Saturday, February 18, 2012

How to Workout Effectively

In order to get the most out of a workout regime, you need to make sure your workout plan raises your heart rate, builds strength and improves flexibility. This is how you should plan your workout. Most workouts are designed to achieve one of these three pillars of success. However, there are does exist a type of training that allows you to build strength and do cardio at the same time. This kind of training is known as Circuit Training.

Circuit Training
Circuit training is a workout program where you perform a series of physical exercises with very little time in between the sets. The optimum way to achieve circuit training is to set up all the weights in advance. Once you have your weights ready, begin with a bench press then move on to lat pull downs, military press, squats, leg curls, bicep and tricep extensions in that order and then take a very short rest. This set should last for ten minutes. Doing the exercises in this way gives you the cardio exercise you need as well as your strength exercises all at the same time. At the end of such a long set, your heart rate will have risen and your muscles will feel slightly sore. Rehydrate and repeat this set for two or more times depending on your level of fitness. Be careful not to injure yourself or over exert. Do not rush through the exercises in each set. The idea is to work every major muscle group and get your heart rate up really high.
However, a word of caution, circuit training is not ideal for women who have just begun to hit the gym. The intensity of the workout demands that your body be in fairly good shape to take the pressure. But once your body is in good enough shape, circuit training is one of the best ways to lose weight. It burns a lot of calories and it is recommended that you do it three times a week if your goal is fat loss.

Interval Training
One of the other ways to workout effectively is Interval Training. Interval training basically comprises of physical activity at high intensity over a period of time and immediately followed by low intensity exercise over a period of time. This cycle is repeated for optimum benefits.

  • Sprint Intervals – the high intensity part of interval training is referred to as sprint intervals. These intervals are measured by time or alternatively by distance. They may be as short as 10 seconds or as long as 15 minutes depending on the kind of exercise. A good example of a sprint interval would be running at an all out pace for 20 seconds.

  • Rest Intervals – the low intensity portion of Interval Training is referred to as rest intervals. During a rest the workout does not come to an end but rather, slows down and allows the body to recover from the sprint interval. Rest interval time is determined by your fitness level and the kind of sprint interval involved.
The idea behind interval training is to get the most out of the sprint interval. As you become fitter, you should be able to take shorter and shorter rest intervals as your sprint interval time increases. This exercise is extremely ideal for weight loss.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Real Truth about Reconstituted Fruit Juice

Precisely what is Reconstituted Fruit Juice?

Reconstituted fruit juice is made from fruit concentrate. It is different somewhat in taste to fresh juices, having a different sort of consistency and aroma. Similar to freshly extracted juices, reconstituted fruit juice is made using a juicer, which in turn has water content eliminated from it as feasible, converting it to a concentrate. Several juice making companies in the US and around the globe find the concentrated type of juice easier to transport and store. The concentrate is then hydrated when it arrives at the packaging plant and packed in bottles, cartons or cans.
It is also possible to purchase frozen sachets of reconstituted juice at your local store. You can keep the concentrate for several years in your freezer only adding water when you need to drink juice.

How Nutritious is Reconstituted Fruit Juice?

This does appear to be the million dollar question and is the subject of debate. Interestingly, reconstituted fruit juice provides near-similar nutritional value as that found in freshly squeezed juice. Even though useful enzymes and Vitamin C are destroyed during the process of eliminating water content, juice manufactures add them back at some point during manufacture. This explains why the nutritional content is more or less the same.
The juice label should tell you a few things the fruit juice concentrate. One of the things you want to look out for is the preservative, sodium benzoate. This preservative is responsible for causing sore throats and you will definitely want to keep your kids from consuming too much of a juice made from concentrate preserved with sodium benzoate.
You should also check the juice label to find out which fruits were used to make the concentrate. Some fruits are cheaper and manufacturers will naturally prefer them. However, the preferred fruits may have a lower nutritional content. For example, apples are cheaper than oranges but less nutritious.
The labels on reconstituted fruit juice may not tell the whole story about the concentrate. For example, when manufacturing juice concentrate, factory hygiene standards must be very high. Most of the US fruit juice concentrate, especially apple juice, is currently sourced from China. While one cannot say with certainty that this is a safety risk, poor Chinese safety standards in other industries such as the toy industry, pet food and personal care are a cause for concern.
If you are environmentally conscious, and you should be, then you will find that reconstituted fruit juice is not very good for the environment and has a high carbon foot print. Huge capital is needed to harvest the fruit, transport it to a pulp factory, crush it, eliminate the water content, package it and finally deliver it to the supermarket via road or air. That is one massive carbon foot print.

The Best Fruit Juice

Since it not possible to know with certainty where the concentrate originated, whether it contains harmful preservatives and also the fact that its production is not environmentally friendly, it is better to stick with the good old organic variety. Buy your fruits at the supermarket or local grocery store and squeeze them anytime you want fruit juice. This is the healthiest and safest option for you and your family.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

5 Basic Relaxation Techniques

Learning and applying relaxation techniques can be a great antidote to the stress of modern living. Some of the methods for actively practicing relaxation techniques including deep breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, meditation or yoga can reduce stress levels significantly and create feelings of wellness and serenity.  Practicing relaxation techniques can also help you stay calm and deal with the day to day problems of everyday life.

The aim is to learn how to develop a relaxation response, as opposed to a stress response. When experiencing a stress response, the body triggers chemicals that prepares you to “fight or flee” in the interests of self preservation. Stress responses are perfectly normal in real threatening situations, but when constantly activated due to chronic stress, they can become physically damaging, cause illness, and sap your energy.
By learning and practicing relaxation techniques, you will discover how to bring your mind and body back into equilibrium by reducing harmful stress hormones, lowering your blood pressure, slowing your heart rate, and relaxing your muscles.

Stress experts suggest setting aside 10-20 minutes daily for relaxation practice. If you are experiencing a constant stress overload in your life, between 30 minutes and an hour a day of relaxation therapy is recommended.
Here are some stress-relieving relaxation techniques that can be particularly useful, especially when dealing with stress.

1. Deep breathing exercises
Deep breathing is a potent relaxation method and is the cornerstone of most relaxation techniques. Deep breathing can be practiced in conjunction with other relaxation activities such as aromatherapy.
The essence of deep breathing relaxation is to breathe from the abdomen. Draw as much air into your lungs as possible. By drawing deep breaths from the diaphragm, as opposed to shallow breaths from the upper chest, you will inhale far more oxygen, making you feel less tense and anxious.

2. Progressive muscle relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique in which you tense and relax different muscles in the body. Progressive muscle relaxation counteracts the muscular tension that usually accompanies stress. As your body relaxes, your mind will begin to relax.

3. Meditation
Meditation is a proven stress reliever that will help reduce anxiety, depression, and negative thoughts. Meditation helps you focus on being in the present moment, as opposed to feeling anxious about the future or the past. Meditation also strengthens the emotions associated with joy and wellbeing, weakening feelings of negativity.

4. Visualization
Visualization is a variation of traditional meditation. As a relaxation technique, visualization involves imagining a landscape in which you feel completely at peace, and able to let go of tension and anxiety. Choose a locale that you find peaceful and calming, for example, a tropical beach or a quiet clearing in a forest. Close your eyes and imagine your relaxing place. Let your problems drift away. Image the scene as vividly as possible, using all your senses – sights, sounds, smells, feelings. Visualization works best when you include as much sensory information as possible. For example, image a gentle fresh breeze on your face, the damp softness of moss underfoot, the sound of birds overhead, and branches swaying in the breeze.

5. Yoga
Yoga is a first-rate stress relieving technique. Practiced together with deep breathing, the benefits of yoga offer a natural offset to stress, strengthening the relaxation response.  Yoga techniques that emphasize slow, steady movements and mild stretching are best for relaxation.