Do not neglect your knees if you want to achieve better health and fitness. The quadriceps are an important group of muscles around your knee that are vital to movement. Strengthening your quads with a healthy regimen of exercise and nutrition, including getting enough protein from energy bars and snacks, can help you improve athletic performance, and avoid knee injury and pain.
What Are Quads, Anyway?
Your quadriceps, or quads, are a group of muscles located on the front of your thighs. The quads consist of the vastus intermedius, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, and rectus femoris muscles. Pretty much any motion you do with your legs involves the quads, as they work to bend and straighten the knee. Maintaining strong quads can help prevent knee pain and injury, particularly among women.
Strong quads can help stave off knee osteoarthritis and reduce pain associated with the condition for those that already have it. Women with strong quads are less likely to develop knee osteoarthritis. Men can also benefit from strong quads, but the benefits are more pronounced among women.
Strengthening quads is particularly important to athletes who put a lot of wear and tear on these muscles. By strengthening the quadriceps, athletes not only reduce the risk of injuries to those muscles, they also reduce the risk of injury to other muscles, such as the hamstrings.
Four Quad Strengthening Exercises
For athletes and fitness enthusiasts trying to build bigger quads, the following exercises can put you on the right track:
- Squats – No other exercise is as effective as squats in building up thigh muscles. Although you can’t isolate your quads when doing squats, the exercise does greatly benefit a large area of your legs, including your quads. Squatting on a heel board can increase the workload for your quads somewhat, so it’s worth trying. Be sure not to overdo it, however.
- Dumbbell and Barbell Lunges – Dumbbell and barbell lunges are highly effective exercises for building the quads. These lunges increase strength and muscle size, and can also help improve your balance. For newbies, dumbbell lunges are a good starting point. You can eventually work your way up to the more demanding barbell lunges.
- Leg Presses – This form of exercise is highly effective for building strength. It requires less technical skill than a squat, making it great for people new to exercise. Also, leg press machines help stabilize muscles, allowing you to work with heavier weights.
- Step-ups – Steps ups allow you to build muscle stability and strength. Steps ups are unilateral movements that require you to develop balance. They strengthen each leg individually and are a good departure from the squat. Placing a barbell loaded with weight on your back or holding barbells while doing step-ups will increase their efficacy.
Eating right is also essential to improving your fitness. Many exercise experts recommend eating a protein-stocked meal or snack shortly after exercising to help the body rebuild muscles broken down by exercise.
Promax Nutrition provides all-natural, vegetarian protein bars for fitness and nutrition enthusiasts. Great-tasting and full of healthy protein, Promax bars are an excellent nutritional supplement for people serious about getting into the best shape of their lives.
The amount of time you should rest in between weightlifting sets is different for everyone. The time you should wait is based upon your goals and objectives. It is important to identify what your goal is and use that goal to determine appropriate resting periods. Some of the more common goals people have include:
Strength Training – This type of weightlifting is to help you get stronger faster. The ideal rest period for strength training is between three and five minutes. This is due to the body’s ability to produce phosphagen, which it only has a small amount of and quickly burns through. Phosphagen makes it possible to lift heavy weights and perform one to six reps in quick succession without the use of oxygen.
Muscle Building (Hypertrophy) Training – This training helps increase muscle mass, so you can get bigger quicker. With muscle building training you should be using moderate to heavy weights, and be able to perform between six and twelve reps at a time. Muscle growth is stimulated by the release of anabolic hormones by the body. Resting one to two minutes between sets causes the body to release a greater amount of this hormone and results in bigger muscles.
Endurance Training – This weightlifting training helps to increase muscular endurance rapidly. The objective is to help the muscles become more resistant to fatigue. One of the more common causes of muscle fatigue is the build-up of lactic acid in the muscle tissues. In order to remove the lactic acid, and at the same time increase endurance, you want to use light to moderate weights and complete between fifteen and twenty reps in about a minute or less. Rest periods should be approximately 45 seconds to 2 minutes, in between sets.
With each type of weight training, as you can see, there are different rest periods in between sets. Therefore, you should focus on only one of the above goals/objectives for your entire weightlifting session. It is perfectly acceptable to mix it up and concentrate on muscle building during one session, endurance in another, and so on.
Weightlifting and Weight Loss
In addition, there are people who use weightlifting as a means to burn calories and lose fat. In this situation it is best to use a combination of strength, muscle building, and endurance training, along with cardio training. Just remember to concentrate on only one type of training at each workout session.
It is equally important to remember that muscle tissue weighs more than fat. As you work out and your endurance, muscle mass, and strength increase, so can your weight. By no means does this mean you are overweight. Rather, your body is becoming a lean, calorie-burning machine. As a result your dietary needs will also change, and your caloric intake could be more than before.
It is easy to supplement your meals and ensure your body is getting the right balance of nutrition with energy and protein bars from Promax Nutrition. For more information about our products or assistance with ordering, contact us today at (888) 728-8962.
I’m 6’1″ and 4 years ago I weighed 310 pounds. I realized that something needed to change, and so I began to take better care of myself. I watched what I ate, started exercising, and over that period of time I’ve lost 80 pounds. While parts of it were extremely successful for me, the hardest part was giving up my sweet tooth. I searched all over for a replacement to candy that would satisfy that craving, and I found it with Promax bars. Not only are they an excellent meal replacement, they curb that craving I have to run out and get a candy bar. It’s really jump started my progress, and I’m excited to lose those last stubborn pounds and continue living a healthy lifestyle.
Which PROMAX bar do you like best?
The original Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. It combines the best parts of eating a cookie with the best parts of eating a candy bar.
Why is fitness and nutrition important to you?
The men in my family have a long history of heart disease, directly and indirectly related to weight issues. I want to not only live a healthier lifestyle, but I want to be here, happy and healthy, for my own family for many years to come. Proper nutrition and fitness are key in making that a reality.
What is one unique thing about you?
I’m very active with my free time, the biggest things being a podcast I do with a couple of my friends called 1600 Dust, which is about Hearthstone, a competitive card game and I’m the bass player in a local rock band called Metaphorical Lions.
CHECK OUT CHRIS ON TWITTER!
Lifting weights is a great way to build muscles fast while also slimming down and getting the physique you’ve always wanted. But if you make mistakes while weight training, especially when it comes to your form, you could end up injuring yourself and doing more harm than good.
What are the biggest weightlifting mistakes that you should avoid? Keep reading to learn how to have a safe and effective workout every time you hit the gym.
Using Weights That Are Too Heavy
Even though you may think that the heavier the weights you lift, the bigger and better your gains will be, the truth is that form and technique should come before poundage. A lot of bodybuilders end up using weights that they simply can’t manage properly and safely.
Stick with a manageable amount of weight until you can execute the technique perfectly, whether you’re working your back, legs, chest, or arms.
A good way to figure out where your poundage should be is by cutting back on all of the weights you’re currently using by 10%. Then make sure you have perfect form and technique before adding in some more weight gradually over the course of a month or more. This should result in new muscle growth.
Adding Too Many Pounds At Once
Another common mistake is adding too much poundage too quickly. You could hurt yourself and sacrifice your form if you’re adding 5-10 or more pounds to your routine.
Instead, add a pound at a time over the course of a week or more. Remember, after you’ve gotten over the beginner stage, you’ll be building strength more slowly, so you need to be patient and add poundage in a way that will allow your body to respond positively.
Not Giving Your Body Enough Recovery Time
Overworking your muscles every week, without giving them enough time to recover and repair, could tax the nervous system, reduce your performance, and cause sleep disturbances, depression, and other symptoms of overtraining. Over time, you could actually lose strength.
In addition to getting enough sleep and eating right by supplementing with healthy protein like that found in high quality protein bars, you should give your muscles 48 to 96 hours to recover from an intense weight lifting session.
The older you are, the more time you’ll need to recover. Also, larger muscles require longer recovery periods than smaller muscles.
A good place to start is to train three days per week. By splitting your overall workout program into three sections, you can hit each muscle group every week.
So, for example, on day 1, you might do your back and chest. On day 2, you can work on your lower body. On day 3, you can focus on the core and arms. Regularly change the routine to keep your body guessing.
By avoiding weightlifting mistakes, you can enjoy the gains that you’ve been waiting to show off. Remember that taking care of your body today will result in a healthier, stronger, and slimmer body tomorrow.
Eating healthy is challenging enough, thanks to all of the processed, frozen, canned, and packaged foods that are easy and available to eat on the go when you’re pressed for time. But sticking to a truly healthy diet is further complicated when you consider the fact that many “health foods” aren’t really all that healthy after all.
Below is a list of the top five unhealthy foods that are masquerading as health foods.
- Fruit Juices
Fruit juices are touted as healthy, but many of the juices that you’ll find on supermarket shelves aren’t made from actual fruit. Check ingredient labels and you may find high amounts of sugar and artificial flavors that are added to water to make it taste like fruit. Keep in mind that there are many names for sugar, so labels can also be misleading.
Even if you purchase 100% juice, however, you should do so in moderation because fruit juice, like fruit itself, has a high sugar content. Again, check labels and you may find that your favorite fruit juice contains roughly the same amount of sugar as any other unhealthy sugary drink.
Agave syrup is touted as a healthy alternative to high fructose corn syrup, but it can contain between 55-90% fructose, depending upon how it’s processed. Compare this to high fructose corn syrup, which has roughly 55% fructose, and you’ll see why this food isn’t very healthy after all.
Yogurt can be really good for your body, as it contains protein, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. But you should read ingredients labels because many brands use high amounts of sugar, along with artificial sweeteners, flavors, additives, and colors, officially rendering their foods unhealthy.
- Breakfast Cereals
So many breakfast cereals market themselves as being a healthy way to start your day, full of vitamins and minerals, grains and fruits – but be sure to double and triple check what’s actually in them to verify whether they’re something you want to put in your body. Most cereals are highly processed and full of sugar and chemicals – even the so-called “healthy” ones.
In spite of all the health claims margarine manufacturers plaster on their packaging, this is one “health food” that you’ll definitely want to steer clear of. Most brands have removed the trans fats that used to be part and parcel of using margarine, but this butter substitute is still basically just a bunch of chemicals – not something you want to be eating on a regular basis. Even though butter contains fat, it’s much healthier than margarine.
When shopping for healthy foods, it’s important to look past health claims on product labels and instead analyze the ingredients and nutrition facts. This will help you avoid falling victim to unhealthy foods pretending to be nutritious.
Luckily, Promax makes your choice easy, when it comes to protein bars, because Promax products contain high quality ingredients that are actually good for you. For more information about Promax, check out our product page or our blog.
Some people have an enormous amount of focus and drive that helps them to reach their workout goals. And once they’ve reached those goals, they want to set new ones. This is a pretty natural reaction. You’ve accomplished your fitness mission, but now you need something new to keep you on track and lifting, running, swimming, or whatever your workout consists of. But this drive can actually become detrimental if you don’t give yourself enough time to rest and recover. In fact, you may reach a state that experts refer to as overtraining.
Overtraining usually starts as an overreach in your fitness schedule. You feel fatigued or worn down, but instead of listening to your body, you push yourself to stay on track and continue training without sufficient rest. This can lead to overtraining, and it’s not a small thing for an athlete to deal with.
The symptoms of overtraining include a drop in performance, a decrease in training capacity and ability to recover, fatigue, frequent sickness, sleep disturbances, and weight loss.
Overtraining ends up suppressing the immune system because the athlete isn’t getting enough recovery time, and this can lead to colds and illnesses. It also affects them psychologically, leading to a lack of sleep, irritability, and even depression. And lastly, overtraining leads to a vicious cycle in performance. Athletes want to perform better, but they can’t. So they try harder to improve their performance, which only exacerbates the problem.
So how does an athlete get himself or herself out of this vicious circle? The simple answer is rest. Significantly reducing training, or stopping it altogether is the only way to really see an improvement. Within two weeks you should start to see some improvement, but that doesn’t mean you should immediately jump back into training as soon as two weeks are up. During your extended rest you should eat healthy, nutritious foods, get as much sleep as you can, and try to relax and stay positive about your workout routine.
Anyone with a typical “type A” personality is probably more at risk for overtraining. Being driven, high achieving, and successful are all good qualities, but they can easily lead to an overreach in running, lifting, or any other type of training.
Only with proper rest and nutrition will you be able to recover and get back to training. If you’re in an overtraining state, you’re already setting yourself back, so stopping as soon as possible is the best way to get yourself back on track.
So if you’re feeling worn down or see your performance slipping, take a step back and evaluate your workout regimen. There’s no sense in pushing yourself so far that you no longer see returns on your workout. And if you do need some help recovering, pick yourself up a Promax protein bar. Packed with protein and the nutrition your body needs, they’ve got everything you need to recover and get back to training.
Getting in a workout can be a struggle for anyone, even when they have plenty of time on their hands. But for a mom, free time is practically nonexistent. Plenty of parents leave their fitness goals behind when they’re raising young children, simply because they don’t feel like they have the time or energy. The thing is, making time to work out will actually give you more energy throughout the day. The tricky part is finding time to do it, and it may mean changing up your old workout regimens.
Less Is More
Before you had kids, you may have had a workout routine that had you at the gym a few times a week for an hour or more. Raising children means that might not really be an option anymore. Instead, break your workouts up into smaller portions that you can do throughout the week. Ten minutes of high intensity exercise done several times a week can be just as beneficial as your longer workouts. In fact, a recent study found that just one minute of high intensity training, with warm ups and cool downs, was as effective in improving fitness as a forty-five minute workout.
Workout As A Family
This one also works with the idea that you might have to change what you consider a workout. Your kids can’t do an hour on the treadmill with you, but they can go on pre- or post-dinner walks around the neighborhood. And there are plenty of other ways you can involve your children in your fitness routine.
If you’re watching their favorite show together, make commercial breaks a time for exercise. A quick game of tag or bodyweight exercises will be beneficial to everyone. If you take them to the park, you can use that time to get a workout in on the jungle gym. Look for opportunities in your day that you might be missing out on.
Block Out “Your Time”
Maybe you don’t necessarily need to change your workout routine altogether, but instead you just need to make the time to keep doing it. So mark certain times on your weekly calendar like you would for a doctor’s appointment. That time is blocked out specifically for you to do your workout—whatever that may be. Schedule it with your significant other, and make it non-negotiable.
Find Some Partners
Every mother with young children is going through the same thing—tons of commitments and not a lot of free time. Find a friend who is willing to work out with you, and help support each other and keep up with your fitness goals. And if you don’t have someone locally to work out with, you can go online to find support and tips on Facebook groups or blogs.
It’s tough to find time to work out when you have young children, and so is finding the time to prepare a protein packed meal after your workout. At Promax, we have a number of delicious protein bars that are packed with the nutrition you need to get you through your workout, kids and all. Try one today!
The NBA playoffs are here again, and while Golden State looks to defend their title, we get to witness some of the world’s greatest athletes going head to head over the course of the playoffs. Sometimes we take that greatness for granted when we watch them play. It’s easy to say that those players simply have loads of natural talent, but we should remember that they beat out literally thousands of other players along the way to get to where they are. Natural talent is pretty random, but no one is born with an insane work ethic.
You can be certain that the players who’ve made it to the playoffs are some of the hardest working athletes around. That level of dedication is an inspiration to us all, but not everyone has the dream of an NBA career to keep them motivated. So next time you’re feeling unmotivated before your workout, use these tips to get you going.
Give Yourself Visual Cues
Keep your dumbbells in plain sight in your room. Leave your running shoes by the door. Prop your tennis racket in a corner you see every day. Visual cues send messages to your brain that can help keep working out in the forefront of your mind. The saying “out of sight, out of mind” is actually pretty true when it comes to fitness motivation.
Find A Workout Buddy (Or Two)
There’s no better motivation than getting a text from your friend asking if you’re coming to the gym today. Knowing that you’re missing out while your buddy is getting a workout in should make you think twice about that Netflix marathon you have planned. Plus, a little friendly competition never hurt anyone, and working out with a friend will give you the edge you need to push yourself. And having a bigger group can help you when one of your friends really can’t make it to one of your workouts.
Really Reward Yourself
If the only reward you’re giving yourself for working out is the knowledge that you’re in slightly better shape, then you might end up with some motivational problems. A vague overall goal simply isn’t as effective as something tangible that you can have directly after your workout. A smoothie, protein bar, or even a few episodes of your favorite show as a workout reward can help get you up and moving.
Identify What’s Stopping You
It’s easy to imagine how good you’ll feel after, and even during, a workout. However, we all know that doesn’t always get you out of bed. Take some time to really think over what’s stopping you from going to work out, and once you identify it, it’s easier to come up with a plan to keep yourself from flaking on your workout regimen.
You may not be an NBA superstar, but that doesn’t mean your fitness goals should be any less important to you. So check out our blog for more great fitness tips, and while you’re there you can find the protein bar that’s right for you.
Depending on where you live, you may already be feeling the effects of the summer heat. If your workout is based outside, you may find yourself wondering if you should change it up to accommodate the coming heat. But does that mean you’re giving in to the weather? Won’t you get the most out of your workout if you’re performing under tougher conditions? Maybe, but if the temperature spikes and you aren’t ready for it, you could actually be hurting your performance. Here’s why you should take some basic steps to change up your workout when the thermometer tops out this summer.
Why make a change?
Even if you’re at the top of your game, a dramatic change in temperature can pose problems in your workout. Working out in a hot environment that you aren’t used to will increase your body’s core temperature. This increase can actually reduce the endurance capacity of your muscles, increase your body’s reliance on carbohydrates for fuel, and compromise aspects of your cardiovascular function.
So what should you do?
You have to give your body time to acclimate to the heat, and once it does, you’ll be able to train harder and more effectively. That doesn’t mean you need to completely change your workout, but there are some easy and effective ways to acclimate your body.
- Instead of heading inside to run on the treadmill, change your workout times to the morning or evening, when temperatures aren’t as brutal. If you can’t change the time of your workout, reduce your duration or intensity until your body gets used to the heat. You can even try little things like choosing a running route that provides plenty of shade on the sidewalk. Most people should become acclimated to the heat after a week or two of training.
- Drinking more fluids is also key. Always make sure you’re drinking water before, during and after your training. Drink fluids even when you don’t necessarily feel thirsty, and try a succession of small drinks, rather than a few huge glasses of water.
- Also remember to take into account the humidity in the area where you’re training. A humid environment keeps sweat from evaporating off your skin, which is actually what cools us down, not the sweating itself. So if you live in an area known for humidity, don’t forget to check the heat index to see if it’s safe for you to train outside at that time.
Like we said before, your training will go smoother if you give your body time to adjust to the heat. Trying to push yourself and keep the same routine when conditions change is only going to disrupt your training, and can even be dangerous.
After any workout, indoors or out, you want to recover and get back to work as quickly as possible. So try a Promax protein bar today. They’ve got all the protein you need to get your body performing at its peak.
There’s something about warm weather that gives people the urge to get out for a run, even if they haven’t been very active all winter. As spring kicks into gear, a lot of people may be starting up a new running routine, or bringing back an old one that got lost along the way. Running seems like an inherently simple activity. You just do it, right? Well, contrary to Nike’s advice, there are actually a number of ways you can screw up your running routine, and keep yourself from seeing the maximum fitness benefits. So take a look at these running mistakes before you lace up this spring.
Too Much, Too Soon
This is probably the biggest mistake that beginners make, but it can also hurt you if you’ve just been taking a break from your running routine. Maybe work got busy and you just haven’t been at it for a few months. Whatever the case, your body simply isn’t ready to pump out mile after mile. As frustrating as it may be, give yourself time to get back into the swing of things. Build up slowly so you can avoid injury.
The general rule is to increase your mileage by no more than 10% each week. If you’re doing more than that, you’re at risk for wearing down your body and burning out before you can accomplish your goals.
Not Listening To Your Body
Runners generally have a set schedule that they like to stick to. A certain number of miles on certain days of the week, ratcheting up towards the goal of a race. But it doesn’t always work out like that. A little soreness can easily become a big problem if you decide to push through and follow your regimen exactly as you wrote it out. Ask yourself what’s worse—missing a few days, or missing a few weeks with a preventable injury?
Wearing The Wrong Shoes
It’s amazing that some people will still try to do their running in unsupportive or poorly fitted shoes, but it does happen. Take the time to get fitted for the right shoes if you’re just starting out. If you’re getting back into running after a long break, take a look at your old running shoes. The recommended lifespan for running shoes is usually about 300 to 350 miles, and definitely no more than 500.
Comparing Yourself To Everyone Else
For most of us, running is a way to stay fit and help lead a healthy lifestyle. Sure, you may get to the point where you sign up for longer races like a marathon, but there’s always someone who’s going to have you beat—someone who can just run longer and faster, or takes less time to recover. In the end, comparing yourself to other runners is going to be a futile effort that gets you nowhere.
If you’re starting up a running routine, you’re going to need the proper nutrition to keep you energized and help you recover. So pick up some of our delicious and healthy Promax protein bars, and get the most out of your workout.
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