Nitric oxide (NO) is a naturally occurring free radical in your body that supplement companies are claiming can actually boost your workout performance. Those looking to increase muscle mass are drawn to the claims that NO can enhance workout performance, increase stamina and promote muscle repair. Sounds like a magic little pill, but is it too good to be true?
As a vasodialator, NO expands the veins to lessen the force the heart must exert to pump the same amount of blood through the body. Since oxygen is carried in the blood, elevated levels of nitric oxide are said to enhance oxygen delivery to your muscles. NO boosters are being marketed as great way to improve your workout performance. The primary ingredient in NO boosters is arginine, and these supplements, typically sold in pill form, usually contain additional active and inactive ingredients.
The effects of nitric oxide on muscle growth and development are under investigation in the scientific community, but there are many studies that have given us a bit of insight. In a study performed by the International Journal of Sports Medicine 30 endurance athletes were given L-arginine, aspartate or a placebo. At the end of the study, evidence showed zero increase in endurance and blood vessel dilation in participants, and that nitric oxide does not promote muscle growth.
Another study from the Baylor University (Texas) examined the effects of arginine supplements during training on body composition in experienced exercisers. At the end of the trial, no significant differences were observed in participants’ body mass, fat mass or body fat percentage.
It’s a sad truth that many women avoid weights. Either they’re made uncomfortable by the macho association with the weight room or they’re afraid of looking bulky. In reality, strength training is an necessary part of maintaining weight loss and weight training is a great way to build muscle. All too often, women focus on burning calories with cardio, but if they’re not also strength training, this can result in a loss of muscle mass.
Diane Mueller, a bodybuilder and team leader for 911Strong.com, says that women don’t have to worry about bulking up. “If you’re a female, you don’t have the hormones to bulk up the way that a male or someone who uses chemical enhancements would, which is basically testosterone.”
Getting started in one of the biggest hurdles in creating a weight training program. “The biggest fear is stepping into the gym,” says Diane, adding that many women feel fear being judged. “I think once they get in there, and once they look around, they see that there’s so many different types of people in the gym. Not all of them are body builders.” To help get over any initial intimidation, Diane suggests getting a training buddy. “It’s nice to go with a friend. You feel a little more confidant when you go almost anywhere with a friend.”
By Liz Neporent
Breast cancer survivors get ready for a game changer. Instead of sitting on the sidelines and avoiding physical activity for fear of aggravating the arm swelling experienced by up to 70 percent of surgery patients, experts are now recommending you pump iron.
For decades, breast cancer patients undergoing treatment have been warned away from lifting anything heavier than a small bag of groceries. The thought was overexertion might cause lymphedema, a painful, arm-swelling condition that’s a common side effect of surgery. Recent work by University of Pennsylvania scientists challenges this notion with findings that a carefully structured weight training program doesn’t make lymphedema worse. In fact, it can reduce the chances of arm swelling or even prevent it altogether.
The research involved 154 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer within the last few years and who had had at least two lymph nodes removed but hadn’t yet developed lymphedema. Half were told not to change their exercise habits. The rest attended twice weekly weight training sessions supervised by certified personal trainers. Routines got progressively more challenging over 13 weeks and then the women continued lifting on their own for up to nine months afterwards. (more…)
Being a couch potato can lead to diabetes? This isn’t surprising to me and I hope its not to you.
The title for the latest study on diabetes, “Lowering Physical Inactivity impairs Glycemic Control in Healthy Volunteers,” is trying to establish the relationship between an inactive lifestyle and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The obesity epidemic is upon us, both adults and children. This is something we can not ignore. A sedentary lifestyle is one that can lead to weight gain and possibly diabetes, and all the complications that come with it.
The study was conducted by University of Missouri‘s John Thyfault, an assistant professor in MU’s departments of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology and Internal Medicine. He discovered that blood sugar was effected when exercise was reduced or eliminated.
The fact that smoking is dangerous for one’s health is not news. However, the statistic that cigarette smoking is responsible for over a thousand American deaths every day may be an eye opener. A large portion of smokers do not want to end up as another death toll statistic, but quiting isn’t as easy as they wish it were. Less than five percent of smokers struggle to quit without help. Recent studies show that the weight room may be the best place for smokers to finally kick the habit.
A team from the Miriam Hospital in Rhode Island recently published a recent study conducted with smokers. 25 male and female smokers between the ages of 18 and 65 were enrolled. Those enrolled reported smoking at least five cigarettes a day for a least one year. All participants underwent a 15-20 minute counseling session focused on smoking cessation. Participants were also supplied with an eight-week supply of nicotine patches. Once these steps were taken, the participants were separated into two random groups. A resistance training group and a control group.
Those placed in the resistance training group participated in two, 60-minute training sessions per week. This training lasted for 12 weeks. Training involved full-body exercises, gradually increasing intensity every three weeks.
If you watched The Biggest Loser last season, you may have noticed that the emphasis in the gym was on martial arts. With trainer Cara Castronova‘s background as a 2 time Golden Gloves boxing champion and trainer Brett Hoebel‘s emphasis on Capoeira, as well as many past BL contestants who ha vediscovered a love of Muay Thai boxing, the exercise workouts were definitely not typical. What was the reason that these two completely different forms of martial arts were chosen?
At first glance, these two forms of martial arts have almost nothing in common. Muay Thai is an ancient form of combat fighting that utilizes all of the limbs, plus elbows and knees, in striking. Commonly called The Art of Eight Limbs, this stand up form of martial arts combines elements of boxing as well as stand up clinch techniques, as opposed to boxing which uses two (hands) and other forms of martial arts which utilize four (hands and feet).
Most competitive forms of marital arts place an emphasis on conditioning, and Muay Thai is no exception. Designed to help increase endurance for ring competition, most Muay Thai classes incorporate shadowboxing, jumping rope, running and often weight training. A cornerstone of Muay Thai training is working pad rounds, in which a student works one on one with a coach in hitting specially designed pads, called focus mitts. The focus mitts are created to absorb impact and help a fighter learn to hit correctly without harming their training partner.
This guest post comes from Paige Corley, a Program Director at the Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge.
Ever wonder if your workout routine is stale or needs to be changed? Well, basically you want to keep your body experiencing new things, so you want to change your workout routine with some regularity. Problem is that for many of us just coming up with one workout routine is tough (and time consuming).
Keep these things in mind when thinking about your workout routines:
- You can change the order in which you do your exercises and this can be enough to trick your body. For example, if you are used to doing cardio first and weights second, do your weights first and then your cardio.
- You can change the intensity of your cardio workouts. Some can be steady state workouts and others can be interval workouts (like treading). Stay away from getting on the treadmill and walking/running at the same speed each time. Mix it up. Add incline; add speed. Try going fast for every 2 minutes of 5. This will allow you to recover for the other 3 minutes. (more…)
Exercising can be difficult to work into a busy lifestyle, so making the most out of each and every workout session is a must. There are all kinds of styles or types of exercises that can be performed in the gym or at home. From weight training and fitness classes to isometric movements and plyometrics.
Each type of exercise depends upon what your goal is and the results that you desire. If you are trying to lose weight, heavy weight training is obviously not the desired style of exercise. Likewise, if you are trying to gain weight, cardiovascular movements are not the answer.
Well, it’s almost summer again, which means the sometimes dreaded swimsuit season is here. If you have not already stepped up your workouts a little by now, it’s sure time to do so.
Many people often get the misconception that doing hundreds of crunches will get that flat, sexy stomach. Not true. Crunches do, however, work the core endurance and will obviously help. Fat and muscle are two different types of tissue. You need to burn the fat tissue in order achieve the so-called “bikini belly.”
Does muscle weigh more than fat? Well, there are two ways to look at this question.
Let’s take 10 pounds of fat versus 10 pounds of muscle. Ten pounds is 10 pounds, right? Yes. But, the 10 pounds of fat is much bulkier than the 10 pounds of muscle. Another way of looking at it is that a 10-pound pile of fat will take up more space than a 10-pound pile of muscle. So, more muscle would be needed to equal the space or volume of fat, thus making the pile of muscle weigh more.
That being said, let’s go into how muscle tissue and fat tissue are totally different. People often mistakenly think that doing crunches will turn the layer of fat into muscle. First off, there are three ways of losing weight (burning calories): diet, cardiovascular exercise, and weight training.