Sports Nutrition

ISIBrands: Privacy Policy

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Our business and the laws that regulate us change from time to time, and we reserve the right to change this policy. If we do change this policy, we will post the revised version on this Site.

Timing food and drink to benefit your workouts

The timing of meals and drinks can make a big difference to your workout. Making smart choices can mean more energy and strength, and can help you avoid dehydration, indigestion and sluggish energy.

You’re the expert when it comes to knowing how you feel after big meals or going several hours without food—so take that knowledge to the gym. If you feel sluggish after eating a large meal, make sure you time your workout for three or four hours later; this can help prevent digestive troubles, cramping and slow reaction time.

However, you may find that not eating a snack before a workout brings similar results—feeling tired, slow to react or weak. Low blood sugar levels can produce these effects, so for most people it feels better to either eat a snack right before and during a workout or eat a smaller meal two to three hours before you work out.

Some general points to keep in mind are:

-Have breakfast- it’s important to fuel your body in the morning because most of the energy you got from the food you ate the night before is probably gone. Have a healthy meal but if you’re working out within an hour of finishing your breakfast, make it a small meal. If you’d prefer to eat breakfast after working out, grab a sports drink or something that will get your blood sugar up like a piece of fruit.

-Eat something after your workout- have a meal that contains both carbohydrates and protein to help your muscles recover. Carbohydrates are stored primarily in your muscles and liver as glycogen, which is needed for energy; diets containing at least 50 percent of calories from carbs will help your body store glycogen. Protein is key for muscle repair and growth.

-Stay hydrated- in addition to helping replace lost fluid, drinking water is important to your body because it helps your blood remove waste from cells and carry nutrients to them. Also, your body doesn’t just lose fluid, your body also loses electrolytes during exercise, so you’ll want to make sure you are getting enough electrolytes in your diet and drink water to help get them moving through your system before, during and after your workout. You may want to take in a sports drink that has electrolytes if you are exercising for more than an hour.

Remember to listen to your body—if any of the tips above don’t agree with your system, skip them and do what feels the best for you.

How To Choose A Fitness Club

So you’ve decided you’d like to join a gym. That’s great! But wherever you turn, there are billboards, ads on buses, and commercials on the radio and tv for fitness clubs, all advertising low prices and guaranteed results. So how do you choose the best gym for you? Selecting the right gym will take a little bit of time and research, but will be worth the effort in the long run.

The first thing to take into consideration is a fitness club’s location. You’re much more likely to be consistent with your exercise routine if your gym is convenient for you to get to. If you prefer to work out right after work, you may prefer to look for a gym that’s close to your job. If you work out on weekends, you may want to look for a fitness club that’s closer to your home. If you travel frequently, consider looking into a gym that has locations in places that you visit frequently.

You’ll also want to make sure that you choose a gym that has hours of operation that fit with your workout schedule. If you enjoy working out early in the morning or late at night, a gym that’s open from 9-5 isn’t for you. If you like to work out on weekends, inquire whether they close early on the weekends.

Identify what you need in a gym. Do you just want to run on the treadmill and use weight-lifting machines? These are basic machines found at almost every gym. If you enjoy group fitness classes, inquire about the gym’s classes. Do they offer classes you are interested in, at times that are convenient for you? Also take into consideration any amenities you want in a gym. Some fitness centers offer anything from hair dryers and towel service to pools, saunas, and spa services.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, request a tour of any gym you are seriously considering. Are the facilities clean? Is the equipment well maintained, or are there several machines that are out of order? Do you feel comfortable with the general atmosphere?

While you tour the gym, be observant of the staff. They will be there to answer any questions you have about equipment and your fitness routine. Are there a sufficient number of staff members available? Are they friendly and helpful? Staff should also be trained in first aid and CPR, and be certified with a reputable organization. Don’t be shy to ask about the staff’s certifications. After all, you are trusting them with your most valuable commodity, your body.

Finally, take advantage of any free trials. A gym may look perfect on paper, but the best way to find the right gym for you is to get in there and try it out.

Workout Ideas for Couples

Hectic schedules can sometimes make it difficult to set aside enough time to dedicate to your fitness regimen and also spend enough quality time with your significant other. Relationships, much like fitness regimens, require lots of time and commitment, and at times it may seem hard to balance both. But these two priorities don't need to come in conflict - working out together can help you both achieve your fitness goals while spending quality time together.

Working out as a couple has several physical as well as emotional benefits. Men and women tend to focus on different types of exercise when working out; Men usually favor strength training, while women typically focus on cardio. Exercising together can help to balance out each of your workout programs to incorporate both cardio and strength training. Partners can also help to watch each other's form and serve as a spotter during difficult exercises. In addition, exercising as a couple gives you a common interest and allows partners to give each other motivation and support, which can help deepen your bond.

It can be tricky to start working out with a partner, particularly if you are at different fitness levels. Below are some suggestions that will help you get a good workout together.

  • Join a class together. Pick an activity you're both interested in trying; from kickboxing to yoga to swing dancing, the possibilities are virtually limitless.
  • When using cardio machines at the gym, work on machines that are next to each other. This will allow each of you to work at your own intensity level while still being close to each other.
  • Challenge your significant other to a high-energy game of basketball. Rouse up a little friendly competition and start burning calories!
  • Go for a power walk or jog outside. Walking at a brisk pace can be great exercise, plus you'll get to enjoy the scenery and outdoors together. Adding intervals to your walk or jog will help to accommodate both your fitness levels.
  • Stretch it out. Assisted stretching has been shown to help improve flexibility and feels good, so give your partner a gentle tug or push, just be careful and go slowly to ensure you don't overdo it.
  • Go play outside. Remember as a kid how you would spend endless hours playing outside? Recreate those childhood memories with your partner - play a game of tag, jump rope, or go for a bike ride.

The "Core" Essentials

Over the last few years, core training has become a staple of exercise routines, though it has been the focus of ancient practices such as yoga and tai chi for centuries. Yet many people don't have a good understanding of what exactly the core is, and the importance of core strength not only in your workout, but even in everyday activities such as walking or lifting groceries.

Many people mistakenly interchange the terms core and abs. Actually, your core runs the entire length of your body's trunk and torso, and includes the muscles in your back, abdomen, pelvis and hips. These muscles form the foundation for all your body's movement, your posture and your balance by helping to stabilize your spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle. If your core is strong, you are more stable during movements, your posture is better, and you have greater strength and power during your activities. A weak core can result in poor posture, injury, and lower back pain.

So now that you understand the importance of a strong and stable core, how do you incorporate core training into your workout? A good core training program should target all the muscle groups that stabilize the spine and pelvis. Though there are several pieces of equipment such as stability balls, balance boards and kettle balls that can help with core training, you can build core strength without any equipment. The strength required to hold a pose, coupled with the gravitational pull of your body weight are enough to effectively work your core muscles. Push ups, squats, lunges and crunches are basic exercises that can help you get started on building core strength; pilates, yoga and tai chi classes also focus on exercises that develop your core, or consult with a trainer, who can help you develop a personalized core strengthening regimen.

Successful Weight Management

Having a weight management strategy benefits pretty much everyone-whether your goal is to maintain your weight or get better muscle definition. Make a plan and remember it's always a good idea to speak with your doctor about your weight goals and before making any significant changes in your diet or exercise routine. Here are some tips that may help you get a plan together.

We know the basics-to manage your weight you need to burn more calories than you're taking in and if you're eating more than you're burning you'll gain weight. The secret to making the jump from knowing how to change your weight to actually getting results is to make a commitment to a lifestyle that supports your goals. It may sound like a full time job, and there's no doubt that when you're starting out with a new plan, it takes a while to find what works for you.

When you're figuring out your strategy you should always keep a few questions in mind:

  • will your diet include plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, lean protein and foods from the other major food groups?
  • whatever the idea behind the diet, does it feature foods that you can afford and can find easily?
  • will you be eating foods that you like and will commit to eating for the long term, not just a set amount of time?
  • do you have the time to prepare these foods?
  • will you get enough nutrients and calories on this plan?

That takes care of the food, but you also have to be balancing your diet with exercise. If you have a personal trainer, ask what kinds of exercises are right for your body and your goals. Always speak with an expert before trying new techniques so as to avoid injuries.

Remember, though, that research shows whatever kind of exercising you're doing, it should be done regularly.

Squeeze In A Mini-Workout

I'm tired. I don't have time. I can't afford a gym membership.

How often have we all given these excuses as reasons for not exercising, promising to start doing better tomorrow?

Exercise isn't just about losing weight or toning up. Engaging in daily physical activity can have significant health benefits, such as helping to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and it can also help significantly improve your quality of life!

And you don't have to take large chunks out of your day to fit in exercise, or invest in expensive pieces of workout equipment. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, research shows that doing three 10-minute spurts of moderate-intensity exercise throughout the day is as effective as working out for 30 minutes straight. So make your health a priority, and schedule time throughout your day to fit in a few mini-workouts. Here are a few ideas to help you fit exercise into your daily schedule:

  • Get moving in the morning. Wake up a little earlier than usual and take a brisk walk around your neighborhood. It will leave you feeling alert and energized to face the day ahead.
  • Ditch the car. Go green and get fit in the process by leaving the car at home, and running errands on foot or on your bike. Carrying groceries home from the supermarket can give you an aerobic and strength training workout all in one!
  • Get active on your lunch hour. Get some co-workers together and start a lunchtime exercise routine. Try jogging around the block (or parking lot), or up and down stairs if you work in a high-rise building. If your workplace has a break room, you can use the room to get some squats and lunges in, or to do some yoga, which can also help to re-energize you and avoid that mid-afternoon slump.
  • Make your chores work for you. Pick up the pace to get your heart pumping as you wash your floors, scrub your bathroom, or rake your yard. Not only will you get dreaded chores out of the way, but you'll also burn extra calories in the process!
  • Make fitness a family affair. Take your family to the park for a bike ride, a game of basketball, or a calorie-blasting game of handball. During the summer months, take a family trip to the local lake or pool for a refreshing swim.

How To Choose A Fitness Club

So you've decided you'd like to join a gym. That's great! But wherever you turn, there are billboards, ads on buses, and commercials on the radio and tv for fitness clubs, all advertising low prices and guaranteed results. So how do you choose the best gym for you? Selecting the right gym will take a little bit of time and research, but will be worth the effort in the long run.

The first thing to take into consideration is a fitness club's location. You're much more likely to be consistent with your exercise routine if your gym is convenient for you to get to. If you prefer to work out right after work, you may prefer to look for a gym that's close to your job. If you work out on weekends, you may want to look for a fitness club that's closer to your home. If you travel frequently, consider looking into a gym that has locations in places that you visit frequently.

You'll also want to make sure that you choose a gym that has hours of operation that fit with your workout schedule. If you enjoy working out early in the morning or late at night, a gym that's open from 9-5 isn't for you. If you like to work out on weekends, inquire whether they close early on the weekends.

Identify what you need in a gym. Do you just want to run on the treadmill and use weight-lifting machines? These are basic machines found at almost every gym. If you enjoy group fitness classes, inquire about the gym's classes. Do they offer classes you are interested in, at times that are convenient for you? Also take into consideration any amenities you want in a gym. Some fitness centers offer anything from hair dryers and towel service to pools, saunas, and spa services.

Once you've narrowed down your choices, request a tour of any gym you are seriously considering. Are the facilities clean? Is the equipment well maintained, or are there several machines that are out of order? Do you feel comfortable with the general atmosphere?

While you tour the gym, be observant of the staff. They will be there to answer any questions you have about equipment and your fitness routine. Are there a sufficient number of staff members available? Are they friendly and helpful? Staff should also be trained in first aid and CPR, and be certified with a reputable organization. Don't be shy to ask about the staff's certifications. After all, you are trusting them with your most valuable commodity, your body.

Finally, take advantage of any free trials. A gym may look perfect on paper, but the best way to find the right gym for you is to get in there and try it out.

Buddy Up to Boost Success

When it comes to sticking to a workout schedule or managing your weight, experts are now saying that your best bet may be to team up with a buddy.

It's not for everyone, but for some people, having someone to be accountable to is key to staying on track.

If you're having trouble staying motivated to get to the gym or to push through an intense workout, a workout buddy can be there to spot you, encourage you or even spark some competition. You may even save money-see if you can plan a session for both of you with a personal trainer and split the cost.

Dieting is almost always easier if you have someone going through it with you. You may be looking for someone to commiserate with over an uninspiring salad at lunchtime or someone to call up at the end of the day to encourage you and tell you that you can get control over your weight and health. A good support system could be a faster track to success.

When you're looking for a workout or diet buddy consider the following:

  • do you have similar schedules- if one of you works days and the other works nights, you'll have trouble scheduling time to exercise together. You want to be sure that each of you is mutually available.
  • do you prefer the same forms of communicating- if you're into text messaging or emailing rather than picking up the phone, make sure to find a buddy with the same preferences.
  • do you understand what each other needs in terms of encouragement- some people just want to be able to talk to someone who understands the difficulties of dieting or pushing through a fitness plateau. Other people opt for tough love. Know what works best for each of you and make sure you can provide what the other needs.

If you start out with a buddy and find that you're not a good match, consider finding someone else to team up with. Remember, it can make a big difference in your level of success.

Tips on Dining Out

You watch what you eat and make smart choices about how to fuel your body. Don’t let a meal out mess with your good diet strategies.

You’re not going to be stuck with a green salad and plain baked potato if you just get a little creative. Here are some ideas to get you started:

-Stay away from cream-based soups and sauces- they have more fat and calories than most other options.
-When available, choose whole wheat pasta or brown rice- complex carbohydrates fill you up faster and absorb into your body more slowly so your blood sugar won’t spike.
-Drink water with your meal- again, you’ll fill up faster and you’ll avoid the empty calories in soda, juice or alcohol.
-Order your salad with the dressing on the side- this way you’ll be able to control how much you add while you eat.
-Avoid all-you-can-eat places- they’ll make you want to eat more to get your money’s worth. Stick to an a la carte menu whenever you can.
-Choose lean cuts of meat- skinless chicken breasts and turkey sausages or burgers are usually a safe bet, as is fish, depending on how the dishes are prepared.
-Select foods that are steamed, baked, grilled or broiled- usually they have less fat and fewer calories.
-Get the side of salad, not fries- most restaurants will make the substitution even if it’s not listed on the menu.
-If you want dessert, share it- or if you’re not feeling generous, order a dessert lower in calories and fat like fresh fruit or sorbet.

If you’re attending a party or wedding where you don’t have the option of making the kind of choices outlined above, just be smart about portions- leave some food on the plate and skip dessert.

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