Category Archives: Exercise

They say survival of the fittest, thats not true… it is survival of the adaptable.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 5.19.32 PMIt’s likely that you’ve heard about the detrimental effects of the stress hormone cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels and chronic stress can affect every physiological system in your body, including your thyroid and adrenal glands. It can make you anxious and irritable, lead to weight gain and bone loss, contribute to diabetes and heart disease risk, and deplete your energy levels.

Cortisol is also known as the aging hormone. When cortisol gets too high, it puts you into a “fight or flight” response, which stimulates your sympathetic nervous system and your adrenal glands. When this occurs, there is a decrease in your digestive secretions and an increase in blood pressure. This puts your body in a state of constant stress, which will burn out your adrenal glands, stress your digestive tract and cause you to age more rapidly.

So if you want to look younger, feel younger and be healthy — and heal adrenal fatigue — you must get your cortisol levels balanced.Side effects of chronically elevated cortisol can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cancer
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Common Colds
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Weight loss resistance

So what can help us adapt to stress and lower cortisol? Adaptogens …

 

What Are Adaptogens?

Phytotherapy refers to the use of plants for their healing abilities. Adaptogens are a unique class of healing plants: They help balance, restore and protect the body. As naturopath Edward Wallace explains, an adaptogen doesn’t have a specific action: It helps you respond to any influence or stressor, normalizing your physiological functions. (1)

Naturopath Marcelle Pick of Women to Women reports that adaptogenic herbs can recharge your adrenal glands, helping you to respond to stress. (2) Adaptogens include ashwaganda, astragalus, ginseng, licorice root, holy basil, some mushrooms and rhodiola. According to Jan Whiticomb, there are 16 proven adaptogenic herbs.

Top 7 Adaptogen Herbs

1. Ginseng is the most well-known adaptogen, and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) is considered the most potent. According to Wallace, research has validated Asian ginseng’s use for improving mental performance and your ability to withstand stress. This red ginseng also has antioxidant effects, antidepressant effects, and can help naturally lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

There are a number of adaptogens referred to as ginsengs that aren’t technically ginsengs, but keep in mind that they have similar composition or effects.

2. Holy basil also called tulsi, holy basil is known in India as the “elixir of anti-aging.” Preliminary studies suggest that holy basil benefits include helping you fight fatigue and stress; boost your immune system; and regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and hormone levels.

3. Ashwaganda is often referred to as Indian ginseng. Often used in Ayurvedic medicine, ashwaganda regulates the immune system and eases anxiety. Ashwaganda has been used in Eastern medicine for over 2,500 years and has immuno-modulating effects that boost your immune system and aid the body in lowering cortisol levels.

 

4. Astragalus root is used in Chinese medicine, astragalus boosts immunity and buffers the effects of stress. It increases the amount of anti-stress compounds our bodies use to repair and prevent stress-related damage. It may also reduce the ability of stress hormones like cortisol to bind to receptors.

5. Licorice root can increase energy and endurance, boost the immune system, and protect the thymus from being damaged by cortisol, but its use requires professional supervision because of how it may affect blood pressure.

6. Rhodiola (rhodiola rosea), or golden root, is a potent adaptogen that has been the focus of much research. Rhodiola provides a buffer to stress-related mental and physical fatigue. According to Whiticomb, Rhodiola was used by Russian cosmonauts, athletes and military personnel, and years of study have begun to uncover the very mechanisms by which it acts as an adaptogen.

Rhodiola rosea contains a phytochemical known as salisdroside. This component helps relieve anxiety and combat aging. Rhodiola suppresses the production of cortisol and increases levels of stress-resistant proteins.

Studies have found that it restores normal patterns of eating and sleeping after stress; lowers mental and physical fatigue; and protects against oxidative stress, heat stress, radiation and exposure to toxic chemicals. Rhodiola also protects the heart and liver, increases use of oxygen, improves memory, and may even extend longevity. Also, new research proves it’s effective as a weight loss agent.

7. Cordycep mushrooms reishi, shiitake and maitake mushrooms are funguses with antioxidant properties. That means nutrition-rich mushrooms have all the benefits of antioxidant foods. They may not be adaptogens in the classic sense, but each has adaptogenic, anti-tumor and immune-enhancing properties.

Eating well, getting proper rest, staying active, writing down what you’re grateful for and maintaining social connection all help protect you from chronic stress, which can kill your quality of life. Adding adaptogens to your routine can make you even more resilient to the damaging effects of high cortisol levels.

 

 

 

Fat Loss- weight training and cardio

Let’s talk about fat-loss. More importantly, let’s talk about why an effective fat-loss program utilizes strength training with weights. Over the last few years, more and more women have started buying into the benefits of strength training for physique and weight management. We are not restricting ourselves to just cardio machines, and now our workouts are more efficient (and hopefully a bit less boring) than ever. For many, the primary focus of hitting the gym is to burn fat, and we’ve outlined some (scientifically backed) reasons weight training is the best tool for just that.

1. More Muscle = Faster Metabolism

The first rule of fat loss: having muscle increases your resting metabolic rate (RMR)1,2. A crucial element of fat loss is simply having muscle mass; muscle mass burns fat for energy, and building muscle requires resistance training, not cardio. No matter what your trainer tells you, you won’t build any lean muscle by performing 40 minutes on the elliptical. Lean muscle is built through a consistent resistance training program that utilizes large muscle groups and compound movements (like squats, rows, and push-ups).

 

 Strength Training = Faster Metabolism

All gimmicks, infomercials and cheesy marketing schemes aside, it is possible to burn calories all day long without lifting a finger! During an intense workout, your body’s oxygen stores are depleted. Consequently, after a high-intensity workout, your body must work hard to build it’s oxygen stores back up. This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) or “The Afterburn Effect”, and it keeps your body at a heightened metabolic rate for up to 24 hours after a high-intensity workout3! What’s more, studies show high intensity resistance training results in a greater EPOC than steady-state cardio… so it’s time to prioritize the high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and weight training workouts in your weekly routine4!

3. Improve Your Body Composition

You’ve heard it before: the “muscle weighs more than fat” mantra. As tired as it sounds, the saying holds some truth; muscle is more dense than fat, therefore a pound of muscle takes up less volume in your body than a pound of fat. For this reason, we recommend GETTING OFF THE SCALE. As many women see when they begin a strength training, fat-loss regimen of weights and high intensity cardio, the number on the scale does not drop as quickly as they would like. In fact, your weight may immediately go higher. DON’T PANIC! What’s more important is that you are turning your body into a fat-burning machine by decreasing your fat stores and increasing your lean mass

 Metabolize Fat, Not Muscle

There is a simple formula for weight loss: energy in must be less than energy out to lose weight. Many weight loss programs call for a calorie restricted diet. While a calorie restricted diet isn’t recommended for everyone, many do choose to participate. We’ve covered why having muscle is critical for fat loss, but did you know that on a calorie restricted diet, your body may compensate by consuming a heightened ratio of muscle than fat for energy? This is not a desirable effect, but thankfully studies show utilizing strength training programs will help your body maintain lean body weight while on a calorie retracted diet5. So no matter what type of diet your program calls for, always balance it with strength training at least 2-3 times per week.

5. Fat Loss = Balance

There are thousands of weight loss and fat loss programs out there. Flip on the television and you’ll see an infomercial for new types of exercise equipment or the next big home-workout DVD guaranteed to help you shred down a jean size. Just remember, fat-loss comes from a balance of proper nutrition, strength training and cardiovascular training. Most importantly however, the idea of losing fat should not consume your life and control your happiness. We’ve found that with just a few days a week, short bouts of intense exercise (strength training and HIIT) coupled with a diet of lean proteins, healthy fats, well-timed carbs and plenty of vegetables is the easiest way to let your body know you love it, while feeling healthy and progressive in your physique.

Better than the Brazilian Butt Lift

10155163_10152297588827025_3281387199227186978_nGlutenator, the Ass Blaster, the Butt Buster, the Booty Builder, and the Asset are just a few of our favorites. However you chose to refer to our machine, the truth is the Dynavec Hip System will be the best thing to happen to your butt since yoga pants.

Don’t judge this book by its cover; this is not your mother’s abduction machine. The hip system has two points of resistances which forces the hip joint to move the thigh both back and out at the same time. For you scientists out there, that means resistance is provided as you both extend and abduct the hip in sagittal and frontal planes of motion, simultaneously. And yes, we know this has never been done before – that’s why we are so excited about it!

Often times the result is something that will cause you to walk funny the next day because simply stated our machine is a real pain in the butt. Forcing the gluteal muscles to contact against resistance in two planes of motion isolates the gluteus maximus which increases strength and improves shape in a way that, and we quote, “is like fairy dust, because it magically lifts your butt”.

So who will benefit from our hip machine – aside from all of us who get to look at your improved posterior aspect – are those of you who feel it’s an Asset to have a shapelier derriere. Body builders and fitness models have recently discovered that using our machine to target their gluteal muscles, which are notoriously difficult to train and shape, provides a unique contraction not often felt with traditional lower body exercises. It gives you the benefit of the bottom end of a squat without the joint shearing or pressure on the spine.  Since using our machine in a research project, we determined that strengthening the gluteal muscles among the elderly allowed for improved performance of activities of daily living – i.e. rising from a seated position with better balance. The muscles that support the hips are significant in the rehabilitation process, giving their proximity to the center of mass, and we can strengthen these muscles without placing a load through the knees or low back. Finally, we have had several people tell us the Dynavec Hip machine has helped in improving their performance during athletic competition – Power Lifting to rotational sports like Golf and Tennis. We have many more examples, but will stop there for now… …and let you decide for yourself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-Wf4LczPdEA

If you are interested in finding out more, contact us now!  972.869.6900

Where can you try out this wonderful machine?

Dallas/Las Colinas TX – Skin Technology   972.869.6900     www.skintechnologyinc.com

Flower Mound/Southlake/Colleyville TX – Hero Training Center  (817) 776-1302 www.herotc.com

Lake Oswego, OR  –  www.mymusclesinmotion.com

Austin TX  –  www.austinsimplyfit.com    or     www.efficientexercise.com

Focus on Flexibility

Stretching may take a back seat to your exercise routine. You may think that stretching your hamstrings and calves is just something to be done if you have a few extra minutes before or after pounding out some miles on the treadmill.

Stretching may help you improve your joint range of motion, which in turn may help improve your athletic performance and decrease your risk of injury. Stretching can help improve flexibility, and, consequently, range of motion in your joints. Better flexibility may improve your performance in physical activities or decrease your risk of injuries by helping your joints move through their full range of motion and enabling your muscles to work most effectively.  Stretching also increases blood flow to the muscle. Keeping the muscles and other tissues around your spine limber is very important.

Before you plunge into stretching, make sure you do it safely and effectively. While you can stretch anytime, anywhere — in your home, at work, in a hotel room or at the park — you want to be sure to use proper technique. Stretching incorrectly can actually do more harm than good.

Use these tips to keep stretching safe:

  • Don’t consider stretching a warm-up. You may hurt yourself if you stretch cold muscles. So before stretching, warm up with light walking, jogging or biking at low intensity for five to 10 minutes. Or better yet, stretch after you exercise when your muscles are warmed up.Also, consider holding off on stretching before an intense activity, such as sprinting or track and field activities. Some research suggests that pre-event stretching before these types of events may actually decrease performance.Strive for symmetry. Everyone’s genetics for flexibility are a bit different, so rather than striving for that gymnast or ballet dancer degree of motion, focus on having equal flexibility side to side (especially if you have a history of a previous injury).
  • Focus on major muscle groups. When you’re stretching, focus on major muscle groups such as your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders.Also stretch muscles and joints that you routinely use at work or play. Make sure that you stretch both sides. For instance, if you stretch your left hamstring, be sure to stretch your right hamstring, too.
  • Don’t bounce. Stretch in a smooth movement, without bouncing. Bouncing as you stretch can cause injury to your muscle.
  • Hold your stretch. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds; in problem areas, you may need to hold for around 60 seconds. Breathe normally as you stretch.
  • Don’t aim for pain. Expect to feel tension while you’re stretching, not pain. If it hurts, you’ve pushed too far. Back off to the point where you don’t feel any pain, then hold the stretch.
  • Make stretches sport specific. Some evidence suggests that it’s helpful to do stretches tailored for your sport or activity. If you play soccer, for instance, you’re more vulnerable to hamstring strains. So opt for stretches that help your hamstrings.
  • Keep up with your stretching. Stretching can be time-consuming. But you can achieve the most benefits by stretching regularly, at least two to three times a week.If you don’t stretch regularly, you risk losing any benefits that stretching offered. For instance, if stretching helped you increase your range of motion, and you stop stretching, your range of motion may decrease again.
  • Bring movement into your stretching. Gentle movement can help you be more flexible in specific movements. The gentle movements of tai chi, Pilates or yoga, for instance, may be a good way to stretch.And if you’re going to perform a specific activity, such as a kick in martial arts or kicking a soccer ball, do the move slowly and at low intensity at first to get your muscles used to it. Then speed up gradually as your muscles become accustomed to the motion.
 

In some cases, you may need to approach stretching with caution. If you have a chronic condition or an injury, you may need to adjust your stretching techniques. For example, if you already have a strained muscle, stretching it may cause further harm.

Also, don’t think that because you stretch you can’t get injured. Stretching, for instance, won’t prevent an overuse injury. Talk to a professional about the most appropriate way to stretch if you have any health concerns.