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Muscle #1

Let´s talk about muscles. How many muscles are there in the human body? It´s hard to say. Usually, the number oscillates between 640 to 850 named muscles. It depends on how you count them.

There is more agreement to classify them into three categories: skeletal, cardiac, and smooth.

If the cardiac muscle doesn´t work right, the whole system doesn´t work. Often, healthy people forget this point. Fitness is about good looking but also, about good health. The primary muscle of every single athlete is the heart.

Cardiac muscle is a striated muscle, but its contractions are involuntary. Some of the cardiac muscle cells are autorhythmic. They contract even in the absence of neuronal innervation (known as pacemaker cells). Between cardiac muscles cells, there are disks intercalated. These disks contain gap junctions which provide communicating channels between cells.

Inactivity is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. Exercise helps improve heart health, and can reverse some heart disease risk factors.

The heart becomes stronger as a result of exercise, so it can pump more blood through the body with every beat. Any amount of exercise is beneficial. If you are a sedentary person, aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (such as brisk walking) at least 5 days a week. Experts recommend doing some form of moderate aerobic activity for at least 150 minutes or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week. You can spread the minutes out in any manner that works for your schedule. The key is scheduling some form of moderate to vigorous cardiovascular activity into your week and actually doing it. You can also switch between running, cycling, swimming, interval or circuit training.

Regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise, has many benefits. This type of activity can do the following:

  • Strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system
  • Improve your circulation and help your body use oxygen better
  • Improve your heart failure symptoms
  • Increase energy levels so you can do more activities without becoming tired or short of breath
  • Increase endurance
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve muscle tone and strength
  • Improve balance and joint flexibility
  • Strengthen bones
  • Help reduce body fat and help you reach a healthy weight
  • Help reduce stress, tension, anxiety and depression
  • Boost self-image and self-esteem
  • Improve sleep
  • Make you feel more relaxed and rested
  • Make you look fit and feel healthy

In time, you can make your workouts longer or more challenging. Do that gradually, so your body can adjust.

Stop and get immediate medical help if you have pain or pressure in your chest or the upper part of your body, break out in a cold sweat, have trouble breathing, uneven heart rate, or feel dizzy, lightheaded, or very tired.

It’s normal for your muscles to be sore for a day or two after your workout when you’re new to exercise. That fades as your body gets used to it. Soon, you might be surprised to find that you like how you feel when you’re done.

Danke steht in vielen Sprachen auf einer Tafel mit lächelndem Kind daneben
Danke steht in vielen Sprachen auf einer Tafel mit lächelndem Kind daneben
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Cardio on an empty stomach?

Cardio on an empty stomach?
Everyone should experience and check the results in person. Far from settling the issue, I would like to point out some advantages and mistakes about it.
Aerobic exercise on an empty stomach can increase the amount of free fatty acids used as fuel. But, this is not becFood 6ause our glycogen deposits are empty in the morning. This would happen if we went to bed last night with low glycogen levels.
Almost all the energy we consume during sleep comes from free fatty acids. So glycogen deposits are not affected overnight. Next morning these fatty acids would be “free”, ready as fuel for our cardio workout.

Low-intensity aerobic workout (50-70% of maximum) on an empty stomach, increases the insulin sensitivity after exercise, and the mobilization of fatty acids.
It is important to note that at a higher intensity (> 75% of maximum) we´ll get the opposite effect.
Moreover, not all are positive. Aerobic exercise is  catabolic because it increases the production of cortisol. Cortisol levels are high in the morning, so this would lead to greater muscle wastage.

For greater efficiency of aerobic workout, your stomach should not be completely empty. I recommend a mixture: 5g of BCAA, 5g of glutamine and 5 grams of essential amino acids 15-30 minutes, before training.

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Losing fat

The main reason to hire a personal trainer is losing fat.

You will find a lot of information, sometimes contradictory.

In most cases, the solutions will focus on diet or exercise.

Focus only on the diet or only on cardiovascular exercise, is not a good strategy to get rid of that fat.

We have gained weight because: we have not exercised, we have not eaten right for too long. The logical solution is to take into account both factors and not only attend one, right?

The synergy between these factors will lead to loss of abdominal fat.

Have you started to do a thousand crunches a day? This is based on the notion of losing fat in a certain area, working the muscle underneath. About me 6Unfortunately, this does not exist. You can not only lose fat from one part of the body. Have you ever seen someone with the six-pack and the rest of the body flabby? That’s it.

Extreme diets like eating once a day or even not eat, are a sovereign stupidity and endanger our health.

We must avoid trans fats and bad carbs, make four to six small meals and create a caloric deficit.

Another common mistake is to avoid weight training and furthermore, the strength training. It is a myth widespread that strength training makes you big and bulky, but still false. Strength training will make your muscles grow. A larger muscle consumes more calories.

If we maintain a low-calorie diet, increased muscle size, will help you lose fat. Why? Because muscles burn calories!

If you avoid these common mistakes, you will see how your efforts to reduce fat are successful.

Remember, watch your diet, train hard and do not skip the cardio sessions.

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Carbs

Carbs, sugars or saccharides are biomolecules whose main functions are to provide immediate energy (glucose) and structural (starch and glycogen). 1 gram of carbohydrates provides 4 kcal.

The simplest carbohydrates, monosaccharides, are formed by a single molecule; They can not be hydrolyzed into smaller carbohydrates. They are the main source of fuel for the body.
Disaccharides are carbohydrates formed by two monosaccharide molecules and, therefore, upon hydrolysis produce two free monosaccharides. Some common disaccharides are:

Sucrose, it is the most abundant disaccharide and the main form in which carbohydrates are transported in plants. It consists of one glucose and one fructose molecule. And lactose, the milk sugar.

Oligosaccharides are composed of three to nine monosaccharide molecules that are released upon hydrolysis. But how long it should be a carbohydrate, to be considered oligo or polysaccharide, varies according to the authors.

Polysaccharides are chains, branched or not, more than ten monosaccharides, resulting from the condensation of many monosaccharide molecules with loss of several water molecules.

Carbos

Carbohydrates, are surrounded by water particles occupying more space in cells and are more readily attacked by some enzyme proteins or fat and are therefore a source of quick energy production. Proteins and fats are vital to the construction of tissue and cell components, and therefore the body waste such resources prefer not to use them for energy production.

Carbohydrates help dematerialization of sugars in the blood and thanks to them, the average percentage of insulin remains in the blood.

It is proposed that 55-60% of daily energy should come from carbohydrates.

 

The distinction between “good carbs” and “bad carbohydrates” is a distinction unscientific. Although these concepts have been used in the design of ketogenic diets as diets low in carbohydrates, which promote a reduction in the consumption of grains and starches in favor of protein. The result is a reduction in insulin levels used to metabolize sugar and increased use of fat for energy through ketosis.

Sedentary lifestyle leads to poor metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.

Foods high in carbohydrates are pasta, potatoes, fiber, grains and legumes.

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How much protein do I need?

I will try to explain the amount of protein required for each athlete, so you can calculate yourself.

We all know that proteins are essential to repair and build your muscles, in addition to other functions. Now, according to the activity of the adult individual, how much protein do you need?

A sedentary individual should ingest 0.8 grams of protein per kg.
An amateur athlete resistance between 1.2 and 1.6 grams of protein per kg.
An amateur athlete who want to gain muscle mass, you should take between 1.5 and 2.0 grams per kg.

There is no scientific evidence that the body is able to leverage more than 2.0 grams of protein per kg. Therefore, eat more in this case, no further increase our muscle size. It should be clear that is not good an excess or a deficiency of protein in your diet.

As a side note, for those who seek to increase their muscle mass, do not forget that carbohydrates also are very important, as those who will bring you the energy required to push through your toughest workouts.

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Adequate hydration

All athletes must be aware of the importance of staying well hydrated before, during and after a physical activity. Adequate hydration is a recurring and very effective advise for many different objectives. No wonder if we consider the roles that water plays in our body. Water is involved in all cell reactions, as the reaction medium, as a reactant or product. It also participates in the transport of nutrients, gases and metabolic waste products. As if that were not enough, also it acts as a refrigerant muscle when they are heated during exercise, evaporating sweat, eliminating vapor exhaled air or directly through the skin. Hydrate before exercise has a clear objective: to ensure proper functionality and muscular performance in the first phase of the exercise. It is recommended to take between 400 and 600 ml water, 2 or 3 hours before exercise to allow the renal system regulates the total body fluid volume and achieve the optimal values of osmolarity. During the exercise, our goal is to maintain a positive hydrate electrolyte balance, since a deficit would adversely affect athletic performance. It is recommended between 150 and 350 ml of water every 15 or 20 minutes, from the beginning of the session, to prevent the lowering of sodium. If exercise is intense and long lasting, you should not take only water, add a drink with carbohydrates to keep the oxidation of sugars, normalize hypoglycemia, delaying fatigue and speed recovery of lost glycogen. By the way, the drink should not be too cold but feel like, because at low temperatures the absorption takes place more slowly. Too hot, it has the same problem, so the best thing is a drink that is simply “cool”. Rehydrate after exercise is intended to restore muscle physiological functions as soon as possible. Ideally, complete rehydration for the next two hours to complete the exercise. It is recommended that at least 150% of the weight loss cover the loss of fluid through sweat, plus obligatory urine loss. At this stage, carbohydrates should be taken as soon as possible, because the muscles are very receptive to glucose uptake and this will promote muscle glycogen resynthesis. Put a little care, will lead us to adopt healthy habits regarding our hydration while enhancing the results of our efforts with diet and training.

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Warm up & Cool down

Spending time on warming up and cooling down will improve your level of performance and accelerate your recovery process.
Research work by McNair (2000)[1] and Knudson (2001)[2] suggests that the use of dynamic stretches – slow controlled movements through the full range of motion – are the most appropriate exercises for the warm up. By contrast, static stretches are more appropriate for the cool down.
Warm up increases the blood flow to the muscles, allowing them to loosen up, which can raise the flow of oxygen to the muscle cells. Doing this gradually increases the body’s temperature. This then increases the speed and force of muscular contractions, because nerve impulses travel faster at higher body temperatures, and muscles become less stiff or more pliable.

10854908_381059255406976_6757254183806810548_oWarm up also helps to gradually increase the heart rate and ensure that the demand made on the circulatory and metabolic systems is gradual as well. This initial part of your exercise session helps to improve neural function and coordination, protect major joints as it takes time to increase the supply of lubricating synovial fluid.

The warm up’s intensity should cause transpiration but not fatigue. The type of warm up needs to be appropriate for the activity planned. It also needs to be appropriate to the age range and fitness level of the participants.

The following examples cover a warm up:

  • walking or jogging to increase the body’s temperature (5-10 min)
  • dynamic stretches to reduce muscle stiffness (10-15 min)
  • specific stretches for muscles that will be used during exercises (10-15)

So in warming up thoroughly, we are preparing the body and the mind for the more energetic demands to come.

It is important to rehearse common movement patterns and skills which will be used in the match/competition. This will not only help to improve performance through ensuring the muscles are prepared for the task in hand, but will also help to improve coordination, reaction times and accuracy.
Examples of sports specific exercises include:

  • Dribbling drills (soccer/hockey etc)
  • Passing drills (soccer/hockey/netball/basketball)
  • Shooting drills (soccer/hockey/netball/basketball)
  • Cutting maneuvers (All team sports)
  • Hitting practice (cricket/tennis/baseball etc)
  • Throwing drills (netball/basketball/cricket/baseball)
  • Serve/bowling practice (tennis/cricket/baseball)

Cooling down after a workout is as important as warming up. After physical activity, your heart is still beating faster than normal, your body temperature is higher and your blood vessels are dilated. This means if you stop too fast, you could pass out or feel sick. A cool-down after physical activity allows a gradual decrease at the end of the episode.
It’s good to stretch when you’re cooling down because your limbs, muscles and joints are still warm. Stretching can help reduce the buildup of lactic acid, which can lead to muscles cramping and stiffness.

The cool down should consist of a gentle jog, decreasing in speed down to a walk followed by light static stretching. Remember to stretch all muscle groups used in the sport. Upper body muscles especially are often forgotten is sports such as football, soccer and rugby.

Danke steht in vielen Sprachen auf einer Tafel mit lächelndem Kind daneben
Danke steht in vielen Sprachen auf einer Tafel mit lächelndem Kind daneben

[1]MCNAIR, P.J. et al. (2000) Stretching at the ankle joint: viscoelastic responses to holds and continuous passive motion. Medicine & Science in Sport and Exercise, 33 (3), p. 354-358
[2]KNUDSON, D et al. (2001) Acute Effects of Stretching Are Not Evident in the Kinematics of the Vertical Jump, Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 15 (1), p. 98-101