Tuesday, April 30, 2013

5 ways to ease sore muscles

The day after a brutal workout, exercising more might be the last thing you want to do—but here’s why you should: Light activity can help ease soreness just as well as a massage, according to a new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

For the study, Danish researchers asked 20 women to perform shoulder exercises. Two days later, the women received a 10-minute massage on one shoulder and performed 10 minutes of exercise (a lighter intensity version of the original moves) on the other. Turns out, participants felt equal amounts of relief in both shoulders.

While the study didn’t explore why exactly exercise can help ease muscle soreness, researchers believe that, since it increases circulation to muscles, physical activity may help speed up the body’s drainage of the metabolic waste and chemicals linked with muscle aches, says lead study author Lars Andersen, PhD, a professor at the National Research Center for the Working Environment in Copenhagen.

Previous research has also shown that increased blood flow speeds delivery of nutrients to damaged muscles, makes tissues more elastic, and increases range of motion—all of which can help ease pain and boost recovery.

Just remember that recovery workouts are supposed to feel quick and easy, similar to a warm-up, says Andersen. To get blood circulating to specific muscle groups, your routine should focus on similar moves to what caused the soreness in the first place—but at an easier intensity. Or, if you’re sore all over, do a light workout on an elliptical machine or in the pool, suggests Jaime Edelstein, DScPT, CSCS, a physical therapist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Of course, moving your muscles isn’t the only way to keep them pain-free. Try these other ways to ease aches:

Foam rollers
Similar to massage, foam rollers increase blood flow to your muscles through applied pressure—but without the hefty price tag, says Edelstein. And since you decide which muscles you work, you can make sure to focus on the areas that need the most TLC.

Skip ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. While they may make you feel better, they’ll also halt your body’s production of a group of lipid compounds called prostaglandins, which research shows help muscles heal. Acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) can help temporarily curb pain without preventing muscles from repairing themselves, says Edelstein.

Stretching—after a warm up
Limbering up relaxes and lengthens tight muscles, says Edelstein. But since stretching “cold” muscles can cause injury, she recommends waiting to stretch until after you’ve done a light warm-up.

Heat therapy
Warm temps can increase blood flow to sore muscles big time, says Edelstein. Soak in a hot bath, or if the pain is isolated, apply heat directly to the spot that’s giving you trouble. Many peel-and-stick heating pads can stay in place for hours and are thin enough to wear under clothing.

Taking a fish-oil pill once a day reduces soreness and eases inflammation 48 hours after a strength-training workout, according to research published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. Omega-3s—which are also found naturally in foods such as salmon, spinach, and nuts—may help boost circulation to sore muscles while also reducing inflammation.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Do Energy Drinks Affect Your Heart Health?

We all know that an energy drink can be great when you need a quick boost, but a new study is again calling their safety—more specifically, their effects on heart health—into question. Should you be worried?

A review of previous research, presented at the 2013 American Heart Association meeting in New Orleans, found that drinking one to three energy drinks could mess with your heart rhythm and increase your blood pressure. If severe enough, these changes could lead to an irregular heartbeat or even sudden cardiac death.

In the seven studies reviewed, which involved people between 18 and 45 years old, those who consumed energy drinks experienced a 4 percent change in the rhythm of their heart. In addition, their systolic blood pressure—aka the top number on the blood pressure reading—jumped by 3.5 points.

While the changes seem small, they can still cause problems for certain people. According to AHA spokesperson Gordon F. Tomaselli, M.D., those with an existing heart condition or a family history of heart problems, like an irregular heartbeat, should avoid drinking energy drinks.

But if you're generally healthy, do you need to swear them off? Probably not, but the key—like with most things—is moderation. Some men could have an undiagnosed heart condition that could land them in the emergency room after one energy drink too many. Just don't overdo it by downing several cans in one day, and when you do drink one, keep an eye out for these side effects, which could signal a bad reaction:

·         Racing heart
·         Skipping or jumping heartbeat
·         Feeling jittery or anxious
·         Extended dizzy spells.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Basal metabolic rate changes as you age

Going on a crash diet to shed the pounds fast? Think again.

Although the pounds will dwindle, so will your metabolic rate and most likely your lean body mass — which in the end is exactly what you don’t want.

“If you go on, say, a 900-calorie-a-day diet, you will have a hard time getting the nutrients you need,” says Rebecca Mohning, a D.C. nutritionist. “Without the daily requirement of protein, you will break down your lean muscle mass.”

“Basically, the body will make sure it gets what it needs to function — and if it doesn’t get what it needs from food, it will take what it needs from the muscles,” says Fairfax-based nutritionist Danielle Omar, who owns Foodconfidence.com. “It’s not that smart when you consider that you are in essence eating away at your own muscle mass.”

And less lean muscle mass means you burn fewer calories — probably not what you were going for.

You will also lower the body’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) — the minimum amount of energy you need to keep the basic functions going (such as liver and brain function and breathing; breaking down food requires about 10 percent of the total BMR).

“It just covers the basal processes of the body. Nothing on top of it – not even walking,” says Scott Kahan, a doctor and director of the Washington-based National Center for Weight and Wellness.

So what determines the metabolic rate and how is it calculated?

The basal metabolic rate is determined by age, gender, height and weight, as well as individual, not-well-understood genetic factors, says Kahan.

“Whenever you lose weight, whether intentionally or not, your BMR goes down,” Kahan says.

Age also affects BMR. “This is why you sometimes see people in their late 20s surprised at gaining a few pounds when they don’t feel like they have changed any of their eating habits,” Mohning says.

This is because after the age of 25 — which is the age where we stop growing bone — the metabolic rate goes down by 2 percent or more per decade, she says. So, in order to stay at the same weight without a change to your level of activity, you would have to cut your daily calories by the same amount.

For example, a woman might get away with consuming 1,800 calories a day up to age 25. But in the next decade she would have to cut that intake down to 1,728 calories per day. In the next decade it would be down to 1,658.

Sounds complicated?

Yes, says Kahan, it is complicated and it’s difficult to get an accurate reading. For the number to be truly accurate it has to be done in a facility with trained personnel who can measure your body’s oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output, he says.

“And it can have unintended consequences,” Kahan says.

For example, if you find out that your BMR is low you might feel it’s hopeless, he says.

“Knowing your metabolic rate can lead to a very fatalistic view,” he says. “If your metabolic rate is 1,200 calories a day, you are going to have a more difficult time losing weight, but not necessarily less opportunity to stay healthy,” he says. “We want to emphasize health.”

Mohning, though, says that it can work to the contrary. People who blamed their “slow metabolism” their whole lives realize their metabolism actually is no worse than the next person’s.

So how about supposedly “metabolism-boosting” foods — are they for real?

“It’s nothing to get too excited about,” Mohning says. Though some things, such as green tea, have been shown to increase calorie burn, the change is very small. The same goes for spices like cayenne pepper.

The safer, better method to increase your calorie burn is to increase your lean body mass.

“The only real solution is to put on muscle,” says Omar, who adds that losing more than one or two pounds a week for most women and more than two or three pounds a week for most men is not advisable.

Building muscle and staying active in general is also a good way to avoid yo-yo dieting, Mohning says.

Typically, people will lose the desired 10 to 20 pounds by crash dieting, she says, but then they gain it back because they have lowered their metabolic rate. And when they gain the weight back, they gain it in fat — not the muscle they initially lost as a result of the crash diet.

So, if you are a perpetual crash-dieter, there’s still good news.

Your basal metabolic rate is not permanently damaged no matter how many bad yo-yo diets you have been on in your life, Mohning says. As long as you stay active and find a measured approach to eating, you are good to go, she says.

“I think that could be very encouraging for people to know. No permanent damage is done.”

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The day the RED went official

The new Warrior Bootcamp T shirt for 2013 made its official appearance at the Malakoff race which fell on 17th March.

Back of the T shirt, the proud motto of Warrior Bootcamp


The complete warrior participants. Everyone looking sleek and ready to race ;)


It doesn't matter if you win or lose but it's the spirit of trying. As they would say, great effort springs naturally from great attitude.

Race completed! Time to refuel energy for Claudius

Proudly showing off our finisher medal


Getting a group photo.. this can get a lil tricky

Ops, not ready

All smiles now and say CHEESE!

Well done and great effort by everyone!