Does Muscle Turn Into Fat?

Weighing ScalesIt’s one of the oldest theories about resistance training and building muscle. Well it’s a load of old bull! Muscle does not turn into fat. If that is the case why do a lot of retired sports men or women lose muscle and gain body fat? It’s simply down to them being retired. They no longer train the way the used to. They may have stopped resistance training altogether. Muscles are like skills. If you stop working them they will decrease with time. Just like if you’re great at playing a sport. Stop practicing and your skills will decline in time.

Why the Increase in Body Fat?

What tends to happen is the same amounts of calories are still being consumed but the training that used to burn them off has stopped. That means only one thing – increased body fat! So in conclusion, the muscles have reduced in size because of the lack of resistance training and the body fat has increased due to roughly the same amount of calories still being consumed.

The Solution

If you reduce your training then reduce your calories consumed to keep the balance right!

Do Diets Really Work?

Weighing Scales

The diet industry is huge. Why is that? One of the main reasons is diets don’t work long term, hence the appetite (sorry for the pun) for the latest diet. Diets only work if you need to get to a certain weight for a particular date. This is the case in bodybuilding or one of the many combat sports. The average person is not training to be Mr Olympia or getting ready to challenge for a world title fight!

Why Do A Diet That Will Not Last Long Term?

Maybe you want to get to a certain weight before a holiday which is fair enough. The problem is when you come off the diet after your holiday you start to put the weight back on if not more because you have stopped following the diet. You will probably start putting weight back on during the holiday whilst the diet is left back at home.

5 Tips to Get to Your Ideal Weight and Stay There!

1) Decide what weight you would like to be. You cannot arrive at a destination if you don’t know where you are going!

2) Add cardio and resistance training as part of a healthy balanced lifestyle

3) Monitor your results to see how far you are off your weight goal

4) Slowly replace one unhealthy calorie dense food item from you diet every month. In its place add a healthier food item which is less calorie dense. Leaving a month between will form a new habit of eating the new food item in your diet. Breaking bad habits is the key!

5) Monitor your results and tweak your monthly food item / cardio or resistance training until you hit your target weight.

The real truth in losing weight is to have a calorie deficit. If you eat only healthy food you will still put weight on if you are consuming more calories than you are burning off. The same would apply if you only ate junk food. If you ate less junk food calories than you burn off you would lose weight also.

Now I am not saying you should eat junk food and lose weight. Far from it. I just wanted to give you an example. The key to losing weight is to create a calorie deficit whilst eating as much clean healthy food as you can. There is no point losing weight if you are not healthy on the inside. That’s why you should try and cut down on the junk and processed rubbish that seems to be the staple diet for the majority these days.

The 90/10 rule is one of the best I’ve come across. Eat 90% healthy foods and 10% can be for those foods that you enjoy but that are not the healthiest. It’s all about balance!

I will go into more details in future articles. You can still eat your favourite foods but you will eat them in moderation. Remember you only get one body to live in so don’t abuse it!

7 Beginner Muscle Building Mistakes

Building muscle when starting out can take time but you can reduce that time by avoiding the below beginner muscle building mistakes.

Dumbbell

1) Lifting Too Much Weight To Fast

I was guilty of this one. If you are starting out with a friend you tend to try and keep up. If they are stronger than you and can lift more weight you will tend to try and lift the same. The problem is if you are a beginner trying to build muscle, you will not lift with the proper form and develop bad habits. There is nothing wrong with cheat reps when you have been training for some time as you will have a solid base from using the correct technique in the beginning.

2) Not Eating Enough

This is a very common mistake when starting out. Your normal calorie intake will keep your muscles the same size. Training will break down the muscle to grow back bigger and stronger so you need more calories to fuel this process and keep hold of the new muscle. Make sure you include protein with each meal and cut down on the junk food calories. We are building muscles not waistlines!

3) Overtraining

You don’t get bigger muscles by the putting in workouts that last hours and hours. Train smart. Intensity is the key. Avoid training the same body part the following day. Muscle growth is done outside the gym so get plenty of rest.

4) Not Getting Enough Sleep

This is another I have been guilty of in the past. The body needs to repair after an intense workout. If you get a good 7-8 hours sleep you will be raring to go next time you are down at the gym. Your body will be fully recovered so you will be able to have a great workout.

5) Not Working The Full Body Every Week / Week And A Half

This is a mistake a lot of beginners make. They only train the parts they see the most like the arms! The main body part that gets skipped is the legs. It’s crazy because the legs are the biggest muscle in the body and help the most in gaining muscle.

6) Binge Drinking

Yes, unfortunately building muscle and binge drinking don’t go well together. The protein synthesis that takes place in the creation of muscle growth is severely hampered by excess alcohol. There is nothing wrong having a drink but make sure you do it in moderation.

7) Too Much Cardio

You don’t see too many long distance runners carrying much muscle mass. Keep your cardio down to 15-20 minutes of intense cardio about 3-5 times a week. We want to use the fuel we put into our bodies for building muscle and not for energy needed for hours of cardio.

Avoid these common muscle building mistakes and you will be well on your way to building muscle more quickly.

Benefits of Vitamin C

Are you getting enough vitamin C? Vitamin C offers so many health benefits to our body. Our bodies cannot produce Vitamin C by themselves. We need to get a good daily dose from our diet.

How Much Vitamin C Should You Take?

With the nutrients in the soil not being what they once were its always good to add supplements to boost your vitamin intake. Vitamin C is water soluble which means the body does not retain it for later use. If you have enough vitamin C in your system your body will flush out the excess. Fat soluble vitamins store the excess for later use.

The RDA is around 75-90 milligrams for adults but the RDA tends to be the bare minimum you need so you don’t get ill. A daily intake of 500-1000 milligrams would be fine. The limit would be around 2000 milligrams so you could take two 1000 tablets split over the day. It’s always best to start low and slowly increase. I currently take one 1000 milligrams a day.

Here is a list of the top Vitamin C foods:

Papaya (One) 187.87 MG

Bell Peppers (One Cup Raw) 117.48 MG

Strawberries (One Cup) 84.67 MG

Broccoli (One Cup Raw) 81.17 MG

Pineapple (One Cup) 78.87 MG

Brussels Sprouts (One Cup Raw)  74.80 MG

Kiwifruit (One) 72.00 MG

Oranges (One) 69.69 MG

Cantaloupe (One Cup) 58.72 MG

Kale (One Cup) 53.30 MG

Cauliflower (One Cup Raw) 51.57 MG

The Health Benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is great for wound healing, whether that’s cuts or broken bones. It also speeds up the healing process. Vitamin C acts as a natural antihistamine and has shown it can reduce the severity of cold symptoms. Vitamin C can also help prevent cancer. It helps protect the cells mutation and damage. It can also prevent cataracts. The lens requires lots of vitamin C to fight off the free radicals from the sunlight of the sun.

You can help lower your blood pressure due to vitamin C ensuring proper dilation of the blood vessels. Lead toxicity in the blood can also be lowered with your daily intake. You can lower the oxidative damage caused by smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke. It can mitigate free-radical damage from intense exercise and lessen muscle soreness. Vitamin C intake can also reduce wrinkles, skin dryness and slow down the skin ageing process.

As you can see Vitamin C has huge health benefits and should be included as part of a healthy lifestyle!

100 Training!

Adding 100 training to your training program can be a great way to beat plateau and re-energise your training routine. What are 100s? 100 training involves doing one set of 100 reps for each exercise. If you are able to do 100 reps without stopping then you would increase the weight by a small amount for next time.   If you cannot do 100 reps without stopping, rest 1 second for each rep you have left. So if you have 30 reps left, rest for 30 seconds. Keep repeating this process until you reach your 100 reps. You can rest for 1-2 minutes between sets. Always remember, 100 reps using good form is more important than increasing the weight.

Doing 100 training increases the number of capillaries and also increase the density of current capillaries. Capillaries are like tiny veins. They play a vital role in muscle building. The capillaries transport muscle building nutrients and hormones (testosterone) to the muscle cells. If you increase the number and size of capillaries, more nutrients and hormones are supplied to the muscles. This leads to larger muscles when you go back to a lower rep routine.

100s Routine

Total Body

1) Quads – Leg Press

2) Hamstrings – Seated Leg Curl

3) Back – Seated Cable Row

4) Chest – Bench Press

5) Shoulders – Side Lateral Raise

6) Biceps – Preacher Curl

7) Triceps – Rope Pulldown

8) Calves – Seated Calf Raises

9) Abs – Ab Crunches

Half Body Part 1

1) Chest – Pec Dec

2) Chest – Incline Bench Press

3) Chest – Standing Cable Crossover

4) Back – Lat Pull-down (Wide Grip)

5) Back – Bent Over Barbell Row

6) Back – Straight Arm Pull-down

7) Shoulders – Seated Overhead Press

8) Seated Rear Deltoid Raise

9) Traps – Dumbbell Raise

10) Abs – Swiss Ball

Half Body Part 2

1) Quads – Squat

2) Quads – Leg Extension

3) Quads – Hack Squat

4) Hamstrings – Standing Leg Curl

5) Calves – Standing Calf Raise

6) Calves – Seated Calf Raise

7) Biceps – Barbell Curl

8) Biceps – Hammer Curl

9) Triceps – Dips

10) Triceps – Straight Bar Pull Down

I normally do the 100 training routine every 3-4 months for one week – training for 3 days. I will have 24-48 hours rest between workouts. Give the 100s a go and feel the benefits!

3 Healthy Snack Foods You Should Include In Your Diet

The secret to staying in great shape is to eat small and regular. To do this you need to snack on healthy foods that will keep you satisfied and with plenty of energy for the day. Here are 3 of the top foods you should be snacking on:

1) Raw Carrot

Raw CarrotRaw Carrots are rich in vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, biotin, thiamine, potassium and fibre. Carrots can reduce cholesterol, help prevent heart attacks and lower the risk of getting certain cancers with the high amount of beta-carotene in each carrot. The beta-carotene also helps with anti-aging. It serves as an antioxidant that fights against free radicals and the aging of cells. Research results from Harvard University suggested that people who eat more than five carrots a week are much less likely to suffer a stroke than those who only eat one carrot a month.

Carrots are also great for healthy eyes. The Beta-carotene in the carrot is converted to vitamin A in the liver. The vitamin A converts into rhodopsin which aids night vision. That’s why carrot is associated with helping you see in the dark. The antioxidant properties may help prevent cataracts. Carrots are good for dry skin. They help skin to become softer and smoother. They aid in the reduction of acne by detoxifying the liver, helping lower the toxins in the blood stream. Stomach and gastrointestinal health is also improved.

Carrots are great for keeping your teeth clean. They help eliminate dirt and plague from the teeth and gums whilst killing germs in the mouth. The saliva produced from carrots help scrub any stains on your teeth.

2) Pears

PearPears are a great source vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin E, folate, potassium, fibre, niacin, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, fructose, glucose, sucrose, pantothenic acid. They do not contain any saturated fats, cholesterol or sodium and contain around 60-100 calorie. Make sure you eat the pear with the skin on. The majority of the pears antioxidants, vitamin C and dietary fibre are contained in the pear skin. The antioxidants protect the cells from damage from free radicals.  Pears contain more nutrients per calorie than calorie per nutrient.

Pears have a low glycemic index (GI) of only 38. GI foods with a low glycemic index are digested and absorbed more slowly. They produce a more gradual rise in blood glucose and insulin levels. Pears can help a person lose weight and improve concentration. The low GI in pears can help prevent coronary heart disease and obesity. Pears can also aide in the management of diabetes.

Pears are considered to be a hypoallergenic fruit. This means they are less likely than other fruits to produce an allergic reaction when eaten. This is one of the reason they make a great, healthy snack for young kids or people who suffer from food allergies. Pears are useful in treating inflammation of the mucous membranes, arthritis, gout, colitis and gallbladder disorders. Your risk of developing asthma reduces by eating pears on a regular basis. Pears can also help reduce the risk of colon cancer. The fibre in pears can bind to help remove cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.

The boron in pears helps the body retain calcium which can help prevent osteoporosis.  Pears contain antioxidant and anticarcinogen glutathione, which can help prevent high blood pressure and strokes. You reduce your chance of having a stroke by 50%. You can lower the risk of macular degeneration which is the main cause of vision loss in older adults. The potassium can also speed up the recovery time from muscle fatigue after exercise and help prevent cramps. Pears are a great afternoon snack or pre work snack due to their the quick and natural source of energy from monosacharides (fructose and glucose) and carbohydrates They are great for increasing energy levels at work or at the gym.

3) Bananas

BananaBananas are a great source of energy. They can help reduce the chances of depression. They can improve your mood by converting the tryptophan into serotonin. Your potassium levels decrease when stressed so eating a banana is a great way to boost your levels back up and relieve stress. Bananas are also high in iron and can also sooth heartburn due to their natural antacid effect on the body. They also trigger the production of mucus in the stomach which provides a protective barrier against stomach acids.

The high potassium and low sodium can also help in reducing high blood pressure. If you are trying to give up smoking then bananas can help with the nicotine withdrawal. Vitamin B6, vitamin B12, potassium and magnesium help the body fight the nicotine withdrawal. The potassium can aid bone health also. The modern high-salt diets can increase urinary calcium loss but the potassium can slow down the effects. They are a great source of fibre for a healthy digestive system.

Summary

All three foods make great snacks that won’t cost you much money. Eating these daily will not only keep your energy levels up but will also aid in keeping your body in a healthy state.

Reasons Not To Skip Breakfast

Just seen this great article on why you should never skip breakfast. Research has been recently done to see what happens to the brain when breakfast has been skipped. Check it out at the following link below.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19962588

Symptoms of Overtraining

OvertrainingHave you hit a wall with your progress? Do you ache more than you normally do? Do you feel constantly fatigued and lacking motivation? If you answered yes to any of these then you could be overtraining. Overtraining not only can affect you physically but it can affect you emotionally. Overtraining can affect many forms of fitness exercises but the majority is in relation to resistance training. You could be trying to increase muscle size, strength, power, endurance or muscle tone.

What Are The Most Common Symptoms of Overtraining?

* Constant fatigue

* Persistent muscle soreness

* Lack of motivation

* Fail to complete normal workout regularly

* Injured more than usual

* Increased susceptibility to illness and infections

* Irritability

* Depression

When we first start to try and improve our health, fitness and the way our body looks, we tend to think more is better. That is not the case. I remember when I first started resistance training. I would train for hours and hours. I just assumed the more I trained the bigger my muscles would grow and my health would improve. It was not until many years later I realized that recovery is just as important as training. Gains are all in the recovery. If you look at any fighter such as a boxer or an MMA fighter, they rest up the week of the fight. All the hard training is stopped. Why do they do this? The rest lets their body fully recover so they are in prime condition come fight night. If they trained non-stop, even the day of the fight, would they perform as well? We know they would not. They would fatigue quickly and struggle to fight at their best.

How Can You Prevent Overtraining?

First and foremost, you must realize you are overtraining. Once you feel you have many of the overtraining symptoms then you can start on the path to stop your overtraining. Here are some of the key tips to fight off over training.

* Have a whole week rest to fully recover

* Assess you current training program to see how you can add more rest days

* Make sure your nutrition and hydration is in line with your training

* Get plenty of sleep each night

Remember, overtraining can be as bad as no training! Life is about balance. Get the balance right in all areas of life and you will reap the rewards.

Cod Liver Oil vs. Fish Oil

Cod Liver OilSupplements play an increasing role in health and nutrition these days. A major reason for this is the quality of the nutrients in the soil has declined over the years due to over farming. What is the difference between cod liver oil and fish oil? Cod liver oil is made from the fish liver of white fish such as cod and halibut. Fish oil is derived from the fatty flesh of the whole fish such as cold water fish like tuna, salmon and mackerel.

How about Omega-3? Both cod liver oil and fish oil contain the same Omega-3’s in similar proportions. Omega-3 promotes heart health, lowered inflammation, decreased formation of atherosclerotic plaques and optimal brain function. Omega-3 can also help relieve symptoms of depression. The major negative of taking cod liver oil is it’s been shown to contain a mixture of potentially harmful contaminants ranging from mercury to chemicals such as dioxanes and PCB’s. There’s also the chance of the rancidity of the cod liver oil. So make sure you keep it in a dark bottle in a cool, dark place.

Cod liver oil also contains the fat-soluble vitamins A and D.  These vitamins are stored in the fish liver so are present in cod liver oil capsules. They are not contained in fish oil capsules. Fat-soluble vitamins can cause toxicity if taken in large quantities. The upper limit intake for adults is 2,000 IU for vitamin D and 3,000 IU for vitamin A. If your vitamin D intake is above this amount it can lead to vomiting, weakness, constipation and nausea. Over the limit for vitamin A could cause liver problems, central nervous system disorders and osteoporosis.

The Verdict?

I used to take cod liver oil capsules as I just assumed if you don’t eat two portions of fish a week then you could get Omega-3 from the capsules. I then became aware of fish oil capsules. I wanted to know the difference and which one should I take. As I mentioned above they both contained Omega-3 so that was good but the game changer was the mixture of potentially harmful contaminants in cod liver oil that come from the fish liver. I knew fish oil did not have vitamin A and D but these could be found in foods or multi vitamins if you were lacking in these vitamins. Cod liver oil is ideal if you don’t get much sunshine and you are lacking in vitamin D but apart from that I would definitely recommend taking fish oil over cod liver oil.

How To Make Turkey Burgers

The key to having a healthier lifestyle is to cut down on eating processed food. There are so many hidden ingredients that help preserving the food but which can be detrimental to your health. So ditch those processed frozen hamburgers and try your own homemade turkey burgers. There a great healthy alternative as well as a great source of protein.

Ingredients:

125 grams of turkey breast mince

1/4 cup of finely diced onion

1/4 cup of finely diced red pepper

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons of olive oil

Ingredients

 Directions

1. Add the diced red pepper, diced onion, minced garlic, turkey breast mince to a bowl or pan. Then add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and the ground black pepper. Give it a good mix and add any spices if you would like to enhance the flavour.

Ingredients In Pan

2. Form two patties and place on the grill.

Turkey Burgers On Grill

3. Cook the patties in the oven at 180 C / Gas 6 for 13 minutes (Make sure oven is already heated first). Then turn over and cook for another 13 minutes.

4. Serve with wholemeal teacakes, lettuce, tomato and onion.

Turkey Burgers

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 175.8

Protein: 39.5 g

Carbohydrates: 13.3 g

Fat: 2.6 g