Need a Post-Workout Routine?

We all tend to think about the ways we can prepare for a workout but we tend to neglect proper routine for what to do post-workout. There are many ways to get the best out of your workout with a proper post-routine. Utilizing these steps will keep your metabolism up, maintain hydration and keeping your body’s stress under control.

 

  1. Protein

Many think the post-shake is a bit excessive for the regular gym attendee but it does serve a lot of purpose for the body. Post-workout protein is dire especially when you also do not have a proper pre-routine that includes a proper meal. An average amount of protein to consume would be anywhere between 20-50 grams depending on your gender, weight, and where you are in your fitness journey.  

 

  1. Food

In addition to in taking some protein, food is another way to be sure you are maximizing your workout to the best of your ability. Eat some fruit like a banana to aid in your post-workout routine. It is naturally a great resource for potassium. The Potassium in your body gets naturally drained during an intense workout. So be sure to replenish nutrients after your workout. Even with Potassium, sodium and calcium are other factors that play a part in muscular energy. Bananas or potatoes are great sources of Potassium.

 

  1. Roll

Many beginners are unfamiliar with this concept of rolling out the body. This process is done by taking a dense foam cylinder and rolling out the muscles in the body. The reason for using a foam roller would be to improve flexibility, increase blood flow and circulation. It also helps with the soreness and pain felt after a workout. This process also just breaks up any general knots in your muscles that could create pain throughout the rest of the day.

 

  1. Rest

 

It is quite important to remember to relax in between workouts. You do not want to overwork your body either during or after your workout. Whether you chose to be through sleep or just relax, give your body a break to recuperate from the workout. Getting the proper amount of the sleep can really help with getting more energy into your workouts. It will also give you the energy you need for your next time at the gym.

 

These four factors can be the beginning of a great post-workout plan. It will help you maintain your longevity for a great fitness journey.

The Benefits of CrossFit

Many have heard of the latest workout craze of CrossFit but are not entirely sure of what it is and the benefits of it. This strength and conditioning program has had years of growing popularity in the fitness industry but is popular now more than ever. If you are interested in learning more about what the brand of CrossFit entails then you are at the right place.

 

What is it?

CrossFit, Inc. has been around since 2000. It was founded by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai to not only promote physical fitness philosophy but to also create a new genre of a competitive sport. This program is not for the weak-minded. CrossFit utilizes elements from Olympic weightlifting to gymnastics and many other facets in between.

It is practiced in gyms across the world in 142 countries across all seven continents. There are multiple aspects to CrossFit that make it so successful among users. They utilize “WODs” which stands for workouts of the day that vary the way you work your body.

 

The Benefits

  1. Time Efficient

The biggest appeal to CrossFit is the short amount of time it takes to get a full-rounded workout.  Within a timeframe of 15 to 20 minutes, you’ll be asked to complete as many rounds or reps of a specific area as you possibly can. Due to the increase of intensity and dedication to the moves, you will be burning more calories than a regular workout routine.

2. Intensity

Another big appeal that parallels with time efficiency is the intensity of the workouts. CrossFit is a fast-paced workout that can is crammed with non-stop movement. The concentrated burst of energy saves time and gets your heart and body pumping. It may only take a few routines like burpees or squats but it is the repetition and the time that creates the intensity needed for powerful results.

3. Increased Mobility

Due to the varied movements throughout Crossfit workouts, your body is getting well-rounded, full body exercise compared to working individual parts while the rest of the body stays stagnant. This program pushes you to activate all aspects of your body, not just the ones you want to focus on. As well, with CrossFit comes coaches that guide you through the proper ways to lift heavy items and correct form throughout sessions.

 

CrossFit increases many different parts of your fitness from stamina, flexibility, power, and endurance but also pushes you in your own personal fitness journey.

3 Ways to Prep Before Your Workout

Alex-Lakhanpal-Workout-Prep

Exercising the body is quite important but preparing prior to your workout is even more important. Setting yourself up for a great workout will lead to a more efficient time spent within in the gym or even before you go on a run. Here are a few smart choices to make before you break a sweat and burn calories.

Hydrate

Before your workout or exercise routine, drink two cups of fluid at least two hours prior. Drinking fluid two hours before your exercise gives your kidneys enough time to begin process fluid. Then thirty minutes before you leave for your workout, drink another 5 to 10 ounces of fluid.

Not only should you hydrate prior to your workout, you should make sure to drink water throughout your workout and after. Water lubricates your muscles and also prevents cramping during your routine.

 

Eat The Right Food

Fueling up before your workout is just as important as hydrating before your workout. 30 to 60 minutes before your workout is an appropriate time to eat a high protein and nutrient filled meal. Some great lean proteins to eat pre-workout include poultry, fish, and specific nuts. As well, complex carbohydrates like whole grains and fruit can be turned into energy that in return can be burned during your workout.

Healthy snacks like a chia pudding or protein smoothies are also great ways to ingest beneficial food without intaking too many calories. Whey protein also is a simple way to get more protein in your food for a pre-workout. Over-eating before exercising can cause cramping and stomach problems so be aware of how much food you are intaking.

 

Stretching

Warming up before a workout is also a smart choice before jumping right into long strenuous movement. A smart way to stretch would be to hold your stretches for more than 60 seconds. Static stretching does not do much for your body and can actually be less helpful during your workout. As well, not properly stretching before a workout can cause injury. A dynamic stretching routine 15 minutes prior to your workout can make or break the time dedicated to improving your body.

 

These are the basics for setting yourself up for a great daily workout. Hydrating, eating, and stretching as some of the simple ways to prep your body for improvement.

 

How to Run Faster : Step 2, Technique

alex lakhanpal runningAs is the case with any workout regimen, it’s always important that you evaluate where you are currently and consult with your physician in order to avoid injury. Furthermore, when incorporating a new exercise routine into your daily life, it’s also wise to do so gradually in order to avoid burnout (or injury). If you are just beginning the process of working out, that you spend time researching what activities make sense for your body and interests. Choose something that is fun or a challenge, that will help keep you motivated.

And, for those of you that are already active runners looking to improve your time or challenge yourself even more, I would suggest that you evaluate yourself. First of all, physically, what are your weak spots? Dealking with knee problems? Do you chronically sprain your ankle? Asthma? Shin splints? Poor alignment? Whatever the physical ailments may be, big or small, do a full evaluation and take steps to correct them. You should do this in concert with your physician.

Unfortunately, running can exacerbate many of these physical problems, and if you are trying to improve your speeds, you need to know that you and your body are on the same page.

Once you have taken care to evaluate any injuries or issues that may inhibit your speed, the next move is to reconsider your current technique. The video below discusses some of the best ways to increase your running speed just by making small tweaks to your current running technique. This includes everything from moving your arms directly forward and back to good vertical posture and not bouncing up and down when running.

How to Run Faster : Step 1, Drop the Baggage

We’ve all had that moment. That moment of nostalgia for the days when we were  in our peak physical condition. For those of us who were athletes during our prime, it may be somewhat unrealistic to expect that we can capture the exact same level of physical conditioning that we once had.

However, you may be surprised by what your body can still do, even if it’s been a while since you last donned your track shoes.

Instead of trying to recapture your time, or weight, or lifting capacity of your former self, simply focus on improving from where you are right now. Re-assess your goals. Is your priority to look a certain way? Or is it to enhance the quality and longevity of your life? Be realistic. Do you have eight free hours a day to devote to training? Or would you rather have one or two brief workouts a day that pack in dynamic movements, so that you can spend more time with your family?

Before beginning a new exercise regimen or training schedule, these are all important things to consider and should shape how you approach improving your overall health.

Below is a video that talks about how to set yourself up for success as you begin to transition into a new exercise program. Two of the main takeaways include clearly defining your goals and motivation, as well as a gradual progression into the training program.

Enjoy!

 

The Secret To Losing Belly Fat? Stop Drinking Diet Soda

alexlakhanpalIt’s no surprise that drinking soda can significantly contribute to weight gain. In 2009 the NYC Health Department ran an ad campaign that showed the “amount of fat” contained in each bottle of soda with somewhat graphic ads that depicted fat within these bottles. Another ad that was less graphic, but just as expressive was one that showed the amount of sugar that you consume in a typical 20 oz bottle of soda. Although many of us are aware of this health crisis running rampant in our country, obesity rates especially in the US are mounting and give no hint of slowing down.

 

But for those who are trying to cut back on drinking soda, what are the options? If the headaches, lethargy and general irritability that can come with kicking  a soda addiction cold-turkey seem like a horrific nightmare for you ( and everyone around you) diet soda may seem like a reasonable alternative. Right?

 

Wrong. Whether you are enroute to giving up soda completely, or have decided to drink diet soda indefinitely instead of regular soda, don’t kid yourself. Recent studies show that diet soda unquestionably contributes to gaining weight NOT losing it. While this may not be terribly surprising to some, the data mounting against diet soda as a weight loss aid (or at least non-contributor to weight gain)  is undeniable.

 

Earlier this year, the  Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published a study that followed 749 participants over the span of nine years and tracked their drinking habits. Each participant in the study recorded how many cans of soda they consumed (if any) and noted whether it was diet or regular.  This lengthy study found that the participants’ answers were incredible predictors of fat gained in the abdominal region of the body.

 

Even when researchers adjusted for factors like smoking, diabetes, level of activity and age, those who consumed soda were much more likely to have gained weight, or carried more belly fat than their non-soda drinking counterparts.

 

Over this nine year period, participants who didn’t drink soda, on average gained roughly .8  inches on their waists, however, those participants that drank diet soda on a daily basis gained an average of a whopping 3.2 inches around their waists. Even those who reported only drinking diet soda occasionally, on average gained 1.8 in.

 

Perhaps this data is telling us something that we already knew – or at least suspected. However, in addition to busting the myth that “diet” sodas will somehow aid you in losing weight, the study also revealed that diet sodas are linked to the most dangerous type of weight gain. Weight gain in the stomach is generally linked to an increased likelihood of Type two diabetes,cardiovascular disease and inflammation.

nyc_pouringfatcampaignSo why is it then, that these diet drinks are so unhealthy? While they may bear markers of being low calorie, these drinks contain artificial sweeteners that are capable of sweetening up soda at a rate of two to six hundred times that of sugar. That’s staggering. And while scientists are still unclear as to why exactly diet sodas cause weight- gain there is no denying the link between the two.

For those looking to improve their cores,  once you’ve ditched the soda, start strengthening with this great workout.

The Perfect Pushup

alexander lakhanpalWhile The Pushup may seem like a fairly easy move for those of us in relatively good shape, apparently, a lot can go wrong with a pushup. From hurting your back to straining your neck, if performed improperly, a pushup can in fact be a hazard to your health. If you are new to fitness, I suggest that you start slow and focus on form instead of trying to crank out a significant number of pushups. Even modifying the pushup until you are comfortable or physically able to correctly perform a full pushup is a worthwhile idea. Doing 100 pushups is of little consequence if you throw out your back and can’t turn your head to the side owing to improper form. So for novices and “pros” alike, I would suggest that you heed the following advice.

1.Surface

Make sure that you are working on a flat even surface, unless you are performing advanced training moves that require an uneven surface. Make sure that you have a mat or a clean surface under you so that you don’t cut your hands

2. Alignment

Ensure that your shoulders are directly over your wrists, and that your lower back isn’t sagging – but also that your lower back/glutes aren’t raised. Your should be in a straight diagonal line from your head to your feet.

3. Watch the Neck

Don’t Strain your neck! This is a very common mistake that people make when they are tired, or just don’t know proper form. Make sure your neck is stretched out long, and that your eyes are slightly forward.

4. Do a full push up

When you are at the lowest point, your elbows should be at 90 degrees. Engage your shoulders triceps lats and abs fully. Always protect your lower back and try to engage as many muscles as possible.

For correct form, see below:

Stretching 101

Alexander Lakhanpal FitnessRecently, a video surfaced featuring a man doing a split between two chairs while lifting a 100 LB dumbbell above his head. While I don’t condone this practice by any means (this is extremely dangerous to do), it did a great job of showcasing the fact that it’s possible to achieve both strength and flexibility. Jukin Media uploaded the video that supposedly features a bodybuilder trying to raise awareness for, “Hardcore Stretching” by performing this unbelievable feat.

Although I have no advice for attempting what this man performed in this video, it is a great springboard for discussing the basics of stretching. There are two main categories of stretching : dynamic and static. As you can imagine, dynamic stretches involve movement whereas static stretches involve holding a position. These categories can be broken down further into the following subcategories:

Ballistic Stretching utilizes the momentum generated by the body or a limb in an attempt to force it beyond its normal range of motion. This type of stretching can often lead to injury – especially if you aren’t warmed up as it doesn’t let the muscles adjust to or relax in the stretched position. Instead, ballistic stretching cause the muscle to do the complete opposite and tighten up instead.

Dynamic Stretching involves moving parts of your body while gradually increasing the reach or speed of the movement, or both. Although both Ballistic and Dynamic stretching involve movement, the key difference is that dynamic stretching is controlled and gradual where ballistic stretches are neither.

Active Stretching or “static-active stretching” involves assuming a position then holding it with no assistance other than using the strength of your agonist muscles.The tension of these muscles in an active stretch helps to relax the muscles being stretched (the antagonists). Many of the poses in various forms of yoga are active stretches.

Passive Stretching or “relaxed stretching” or “static-passive stretching”involves assuming a position then holding it with a different part of your body, or with the help of a partner or aid. A split is an example of a passive stretch (in this case the floor is the “aid” utilized to stay in the pose).

Static Stretching – some people use the terms “passive stretching” and “static stretching” interchangeably, but others suggest a difference between them. According to those that see these terms as unique; static stretching involves holding a position whereas passive stretching is a technique in which you are relaxed, but don’t actively contribute to the range of motion.

Isometric Stretching falls under the category of static stretching. This type of stretching involves the resistance of muscle groups through tensing or contracting stretched muscles. This type of stretching is a quick way to enhance static-passive flexibility.
PNF Stretching is an effective way known to increase static-passive flexibility. PNF stands for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. It is not a type of stretching. Instead it is a technique that combines passive and isometric stretches in a way that will achieve the most static flexibility possible. PNF stretching is often performed with partners and the combination of stretches usually involves the; hold-relax, the hold-relax-contract or the hold-relax-swing.

There is discussion over the best point in your workout to perform stretching. Most agree that post-workout is the best time to do a full stretch routine because your muscles are warm, but others contend that if you are doing a more restorative/realignment series of stretches, it’s critical to do this before your workout. Another factor that is important to consider is the type of workout meant to accompany your stretching. Because of this, make sure that you consult with your physician and a professional before starting a new routine to make sure that you maintain proper form and are doing the best thing for yourself.