Watermelon is not only a refreshing fruit to beat the heat on a hot summer day but it has a few health advantages. Water melon is also very effective in reducing your body temperature and blood pressure. This fruit may also help in reducing inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis. Watermelon is full of water, carbohydrates and fiber along with essential vitamins and minerals that provides nutrition to the body for better metabolism.
So many people are talking about protein, from celebrities to fitness trainers, to people building body to anyone trying to get fit. Suggestion to eat meats, plant based food and protein supplements come in plenty when it comes to building muscles and getting fit. But do you require that much of protein in your diet to add the muscle mass to your body. The calorie intake has to be monitored carefully whether you want to build muscle mass or just lose some weight.
Protein helps build muscles mass and is the building block for our body. Muscle, skin, hair etc are made up of protein and plays a role in all the cells in our bodies. Our bodies cannot synthesis all the amino acids present in protein, so external sources are required to fulfill it. It is important to understand protein and not consider it as a supplement to your normal diet. The intake of protein increases your calorie intake as one gram of protein
provide 4 calories.
If you exercise or are training your body, you are using the muscles to work. The muscles require protein for wear and tear and repair of tissues present in it. 1.2 gram per kg is recommended for active bodies for muscle maintained and 1 gms per kg for inactive bodies as they have least muscle involvement. Those on a rigid exercise pattern can increase it by 20 - 25% for muscle repair and maintain the growth of the muscle.
Protein solely is not the driving factor in building muscles but requires carbohydrates for energy during workouts and healthy fats to help optimise hormonal levels, like promoting testosterone growth for improved muscle repair and growth. There has to be a balance between the intake and consumption.
What happens to the extra protein consumed. If you believe in the myth that eating extra protein will add muscle mass then you are going for a toss and accumulating fat in your body. The body will process according to the requirement of the muscle and the extra protein will get saved as fat in your fat cells. The metabolic benefit of eating too much protein, is counteracted by the fat storage from it. Anything extra that the body consumes above it requirements gets stored and that is why most people fail to meet their objective of a strong muscular body.
Yogurt is a super food for vegetarians containing carbohydrates for daily energy and proteins for muscle development with lots of vitamin C for strong muscles and to lose belly fat. A study at University of Tennessee found that participants who consumed 3 daily servings of fat free yogurt on a 12 week basis gained less fat around their mid-section than those who didn’t consumed dairy products containing less calcium. Portion control will push you further in losing weight and gaining extra inch around your belly.
Michael Zemel, PhD, director of The Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville has been the first to show that calcium stored in fat cells is important in regulating how fat is processed and stored by the body. The more calcium there is in fat cells, the more fat the cell will burn and the greater will be the weight loss
We all know what muscles are and what are the basic functions that a muscle perform. Secondly, we also know it that by lifting weights and doing high intensity workouts we can build muscle. But do you know that to build muscles, along with the timing of nutrition, there are some foods that are more effective than others at helping you build muscle.
Below are a list of foods essential to building muscle:
Eggs: Rich source of protein and provides important vitamins and minerals.
Nuts: They are rich in fibre, Omega 3 fatty acid (lowers LDL levels) antioxidants such as Vitamin E and selenium
Beans: Apart from being a rich source of protein, it is also a good source of both soluble and insoluble fibre.
Yoghurt: Rich in protein and carbohydrates, and good for muscle recovery & growth.
Milk: A rich source of protein , calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin and other essential amino acids.
Fish: Contains omega -3 fatty acids and good source of protein.
Water: Water is essential to deliver nutrients to your muscles for growth & repair. So, water is key to building muscle.
Including these ingredients in your diet will recover your muscles and tissues and provide your muscle with nutrients to keep your muscles pumping for longer time.
Some nutrients are important for healthy living and play a important role in daily body metabolism. We eat nutritious food most of the time, but are you meeting your daily requirement? Most of the health problems are due to the imbalance of the nutrients.
Firstly we need to understand what metabolism is and then can we have a picture of how metabolism effects weight loss . Metabolism is the amount of energy (calories) your body burns to maintain itself. Whether you are eating, drinking, sleeping, cleaning etc… your body is constantly burning calories to keep you going.
Metabolism is affected by your body composition i.e. the amount of muscle you have versus the amount of fat. Muscle uses more calories to maintain itself than fat. People who are more muscular… (and have a lower percentage of body fat) are said to have a higher metabolism than others that are less muscular. For example, lets take two people who are the exact same height and weight. One exercises on a regular basis with weights, in addition to aerobic exercise, and has a low percentage of body fat. The other never exercises and has a higher percentage of body fat. The first person who exercises will have a higher metabolism than the second person. The reason is that even when person 1is not exercising his body continues to burn calories because of the muscle to fat ratio difference. Where as person 2 will not have any increase in the metabolic rate. What this basically means is that person 1′s body will use more calories to sustain itself than person 2.
As you begin to age, your metabolism has a natural tendency to start slowing. There are some easy to follow, simple tricks that can help you to eliminate body fat, improve your flab-burning metabolic process, and start losing weight fast even before you start exercising.
Here are some easy tips that can change you into a fat burning machine
Stop Dieting and Start Exercising
It isn’t about eating less, it’s about eating more nutrition-dense food, to keep you full all day. Restricting food will kill your metabolism or slow it down. It makes our body think, am i starving here. The body responds to it by slowing down the metabolism in order to slowly spend the existing energy packets.
This means that your body starts to consume less calories and store more.
Build some Muscles
Rev up your metabolism by doing some resistance exercises like weightlifting, hand lifting etc. Also you can decrease body fat by doing some aerobic exercises like swimming, cycling, jogging, dancing, walking . Muscle uses more calories to maintain itself than fat thus increasing your metabolism or calorie consumption increases.
Go to Bed Early
A research suggests that people who slept less and were under more stress had more body fat than people who slept properly.
Eat Protein Rich Food
The faster your metabolism works the more fat you will burn and the slower your metabolism the more fat you will store. Eating protein is a good way to increase metabolism, especially since the body burns more calories to digest protein than it does digesting carbs or sugars.
Go Organic Whenever Possible
The accumulation of toxins in the body slows down the metabolism because the body has to work extra hard to eliminate these toxins on a daily basis. So going on a organic diet leads to less toxins in the body in the form of pesticides. Going the organic way is always a healthier option.
Get Up and Move a Little
Whether you sit or stand at work may play as big a role in your health and your waistline as your fitness routine. Researchers suggest that inactivity for 4 hours or more causes a slowdown in an enzyme that controls fat and cholesterol metabolism. Stand up from your desk and walk around the office, go up and down the stairs a few times. If you use these little bursts of energy throughout the day then your metabolism will stay revved up and you’ll keep burning more calories.
Drink Cold Water
Researchers found that drinking 1 liter of cold water a day can raise resting metabolism by about 50 calories daily. The increase may come from the work it takes to heat the water to body temperature. Start drinking cold water to accelerate your metabolism to up to 30%.
Eat Some Hot Food
Eating hot food can also fire up your metabolism. Eating red or green chilies boosts your body’s production of heat and the activity of your sympathetic nervous system (responsible for our fight-or-flight response), according to a research. If they’re hot enough they’ll rev your metabolism into high level and you’ll break a sweat!
Dont Skip Breakfast
Eating breakfast jump-starts metabolism and keeps energy high all day. Eat often because that will keep your metabolism pumping all day long, and when you eat many small meals through the day you tend to eat
less at one time, which puts less burden on your digestive system and lets it work more efficiently.
Drink Coffee or Tea
Women metabolize caffeine about 25 percent faster than men. Metabolic rate remains highest during the first three hours following consumption of caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that increases heart rate and mental acuity. While the blood pumps faster, the metabolic rate increases. While tea can increase your metabolism by 12% according to a research. Researchers believe the antioxidant catechins in tea provide the boost.
Fight Fat with Fiber
Fiber can raise your fat burn by about 30 percent. Research has found that those who eat the more fiber gain the least weight over time. Aim for about three servings each of fruits and vegetables a day. Fiber leads to a less calorie intake which lessens the calorie count.
Eat Iron-Rich Foods
Iron is essential for carrying the oxygen your muscles need to burn fat. Unless you have a consistent diet of this mineral you will have a slow metabolism. Lean meats, beans and spinach are excellent sources. Get this essential mineral in natural doses from real foods.
There’s some evidence that calcium deficiency may slow metabolism. Research shows that consuming calcium in dairy foods such as fat-free milk and low-fat yogurt may also reduce fat absorption from other
Dont Get Stressed
Research says that being stressed out causes high levels of a hormone called cortisol in your body, which leads to belly fat . Relax and let go the extra kilos!
All of our body’s basic reactions, including our metabolism, depend on water. If you are dehydrated, you may be burning lesser calories, according to researchers. In the study, those who drank more glasses of water a day had higher metabolic rates than those who had fewer.
At last eat metabolism boosting foods like Apple, spinach, tomatoes, cabbage, papaya, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, pineapple, grapefruit, lemon, garlic, onions, mangoes, cucumber, cauliflower, carrots and avocados. These fruits and vegetables belong to the negative calorie list of foods that will help you boost your metabolism.
Big bulging biceps has been always ‘a symbol of masculinity’. So, most guys focus on them. But women should not ignore this muscle, since the bicep still has functional use, and it will help you get toned arms.
Most bicep exercises are ‘pulling’ exercises and generally involve curling your hand towards your shoulders like bicep curl. For developing the great biceps, try the following exercises & routines.
Tri-set: 3 sets of different bicep exercises, repeated one after another without rest. For eg, perform a 10-12 reps of one bicep exercise like dumbbell curl followed by 10-12 reps of another exercise like preacher curl, and then another. Rest after the tri-set.
Super Slow Reps: Slow down way when you do incline dumbbells curls. Perform each rep slowly taking 3-5 seconds for each upward and downward movement.
Bicep Curl: Any exercise which targets your bicep brachii muscle in order to develop size, definition, strength & stamina.These exercises can be done with the help of dumbbell, barbell, cable machine, biceps curling machine. Read here for more bicep curl.
Hammer Curl: Stand straight with a pair of dumbbells by your side and raise your forearms parallel with the floor.Pause at the top of the hammer curl and squeeze your bicep muscles hard, then slowly lower back down to the starting position. Read more for hammer curl.
Preacher Curl: To perform this exercise you will need a preacher bench and a straight bar.With the upper arms positioned against the preacher bench pad and the chest against it, breathe in, slowly lower the bar until your upper arm is extended and the biceps is fully stretched.s you exhale, use the biceps to curl the weight up until your biceps is fully contracted and the bar is at shoulder height. Squeeze the biceps hard and hold this position for a second. Read more for benefits & video.
Reverse Curl: Stand straight with a pair of dumbbells in pronated grip (palms facing down). Curl the weights while contracting the biceps as you breathe out. Only the forearms should move and hold the contracted position for a second as you squeeze the muscle.Slowly begin to bring the dumbbells back to starting position as your breathe in. Read more for reverse curl.
Chin ups: The body is pulled up until the bar approaches or touches the upper chest. The body is then lowered until the arms are straight, and the exercise is generally repeated. Read more for variations on chin ups.
Protein helps build/maintain muscle and perform biological functions. The Indian diet is high on carbohydrates and low on protein, so most Indians actually do not get their daily protein requirement. Its even harder for vegetarians- an egg contains 6 grams of protein, and a glass of milk contains 8 gms. The daily recommended intake for protein is 56 gms for men and 46 gms for women.
Without enough protein in your diet, your body will eat into its own muscle for maintenance. This slows down your metabolism- so you burn fewer calories, and store more fat! Worry not- Protein powder can supplement your diet to ensure you get the recommended protein intake. One scoop of whey protein delivers 20-25 gms of high quality protein. Mix it with juice or milk, yogurt, fruits and you get a delicious, nutritious snack! Here’s a protein packed delicious dessert recipe.
If you play sports, workout or have a physically active occupation, your protein requirements are higher- they can vary from 1.5-2 gms per kg of body weight. So an 80 kg athlete might need to consume 120-160 gms of protein per day. That much protein is hard to get without protein supplements.
A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that over a 12 month period, participants on a moderately high protein diet lost as much as 38% more fat, than those who followed the USDA Pyramid guidelines- more on how protein helps reduce fat
Myth: Whey protein is only for ‘body builders’. Fact: its for anyone who wants to ensure that they’re getting enough protein in their diet.
Note that not all protein supplements is equal. To make sure you get high quality whey protein- buy from a reputed international brand. Whey protein is higher quality than soy protein. Currently, Indian protein brands produce lower quality protein as compared to international companies like MegaPro.
If you’re doing all the wrong things, then it could be possible that your gym is making you fat! Many of us religiously work out at the gym with very little change. Read this and find out what you could be doing wrong and fix it:
Only cardio training: Cardio is great to lose weight, but to get muscle definition in your arms, lift your sagging muscles or get that six pack, you need to do some resistance training. And ladies, you will not get bulky muscles from lifting weights. In fact, you can’t. Else, there wouldn’t be puny guys in the gym trying to gain muscle.
You miscalculate calories: Often people over calculate their workout calories, and under calculate those in their food. More calories in, and less calories out, means weight gain! So, don’t eat those unhealthy samosas after your 30 minute walk.
Same ineffective workout routine: You’ve been doing the same routine, since the dawn of the century. So, you’re body is used to it, and is so efficient at doing the workout, then it doesn’t need to truly exert. You must keep changing your workout routine to make it effective.
In the world of muscle food, the chicken breast is held in high regard. Chicken breast without the skin, has a high protein content, very low fat and carbohydrate content. The protein helps to build some muscle. Chicken breast also contains a dose of vitamin B, which helps to metabolize food for energy in your body.
And chicken breast is really easy to cook- it can be grilled, roasted or pan fried. Top it with some cheese and have it with a side of grilled vegetables. Shred it into a soup with vegetable, and it makes a nutrition balanced meal that fills you up.
Wishing all of you, a very happy new year! Hope you have a fantastic 2009. Don’t forget to include your fitness as part of your resolutions!
So, what is your resolution for 2009? I always keep goals that have clear targets. I’ve met some. Here’s my list for the past few years:
2006- My goal was to be able to run 10 miles (16 km). I ran my first half marathon that year- 13.1 miles (21 km). In 2006, I also did my first stair climb- race up a 50 floor skyscraper. I completed it in 7.17 minutes, and ranked 26th out of over a 1000 people.
2007- My goal was to beat that time for the 2006 stair climb. I did it in 6.51 minutes and ranked 17th.
2008- The last quarter of 2007 was not good for my fitness, due to personal reasons. So, my goal was to get back into my 2007 shape. I’m still working on it. Oh well, here’s 2009
2009- My goal is to to start swimming again, bench press 1.5 times my weight and to squat twice my body weight.
Now, you tell me yours!
Fitho is with you to help you achieve those goals. If you ever have any questions, feel free to contact us. You can email us at email@example.com, or comment on any of our articles. We do our best to respond to comments, with our own comments!
… and some of our readers have already shared their resolutions!
In the first part of this article, we wrote about when you should stretch, how static stretching before a workout can be detrimental, how warming up is good for your workout, and how to warm up effectively.
Instead of static stretching before your workout, try dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretches are specific to the sport or workout. For runners, an ideal warm-up might include squats, lunges and “form drills” like kicking your buttocks with your heels. Athletes who need to move rapidly in different directions, like soccer or basketball players, should do dynamic stretches that involve many parts of the body. “Spider-Man” is a particularly good drill: drop onto all fours and crawl the width of the court, as if you were climbing a wall.
Now, after your workout, you should do static stretching. During your workout, your muscles contract and expand, and go through a lot of rigour. After a strenuous workout, your muscles are sore and devoid of nutrients. Do static stretching now. Stretch each major muscle part of your body (list below). Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds. The benefit of stretching is that it helps the muscle fibers relax, which in turn helps your body deliver nutrients faster your muscles. Stretching will help to deliver nutrients faster to your body, and thus help muscle growth. With more muscle, your body will burn more calories at rest, and thus help you lose the fat faster! Stretching post workout also reduces muscle soreness the next morning, seriously!
Below is a list of major muscles in your body, that you must stretch after your workout. In your lower body, stretch your thighs, hamstrings, calves and your glutes. In your upper body, stretch your shoulders, triceps, back, chest, abs and your biceps.
So remember .. stretch after your workout, not before. Spending those 5-10 minutes doing static stretching after your workout is very beneficial!
When you look around the gym or the running track, you see people performing stretches before a workout. Why? Because traditionally, we were taught stretching is key before a workout. But recent research disagrees with the old adage of static stretching before a workout. It is now believed that static stretching before a workout besides being a waste of time, is also detrimental to performance.
In a recent study conducted by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, athletes generated less force from their leg muscles after static stretching than they did after not stretching at all. In another study, it was found that stretching decreases muscle strength by as much as 30%!
[ Note: Fitho always stressed the benefit of stretching post workout, like in this article on tips to run ]
To prepare your muscles for a workout, its important to do two things- loosen muscles and tendons to increase range of motion and to physically warm up. A warm up increases body heat and blood flow. Warm muscles use your muscle fuel more effectively and can withstand better loads.
Just don’t run too much, so you’re too tired for the real workout! (click here for running tips)
Check out our next article to know more how what stretches to do before, after your workout!
One of the biggest myths is fat loss, is spot reduction- the ability to reduce fat in only certain areas of the body. This myth is only propagated by advertisements of shady gyms and health equipment manufacturers promising ‘spot reductions’.
If you lose fat, you lose fat from all over your body. Of course, depending on your body type, you might have a tendency to gain fat in certain areas, like the belly, or the hips.
A sign of fitness for both men and women is defined arms. Getting that rounded shoulder muscle to show, and possibly that tricep muscle to pop- that’s money!
Since spot reduction of fat on the arms isn’t possible, to really get those sexy arms to show, you need to use a two pronged approach. First, build some muscle (yes, for women too!) and secondly, lose fat.
To build muscle, do some basic movements like pushups, pullups, and tricep movements should do the job. the pushups and pull ups will work other surrounding muscles also. Since more muscle is utilized, it will produce more growth hormone in your body, which will lead to better growth of muscle on your arms.
To lose fat, do some cardio- run, cycle, swim. Playing an intense sport like squash, basketball, rowing can help you build muscle and lose fat, along with having some serious fun! All this, while revealing those sculpted arms.
Is it better to run on a treadmill or outside, on the ground? We’ve got an answer to the eternal cardio question.
Can a machine really simulate the motion, and exertion of the real movement? Or to take it further- can it be better that the real movement? So, lets compare running on treadmills and running on the ground, out in the open. There are a lot of factors that need to considered. For each factor, we’ll find out is machine better or vice versa. So, lets find out:
1. Speed control: Controlling your speed is key to running consistently for a distance or time. For starting runners, this is a tough one. When you’re new to running, controlling your speed is difficult. Most people run in short bursts, so keeping a consistent speed can be challenging. With a treadmill, you can set the speed and let things roll. So, treadmills help you develop speed control. Thats one up for the treadmill.
2. Real motion: I’ve yet to come across a treadmill that feels the same as running outside. They might be close, but running out in the open is an experience that is hard to simulate- the exertion, the feel of the ground, and the exact muscle work. To simulate the exertion of running on ground, its recommended to keep the treadmill at a 1% incline. So, this factor one goes to running outside. Between the treadmill and running outside, we’re at 1:1
3. Simulating new geography: If you live in a flat area, and want to train for hills, the best way is to run on a treadmill at a hill incline. Or vice versa, if you’re in a hilly area, its hard to simulate flat runs. So, treadmills wins this factor hands down. Running incline is challenging, so at the same speed, you burn more calories.
So currently, treadmills are winning the competition and 2 points, against 1 for running outside. In Part 2 of treadmill vs outside running, we’ll analyze some more factors to decide the winner.
In the mean time, we’ve got running tips to get started for you.