End Seasonal Affective Disorder

End Seasonal Affective Disorder

Do you struggle with the winter blues, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD? For many of my patients, the change of season brings an unwelcome change to their moods. This form of depression occurs mostly in the shorter, darker days of fall and winter, but can also occur in summer. Most conventional practitioners prescribe antidepressants, which can have significant side effects and be hard to stop without undergoing many adverse effects. Despite what these practitioners and the pharmaceutical companies would like you to think, you can end seasonal affective disorder. (more…)

4 Tips To Optimize Crossfit Performance

4 Tips To Optimize Crossfit Performance

As you get started with your Crossfit workout sessions, it’s important that you’re taking the time to look at what you can do to optimize your performance. Crossfit is a sport that requires a great deal of versatility in terms of your overall fitness skills, so do expect to get challenged on multiple levels.

Knowing a few tips going into each workout can help ensure that you make the most of what your sessions hold.

Here are four tips to optimize your performance during any Crossfit workout you have planned.

Check Your Pre-Workout Meal

Treat a Crossfit session like you would any other weight lifting workout session. Both carbs and protein before this workout are a must. Don’t try and do Crossfit on an empty stomach. You just won’t have the fuel source you need to perform the intense exercise called for.

A light meal about 60-120 minutes prior to the session will give your muscles the fuel they need.

Don’t Skip Over Your Warm-Ups

If you have a busy schedule, as most of us do, it’s easy to skip over the warm-up you would normally do and get right to the main event. Avoid doing so. Warm-ups are there for a reason. If you aren’t doing them, all you’re doing is increasing your risk factor for injury.

Take a few extra minutes and get the warm-up in. It’ll help you put that much more effort into each exercise you do after that. Plus, it’s a great way to get your head in the zone.

Use The Right Gear

Many of the exercises you perform while doing Crossfit require certain types of gear. Make sure that your gear is in proper working order and is comfortable for you to use.

For instance, for your heavy weight squats or Olympic lifts, try using squat shoes. It will make a difference. When doing your pull-ups, consider using chalk to ensure you aren’t slipping as you grasp the bar.

Take some time to learn the gear options and experiment to see what works best for you.

Focus On Form

Many of the exercises you are going to do during your Crossfit sessions do come down to using proper form. If you let your ego get in the way and begin using heavier weight than you should, this could seriously hamper your ability to lift properly.

You want to keep your form in check every step of the way. When you first learn a new exercise, do it without any weight or resistance at all. Only once you have mastered the exercise should you go on and add more weight.

So there you have a few of the best tips to know and remember about ensuring your Crossfit performance is where you want it to be. Follow these and you’ll be seeing results in no time.

Copyright: leaf / 123RF Stock Photo

4 Tips To Optimize Your Training Program

4 Tips To Optimize Your Training Program

Looking to lose weight? Perhaps you simply want to feel sexier in the body you have. Or maybe, you are looking to have more energy for all the little things that you want to take on each day. Learn to optimize your training program to make your workouts work for you!

Learning how to optimize your training program is a must in order to see the results you are after. Chances are, you are busy enough as it is,

The last thing you want is a workout that is getting you mediocre results. When you hit the gym, you want to ensure every second counts and is going to offer the highest payoff possible.

Let’s look at a few tips on how to optimize your training program so that you can achieve all of the effects noted above.

Time Those Rest Periods

After you finish a set of your weight lifting exercises, do you typically check your SmartPhone for social media updates? Chat with the person next to you? Or maybe you take the time to head to the water fountain for a drink of water.

Whatever the case, you need to get serious about monitoring your rest periods. Allow yourself too long between sets and this will seriously compromise the intensity of your workouts and the fat burning effects you get.

From now on, keep your rest periods to no more than 90 seconds between compound exercises and 60 seconds on isolation moves.

Focus On Compound Lifts

Speaking of compound lifts, this is the next way to optimize your training program. Focusing on these exercises is an absolute must because they will get you the best results for your time invested. Rather than working just a single muscle group as you do with isolation movements, you’ll work multiple muscles all at once with this compound exercise.

Bench press, deadlifts, squats, bent over rows, shoulder presses, pull-ups, and lunges are what you want to focus on. Once those are in your workout routine, then you can move on to the isolation exercises you want to do.

Interval Train

As far as cardio goes, if you have not yet gotten started with interval training, now is the time to do so. No exercise is going to work your body at the same intensity level as interval training and help kick-start your metabolic rate for optimal fat loss.

With interval training, you can burn fat faster for 48 hours following the workout session, yielding superior results.

Alternate intense work periods of 15-30 seconds with active rest periods of around 30-60 seconds in length. Usually, you want to have rest periods twice the length of your interval period for optimal recovery.

And remember, you don’t necessarily have to be on the bike, elliptical, or treadmill to do interval training. You can just as easily do it with bodyweight exercises such as burpees, jump squats or lunges, or mountain climbers.

Know When To Rest

Finally, last but not least, know when to rest. If you are feeling a serious lack of energy in your life, it could be because of too little down time for rest and recovery.

This is important not only from a physical standpoint to let your body recover from the exercises you are doing, but also from a psychological standpoint as well. Those who don’t give themselves downtime each week are far more prone to feeling burnout and exhaustion, which can seriously cramp your energy level on a daily basis.

Once per week, set aside a few hours to do nothing but relax. Take a bath, watch a movie, or read a book. Consider this ‘you’ time that will help you recharge your batteries for the week ahead.

So there you have a few ways to get your exercise program optimized so that you see the best possible results moving forward. Are you missing out on any of these factors in the equation?

Use Leucine to Boost Recovery

Use Leucine to Boost Recovery

Want the best way to recover post-workout?  Midway through and post-workout, use both leucine and carbohydrates with branched-chain amino acids. During exercise, the body both breaks down and releases leucine. It also goes into a negative balance of protein synthesis to protein breakdown. If you want to see results faster, supplementation is one of the best ways to help support your body.

Leucine Dosage

The suggested effective dose is 21g of essential amino acids.  Studies have shown no significant difference between dosing 40g and 21g. The higher dosage is typically recommended by both trainers and coaches.  The researched effective ratio to the other BCAAs is 2:1:1.  However, some studies have shown that taking 3.5-5g may be a more effective dose.

Take about 20-30g of your choice of supplement. I prefer BCAA Excellence. Supplements should be taken both halfway through and post-workout with your choice of carbohydrate to assist in protein synthesis. This will support your body in both muscle repair and recovery.

Sources:

Crowe MJ, Weatherson JN (2002) The effects of dietary L-leucine supplementation on exercise performance. Sports Medicine and Science at the Extremes. Australian Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport. 12–16 October, Melbourne, Australia

See also:

Donald K. Layman. Role of Leucine in Protein Metabolism During Exercise and Recovery.  Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 2002, Vol. 27, No. 6 : pp. 646-662.

Lose Fat by Sleeping More

Lose Fat by Sleeping More

Sleep More to Lose Fat!

A lack of sleep can make it harder to lose fat. A 2012 study found that those who had the
longest sleep duration (at least 7 hours) had the biggest reduction in fat mass.
The quality of your sleep is just as important in aiding fat loss via hormonal balance.
Some helpful tips for getting the most out of your sleep and hormones are making
sure your room is as dark as possible, all wifi and electronics are turned off, write in
a grateful log before bed, and make sure your room is cool (65-70 degrees).

Chaput, J., et al. Sleeping Habits Predict the Magnitude of Fat Loss in Adults Exposed

to Moderate Calorie Restriction. Obesity Facts. 2012. 5(4), 561-566.

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