Fitness & Wellness

Quick Fixes To Boost Your Energy Without Sugar

Quick Fixes To Boost Your Energy Without Sugar

One of the reasons many people fail to shed pounds is their addiction to sugar. It comes in many forms, but one of the more obvious ones are those candy bars and snacks to give a mid-morning or mid-afternoon physical and mental boost. You can get the same results other ways and can boost your energy without sugar, but it may take some time.

You’ll crave sugar at first, not just as an energy booster.

Sugar is extremely addictive! In fact, it triggers a reaction in the brain just like heroin does. Dopamine is the cause. It’s the feel good hormone and there are dopamine receptors everywhere in the brain. When you do drugs like heroin, it triggers a waterfall of dopamine and makes you feel good. So does sugar. Although, sugar doesn’t give nearly the boost as heroin. It also raises blood sugar levels that give you a burst of energy, but what goes up must come down and it does that with a vengeance. The sugar low causes even more cravings for sugar.

Eat some bananas for a quick fix.

Bananas do have sugar, but they also have other nutrients to boost your energy level. A banana contains carbohydrates, vitamin B6 and potassium that can give you the energy boost you need. In fact, skip the energy drink before a grueling athletic endurance event and eat a banana. It’s just as effective. While processed sugar can bring on cravings, natural sugar isn’t nearly as bad. Consider a few grapes, apple slices or berries. They provide fiber to fill you up, but also sugar that is released slower, due to the fiber, so you don’t have the spike and drop in blood sugar.

Grab a cold glass of water.

Believe it or not, sometimes a glass of water will wake you up better than a mug of coffee or a candy bar. That’s because it hydrates your system and gets it running at peak performance. You need adequate water to function well, since most of your body weight is water and it’s essential for all the functions of life. If you’re even mildly dehydrated it can slow your body functions, leaving you feeling tired. The next time you’re tired, try a cold glass or bottle of water, even if you’re not thirsty. You’ll be amazed at the results.

  • A cup of coffee also can provide a boost to your energy level and make you feel more awake. It’s normally what most people think of when they need a picker upper. Green tea also can have the same effect.
  • Get moving. I’ve always recommended some type of moving around after 55 minutes of sitting. Whether it’s going up and down stairs, doing jumping jacks next to your desk or simply walking, excise and moving is a quicker picker-upper.
  • A small amount of dark chocolate can improve functioning in the brain and boost blood flow. It also has caffeine that boosts your energy level.
  • Grab a cup of unsweetened yogurt and throw in some berries for more flavor. The protein slows the absorption of the simple sugars in the yogurt, while it also provides extra nutrition to provide good health.

Fight Inflammation Naturally

Fight Inflammation Naturally

There are all types of inflammation in the body. You need inflammation to promote healing and protect the body from infection or serious injury. However, chronic low levels of inflammation can cause serious damage to the body. Even mild inflammation from exercise can be a problem that keeps you up at night, but you can fight inflammation naturally and avoid taking ibuprofen and other NSAIDs that can trigger more serious problems like ulcers and renal disease. However, some inflammation occurs inside your body, like in your arteries, but the effects don’t show immediately.

When a good thing goes bad.

There are many reasons some inflammation is good, but you can get too much of a good thing and inflammation can cause health problems, too. Chronic inflammation caused by an autoimmune disorder, bacteria, virus, poor diet or stress can affect your body in a number of ways. Chronic inflammation can cause digestive problems, including IBS and Crohn’s. It can damage joints, cause Rheumatoid Arthritis, heart disease, skin disorders, higher risk of cancer, COPD, gum disease, bone damage and even affect your mental health.

Put some spice in your life.

There are some spices that you can add to food that will help fight inflammation, while also adding extra nutrition to the dish without extra calories. Turmeric is one that’s touted for its anti-inflammatory benefits and has been sited as a potential aid to Alzheimer’s patients—which may come from the inflammatory response of the body. Ginger, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, sage and rosemary are also good at reducing inflammation for a variety of reasons. When it comes to herbs and spices, in most cases, the fresher the better.

Eat your way to less inflammation.

Some foods reduce chronic inflammation, while others exacerbate it. Fresh fruits and vegetables are normally on the beneficial list with leafy green veggies and tomatoes leading the pack on the veggie side and blueberries, cherries, strawberries and oranges ahead of the race on the fruit side. Olive oil, almonds, walnuts and fatty fish like salmon reducing inflammation. Basically, healthy foods fight inflammation.

  • Foods that make inflammation worse include fried foods, refined carbs like pastry and white bread, soft drinks—even with artificial sweeteners, red meat and processed meat, margarine, trans fats and sugar.
  • The bromelain in pineapples has been known to be a digestive aid, but it also can help with inflammation in other areas. Recent studies show it’s helpful for arthritis and injuries.
  • If you’re eating a healthy diet, you’re consuming fewer foods that cause inflammation and boosting your anti-inflammatory food intake.
  • A quick aid for muscle pain can be made from cayenne pepper and coconut oil. I’ve made a batch by grinding the insides of hot peppers and mixing it with one aspirin and coconut oil. It’s definitely messy but can be useful as a rub on painful muscles in a pinch.

Set Smart Goals And Achieve Them

Set Smart Goals And Achieve Them

Boise, ID is such a beautiful area but it doesn’t offer moderate weather year around allowing us to do more. But there are always there’s a lot of parks and outdoor activities that require fitness and often show off your body fitness, or lack of fitness. It’s easy to get caught up in a race to look better, but in order to get the best results, you need to set smart goals and achieve them. Like any other goal, fitness goals need to be realistic. If you had a goal to save money, because your checking and savings account showed a combined ten dollar balance, you wouldn’t set a goal to accumulate a million dollars in two weeks! It’s unrealistic. Neither should you set unrealistic weight loss or fitness goals.

Set fitness goals you really want, but start small.

If you’ve tried to set fitness goals before and failed, start small. Find one thing you’d like to change, like losing twenty-five pounds and create a plan to do it. Break it up to smaller goals that you can achieve quicker, so the faster results will spur you on to continue. The new goal might be to lose a pound or two a week for two weeks. Make the time frame shorter if you really have problems sticking with any healthy eating or exercise program. Then start!

Create a plan of action.

Your plan of action should be simple. Removing processed foods from your diet and eating whole foods could be a start. Increasing your exercise daily is another step to achieving your goal. Don’t try to do everything at once. Just plan on going to the gym three times a week for a more organized workout and increasing your daily activity in small ways, like walking to the store if its close or walking to lunch when at work.

Set a time frame and a way to measure your goal.

While it should be simple, it shouldn’t be vague or open-ended. Your goal should be to lose a specific number of inches if a smaller clothing size is in order or lose a specific number of pounds. There should be a time limit put on that, so you aren’t putting it off for a “some day.” A goal to lose weight should be something like, by a specific date, I’ll lose twenty pounds. I’ll do this by losing a two pounds a week for the next ten weeks. Every Monday I’ll weigh in at the gym to check my progress.

  • Make sure the goal you set is something you really want, not something you “think” you should desire because of social pressure or other people’s suggestions.
  • Put your goals on paper and look at them daily. Some people put them on the mirror with a sticky note in the bathroom to help remind them as they start their day.
  • Make your goals a priority. Too often people put other’s needs first. Your fitness goal should be a top priority because if you’re not fit and healthy, you can’t be a help to anyone else.
  • Schedule in your workout, which is part of the prioritization of your goals. One of the many reasons working out with a personal trainer is so effective is that it’s an appointment to exercise.

How To Build Muscle Naturally

How To Build Muscle Naturally

I work with people from Boise, ID who want to build muscle naturally, not with the aid of special supplements or dangerous drugs. Getting big muscles relies on using the right type of exercises, eating healthy and ensuring there’s adequate protein in your diet, which you can get from normal eating. It starts by getting stronger and using compound exercises rather than isolating specific muscle groups. The more you lift, the stronger you become and strength equals more muscle mass. Add more weight to your routine rather than adding reps.

Compound exercises are the route to go.

When you do compound exercises, you’ll work several different muscle groups at the same time. Compound exercises include squats, bench, overhead presses, deadlifts and barbell rows. The more weight you lift, the bigger your muscles grow. Go for workouts that use barbells, because they allow you to lift more weight than other forms of strength building in the gym. Don’t bother with machines, you’re better off with free weights. Always start light and make sure you have the proper form to get the best results and avoid injury.

Do strength building more than just once a week.

If you want big muscles, once a week strength building isn’t enough. You need to do it at least three times a week. Don’t forget about muscle recovery either. They need to rest a day to repair the damage, which makes them grow bigger. In fact, if you workout hard daily, you’ll actually sabotage your efforts and could end up sick. Boost your recovery efforts with rest and healthy eating.

Eat right for big muscle growth.

If you don’t have all the building materials available, you can’t build a house, no matter how much you pound a nail. The same is true for building muscle tissue. You need to eat more if you’re working hard and increase your protein intake for post workout meals. It helps repair damaged tissue and build new tissue. You need a gram of protein for every pound you weigh on the average, if you’re working intensely to build muscle tissue.

  • Adjust your expectations to reality. You won’t see the Atlas-style muscles in just a few months. It takes longer.
  • As with any type of workout, whether for weight loss or muscle building, consistency counts. Stay consistent with your workouts and healthy eating and you should get the results you want, but it will take a while.
  • Form is everything when you’re working out, especially if you’re going heavier. To avoid injury and get the maximum from your exercise program, make sure you’re form is right. A trainer can help.
  • Don’t forget other types of workouts. You can use strength training as part of your circuit training to build endurance, but you must include flexibility training or you’ll end up with injuries.

Diet For Constipation

Diet For Constipation

It may not seem like an earth shaking problem, but when you can’t go and know there’s a lot to eliminate, it can be painful and concerning. Constipation is defined as having a bowel evacuation less than three times a week. While it can leave you feeling out of sorts, it can also cause far more severe problems that may even require surgery. If you aren’t eating healthy, the problem of constipation is more likely. That’s where a diet for constipation can not only help bring relief, but also prevent future issues.

The foods you eat may look healthy, but be part of the problem.

Foods that are low on fiber can cause constipation, but so can otherwise healthy foods. For instance, unripe ones bananas may back you up. They contain resistant starch that’s harder to digest and tannins that slow digestion. Alcohol can cause dehydration that makes it difficult to have a bowel movement. Foods with gluten can cause digestive problems that create constipation. Processed grains have the germ and bran removed—which contains fiber to keep you going. Milk and dairy may cause constipation, just like red meat may. Most people already realize that fast foods, highly processed foods and fried foods increase the risk of constipation.

Focus on foods that speed foods help you go.

An apple a day not only keeps the doctor away, it helps you go! Eat the apple with the peel on it. Apples contain pectin that act like a natural stool softener. They area also high in fiber. Prunes are another stand-by when the going gets tough. Not only do they have the same effect as apples, they contain sorbitol, which pulls water into the colon. Pears, kiwi and other fresh fruits also help you go. You need to eat the fruit, not just drink its juice, to get the valuable fiber for colon health.

Eat your veggies for more going power.

Go for the greens to get plenty of fiber, plus other nutrients that keep you healthy. A salad filled with fresh spinach or other leafy greens will aid you in becoming regular. Don’t forget to eat some crucifers, like broccoli or Brussel sprouts to add to the fiber in your diet. Eating cooked spinach is also good, since one cup contains about 17 percent of your daily required fiber. One stalk of broccoli contains 16 percent and five Brussel sprouts contain 10 percent.

  • Drink more water. Dehydration can cause your stool to be dry and harder to pass. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day can keep it soft.
  • To go, you need to go for whole grains. Rye bread is better than others when it comes to constipation. It speeds up evacuation and decreases the time it takes to move the food through the body by 23 percent compared to white bread.
  • Sprinkling flaxseed on your cereal in the morning or in your smoothie can help you go. It’s been a treatment for constipation through the centuries because of its natural laxative effects.
  • Chia seeds act like natural stool softener to help make going easier.

"Text Neck" Is Becoming An Epidemic

“Text Neck” Is Becoming An Epidemic

If you’re constantly on your SmartPhone checking your texts or email, you may have the symptoms of “Text Neck,” which is also called turtle neck. It occurs because you’re chronically stressing your neck when you’re looking at hand held devices and flexing your head forward and is a repetitive stress/strain injury that can create neck pain, shoulder pain, headache, upper back pain and can promote thoracic kyphosis—hunchback.

When your posture is poor, it places undue force on many areas of the body.

Depending on your posture problem, there’s extra pressure placed on areas that weren’t meant to bear them. For instance, just slanting your head 15 degrees forward puts approximately 27 pounds of force on the neck. That stress increases to 40 pounds when the angle becomes 30 degrees. When the head tilts to 45 degrees the pressure goes up to 49 pounds and if it’s one of those sunny days where you have to tilt it dramatically to block the sun, a 60 tilt causes 60 pounds of pressure. Imagine putting a 60 pound weight on your neck and trying to lift your head!

There are other serious consequences besides just being a pain in the neck.

Flattening of thoracic kyphosis can occur. It is a medical term that basically means you’re losing that S curve in the spine and begin to demonstrate signs of a hunchback. That poor posture can also lead to other conditions like degeneration of the spine, muscle weakness, disc compression, early onset arthritis and ultimately, once your overall posture has permanently changed loss of lung capacity.

Prevention is the best way to deal with it.

Rather than dealing with the physical changes and aftermath of the poor posture, try to avoid it to begin with. Don’t stand in a bent posture for a long time, take breaks and don’t use your hand held device or smartphone for long periods. If you simply can’t go without checking your texts until you can sit down, hold the device so your neck isn’t stressed. A high volume of repetitive movements, such as typing or swiping the screen adds to the problem, so does a heavier device that’s held in one hand for a long time frame.

  • Exercises that help stretch the neck can help reduce the pain and aid in preventing further problems. An exaggerated nod, downward facing dog and touching your toes then holding are three stretches that help.
  • Regular exercises can help you stay fitter and keep your muscles strong to avoid postural changes that contribute to exacerbating the situation.
  • Put a limit on when you’ll use your phone. Let others know that you won’t text back immediately if you’re walking, driving or not in a position where you can comfortable read and respond to texts.
  • Stretch frequently throughout the day and practice good posture.

How Sleep Affects Your Weight And Performance

How Sleep Affects Your Weight And Performance

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that lack of sleep affects your weight and performance. If you’re tired, you not only reach for those jelly donuts to give you a sugar boost, but also drift off during work, expending more energy on staying awake than actually accomplishing anything of importance. There are other reasons that aren’t quite as obvious that cause sleep deprivation to affect both weight and all aspects of your life.

Besides the urge to eat a box of Ding Dongs, sleep deprivation affects your weight in other ways.

Your body needs adequate sleep to keep all systems going full force. You need it to make repairs in the body and prepare it for your next day’s tasks. When you’re sleep-deprived your body creates more cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol also makes you hungrier. With your brain already foggy, it’s hard to resist anything sugary or excessively fattening.

Sleep deprivation messes with other hormones besides cortisol.

Lack of sleep causes your ghrelin levels to rise. Those are the hormones that tell your body that you’re hungry and need to eat. To make matters worse, it lowers your leptin hormones, those that tell your body that you’re full. If you don’t get enough sleep, it starts shutting down the mitochondria, the little furnaces in the cells. In turn, not all the sugar is processed and you end up with higher blood sugar levels. That can be the start of insulin resistance, the start of type 2 diabetes.

Lack of sleep affects your work and your workout.

If you’re finding your memory is not as good as it should be, don’t blame it on aging if you’re only getting a few hours of sleep every night. Lack of sleep slows your cognitive thinking processes, affects your memory and lowers your desire to accomplish anything. That can’t be good on any type of job. Not only does it affect your work and your desire to work, it affects your workout in the same ways, plus other ways. Your body heals best during sleep, so recovery after exercise is thwarted. One study showed that sprinters increased their sprinting times over a three week period when they improved their sleep patterns.

  • It doesn’t take much to be sleep-deprived, either. Just getting a half hour less sleep five days a week can dramatically increase your risk of both diabetes and obesity.
  • When you lack sleep, your body goes into survival mode. That means it slows your metabolism and burns calories slower. That’s a huge reason to get plenty of ZZZs.
  • Lack of sleep is linked to many serious conditions, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer and many cognitive issues.
  • Exercise can help you have a better quality of sleep, but getting into the sack on time is still the responsibility of each person. Turning off any devices, like TVs and creating a dark environment helps.

Fascinating Facts About Fascia

Fascinating Facts About Fascia

If you aren’t sure exactly what fascia does or know and facts about fascia, you’re not alone. Fascia is an intricate network of sheaths that surrounds all parts of the body, including organs, to help protect it. While many professionals that study the body often overlook this covering, there’s a lot of information today about how important it is. It aids in movement and lets the muscles move freely and allows them to slide against organs and other muscles smoothly, without causing damage. This soft connective tissue is everywhere in the body and surrounds all bones, muscle, organs and nerve fibers.

Fascia is a three-dimensional matrix.

While that might sound like it was taken from a sci-fi movie, it’s really simple to explain. There are trillions of cells in the body that work together to create the working machine we know. The fascia is what holds them together. It’s has a 3 dimensional spider web pattern to bind them together. The fibers act like the glue and provide stability while still allowing movement. It weaves itself through the body, not just outside the muscle tissue.

Your fascia is emotional.

There’s a belief that fascia holds onto emotional memory. If you hold in your emotions and don’t face them, it can cause changes in your posture. On the short term, it’s easy to see someone who has gone through the wringer by the way they slump as they walk. Emotional trauma can be locked into the fascia until it’s released and the emotion is faced. Many massage therapists find when they’re working with tight fascia, the client will suddenly have an emotional reaction and not know why. Upon reflection, it may be traced back to a powerful incident from the past. When you first feel a strong emotion, you feel it in your body. If you’re not ready to face it, the fascia lock it down and that’s how it all begins.

Fascia helps prevent injury to muscles and bones by transmitting force.

The perfect example of fascia at work is the trained athlete or stuntman that jumps from a second story building, rolls and runs. It’s more than just how he or she holds their muscles, it’s fascia at work. The muscles provide inner force and gravity, plus the ground are the external force, the fascial network, disperses the throughout the body, so it’s not all at one point. That minimizes the stress on one or two bones or muscles and spreads it to protect those bones or muscles.

  • Repetition, including sitting, causes the fascia to stiffen at the line of stress. It also leaves it weaker in other directions. That can cause immobility of a joint or boost the potential for tears in the fascia.
  • Fascia has the ability to contract, but there’s little understanding how the fascia manages to contract in concert with muscle contraction.
  • Since fascia is a web of continuous coverage for bones, muscle and organs through many layers, it helps move the whole body seamlessly. It also means that whole-body movements during training will help maximize the functioning.
  • You have ten times more sensory receptors in fascia as you do in muscle tissue. What may feel like a sore muscle may actually be sore fascia.