just so happens that the byproduct of these biological machineries—things like trace elements, carotenoids, polyphenols, flavonoids, and phytochemicals—can protect us from health problems, too.

Our bodies are smart like that. Throughout history, humans have uncovered a host of medicinal benefits and compounds within our food. It’s time to think about maximizing the full nutritional potential of these same foods. While you think you’ve got something as simple as a potato all figured out, some lessons about spuds may still surprise you.

Hack No. 1:

Garlic offers tremendous health benefits, but many people shoot themselves in the foot by the way they cook with it. People tend to chop garlic and immediately toss it into a heat source. There’s no doubt the added garlic adds an incomparable depth of flavor; unfortunately, the rush to the skillet kills garlic’s primary health benefits.

Once you chop the garlic, keep it away from heat and let it sit for 8-10 minutes before you cook with it.

Garlic contains a protein element called alliin and a heat-sensitive enzyme called alliinase. Only when you slice or puncture garlic’s thin membrane do alliin and alliinase synthesize into the antimicrobial and cancer-fighting compound allicin, which may have the ability to fight cancer and heart-related conditions.

Garlic sounds amazing so far, but here’s the rub: A group of clever food chemists pointed out that applying heat immediately after cutting garlic destroys the alliinase—that same enzyme required for forming the most valuable component of garlic. By that point, a majority of its healing properties literally go up in flames.

The good news is that you can still cook garlic and reap its rewards (and tastiness) simply by letting the cut-up garlic rest a bit. That’s it. Once you chop the garlic, keep it away from heat and let it sit for 8-10 minutes before you cook with it. This brief waiting period allows the allicin to fully come together. It’ll stay intact even through later cooking.

Alternatively, you could eat your garlic raw—but then you’d be repelling more than just vampires. Your mate, friends, and coworkers might steer clear, too.

Hack No. 2:

The skin is its biggest nutritional asset of many fruits and vegetables. Far too often, people will discard the top layer, thinking it’s dirty and gross, but they end up throwing away many helpful nutrients in the process.

The solution to getting around excess amounts of pesticides and still being able to enjoy produce in its entirety is to buy organic versions.

The outer layer functions as a defense against hazardous elements like mold, grazing predators, insects, fungi, and ultraviolet rays. This protective effect builds a higher concentration of nutrients—like antioxidants and —within the skin and the tissue below it.

Think of how your calluses form in response to repeated chafing. By eating the produce skins, you take in all the nutrients a vegetable or fruit has to offer.

“But, won’t I ingest a bunch of pesticides?” you ask. Current agricultural practices make this a legit concern, but it just means you have to be extra careful.

Despite your rigorous scrubbing and washing, nasty chemicals can still penetrate deep into the produce’s inner tissue and then enter your body.

The solution to getting around excess amounts of pesticides and still being able to enjoy produce in its entirety is to buy organic versions of produce listed under the “dirty dozen,” which tend to be the most contaminated.

Hack No. 3:

The fast-digesting starches in a typical modern-day spud actually spike your blood sugar about as high and as quickly as eating sugar with a spoon. This is especially true of the standard supermarket varietals like the white-fleshed Russet or Idaho potato.

Although our bodies are designed to manage the rapid rise of blood glucose from high glycemic foods with a hormone called insulin, consuming copious amounts of sugary foods on a regular basis can lead to a condition called insulin resistance.

At that point, blood glucose can no longer be properly controlled without meds. The unfolding of this process usually leads to type 2 diabetes, which can lead to heart problems, kidney failure, and amputations if left untreated.

What is a tater-loving person to do?

Simply cook the potato and then chill it in the refrigerator for approximately 24 hours.

Simply cook the potato and then chill it in the refrigerator for approximately 24 hours. The cooler temperature lowers the glycemic index of the starches, which makes for 25 percent or so reduction in the resulting rise in blood glucose. Your pancreas will thank you, since it’s responsible for releasing that ever-so-important-glucose-corralling insulin. Excess demands placed on the pancreas by repeated glucose spikes are thought to damage the organ over time.

From that point on, the chilled tater will keep its low glycemic rating for you to enjoy, free from worry. You could also slow down starch digestion by adding dietary fats to your potato (and really any other starch).

So ignore those judgmental head shakes, as a pat of grass-fed butter or even some bacon bits won’t necessarily turn that baked potato into a nutritional trainwreck.

Hack No. 4:

Adding fats to otherwise low-calorie vegetables may sound counterintuitive, since in some cases the act of eating vegetables is a way to avoid consuming excess fats. But you’re not doing yourself any favors by skipping out on them.

Dark leafy greens—kale, swiss chard, and spinach—as well carrots and tomatoes, which have beta carotene (the precursor to vitamin A) and lycopene, respectively, are chock full of fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, and K. They need to partner up with dietary fats in order for our digestive systems to adequately absorb and utilize them for our body’s benefit. Not including these fats is like bringing a hot date to the prom, but ditching him at the punch bowl for the rest of the night—no point.

Dark leafy greens need to partner up with dietary fats in order for our digestive systems to adequately absorb and utilize them for our body’s benefit.

This doesn’t mean you should drown your vegetables in a vat of full-fat dressing or wads of butter to ensure nutritional benefits. A study in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” concluded that a minimum of 6 grams is needed for optimal absorption. That’s about a small handful of nuts or a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.

Plus if you’re already eating said vegetables with other food sources like a 6-ounce steak, you’re already well on your way to fat-soluble vitamin paradise. Your best bet, though, might be to toss in slices of avocado, a tasty, fatty super-food.

Hack No. 5:

Boiled vegetables remain a staple among people on low-fat and bodybuilder diets. Boiled chicken and vegetables, anyone? Certainly, it’s fast, convenient, and easy to clean up. But have you ever wondered why the cooking water turns green after the broccoli floats around for a while? Perhaps even sadder is that the water gets promptly dumped out without so much as a shrug, leaving nothing but a fibrous clump of less-nutritious green matter that can barely be called broccoli.

If you want to take advantage of eating vegetables in the first place, consider sauteeing your vegetables with some grass-fed butter, or even steaming them.

It turns out that boiling vegetables is perhaps the fastest way to lose nutrients. Aside from being the quickest step toward absolutely tasteless food, boiling vegetables leaches all the valuable water-soluble nutrients into the cooking water. At that point, you should just drink the water in order to salvage the loose nutrients. (No, I’m not joking.)

If you want to take advantage of eating vegetables in the first place, consider sauteeing your vegetables with some grass-fed butter, or even steaming them. That way you avoid losing nutrients to the water bath and increase the nutrient bioavailability from the added fats (as I mentioned previously).

Hack No. 6:

For reasons that are as mysterious as the ingredients list of a Twinkie, slicing up carrots after they’ve been cooked provides more nutritional value than doing so before they’ve been cooked.

For some, this can be a disappointing realization, since raw carrots are some of the most portable and convenient vegetables to snack on.

Surprisingly, cooking the carrot whole and then chopping it up works both as a nutritional and a flavor enhancement. Cooked carrots tend to taste more sweet, but more important, you retain approximately 25 percent more of a cancer-fighting compound called falcarinol, which protects the carrot from fungal diseases in nature.

Since carrots also contain beta carotene—the healthy stuff that makes them orange—you’ll need to remember to eat them with some fats to absorb the nutrient.

Hack No. 7:

Nuts of all kinds are packed with protein, omega-6 fatty acids, and trace minerals, and are a fantastically filling and convenient snack. Unfortunately, nuts in their unaltered form also contain high amounts of “anti-nutrients,” more specifically phytic acid, lectins, enzyme inhibitors, and in some cases, even mold.

Phytic acid and these anti-nutrients are not digestible in humans and wreak havoc in the body because they hungrily cling to minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, and others. Consuming a large quantity of these nuts without first putting them through a process called sprouting could lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone density loss.

Sprouting a nut essentially involves soaking it in water (salt water, or sometimes an acidic solution works, too) for a preset length of time. The exposure to wetness mimics something that occurs in nature when the nut releases enzymes to break down the anti-nutrients. What this ultimately means is that properly sprouted nuts have increased nutritional value for your body and make them more digestible.

The soak time depends on the type and quantity, and can range from a few hours to a full day.

Start Hacking

There’s certainly no shortage of information on which foods enhance vitality, fight disease, and help to preserve quality of life. Yet I am willing to bet that you didn’t know about one or more of the “nutritional hacks” I just mentioned. And there’s no shame in that.

Centuries if not millennia of passed-down wisdom on how to cultivate, store, and prepare these foods set the foundation; it’s up to you and me to help educate others on how they, too, can reap greater health benefits from their food.

You have any kitchen secret or nutritional hacks to share? Log in to BodySpace and join me in the comments below!

References
  1. Ankri, Serge, and David Mirelman. 1999. “Antimicrobial Properties of Allicin from Garlic” Microbes and Infection 2:125-29.
  2. Song, Kun, and JA Milner. 2001 “The Influence of Heating on the Anticancer Properties of Garlic” Journal of Nutrition 131:1054S-57S.
  3. Ek, Kai Lin et al. 2012. “Glycemic Effect of Potatoes.” Food Chemistry 133:1230-40.
  4. Hornero-Mendez et al. 2007. “Bioaccessibility of Carotenes from Carrots: Effects of Cooking and Addition of Oil.” Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies 8:407-12.
  5. Brown, M. “Carotenoid Bioavailability is Higher from Salads Ingested with Full-fat than with Fat-reduced Salad Dressings as Measured with Electrochemical Detection.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2004; vol 80: pp 396-403.
  6. Hurrel, Richard F. 2003. “Influence of Vegetable Protein Sources on Trace Element and Mineral Bioavailability.” Journal of Nutrition 133:2973S-2977S.


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7 Nutritional Hacks For Greater Health Benefits

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