Monday, June 26, 2017

NUTRITION:   Dark Chocolate and Bodybuilding?  Yes!

Is chocolate a healthy food to be considered when deciding what foods to eat when you are weight training or just participating in a fitness program?  Yes, dark chocolate will be your "choice."  In fact, dark chocolate is loaded with essential nutrients that can have a positive effect on your health.  It is an antioxidant and helps to lower the risk of heart disease with compounds such as polyphenols, flavanols and catechins. But, stay away from milk chocolate as the added milk and sugar is not what you want to stay lean and "not" gain excess fat. 

Also, look for more of the organic dark chocolate in the range of 70% or greater cacao.  I, personally, like a 70% because any greater percentage to me starts to get bitter.  But try, say, an 80%, you may like it.  Experiment but be sure to stick with dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate contains fiber as well as healthy amounts of iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.  There are calories, of course, but in these darker chocolates, sugar is minimal.  The fat is mostly saturated and monounsaturated with a small amount of polyunsaturates.

Another study has found that dark chocolate may be great for your skin.  The flavanols can actually protect against sun-induced damage and improve blood flow to the skin and help to increase skin density and hydration.

The benefits are numerous for adding dark chocolate to your diet and more are being discovered every day.  For example, dark chocolate helps to lower your blood pressure, big deterrent against strokes and heart attacks, as we mentioned earlier. The fat in chocolate is actually in the form of oleic acid, typically found in olive oil, which is found to have antioxidant properties.

What about improving the function of the brain?  Yes again!  One study showed that consuming high flavanol cocoa improved blood flow to the brain thus improving cognition and verbal fluency in elderly people.  It also contains simulants like caffeine and theobromine.

Dark chocolate (70% >) helps to prevent diabetes and obesity by inhibiting blood sugar issues and to improve mood because of the chemical serotonin which is a natural anti-depressant.

Remember, to get minimum 70% cacao.  There are brands that offer 80% up to 90%.  These are known as semi-sweet.  Remember, the more bitter the better.  Just know that if you love chocolate, knowing the health benefits can get you past the bitter!

Eat more dark chocolate!  TEAM JAQT  See YOU in the gym!
And don't forget to order your favorite workout supplements today by clicking here!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Practicing Good Gym and Fitness Center Etiquette

First let's start with cleaning the equipment you use at the gym or fitness center. Many venues offer cloth or paper towels and some sort of disinfectant for cleaning and sterilizing. This simple 30 second procedure will make sure minimal spread of infections and give an appealing environment free of sweat moisture, etc.

Next, don't be a bully! Yes, it is difficult to work out sometimes if there is a crowd but go with the flow and share. Don't "hog" a machine or bench or area. Perform your set and move on. Talk to others to make sure you are not "cutting in" if they are still in their set. And don't sit there and "play" with your cell phone or iPod if you are done in that area. Step away if you must and let others get to their workout.

Be respectful of how long you are using a machine or item in the center and be cognizant of others who may be "hovering" to use the same machine or item you are using. There may be times when you are asked if they can "work in" with you. This is totally appropriate and unless you are super-setting, let them in and take turns. You'll begin to make new friends and enhance their gym experience and yours.

Don't forget to hydrate, just don't monopolize the fountain. Do you need to fill your water bottle or jug? That's fine but let those who just want a drink from the fountain to go ahead and don't form a line if possible.

Are you taking phone calls on your cell while working out? No problem and that is your choice, but please be respectful of others working out around you. First off, no one wants to hear your conversation and second, when you talk in a noisy environment, you will tend to talk louder to the person on the other end of the phone. Don't invade others privacy.

Return the equipment you are using when you are done with that exercise. There is nothing more annoying than looking for something that was there yesterday but someone moved it and left it in the hallway or somewhere it doesn't belong. Re-rack the weights, clear your machines, return the mats, etc. so the next person can find with what they need.

Take a whiff! If you are sweating and begin to detect an unpleasant odor, those around you most likely can smell that as well and it is very unbecoming. Try using a small amount of deodorant or antiperspirant before entering the gym or fitness center. And, conversely, if you are wearing a strong cologne or powerful smelling perfume, try rubbing some off before starting your workout.
Wear appropriate attire for working out. Please don't wear anything overexposed or explicit. Enough said.

So whether you are a veteran or just starting out, enjoy your fitness experience by following these simple rules of etiquette. See YOU in the gym! TEAM JAQT

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Cardio Exercises - Perform at the Beginning or End of Your Weight Training Session?

Cardiovascular exercise, cardio for short, increases blood circulation in the body and increases heart rate. Cardio is a most effective way to burn excess calories resulting in fat loss. It is also a great way to "exercise" the heart.

But the question for most bodybuilders remains, should cardio be performed "before" a weight training session or "after?" It all depends on what a person is attempting to gain and the goal they have set for their workout. Ultimately, two end results can be expected from a workout session; muscle gain and/or fat loss.

The muscles in our bodies contain a chemical called glycogen. It is also stored in the liver. Glycogen is a natural carbohydrate reserve and available to be readily converted by the body to glucose as needed to satisfy its energy needs like during a weight training session.​ When all glycogen is exhausted from the muscles, the body will look for other alternative sources for energy and will begin to burn any excess fat that it finds.

Simply, if cardio is performed "before" a weight training session, all glycogen in the muscles will be used thus diminishing the energy that can be tapped for lifting heavy weights. Since lifting weights does not raise the heart rate as cardio exercise does, there would be minimal fat burning taking place.
Performing cardio "after" a weight training session would allow a person to lift more weight in the beginning to power through a grueling workout and take advantage of the "heavy weights" to build muscle mass, the goal of most bodybuilders. A person needs to be more focused and alert at the beginning of a weight training session and proper form would be easier to keep. Form plays a greater role in weight lifting than it does in cardio. Proper form is needed while lifting weights to achieve a good muscle growth and avoid injury. Focus and form are key when lifting heavy weights.
In this scenario, once glycogen is used by the weight training, the body will again look for other ways to continue to generate the fuel it still needs. At this point, performing an intense cardio session will burn more calories at a faster rate thus resulting in greater fat loss. In bodybuilding, this is known as "shredding."

Simply, if the goal of the training session is fat loss, performing high intensity cardio on the days other than weight training days is probably going to be the best choice. If the goal for doing steady state cardio is to improve your endurance then leave it for after a weight training session.