Category: Stretching

Everything you need to know about Hot Yoga

You have probably done Yoga but have you ever tried Hot Yoga? Hot Yoga adds a whole new level of difficulty along with the benefits of detoxification, flexibility, de-stressing, and more. If you have never tried hot yoga and want to give it a try here are some tips to prepare for Hot Yoga.

Continue reading “Everything you need to know about Hot Yoga” »

Fix your form: How to do the Bridge Pose

young woman training in yoga bridge - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana Pose isolated

The Bridge Pose or the Yoga name: Setu Bandhasana is a basic yoga pose that is simple but yet exhilarating.  It stretches the check, neck, spine, and hips while strengthening the back, buttocks, and hamstrings. It also is said to energize the body, and stimulate the endocrine and nervous systems. Additionally it massages the digestive organs and can help with digestion. This asana stimulates the thyroid glands and helps regulate metabolism. It is a great asana for those who spend the whole day in front of the computer, owing to their jobs. The stretch in the knees and shoulders acts like a massage, therefore refreshing and rejuvenating the practitioner.

Continue reading “Fix your form: How to do the Bridge Pose” »

Tips for Staying Physically Fit and Motivated During the Summer Months

Staying Physically Fit

Working out during the hotter summer months can make you want to retreat to the indoors and avoid going outside until fall. However, with some minor adjustments, you can maintain your routines and stay fit. If you are going to train outdoors, you will want to avoid the hottest parts of the day, which are from around 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

It is recommended to work out early in the morning before heading off to work. Not only is it much cooler outside, your body will have increased energy and higher cognitive functioning throughout the day. If you are unable to get to your routines at this time, consider doing them in the evening after the sun has started to set.

If you are a night owl, you could even get in your workout routines in the evening, when it is much cooler. Just remember to wear reflective, brightly colored, or white clothing, and carry a flashlight to make it easier for motorists to see you.

One viable alternative for summertime workouts is to spend more time swimming and in the pool. There are plenty of water-type physical fitness exercises you can perform to help maintain and improve your abilities.

Regardless of the outdoor routines you prefer, remember to slather on the sunscreen and reapply frequently to protect your skin. You should also wear a baseball cap to shade your eyes, and UV protectant sunglasses. Take time to rehydrate yourself while working out by drinking plenty of water. Most people suggest drinking a small amount every fifteen minutes.

If you simply cannot handle the heat of the outdoors, look for a gym or fitness center in your area that offers short-term summer memberships. These facilities offer the comforts of air conditioning and access to a wide array of equipment you can use to ensure your entire body gets the attention it needs.

Workout Bars

If you are finding it hard to stay motivated, even with these various options, try implementing these tips:

  • Start listening to music to liven up your mood and motivate you to exercise.
  • Take time out to reward yourself for reaching fitness goals. Schedule a massage, go shopping, have a “cheat” day, or anything else you like.
  • Set easy-to-obtain goals. During the summer months, you will want to adjust your short-term and long-term goals. It can be harder to set higher demands on your body and, if you fall short, you can be discouraged and lose your motivation. For instance, if a short-term goal is to shed 10 pounds in a month, you might want to adjust this to losing a minimum of a pound a week for 10 weeks.
  • Don’t punish yourself if you skip working out for a day or two. If it is simply too hot outside, and you need to stay indoors, avoid feeling guilty about it. Instead, do some pushups, sit ups, or house cleaning to get in some physical activity.

After intensive workouts during the summer and throughout the rest of the year, remember to refuel your body with workout and sports nutrition bars from Promax Nutrition. Order yours today online, or call us at (888) 728-8962 for further help in selecting the right bars to fit your needs.

The Best Stretches for Bikers

Bike Stretches

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.

Sources

  1. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/26/ask-well-do-we-need-to-stretch/?_r=0
  2. http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/do-you-need-stretch-and-after-exercise
  3. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/26/ask-well-do-we-need-to-stretch/?_r=0
  4. http://www.bikeradar.com/us/gear/article/eight-injury-busting-stretches-for-cyclists-26074/

Reasons Why You Should Change Your Workout Routine

Workout Routine

There are certain reasons why you might want to change your workout routine. It is important to not change your routines too often—otherwise, you will never receive the benefits of making the change in the first place. Most routines will provide the desired benefits, and changes are not always necessary as long as you do not have outrageous goals. However, there are times when a change is needed, such as:

  1. You change your goals. For instance, initially your goal was to lose fat, and now you want to build muscle. Adding weight training and replacing some, but not all, of your aerobic exercise routines will help start building muscle.
  2. You are getting bored with your routines. If you are getting bored, and it is affecting your motivation to exercise and train, a change could help reinvigorate your motivation. You might want to work with a professional trainer to create new routines that still address your goals and objectives.
  3. You have reached a plateau, and your routines are no longer working. It is worth mentioning, if you are just starting out, that it takes longer for your body to adapt and adjust, so it is essential to wait for a longer period of time, of about two months, before making any changes. If you have been working out longer, and your body and muscles have adapted to your routine, it could be time to consider a change.
  4. Something has occurred requiring a change. You may have injured yourself, your schedule has changed, or the weather has changed, and so on, forcing you to make a change to your routines. For example, you were in an accident and broke your leg. As a result, you are not going to be able to do some of your routines until your leg heals, but you should find others to do until it does heal.

These are the four most common reasons why you should change your workout routine. For most people, there should be no need to make changes unless their reason falls within one of these parameters. Rather, you should be patient and stick with what you are doing, as long as it is working and helping you reach your goals.

Keep in mind, changes are often subtle, so it may not look like you are getting any benefits from your current routines, when you are. One useful tip is to use a cloth or paper tape measure and record different body measurements on a weekly basis, like your hips, waist, chest, and so on. You might be surprised by the changes you notice when taking measurements. In addition, never, ever, under any circumstances, base your progress solely upon your weight, because fat weighs less than muscle. As your body starts shedding fat and building muscle, your weight can increase.

Additionally, changes to your eating habits and diet are highly recommended to help supplement your exercise and weight training goals. Your body requires additional nutrients, energy, and other vitamins used during your routines. This is why many people use energy bars, protein bars, and other such products, and incorporate them into their daily routines. To learn more about the nutritional benefits of using protein bars and related products, please feel free to reach out to us through our website.

CrossFit Injury Prevention

Crossfit Injury Prevention

CrossFit offers a variety of ways to tone up just about every muscle group, yet people are getting injured in high numbers while doing it. Since these sessions have trainers, why is it that so many people are getting injured? Like anything else, the issue most likely isn’t with the trainer, but with a lack of preparation. Even the best protein bar combined with determination and proper adherence to the CrossFit guidelines isn’t going to be enough if you don’t take the proper steps to prepare for a session.

Keep Hydrated

One of the fastest ways to get injured when doing any kind of exercise program is to skip out on hydration. If you want to cut down calorie consumption, simply avoid drinks with refined sugar in them. Consider relying on natural juices and water, but avoid caffeine and refined sugar. You’re going to lose electrolytes and liquids when you start sweating during CrossFit training, and that can be dangerous. Keep something to drink on hand so that you can refuel as needed.

Use a Nutrition Plan

Skip the fad diets and use a nutrition plan that works for you. Maybe you’re trying to lose weight and want to reduce your calorie intake. That’s fine, as long as you are still getting your nutritional needs met. For example, instead of having a sandwich for a snack, enjoy one of our tasty low carb bars.

It’s a good idea to speak with a health professional who knows your unique circumstances so you can develop an appropriate diet plan. Otherwise, you could do more damage to yourself than good when you engage in CrossFit training. It’s even important to think about when you eat as much as you think about what you eat. For example, diabetics are encouraged to eat multiple small meals throughout the day in order to keep their blood sugar from spiking at any given time.

Stretch in Advance

Before you engage in any kind of training program, make sure you take the time to stretch your muscles. This helps loosen them up and prevents a lot of the pain that you may experience if you don’t stretch. On top of that, stretching helps you develop smooth, toned muscles instead of random bulky areas.

Rely on Professionals

When it comes to specific programs like the CrossFit program, make sure the trainers are certified to teach you and aren’t just someone who happened to use the program once and then decided to start training others. Relying on someone who isn’t properly trained is an almost guaranteed direct route to a future injury. It’s also important that you speak with your trainer to discuss your current abilities and limitations. In some cases, you may need to start out with a less strenuous program in order to help your body get used to exercising on a regular basis before starting the CrossFit program.

CrossFit is an excellent way to get into shape fast, but you need to take the right steps to get there. Don’t assume you can safely go from the couch to hand-stand push-ups without expecting some kind of injury to follow. Be sure to check back here regularly for more tips on how to bring your A-Game in a way that’s both smart and safe.

10 Myths about Yoga

Yoga

For men and women interested in health and fitness, yoga can provide a fun and healthy activity to combine with other healthy habits like gluten free energy bars, a regular sleep schedule, and better strategies for coping with stress.

Millions of people have tried yoga, and millions more are curious about how this Eastern mediation and exercise practice can provide stress relief, enhanced flexibility, and better muscle tone, along with a variety of other health benefits. Unfortunately, there are also many misconceptions about yoga and who it can benefit.

The following are the 10 most common myths about yoga and a little debunking to give folks interested in yoga some straight talk about how it can improve their health and well-being:

Yoga is not a real workout

Ask a yoga class after a vigorous session whether they feel they’ve had a workout. While yoga can often be less intense than other forms of exercises, there are variants of it that increase the heart rate and work muscles just as effectively as conventional exercise.

Yoga is a religion

While spirituality is a big component of yoga for many people, yoga itself is just a means of exercise and meditation. The precepts of yoga are compatible with just about any faith, and promote kindness and peace.

Only flexible people can do yoga

Yoga helps promote flexibility. For people who are a little stiff, yoga can help facilitate greater flexibility. While the more advanced levels of yoga do require quite a bit of flexibility, beginner exercises can help those of us who are less flexible develop this attribute.

Yoga is expensive

Compared to gym dues, at-home treadmills, and exercise gear, the investment you make in yoga can be quite small. All you need to do yoga is some comfortable clothes, a yoga mat, and a book or video instructing you on a few basic poses. Even yoga classes are highly affordable, and some community centers, churches, and other groups offer free yoga instruction.

Real men don’t do yoga

Actually, men were the original inventors of yoga. Yoga was developed thousands of years ago by men in the East. Today, women do outnumber men in yoga classes, but, guys, is that necessarily a bad thing?

Yoga is a time-suck

A decent yoga session can take as little as 10 minutes. The great thing about yoga is that you can do it just about anytime, anywhere, making it very copacetic with modern lifestyles.

People with disabilities or chronic pain cannot practice yoga

Yoga can be quite beneficial to people with disabilities, or who suffer from arthritis or other chronic pain. It all depends on your specific circumstances and the program of yoga you undertake. Speak with a physician and your yoga instructor ahead of time to learn if yoga is right for you.

Yoga is for the young

Yoga practitioners come from all ages and walks of life. Many older people find yoga’s low-impact nature and emphasis on peace and reflection helpful.

Yoga is for hippies

Blue collar workers, CEOs, and a wide variety of others have found peace, contentment, and fitness through yoga.

There is only one form of yoga

There are actually quite a few yoga methods. Vinyasa focuses on breath, power yoga helps build strength, hot yoga uses heat to facilitate development, and hatha yoga is a slower form of the discipline.

Promax gives people who want better bodies the natural protein, vitamins, and minerals they need in delicious, gluten-free, vegetarian snack bars.  To learn more about Promax products, feel free to visit our products page.

Don’t Forget the Post-Workout Stretch

fitness, sport, training and lifestyle concept - smiling woman stretching leg on mat in gym

Most people who work out focus on the activity itself, like cardio endurance or achieving maximum reps in a weight routine, and often forget about the crucial “cool down” period. Stretching after training can improve flexibility and prevent sore muscles, and is as important to a workout plan as supplements or protein bars.

Why Stretching Matters after a Workout

Exercise results in muscle wear and tear, which can cause pain and soreness once the activity stops. Stretching afterwards will help limit aches so you don’t have to skip a day of training. Here are just a few reasons why stretching helps after exercising:

  • Limits Muscle Tightness: Tight muscles take longer to heal. Get back to the gym sooner by stretching after exercise.
  • Improves Flexibility: Stretching allows your muscles to reach their full range of motion.
  • Counteracts Muscle Shortening: Tight and overused muscles can cause shortening over time. Regular stretching will reverse the effect of muscle shortening.

Proper Technique

Stretching is most effective when using proper technique. Improper recovery can cause more harm than good. To ensure you’re making the most of each stretch, consult a personal trainer or DVD, or follow the below instructions for common stretches that cater to different parts of the body:

  • Calf Stretch: Stand in front of a wall with your right foot behind your left foot, then slowly bend your left foot forward, keeping your right knee straight and your right foot flush with the floor. Make sure your back is straight and your hips are tilted forward. Hold each stretch for thirty seconds, then switch legs and repeat.
  • Quadriceps Stretch: Grasp a wall or piece of exercise equipment for balance, and use your right hand to grab your right ankle and gently pull your heel up and back until you feel the stretch throughout your thigh. Hold for thirty seconds, making sure to keep your stomach muscles tight, and your knees close together. Switch legs and repeat.
  • Shoulder Stretch: Bring your left arm across your torso, and use your right arm to hook the left elbow close to your body. Hold the stretch for thirty seconds, and then switch arms and repeat.

 Tips for Making the Most of Each Stretch

 Frequency: Stretch after every workout, even the short ones! If you work out three times a week, you should stretch at least three times a week as well.

  • “Cold” Muscles: Stretching after a workout ensures that your muscles will be warmed up and easiest to stretch. Attempting to do a stretch with stiff, or “cold,” muscles can cause injury.
  • Stretch It All: A good rule of thumb is to stretch all major muscle groups, with a focus on the muscles you use most during exercise. For leg-centric activities, that means focusing on the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves; whereas shoulders, chest, and back should be stretched after upper-body exercises like weight lifting, swimming, or tennis.
  • Stay Relaxed: Use slow, gentle movements while stretching, and remember to breathe, exhaling as you move into the stretch.
  • Don’t Push It: Hold each stretching position for no more than twenty to thirty seconds. Always keep still when stretching, as well – sudden movements can limit stability and cause injury.

Recovery after exercising should be a step in every workout plan, with as much focus on stretching as there is when finding the right exercise equipment or shopping for energy bars. For more information about how to make the most of your workouts, check back each week for tips from Promax Nutrition.