The Best Foods to Eat Before and After Your Workout

Pre and Post Workout Meals or Snacks which are right before or right after working out. These meals are crucial and help to improve your performance and results, for instance, to burn fat and to gain muscles, to increase strength and to be healthier. So what you eat before you work out acts as fuel or energy to maximize during your workout session. What you eat after is important to optimize muscle recovery which basically begins as soon as your workout ends and never ever work out on an empty stomach. Working out on an empty stomach is like trying to drive a car without gas. Your workout will suffer because you will not have enough energy to sustain it or you will be too distracted by hunger to keep focus. Let’s start by understanding pre-workout snacks

Pre-workout snacks are also known as “Energy Phase” because they play the largest role in providing your body with maximum energy in order for you to work out at 100% effort. In order for this to happen, we want to fill our body with meals which are heavy on carbs and a little bit of protein. Because carb is the best source of energy and they digest easily. Pre-workout snacks I would be sharing with you are light, small and easy to digest. It is suitable to be consumed 30-60 minutes before your workout. If you are planning to have a big and heavy meal, have a balanced meal of carb, healthy fat and protein for at least 3 hours before working out. Here are examples of pre-workout snacks:

 

Whole –wheat Toast with Peanut Butter and Banana. Whole wheat toast will provide you complex carbs which are especially important for workout endurance. Bananas are also great source of carbs and they are perfect for raising potassium levels which tend to drop when you sweat a lot. And peanut butter is high in protein and it digest easily.

 

The next snack is Greek Yogurt with Fruits. What I have here are frozen berries. Yogurt provides you with carbs and protein to keep you energized. And the added fruits contain natural sugar for extra energy boost and feel free to change for another fruits of your choice.

 

Do you want something refreshing and light; I will share with you High Protein Fruit Smoothies. Blend 1 cup of frozen berries or your favorite fruits with 1 cup of water and 1 scoop of your favorite protein powder. Having a liquid based snack when you work out will make it easy for your body to digest and the water content will keep your body hydrated for a better workout performance. And add a little bit of protein powder prior to workout will help to reduce muscle soreness and fatigue. So try it out!

 

And the next snack is Dressed up Oatmeal. Oatmeal is popular choice for long runs or long cardio. And it provides energy        throughout your workout by gradually releasing sugar into your blood stream. You can choose to top the oatmeal with fresh fruits, peanut butter, whole nuts, egg, or cocoa powder.

 

If you like something special like me why not try egg with toast. This is my regular breakfast and also mainly my pre-workout snack. One or two whole wheat toasts with one half white egg. Egg is excellent source of protein. It keeps you satisfied and it is much easier to digest in comparison to meat. Meat is something you should try to avoid as pre-workout snack as it takes much longer to digest and it will weight your down during your workout session. So try egg on toast instead.

 

If you don’t have time and you want a quick snack which you can eat on the move, you can try dried fruits and whole nuts. You can pack it in a container and bring out with you. The healthy sugar from dried fruits will provide you with a quick energy boost while nuts will keep your insulin levels from dropping during your workout session. Nuts are high in healthy fat which means they take longer to digest. Remember to have it in moderation and a small handful is small enough as your pre-workout snack.

 

Another quick pre-workout snack which I often make is Peanut Butter Oatmeal and Energy Bar. This energy bar contains all natural ingredients needed for an excellent workout. Oatmeal, peanut butter and honey for workout endurance and for a quick energy boost. So you can make it beforehand and this can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. So try it out!

Other easy and quick pre-workout snacks can include all kinds of fruits, cottage cheese with crackers, caffeine which is known to boost your metabolism and to improve performance endurance and many different kinds of whole food which is high in carbs.

 

Let’s move on to post-workout meals and snacks. Your post-workout meal is the first meal you have after your workout session which is also known as “Anabolic Phase”. Having the right post-workout meal will help with increasing muscle mass to reduce fatigue and muscle soreness and with overall recovery. To achieve this, we want to refuel our body with high protein and a little bit of carbs. Protein consists of amino acid which builds muscle and help with recovery. Our muscle breaks down during a workout and needs to be rebuilt with protein. For these reasons, we are encouraged to consume our post-workout meal within 30-60 minutes right after a workout session. Our body is most ready to accept the carb and protein and to use these nutrients to rebuild, restore and recover. I like to schedule my big meal right after a workout session. For instance, I tend to work out mid-morning and to have my lunch straight after. Knowing that it is not always possible for all of us, I will show you some of examples of post-workout snacks and meals that you can try out. So let’s start with meal.

 

What I have here is basic grilled chicken with veggies. Your body is in recovery mood so you need nutrient dense dish. The lean protein in the grill chicken will fill you up without feeling over-bloated. And the veggies are high in fiber and keep you satisfied without over-eating.

 

The next meal is veggies omelet. What I have in here are broccoli, spinach, carrots, onions, 2 eggs, a little of olive oil. Again, eggs are great source of protein. They are light on your body and keep you satisfied and this is also a great choice for vegetarians.

 

Another post-workout meal is baked salmon with sweet potato chips which is my favorite because I love salmon and I love sweet potatoes. Salmon is a great source of protein with omega-3 and sweet potato chips is packed with complex carbs which helps to restore energy especially after an intense workout. If you are a vegan, you can substitute the salmon or the grilled chicken breast with peas or even chick peas.

 

Let’s move on some quick and light post-workout snack. What I have here are tuna chunks and red pumper hummus. Tuna is low in calories but high in protein. 100g of tuna only contains 99 cals and it has 23.5g of protein. Hummus is also low in calories and high in protein and it is a great vegan option to fulfill your protein requirement. So you can eat tuna, hummus with crackers or you can make a sandwich and pack it out with you. So there is no cooking required at all. And it is really convenient.

 

Chocolate lovers, it is for you. Recent studies have been shown chocolate milk is the latest craze in post-workout snack. This is because 1 cup of chocolate milk has everything you need. Carbs to restore your energy, protein for muscle recovery and water content to replace lost fluid from exercising. So chocolate lovers, after workout is the perfect time to indulge in a cup of hot chocolate milk.

 

Again, smoothie is also a great post-workout snack. It is delicious, convenient, and helps to replenish lost fluid from exercising. Add a little bit of spinach into my smoothie.

 

The easiest and most convenient way to refuel your body with protein is drinking protein shake. Each scoop of protein powder has an average of 24g of protein. And protein shake is not just for men. You can choose to mix 1 scoop of protein powder with water or with milk for extra carbs and protein. If you are a man or you are much bigger in size, and then go for 2 scoops.

 

A quick post-workout snack is protein bar. Just be aware of the sugar content, go for protein bar with 10-30g of protein, less than 10g of sugar. With minimal amount of ingredients you cannot pronounce.

 

So these are some examples of post-workout meals and snacks. If you find out the portion are too small, you can always add vegetables, rice, couscous, potato, vegetable soup and more. The portion depends on your personally requirement. Most of these meals can be prepared beforehand for convenient.

 

Try it out because they will make a significant difference to your workout performance and results. As a basic guideline you remember to fill your body with carbs, energy and to refill your body with protein for recovery. The more basic the foods are, the better they will be for your body. Always remember to stay hydrated before, during and after your workout. So carry a bottle of water with you at all times.

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Trying to lose weight? Get more sleep

Medical Studies have unveiled an overwhelming truth which successfully establishes a strong relation between weight loss and sleep. Experts have stipulated some details that explain the association between weight loss and sleep, leptin as well as ghrelin (very important hormones). All these four factors are interrelated and might efficiently address several people's concern related to weight reduction. Though, struggle and fight for success and survival tend to overshadow the importance of maintaining good health and fitness, the fact that life is charmless without a perfect blend of health and happiness, can't be ruled out at any cost.

 

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How Sleep Contributes in Weight Loss:

 

After conducting and reviewing multiple medical examination results, scientists have come up with an enticing conclusion which says that body's metabolism process works three times faster in sleep. There has to be a rational explanation behind this incidence. Of course, there are justifications which strongly support the standard finding. Researchers explained that human brain's metabolic rate increases during sleep. It means that human brain enhances caloric expenditure during sleep to produce energy. So, a person loses more calories in sleep than when he is awake.

 

Sleep Deprivation is Another Cause of Overweight:

 

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Human body is trained to regulate few important hormones during sleep. Among them, leptin and ghrelin play major roles. These two hormones have considerable impacts on a person's food cravings and stomach full indication. To be more specific, ghrelin is the hormone which encourages hunger feeling. On the other hand, leptin is the hormone that controls a person's stomach full feeling. So, when a person suffers from sleep deprivation, secretion level of hormone leptin and ghrelin gets disrupted. Insufficient sleep interferes with the normal activities of these two hormones. Therefore, when a person cut backs on sleep, his body releases more amount of ghrelin and reduced amount of leptin. Apparently, the outcome is not pleasant at all. The increased level of ghrelin boosts hunger feeling. That is why a sleepless night evokes food cravings. This might be the main reason which explains why the habit of late night snacking is common among many people across the world.

 

This situation unfortunately exacerbates because of another additional consequence. Sleeplessness leads to a stage, which incorporates additional threat by reducing level of leptin hormone. This hormone is very important in suppressing hunger feeling. A reduced level of leptin fails to indicate a stomach full condition. When a person lacks this hormone, he fails to recognize the stomach full feeling. Precisely, a person with decreased level of leptin hormone may end up eating a lot more than he actually needs. These incorrect and misleading activities undoubtedly increase the chance of being overweight.

 

Another condition responsible for enhancing the complication of the situation is the emission of a hormone called cortisol. Research findings suggest that a sleep deprived person remain more stressed than a normal person. The state of stress and restlessness induces the emission of cortisol. Increased amount of cortisol stimulates hunger feeling.  

 

Pituitary gland secrets more growth hormone while sleeping. The growth hormones are responsible for muscle building and new cell generation and thus require more energy consumption. So, the condition of sleep deprivation may disturb body's natural activity and ultimately encounter unfavourable result like obesity. In short, sleep is very important to support the body and brain in performing general activities such as burning fat to produce energy, controlling and regulating body's natural hormones etc. So, if a person is aiming at weight reduction, he should not neglect sleep. 

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The best time to exercise if you have diabetes: Pre-Meal or Post Meal? 

People with diabetes are advised to engage in physical activity. It helps the blood glucose to stay with-in the normal range. It also helps to improve blood circulation, reduce cholesterol, high blood pressure and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases – complications commonly associated with diabetes.

 

So, does it really matter if you are exercising after a meal or on an empty stomach? A recent study suggests that it does. According to a research: “post-meal exercise is better than pre-meal exercise for managing hyperglycaemia”. It further suggests that for diabetic patients, the ideal situation should be to use the glucose from the meals rather than triggering the release of glucose from liver.

 

Why a pre-meal exercise is not a great idea for diabetic patients? To understand the reasons behind this process, let’s start with how does body utilize glucose and most importantly how it maintains the glucose levels with-in a required range.

Blood Glucose or Blood Sugar

 

Our body converts the food we eat into glucose. It is a form of sugar that makes way into the blood stream. Our cells utilize this glucose to grow and produce energy with the help of insulin, a hormone secreted by pancreas. Insulin helps the glucose to enter the cells. In diabetes, body is:

 

a) Not able to produce enough insulin (Type 1 Diabetes), or

b) Produces no insulin at all (Type 1 Diabetes), or

c) Does not respond properly to the insulin (Type 2 Diabetes)

 

Without insulin, there is too much of glucose build-up in bloodstream. Although body gets rid of this excess sugar in the urine, this also means cells are not getting the glucose for energy and growth needs. When the concentration of glucose in blood rises to an abnormal levels, the condition is called hyperglycaemia. It affects both types of diabetes Type I and Type II and also a hallmark for pre-diabetes.

 

Glucose is not managed by just Insulin: Enters Glucagon

 

Our pancreas releases another major hormone working in tandem with insulin to maintain the right level of sugar in the body – Glucagon. When we eat, pancreas releases insulin to help lower blood sugar. Between meals or during fasting, we still need energy so pancreas releases glucagon to help keep blood sugar levels steady. How does it all fit together? Let’s find out.

 

Role of Insulin in maintaining blood glucose:

 

Insulin is secreted by the beta cells of the pancreas when blood glucose rises, for example, after the meals. It helps to decrease the level of glucose in blood.

  1. Insulin signals the cells – muscle cells, red blood cells and fat cells – to utilize the glucose from the blood to produce energy.
  2. It helps liver and muscles to convert the excess of glucose into glycogen and store it for future, a process called glycogenesis.

As glucose is taken used by the cells and stored in the liver and muscles, its levels in your blood are automatically reduced. And as the levels of glucose falls the blood, the amount of insulin secreted by pancreas decreases. Now kicks in the ‘Glucagon’.

 

Role of Glucagon in maintaining blood glucose:

 

Glucagon is secreted by the alpha cells of the pancreas when there is a fall in the level of glucose in blood. Blood glucose is low between meals, during fasting and also during exercise.

  1. Glucagon signals the liver and muscles to break down glycogen into glucose and release glucose back into the blood, a process called glycogenolysis. Glucagon, thus, helps to keep the blood sugar levels from plunging too low.
  2.  It stimulates liver to produce glucose by using other nutrients in the body other than carbohydrates, for example protein. This process is called gluconeogenesis.

 (A quick fact: Many tissues can use other energy sources such as fats or proteins but some organs such as brain and red blood cells can only use glucose.)

 

Why exercising on an empty stomach can be dangerous in diabetes?

 

For people who have diabetes, pre-breakfast exercise can actually be harmful and trigger hyperglycaemia, causing the blood sugar to increase. Sounds strange? After all, exercise is supposed to lower blood sugar levels. The key to this mystery lies partly in Dawn phenomenon.

 

Dawn Phenomenon: Hormonal games our body plays when we are sleeping

 

In the early morning, at around 3 a.m. and 8 a.m., liver releases certain hormones – growth hormone, cortisol, glucagon, epinephrine – to maintain and nourish the cells of our bodies. These hormones are released when our insulin is wearing out. These counter-regulatory hormones work against insulin’s action, causing the level of glucose in the blood rise. Dawn phenomenon happens to everybody – whether you have diabetes or not. For a person with no diabetes, normal insulin responses help the body to restore the blood glucose to the normal level.

 

For people with diabetes who do not have enough insulin to regulate the rise in blood glucose, the result is a high glucose reading in the morning. Studies also suggests that when we exercise first thing in the morning before eating anything, we prolong the fasting period which stimulates the release of cortisol, raising glucose even further. Also, let’s see what happens when you are exercising? During exercise the body needs more oxygen especially in the muscles. If you are on an empty stomach, our body is stimulated to release the glucose stored in the liver to meet the high energy requirements. But if there is no insulin or not enough insulin, muscle cells won’t be able to absorb the sugar quickly enough.

 

Combined result? High level of blood sugar.

 

(A quick fact: For pregnant women, the dawn phenomenon is even more pronounced as a result of more hormones released in the night.)

 

How can this be countered?

 

Data accumulated from many studies and researches show that for people with diabetes 30 minutes after the meal is the ideal time to start exercising. Any physical activity should coincide with the time when the cells have access to the blood glucose coming from the meal.

 

And how can a meal before exercise help? After the meal, insulin-to-glucagon ratio is high and glucose production from the liver is restricted.  And as the insulin kicks in, the cells starts utilizing the glucose from the blood stream, thereby reducing the blood glucose levels.

 

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How to Assemble a Trampoline?

Trampoline provides a great way for fun and entertainment to all family members. When it comes to using a trampoline, safety should be put into one of the first priorities. The most important step we had better bear into our mind to ensure the trampoline safety and stability is its establishment. There is no difficulty in setting up a trampoline. All you need is requiring at least 2 people to assemble different parts of the trampoline together. If you are finding it hard to assemble a trampoline, let’s follow these steps below.

 


Does the Package Have Full Accessories?

Normally, a trampoline often offers numerous of pieces for the solid construction. Your responsibility is ensuring that all parts of the trampoline are in good condition. The manual instruction will help you find out what is missing in the package. Feel free to contact to the manufactures in case you have any problem with setting up the trampoline. Main elements of the trampoline could be found include frame, springs, safety enclosure, and padding. Besides, you actually need the support from other additional tools such as screws, nuts, bolts and more for making the establishment easier.

 

Guides to Assemble a Trampoline

Are you ready to put all pieces together? After we separate all trampoline parts, it’s time to connect them in the right order.

Setting up the frame is the first requirement in boosting the trampoline stability for years. As you know, a well-built frame is the big plus that contributes to bring high bounces and safety to users, especially kids. The trampoline frame equips a variety of U legs. Ensure that these legs securely attach to the frame by the support of bolts or screws. As a result, it looks like a round shape in providing large space for jumping.  


The next step is attaching springs in the trampoline jump pad. Quantity and length of the springs will decide the effectiveness of bounces. There is a variety of hooks to securely attach the springs into trampoline frame. Remember to divide them equally on the pad. Then, it is time to cover the mat on the springs. The mat should be suitable with the size of the frame for better stability.

 

Another important step is connecting the pad on the trampoline frame. The pad often comes with thick foam and vinyl materials to enhance surprising safety for years of using. Selecting right pad is a necessary task for users to avoid injuries on legs and joints when jumping out of the trampoline. Moreover, it helps limit the stuck fingers of children during jumping process. It is advisable to tight the pad carefully to prevent bad influences from wind or storm. Remember to attach closely the trampoline pad to all metal hooks on the frame. This contributes to ensure that the pad won’t dislodge for using over time. The best result of attaching the trampoline pad is its smooth surface.

 

Last, but actually not least, the equipment of safety enclosure is extremely important, especially for the usage of children. Therefore, you must ensure that the safety enclosure is carefully attached to all hooks for best efficiency. In order to enhance the security of enclosure attachment, you could use screws and bolts for supporting this assembling process.

 

After these steps are finished, let’s try to enjoy great moments when jumping on the trampoline. You should check whether the trampoline is safe or not before allowing your children to play on its pad. If everything comes in best result, it implies that your trampoline is completely ready to use. Moreover, for countries where are often affected by storm, anchors are good recommendation. 

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How Do I Give Better Massages?

There is nothing more comfortable than relaxing right at home without any complications and pressure of high cost. People are easily suffered from chronic pains and pressure. This is the reason why therapists attempt to bring a great number of massage techniques to keep up with the needs and demands of users. In addition to the main function of relieving pains, massage helps enhance the blood circulation as well as immunity system to protect users from common issues such as flus, heart attack, etc…

 

Before applying massage therapy, the preparation for a comfortable environment becomes so important. It should be quiet and fresh places where you can feel relax completely. You shouldn’t allow any pet or kids there to avoid interruption and complication. Moreover, make your lights dim to create relaxing moments. For people who love romance, add some oils, candles, or a piece of music to build up the preface space to relax. There are differences between giving better massages for your patients and self-massages.

 

Better Massages for Other People


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If you want to give better massages to your patients, let’s pay attention to their comfort. The first important requirement is selecting suitable place for starting massaging therapy. It is advisable to let your patient sit in front of you. Put several drop of oils on your hands and make them warm. This is an important factor in relieving pressure knots. Then, slightly apply some warm-up steps on different areas and muscles before starting difficult techniques.

You could use gentle or deep kneading based on the needs of patients. Ask them for their requirements about the best massage levels. There are several parts you should avoid massaging such as abdomen and front of the neck.

To relieve pains on neck and shoulders, you should follow these techniques below. Use your left hands to massage right shoulder from up to down. Similarly, the right hands are responsible for squeezing left shoulder. Apply this action with 2 minutes. The back requires circle kneading on tight muscles of back or around spine, not spine.   

 

Better Self Massages

 

In case there is no one to help, self-massage is a great option for most of users. It is simple to apply this massage therapy in a safe way. All people could do these techniques to relieve pains and pressure without any difficulty.

 

If you have to deal with pressure on shoulders, use your left hand to massage right shoulder and vice versa. Other equipment plays an important role in supporting the massage session. For instance, you had better use the eraser to press circle pressure on your hands. It totally puts positive impact on relieving tight muscles on your thumbs. Another impressive recommendation is using therapy balls to produce deep tissues. You could also take advantage of a ball for rolling your feet. This therapy guarantees to make foot arch completely relax.

 

 

All in all, massage therapy is an efficient method in reliving soreness, improving immunity system and blood circulation. Applying massage in the right way helps bring tons of benefits to users. Let’s try and enjoy!

 

Special thanks to Stewart Higgins (Chief of www.massagechairsexpert.com) for helping me with your sample massage therapy to complete this article. Hope that you can help me in my next article about massage chair equipment and other massage device!

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