Monday, August 25, 2014

Benefits of Chia Seeds - The Superfood

1. They have an amazing nutritional value compared to the calories. So for a serving size of 1 ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds you get 11 grams of fiber, 9 grams of fat (5 of which are Omega 3’s), 4 grams of protein and a bunch of minerals and vitamins.

2. Almost all carbs in chia seeds are fiber! Out of 12 grams of carbohydrates, 11 are fiber, which means they pass through the digestive system (improving the digestion), and are eliminated without being stored!

3. Prevents diabetes - the fiber in chia seeds does not raise the sugar level in the blood because it passes through the digestive system without being absorbed, so it doesn't require any extra insulin to dispose of it.

4. Chia seeds can improve performance when working out almost as much as an energy drink. In fact, in the book “Born to Run”, Christopher McDougall tells the story of how the Tarahumaras Indians, a tribe of super-runners in the Copper Canyons of Mexico, use this as an energy punch.  You can mix it with your drink as you head out the door, and sip from it every now and then to get a bit of an extra kick.

5. Chia seeds can combat dehydration. They are well known for absorbing as much as 30  times their weight in water, so when they are ingested as a gel-like substance (which is what they turn into when soaked in water) they not only help regulate body fluid levels, but they also help to and retain electrolytes. Both of these are essential in the battle against dehydration. For long workouts in high heat and humidity, chia seeds are an excellent way to prolong hydration.

6. Chia seeds reduce inflammation and joint pain. The Omega-3 essential fatty acids (like those found in fish oil) are proven to be anti-inflammatory, and chia seeds are full of these. The Aztecs themselves ate chia seeds to relieve knee pain. In addition to battling aches and joint pain, the essential fatty acids found in chia seeds help with skin problems and even brain health, and have even been shown to decrease the symptoms of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and even hypertension.

7. Chia seeds accelerate post-run recovery, which is great if you’re training for a marathon or half this fall. The amino acids are the “building blocks of protein”, and the antioxidants are the ultimate defense against free radicals. Chia seeds have plenty of both, so if you want a really effective post-run drink, mix them with some water or your shake, and drink up to jumpstart recovery.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dead Butt Syndrome

You know how when you sit for a really long time in one position, your booty starts to ache? Yeah, that's not what we're talking about when we say "dead butt syndrome" (but still, ouch). Dead Butt Syndrome is caused by inflammation in your gluteus medius muscles, and though it sounds funny, it’s no laughing matter.

What is it?
Run coach Chris Heuisler said that dead butt syndrome is occurring a lot these days because we spend a large part of our time on our bums, which tightens up our hips and prevents the gluteal muscles from working properly and symmetrically. So what happens is you start carrying more wait over one hip than the other, which transfers the weight unevenly over the rest of your body. And that causes major injuries, particularly in runners.

Do you have it?
Dead butt syndrome is characterized by severe hip pain and walking wobbly. When you’re standing still, you might hold your weight unconsciously more to one side than the other. If you’re worried or in pain, always talk to a doc before you do anything, even the exercises we’re gonna talk about below—they’re preventative, not quick fixes!

How to avoid it
#1. Bridge the gap: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your pelvis slowly up toward the ceiling as far as you can with a goal of creating a straight line from your knees to your chest. Hold for five seconds, then lower back to the ground. Repeat.

#2. Lift it: Stretch out on your side, legs straight and stacked, head and neck supported by your arm. Your knees should face forward. Use your abs to hold you in place while you squeeze your glutes and lift your top leg upward a foot or so—as high as you can without losing stability. Hold, then slowly lower. Repeat 10 times on one side, then roll over and do the same on the other side.

#3. Singled out: Start this adapted squat without weights, but feel free to gradually add them in to tone your arms after you master the movement. To start, stand about a yard in front of a low chair, bench or table (you want the top of it to come up to your knee). Your feet should be spread a little wider than your shoulders, upper body relaxed. Bend your left knee and rest your foot back on the bench. Then, bend your right knee and squat down slowly. Continue dropping low until your front thigh is parallel to the ground and your knee is perpendicular to your shin. Don’t overextend your knee over your foot—that can cause injury. Press up through your foot and squeeze your bum to come up. Repeat 10 times on one side, then switch.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What Are Some Easy Ways To Protect Your Joints?

You should know how to protect your joints regardless of whether you work out or not. Your wrists and your ankles are extremely important in everyday movements. Those who have had problems with their knees also know how incredibly uncomfortable it can be to perform easy tasks like bending to pick something up, or even trying to take out the garbage.

1. Correct form

If you are into the habit of working out, making sure that you are performing your exercises with the proper form is one of the simplest ways to protect your joints. Make sure you hold your dumbbells with a tight grip, and that you follow the right form when doing bench presses or even bicep curls. The same goes for your squats- make sure you don’t go with your knees over your toes as you lower your body, so as to make sure that you’re not putting too much pressure on your ankles.

2. Strengthening smaller muscles

You know the saying, that a group is as strong as its weakest member. Why would it be any different for your body? After all it is a group of muscles and bones and… joints! The best way to protect your joints in advance is to make sure they’re strong enough to handle the extra pressure when you start lifting heavier weights. So make sure you progress slowly enough for your joints to adapt, and don’t be afraid to do exercises that you wouldn't normally do which help them (like exercises for the forearm, or the calves)

3. Supplements to protect your joints

If you want to effectively protect your joints and prevent injury, you could try a few supplements. There are plenty of natural alternatives, like fish oil (either eating fish or taking fish oil pills). And believe it or now vitamin C also helps to protect your joints. Some other substances that help are silicone and gelatin (type II collagen).

4. Rest

If you want to protect your joints, you must treat rest with as much importance as you treat your workouts. This can mean two things.

First, you have to make sure that you don’t work out too much, and rest too little. It’s important to get at least one day of rest per week. If you can’t stand it to not move a little, you can have an active rest day, where you go for a walk or an easy bike ride.

But the rest can also refer to giving yourself a break if something feels wrong. If you want to protect your joints it’s not smart to push through with a workout if you feel pain during or after your workout. If you don’t give yourself a break and let your joints get healthy again after an injury, the situation will only get worse.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Portion Control Tips To Manage How Much You Eat

The easiest way to lose weight is to watch what you eat- simple concept, right? After all, abs are made in the kitchen, so regardless of how much you work out, you still need to have a bit of portion control in order to make sure you’re not eating your way out of progress. But how do we do that?

1. Think out of the box… and into the Tupperware

The most common situation in which we overeat is when we just dig into food, thinking that we’ll stop when we’re no longer hungry. While in theory this concept is not wrong, the truth is that without portion control you can’t tell when you’ve had enough until it’s too late. This is because it takes your body up to 20 minutes to process the fact that you’ve had enough to eat and you are full. And in those 20 minutes you might feel a bit hungry still, but that’s only because the stomach has not yet had a chance to digest what you’ve already eaten, and to send the information to the brain that you’ve had enough.

A simple way to prevent this is to store your food in Tupperware boxes that are the perfect size for one meal. Do this wisely, with your caloric goal in mind if you have one, and stick to that portion.

2. Welcome salad in your life

Use this easy portion control trick when you’re eating out and don’t have your Tupperware there to stop you: before each meal, as an appetizer, have a salad. It’s very low in calories, it keeps you busy so you don’t end up munching on peanuts out of boredom or hunger, and it starts the timer on those 20 minutes.

3. Portion control for snacks

If you’re snacking out of boredom, or while you’re watching TV, the last thing on your mind will be portion control. However, this is important even when you’re not focused on it (we don’t want to be obsessing over food now, do we?). An easy trick to get your portion control in check with snacks is to put them in small bowls. That way, when you’re done eating one, you will have to make the “effort” of getting up and re-filling. With each refill you become aware of how much you are eating- and this awareness helps.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Why Workouts Are The Best Stress Management Tools?

We live in the kind of world where stress management is talked about daily, but which is less often put into practice. You’re too busy to notice that you’re stressed, and how this is affecting your body. The current times do not allow for too much leisure time, and work is never light and relaxing- the more you work, the more you need to work to surpass your previous level and show that you should be promoted, and stress management becomes an essential part of surviving in today’s society. But how do we practice stress management? The easiest way we know: exercise. Here are a couple of tips on why your workouts are the best stress management tools you can find.


Exercises releases endorphins, which are also known as “the happy hormone”. Therefore each time you practice your workout, whether it is running or lifting weights or whatever you choose to do, you get a small “hit” of our body’s favourite drug.

The endorphins act as a pain killer, first of all, which means that you can work out consistently and for longer periods of time if needed, but secondly endorphins are a stress management tool. They relax you, they make you feel a little more positive, and it’s all natural.

Positive addiction

Exercise is a positive addiction, and when it comes to stress management that can be a huge thing. It can replace negative addictions- and I’m not referring only to hard drugs, but also smoking, alcohol drinking, even internet addiction. You stop obsessing over something that negatively impacts your life- and which consequently stresses you out- and you focus instead on something that brightens your mood and improves the way in which your body functions.

And if turning your life around isn’t’ stress management, I don’t know what is.


Exercise is self-empowering. There is no doubt about it.

Do you remember the first time you started working out, do you remember how you felt? If you’re like most of us, you probably felt a bit discouraged to see how weak or unfit you are. But as you progress with exercise, you notice small but consistent improvements. You become stronger, your stamina increases, and you even start to look better- and all this of course has a tremendously positive effect on our lives.

Apart from the direct observations on exercise, we can practice stress management by taking the small victories from the exercise and applying them in real life. You think “I was consistent with my squats, and I got from barely doing 10 bodyweight squats to sets of almost 40 kg barbell squats? I can surely take this discipline in my work field as well. Or my family life, which needs organizing through patience and persistence”. You take the lessons you learn about yourself during workout or on the street as you run and run and run, and it’s empowering because you realize that your self-progress does not stop here. A big part of stress management is knowing that you have what it takes to persevere in all aspects of life, with patience- and exercising is the perfect tool for practicing this!