Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Simple Carbs-they just aren't that simple any more...

During this past week, I have had a couple of opportunities to explain the importance and crucial benefits of a post-workout meal. I know this stuff can sound boring and “post work-out meal” sounds like a body builder bragging about how many pounds of chicken he can eat.  But that really isn’t the case. Whether you just benched 450 lbs, jumped rope for an hour, or put yourself through a hardcore Pilates class, your post-work out meal is still vital for your body to recover. It can also make your following workout feel more energized too!

Most people will touch upon protein after a workout and how important it is for you. That’s totally true. Your body should build more muscle than it breaks down. But what about replenishing your body’s main energy stores? If your body uses glycogen (stored form of carbohydrates found in the liver and muscle) for energy, what happens when there isn’t any to gather for exercise? 

            That’s a great question! Well, in terms of workouts that are primarily one hour long, intense (more anaerobic), and not long distance cardio, our body will start breaking down protein if there isn’t any glycogen available. This is BAD. The more muscle we have, the more calories we burn sleeping (let alone actually working out!). It’s not worth it to “donate” muscle (lean body mass) that we have worked so hard to develop. The best way to replenish and gradually increase our energy stores for carbohydrates is by eating them after a workout.  If this is done right, your body will have carbohydrates to utilize for your next workout. You’ll now have more energy and can also prevent your body from using protein for energy.

        The best way to do this right is to eat simple carbohydrates (along with protein and complex carbs) after a workout. The quick acting sugars in simple carbohydrates don’t take a long time to digest. This means that your body can send those sugars straight into glycogen storage and prepare you for your next training session. There’s actually a 30 minute “window of opportunity” to eat these sugars and maximize your energy stores.

Some good simple carbohydrates to ingest are fruit juices, sports drinks, bananas, honey, carrots, watermelon, raisins, and other things that are sweet and don’t contain a whole lot of fiber.

This isn’t just for hardcore people who workout. If you workout for an hour and are pretty tired, this is for you! The whole point of the post-workout meal is to allow your body to utilize the right nutrients for working out. This will help you recover more and build more lean body mass. The more lean body mass we have, the faster our metabolism is… and we all know that’s a good thing.


So… What are you eating? Any good post-workout meal ideas? What’s been working well for you?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What Are You Morphing Into?? Actually...What Type of Morph Are You?

Have you ever heard of somebody who “eats a carrot and gains 10lbs”, or lifts a weight and is now competing for Mr Universe? Well, those statements aren’t exactly true, but there is a lot of significance behind them.
Identifying your body type can help you understand how your body responds to different types of exercise. There are three main categories of body types; Ectomorph, Endomorph, and Mesomorph. (I know… they all sound straight from a comic book or something)

The ectomorph is the typical “hard gainer”. Generally, they are very slender and tall. Their muscles are light and their shoulders are rather small. It takes loads of work for a person like this to gain a lot of muscle mass.

The endomorph is the second body type. These people have a “soft” body. A lot of work is required to lose weight, their hips are broad, and their overall physique is more round.

The third type is the mesomorph. Mesomorphs are naturally more muscular than all the others. Men have broader shoulders, and women have an “hourglass” figure. It is the easiest for these people to gain muscle mass and still stay leaner than the endomorph. The majority of professional body builders are mesomorphs.

        The Ectomorphs                                           


         The Endomorphs      


      The Mesomorphs


We also don’t have to fall into just one category. There are many combinations of these three categories such as ecto mesomorphs, or endo mesomorphs.

Ok….So what does this all mean?

Well.. for one thing, we now know that if a mesomorph and an ectomorph (who are the same weight, height, body fat percentage, etc), follow an identical workout routine, which one will gain more muscle. Conversely, we will also know which one will get skinnier if they follow an identical weight loss routine.

How does this affect you?

It comes down to you knowing your body.
What are you?
Meso, Ecto, or Endo? Or which combination of the three?
Once you figure that out, we can weigh the variables. If you are an endomorph that wants to lose body fat, it may be harder than the ectomorph running on the treadmill next to you. Don’t be discouraged.. just understand how your body naturally responds to exercise.
If you are an ectomorph that strictly wants to add some lean body mass, you are going to have to work harder than the mesomorph benchpressing right next to you. You may even want to cut down on the cardio. None of your goals should be compromised based on your body type.. the only thing that needs to change is the type (and intensity) of the training.

What all of this really means is that you have to be in touch with your body. You know best how your body responds to different forms of exercise. Sometimes if you have specific goals, your work outs may require a little bit of homework.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's getting nice out, let's workout! and stretch??

So the main buzz of this past week has been warmer weather and that we’re all ready for more of it! One of the beauties of nice weather is everyone’s attitude toward outdoor exercise. It’s so refreshing to see the loads of people running, biking, and walking outside.
Since most of us are increasing our activity, it's safe to ask are we also increasing our stretching?
Stretching (especially to the infamous weekend warrior) is crucial for injury prevention and post-workout muscle soreness. It’s the key to longevity in our lives of activity. It reduces muscle tension, increases joint mobility, and improves circulation. Neglecting a good stretch routine can lead to injury and can also compromise your tendons and ligaments. Lack of flexibility can also hinder your performance while working out.
Here is a list of some stretches geared toward the mid/lower body. Make sure to stretch your muscles when they are warm. Try a 5-10 min warm-up first. After you exercise, take your time and perform each stretch for 20-30 seconds at least two times.

Quad & Hip Flexor

Stand on one foot, and hold the other foot with the opposite hand. Raise the heel of the lifted foot to the buttocks (or as close as you can without pain), stretching your quadriceps and hip flexor. Keep your body upright throughout. Switch legs and repeat.


Lie down with one leg straight up in the air, the other bent on the ground. Loop a towel over the arch of the lifted foot, and gently pull on the towel toward you. Direct your knee toward your shoulder and try to keep the leg straight without locking it out. Switch legs and repeat.


Seated, put the soles of your feet together. With your elbows on the inside of your knees, gradually lean forward (try to keep your back straight) and press your knees toward the ground.


Lie flat on your back and, with your feet on the ground, lift your hips up until your body forms a flat plane. Repeat this to stretch your quads and lower back.

Hamstring and Lower Back

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Bring your shins to your chest to stretch your hamstrings and lower back.

Hip & Lower Back

Sit on the ground and cross your legs. Lift your right leg and cross it over the left (keep the right leg bent). Hug your right leg to the chest and twist the trunk of your body. Try to look over your right shoulder (if you can, cross your left arm over your right leg). Switch legs and arms and repeat.

Ok, so everybody should be good to go! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to let us know. Stay tuned for more tips!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

This Week in Health

I have stumbled across a couple of interesting articles while surfing the internet this week. Why not share them?!?
Please feel free to check them out. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them. The only article I personally have issues with is the one on the bottom that I titled "I have issues with this article!!". If anybody has also found some cool articles, it would be great if you could share them. Thanks!

Permanent Weight Loss Tips

Absolutely Awesome

Portion Control

Excellent Q & A on blood sugar and exercise

I have issues with this article!!
- This study does not incorporate any exercise or body fat percentage measuring. Dieting just based on calorie content can result negatively. One example is the loss of lean body mass. The less we have, the lower our basal metabolic rate is!!