Muscle cramps hurt and they can also bring your workout to a dead halt. Dehydration, blood circulation, not stretching or muscle fatigue can all lead to muscle cramps. Use the tips below to help prevent cramps and/or stop muscle cramps altogether.
Most people know that it is important to give your body the proper nutrition it needs but some might not realize the importance of what you eat before and after a workout is also important. When you fuel your workout with the proper nutrition you will help maximize the benefits of all your hard work during the workout.
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.
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.
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.
What are some of the signs of protein deficiency?
Protein is one of the essential nutrients that our bodies need. Muscles, nails, hair, and even organs all need a certain amount of protein. The thing is, we can’t make all of the amino acids that make up protein ourselves; we have to get them from our diets. Protein can come from a variety of different sources, such as meat, fish, beans, cheese, nuts, and seeds, but wherever you get your protein from, it’s important to make sure that you’re getting enough.
If you’re doing a lot of lifting, then you’re probably already using some kind of protein supplement, but for those who aren’t supplementing their diets, how do you know if you’re getting enough protein? Here are some signs that you may want to take a look at the amount of protein in your diet.
- Feeling Weak Or Fatigued
Like we said before, protein is essential for building and repairing muscle. A deficiency can lead to your muscles shrinking over time, and that’s not just an issue for bodybuilders. Protein builds and maintains lean muscle mass, so even if you’re not looking to get jacked, not getting enough protein can become an issue.
- Hair Loss Or Breakage
Remember when we said protein was important for building and repairing tissue in your body? Well, it’s also pretty important for maintaining healthy hair. Now, some guys will go bald no matter what. It’s not fair, but it’s life. However, if your hair is falling out or becomes brittle and unhealthy, there’s a chance it could be due to poor protein intake.
Craving Sweets/Never Feeling Full
Protein helps keep your blood sugar steady, and if your glucose levels are up and down, you’ll end up looking for a quick fix in the form of something sweet. Adding more protein to your diet can help you feel full for longer, and cut down on the cravings for sugary junk food like candy.
- Feeling Foggy Or “Out Of It”
Maintaining balanced blood sugar is important for your appetite, but it’s also essential for staying focused. A steady level of carbs is required to fuel your brain, and protein helps get you that steady release of energy. That steady energy will help you maintain your focus and keep you feeling locked in on the task at hand. If your blood sugar is spiking up and down, you’ll feel short bursts of mental energy, but a foggy feeling will follow them.
Getting an adequate supply of protein is important for everyone—not just those people who seem to live at the gym. If you want to add more protein to your diet, then look no further than Promax’s great tasting protein bars. Perfect for after a workout, or when you need a healthy snack, there’s a Promax bar for everyone. Check us out today at Promax.com.
Do athletes really need to stretch? The debate seems inconclusive, although there is evidence that stretching before exercise may temporarily weaken muscles.1 However, stretching after exercise is where you may experience benefits. It can reduce muscle soreness,2 and it can help maintain the normal range of motion in joints.3
However, for many of us, stretching just feels good, and biking presents its own particular circumstances. When you think about it, humans didn’t evolve to ride bikes, as we did for running and walking. So, since biking is not a “natural” movement, it’s possible for bikers to experience muscular imbalances and posture problems.4 Hip flexors are especially prone to shortening.
So, stretching after strenuous workouts may be advisable, especially for bikers. It can restore flexibility after spending lots of time in the same position. Think about it: When you’re crouched over, pedaling for hours, the muscles in the legs are probably going to get shorter; stretching may help return them to their normal state.
Stretching could also improve your mobility when you’re not on your bike, improve your posture, and reduce dysfunction in other parts of the body.
There are a few guidelines for stretching everyone should follow to get the most out of it and avoid injury:
- Only stretch when you’re warm. That is, after you’ve warmed up with exercise for at least 10 minutes, or directly after a workout.
- Stretch slowly and without bouncing.
- Hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds.
- Avoid over-stretching, especially if you’re already pretty flexible. This will reduce the likelihood of making your joints go beyond their range of motion. Remember: you’re stretching your muscles, not your joints. Never try to make your joints move in a direction they’re not supposed to.
Here are some of the most recommended post-workout stretches for bikers:
Runner’s Lunge – While standing, take a big step forward with your right leg so that your front knee is bent at a 90-degree angle. Make sure your knee is stacked directly on top of your ankle, not ahead of it. Now straighten your back leg. You should be in a lunging position similar to a sprinter getting ready to start a race. Sink deeper into the lunge, hold, and then repeat for the other leg. This will deeply stretch your quads, hip flexors, and hamstrings.
Quad Stretch – Use your left hand to stretch your right foot, and vice versa. While standing, bend your right leg so your foot kicks your butt, and grab your right foot with your left hand. Squeeze and hold the stretch when you feel it in your quads and knees. Release, and repeat for the other leg.
Calf Stretch – The yoga pose known as downward-facing dog is helpful here. Starting on your hands and knees, lift your butt up and back till your arms and legs are straight, or nearly straight, and your body forms an upside-down V. You’ll feel this stretch in your hamstrings; get an even deeper stretch by pedaling your feet, trying to get each heel to touch the ground.
As important as stretching is, you need the proper nutrition to refuel your body after a strenuous workout in order to get the most out of it and rebuild your muscles. Make sure you keep a stash of energy bars or high protein bars in your workout bag. View our selection of workout bars here, along with more training tips for cyclists and all other athletes.
If we know exercise is so good for us, then why do we always find ways to procrastinate our workouts? Sometimes the act of actually getting to the gym can be the hardest part of the process. It helps to create an informal reward system to stay motivated toward your fitness goals and work your way to better health. Rewards can be food-based, like incorporating great-tasting energy bars into regular workouts, or centered on larger needs, like a well-deserved vacation.
Personal trainers recommend alternating workouts to avoid plateaued results. Switching between cardio and weight training daily, for example, will continuously challenge muscles and ensure increasing progress. Undergoing new forms of activity can result in sore muscles, so be sure to stretch often. You can loosen up even further by rewarding long sessions at the gym with a trip to the spa. Set a goal, like booking a massage appointment after you reach a new UFC weight class or karate belt color.
Many of us experience feelings of hunger from an intense workout. With the average adult burning nearly 700 calories after an hour on the treadmill,1 regular treats are well deserved. Create a goal, like visiting the gym five times every week. Each time you follow through, splurge on dinner at your favorite restaurant. Everything in moderation, of course, but this reward can be used to experience decadent foods that are normally removed from the average weight loss plan.
Those who are working out to lose weight and gain definition should consider a points system with clothing rewards. Set a plan that corresponds with how much weight you’re looking to lose, and plan a shopping trip when you reach your goal.
Go on an Active Adventure
The best part of keeping up with your regular gym routine is seeing – and feeling – the results. As you whip your body into shape, you’ll be able to reach goals that never seemed possible before, like cutting your mile time in half or tackling the steepest hiking trail at your local park. Reward your progress with an active trip you’ve always dreamed of, like a weekend spent backpacking in the Grand Canyon.
Splurge on New Gear
Reward yourself for a job well done with a new piece of equipment that can improve your workouts. After a month’s worth of successful gym sessions, treat yourself to a new toy. Whether it’s a state of the art armband to keep your MP3 player hands-free for lifting, or a Fitbit to track each morning run, stay up to date with the latest devices to monitor your health and fitness progress.
While you work toward achieving your fitness goals with a custom reward system, stay energized with replenishing Promax protein bars. Each bar provides the fuel needed to power through long sessions at the gym, including 2:1 carbs to protein for strength and recovery. Our workout bars are safe for vegetarians, fully gluten free and kosher, and never contain artificial sweeteners. To learn more, please check out our website.
Sleep, or the lack of sleep, has a major impact on athletic performance, among other things. While many athletes are focused on things like finding the right energy bars to fit in with their caloric methods, they might be neglecting things like sleeping for the right amount of time.
What Does Sleep Do?
Sleeping is the body’s way of repairing itself and managing the information for the day. It’s like the late night filter that tosses out all the things you don’t need so that your body and brain aren’t full of useless information. It also helps repair tired muscles so that they can perform at their best on the next day. The recommended amount of sleep a person gets is 7-9 hours, but athletes in training should plan on sleeping more hours than that, since their bodies will need more healing and rest.
Stanford University recently conducted a study to see how sleep affected performance in athletes. When athletes slept for 2 more hours than they normally did, their speed increased by 5%, while their free throw accuracy increased by 9%. Another study revealed that athletes who got a full night’s sleep experienced enhanced performance in the afternoon as opposed to the morning hours. While these studies touched on different details, it’s easy to see that sleep has a measurable impact on the performance of athletes, as well as an impact on what time of the day their performance is optimal.
Suggestions for Athletes
Just as athletes adjust their diets to include things like low-carb protein bars, they have to adjust their sleep schedule as well. If you are in training and therefore more active than usual, plan on going to bed a bit earlier. Remember that the body has to rest and repair while you sleep, so you need to give it ample time to do just that.
Avoid Sleep Aids
Sleep aids can impact the way you sleep and what your body does while sleeping. Instead of using sleep aids, consider developing a pattern that tells your body it’s time to go to sleep. Do the same thing every night to prepare your body for rest. You can even adjust your diet for this purpose. Just as you might eat energy bars to increase performance, consider drinking teas with natural relaxers to help relax the body and prepare it for sleep. Chamomile tea is one suggestion, but there are several other teas that also aid in relaxation.
Sleep deprivation can reduce your level of performance, while added hours of sleep can increase it. You should always get a good night’s sleep, but when you are in training, it’s even more important to make sure you add a bit extra to compensate for the extra effort your body is putting forth. It’s especially important that you avoid chemicals that can impact your sleep at this time, like alcohol and caffeine. Treat your body right by giving it the proper sleep and nutrition it needs, and it will treat you right by performing to the standards you require.
Promax Nutrition gives people who want better bodies the protein, vitamins, and minerals they need in delicious, gluten-free, vegetarian snack bars. To learn more about Promax Nutrition products, check us out online.
Nutrition, a proper sleep schedule, and keeping hydrated are all important elements of maintaining a healthy body. A good meal can go a long way, but sometimes you need to tweak it and add a protein bar or something similar to your day to boost energy. Just like you tweak your diet, you may need to tweak your form and posture while exercising, not just so you don’t hurt yourself, but also so that you get more out of your workout.
Importance of Posture
Poor posture is not only unattractive; it can also be bad for your health—and not just your back. The structure of your body was developed the way it was because it has a specific function. Yes, it allows you to do specific activities, but it also protects you at the same time.
Consider your rib cage. It is designed to protect your internal organs from injury. Since the human body is so amazing, it doesn’t just rely on the rib cage, but other elements as well. For instance, when you go into shock, your limbs get cold because your body senses an emergency and is diverting everything to your organs. Likewise, when you don’t use good posture, your organs may be facing unnecessary pressure. That means you aren’t going to get the right amount of oxygen, blood flow, and other things that your body is trying to do to keep you healthy.
When you exercise, bad posture leads to improper positioning of the organs, so it may not just be your back that you are straining. When it comes to exercise, proper posture helps your body evenly displace weights and pressure so that the areas you are trying to work on get the maximum benefit rather than causing injuries.
Importance of Form
Consider your posture to be the foundation of everything you do, and your form to be the management of all the details in between. When you work out and your trainer tells you to adjust your form, it isn’t just to be strict, but to make sure that you get the benefits you’re looking for. For instance, squats might seem easier when your knees turn inward, but, if anything, they need to be facing more outward. This allows the weight to fall where it needs to, rather than making your back and knees take all the pressure of the squat.
One common mistake that people make is locking their joints. This is dangerous for several reasons. For one thing, there are major arteries in those areas, so that if you lock your knees for too long, you may pass out or lose vision. At the very least, you’re putting an unnecessary strain on your heart. It also means that the weights or exercises you are doing are putting a strain on the joints rather than working the muscles.
Before your next workout, have a chat with your trainer. Ask for tips on improving your form and your posture in general. Every activity you do can benefit your body if your form and posture are correctly managed. And don’t forget to supplement your newly improved workout with a delicious Promax protein bar while you’re at it.