Archive for the ‘Interesting Read’ Category

When Muscle Soreness Helps Muscle Growth (And When It Doesn’t)

When Muscle Soreness Helps Muscle Growth (And When It Doesn't)

Most people tend to be in a love-hate relationship with muscle soreness. It sucks when you can barely sit down on the toilet, but it feels awesome knowing that you worked out hard. That’s fine and all, but just because you’re sore may not be the best indicator for muscle growth. Here’s what we mean.

Image by tktodd.

The dreaded DOMS (or delayed onset muscle soreness) is that wicked stiffness and localised pain you feel a few days after a fairly new workout. (For the record, we’re talking about the soreness incurred from lifting weights.) When it comes, it hits hard like Superman on speed, but most people relish in it thinking that serious muscle growth and progress have been made.

Not necessarily so, according to Body Recomposition:

Four things to think about:

1. DOMS is usually the worst at the beginning of the training cycle, especially with new movements but visible and increased growth usually occurs at the end of the cycle when DOMS no longer happens.

2. Some muscles, the deltoids are one example, very rarely get sore for some reason, but they grow just fine. DOMS is not required.

3. People who train very infrequently such as a bodypart once/week often report amazing DOMS. But many of them don’t grow well.

4. People who train somewhat more frequently (i.e. 2-3 times/week per muscle group) always report LESS DOMS but MORE growth.

Basically, the above seems to indicate that not only is DOMS not associated with growth, but in most cases you get better growth with less

Additionally, a recent study, titled Leukocytes, cytokines and satellite cells: what role do they play in muscle damage and regeneration following eccentric exercise? and published by the University Hospital and Medical Faculty of Tübingen, discusses how the activation of satellite cells in muscles “does not seem to be directly related to muscle damage markers.” However, the researchers also note that initial muscle damage creates the stimulus needed for satellite cells to — in the most reductive terms — regenerate and build bigger muscle.

It’s helpful to note here that DOMS also isn’t the best indicator of muscle damage, anyway.

Remember that biology, however, is not so black and white. The above can look differently just based on whether you’re looking at short-term or long-term training adaptations.

So, what does this mean for you? Strength coach Greg Nuckols suggests that in the short run, avoiding too much muscle damage in order for you to train with higher frequency pays off; your muscles will grow just fine without constant, significant damage in the short-term.

For the most part, high degrees of muscle damage from time-to-time is indeed very helpful, but don’t spendevery workout pushing ’til you’re limping out of the gym. That could compromise your ability to adequately do the following workouts, and not to mention, have a negative impact on your joints in the long-term.

DOMS and Muscle Growth [Body Recomposition]

Lifehacker Australia’s

Most Americans Clueless About Fitness: Survey

Despite an explosion of fitness advice from TV shows, blogs, books and online experts, a basic knowledge of health and exercise still eludes most Americans, according to a poll.

It showed that almost three-quarters of more than 1,000 people questioned did not know that they had to burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat, according to the poll by fitness equipment maker Nautilus Inc.

The results were posted online, along with an interactive quiz.

Only 39 percent grasped that an egg is a healthy source of protein and a mere 13 percent understood that women who weight train will not bulk up like a man.

The average score was 42 percent out of 100.

“There are just so many myths and misconceptions out there,” said fitness adviser and author Tom Holland, including the mistaken belief, shared by 45 percent, that weight training can turn fat to muscle.

But his big concern was the belief that women who lift weights will bulk up.

“When you think how important strength training is for women, this is doing a disservice,” Holland added.

Almost three-quarters recognized that running a mile burns more calories than walking a mile, and 67 percent understood that resting heart rate is a good indicator of aerobic fitness.

Regular aerobic exercise makes the heart stronger and more efficient.

Forty-five percent selected morning as the most effective time of day to exercise, although afternoon or evening is equally as good.

But Jessica Matthews, senior adviser for health and fitness education at the American Council on Exercise, said the truth is sometimes complicated.

“Research shows body temperature is warmer later in the day, so afternoon exercise can be good, but we also know that people who exercise early in the morning tend to exercise more consistently,” she said.

While men and women were equally misinformed, young adults 18 to 24 scored highest and seniors, 65 years and older, had the lowest marks.

“Older people may have learned things in high school physical education class that are now outdated because the science evolved,” Matthews explained.

Friday, 07 Aug 2015 08:26 AM

NEWSMAX.COM America’s News Page
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Fat reduces strength of muscle tissue, SFU study finds

Fat reduces strength of muscle tissue, SFU study finds

Intramuscular fat changes the way muscles work, possibly creating impediments to recovering from obesity.
Photograph by: VINCENZO D’ALTO


High-fat content changes muscle fibres and robs them of strength, according to new research published by researchers at Simon Fraser University.

“Understanding how this fat alters the ability of our muscles to develop force will mark an important step to help maintain mobility and a healthy lifestyle in all Canadians, even if we can’t halt the process completely,” said lead researcher James Wakeling.

Intramuscular fat — which may reside within muscle fibres or accumulate as blobs that bloat and reshape entire muscles — tends to increase in people as they age and in people who become obese.

“Accumulation of intramuscular fat seems to be ubiquitous during aging and for people with obesity,” said Wakeling.

Graduate student Hadi Rahemi stumbled onto the effect while studying the properties of different kinds of muscle fibres and discovered that muscles containing more fat are less powerful.

The fibres in fat-bloated muscles are oriented at different angles because of increased muscle size in obese people and due to muscle shrinkage in the elderly.

When the fibres of the muscle don’t line up with the main direction of force in the muscle, it is robbed of strength, explained Wakeling. In addition, the quality of muscle fibre changes with fat content, which makes them stiffer so more energy is required and muscle force is reduced.

So, our ability to perform everyday tasks declines as fat accumulates in muscles.

With the help of SFU math professor Nilima Nigam, the researchers were able to create mathematical and computational models of five different fat content scenarios, some in which fat was simply added and the amount of muscle fibre remained constant and others where it replaced some muscle tissue.

“I thought that adding fat to muscle would decrease force in proportion to the amount of contractile tissue that was replaced by fat,” said Wakeling. “But the force went down far more than expected.”

The finding suggests that fat content alters the performance and mechanics of the muscle tissue itself, decreasing the force it generates.

“It appears to be working harder against itself or the fat within it,” said Wakeling.



Get a Massage Immediately After a Workout, Says Science (Well, If You Insist)

After busting your butt in a 10K race or killer SoulCycle class, nothing sounds better than a nap (or maybe a beer). That’s fine, but get a massage first—having one immediately after a tough workout helps your muscles bounce back more quickly, according to new research from Ohio State University.


The study authors found that post-rubdown, muscles showed only half the scar tissue as non-massaged muscles, and they had 14 percent higher blood vessel formation. Massage a day or two later helped too, but not as much as one right after exercise. Researchers say it has something to do with a process called mechanotranduction—which is SAT-level vocab that, basically, has to do with how your cells respond to external stimuli.

If you can’t swing an afternoon at the spa ASAP after your run (or you just want to skip the hefty price tag), try rubbing muscles yourself with a foam roller. Previous research has shown that just 10 minutes of massage is all it takes to help nix inflammation in worn-out muscles. So post-workout, take a quick breather to get rolling.

It’s not exactly a happy ending—but we think the reduced soreness might just put a smile on your face.


Laurel Leicht  June 12, 2015

Glamour Health & Diet

We asked an exercise scientist how many days a week you need to work out to actually make a difference

How much should you exercise? Many of us have certain ideas in our heads about what works best to keep us “in shape” and what does not.

Five days a week, four days a week? Is two enough?

We spoke recently to Shawn Arent, an exercise scientist at Rutgers University, and asked him about this.

He said there was a huge difference between working out two and three days a week.

While any amount of exercise is an improvement over none at all, if you’re already in decent shape, exercising for just two days a week will not get you much additional benefit.

Here’s what he told us when we asked him how often you should exercise:

“A minimum of three days per week, for a structured exercise program. Technically, you should do something every day, and by something I mean physical activity — just move. Because we’re finding more and more that the act of sitting counteracts any of the activity you do.

“So let’s say you go work out for an hour a day and then you sit for the rest of the day — the health consequences are awful from the sitting standpoint. There’s a recent study that just came out on that. So, you need to be active at other points in the day as well besides just the exercise.

“But there’s an interesting split between exercising two days per week and three days per week, and it has to do with the frequency you stimulate the system. So with three days per week — you get significant gains early on, and you’re going to want to progress beyond that three, ideally. Two days per week, you don’t get much change — you just don’t do it frequently enough to have some of the other positive health outcomes that come along with it.

“In terms of resistance training — [you should do it] two to five days per week, it depends on the level you’re at, in terms of how advanced you are and how you train your body. Early on we can get pretty good gains in kids and older adults with two days per week, but we still want to progress them pretty quickly to three or four days per week.
Matt Johnston – TECH Insider
Aug. 1, 2015


How Fit Are You Really?

Physical fitness is key to a long life and good health. Your body’s capacity to transport and use oxygen during exercise (VO2max) is the most precise measure of overall cardiovascular fitness. Based on the extensive research of The K. G. Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, you can easily estimate your fitness level by answering a few questions.

Check out this site:


This Is Your Brain on Exercise

Right now the front of your brain is firing signals about what you’re reading and how much of it you soak up has a lot to do with whether there is a proper balance of neurochemicals and growth factors to bind neurons together. Exercise has a documented, dramatic effect on these essential ingredients. It sets the stage, and when you sit down to learn something new, that stimulation strengthens the relevant connections; with practise, the circuit develops definition, as if you’re wearing down a path through a forest.
I’ve talked about how different I feel after yoga or a long walk; things become clearer and I become calmer. The fascinating book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by John Ratey, explains biologically what accounts for these significant changes in our mind and body.

This is your brain on exercise.

… physical activity sparks biological changes that encourage brain cells to bind to one another. For the brain to learn, these connections must be made; they reflect the brain’s fundamental ability to adapt to challenges. The more neuroscientists discover about this process, the clearer it becomes that exercise provides an unparalleled stimulus, creating an environment in which the brain is ready, willing, and able to learn. Aerobic activity has a dramatic effect on adaptation, regulating systems that might be out of balance and optimizing those that are not – it’s an indispensable tool for anyone who wants to reach his or her full potential.
Exercise can have a dramatic affect on our ability to learn.

Darwin taught us that learning is the survival mechanism we use to adapt to constantly changing environments. Inside the microenvironment of the brain, that means forging new connections between cells to relay information. When we learn something, whether it’s a French word or a salsa step, cells morph in order to encode that information; the memory physically becomes part of the brain.

Exercise affects how primed our brain is to take on this new information and create these new connections. If you think of your mind as a garden, the more you move, the more you enrich the soil with positive neurotransmitters like dopamine (attention, motivation, pleasure), serotonin (mood, self-esteem, learning), and norepinephrine (arousal, alertness, attention, mood). More importantly you sprinkle the ground with something called ‘brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein produced inside nerve cells which Ratey has dubbed ‘Miracle-Gro for the brain.’

Researchers found that if they sprinkled BDNF onto neurons in a petri dish, the cells automatically sprouted new branches, producing the same structural growth required for learning.
Spark goes into detail regarding the types of exercise that best produce this cocktail of neurotransmitters and proteins for your brain to sip on but at the end of the day any movement is good, especially if it’s something you want to do.

“Experiments with lab rats suggest that forced exercise doesn’t do the trick quite like voluntary exercise”
So next time you get in a bit of a rut or you simply want to maximize your potential, get up and get moving.

This piece originally appeared on Farnam Street.Shane Parrish-July 15 2015

Five Foods to Never Eat

Five Foods to Never Eat: cut down a bit of stomach fat every day by

never eating these 5 foods.


Fruits That Burn Belly Fat

 Fruits are often talked about on both ends of the weight loss spectrum. Are there really fruits that burn belly fat? Some people argue that eating a lot of fruit can be bad for fat loss due to the high amounts of sugar contained in fruit, while others boast that while fruit may be high in sugar and overall calories, the nutrients contained in fruits overpower the negative effects of the sugar. In my opinion, both sides have valid points.

Just Eat A lot of Healthy Foods, Right?

Eating “healthy” foods like fruit is a great start to any good diet. Diets full of processed and artificial ingredients are not healthy, and should be consumed in small portions, if at all. The healthier foods have higher levels of good-for-you things like antioxidants, flavonoids and vitamins. It goes back to the comparison between donuts and chicken. Eating 100 calories worth of blueberries is a lot better than eating 100 calories worth of candy.

What’s The Problem with Fruit?

The problem with fruit is that it IS high in calories, more specifically sugar. If you sit around eating fruit all day, you’ll probably end up gaining weight, because, while all sugars aren’t exactly the same,

consuming a lot of fast absorbing carbs, like sugar, often leads to fat storage.

In other words, eating too much “healthy” food is still a problem, because over-consuming calories will lead to weight gain. This can be offset with a proper exercise program, but always remember, while all calories are not created equal, too many healthy calories is still too many calories.

So, Are There Actually Fruits That Burn Belly Fat?

Kind of. Many fruits have higher levels of flavonoids, and in a 14 year study, participants who consumed more flavonoids saw less of an increase in belly fat. It’s important to note that most foods higher in flavonoids are also healthier foods, like fruits, veggies and tea.

Here are some fruits that are higher in antioxidants, low-moderate in sugar, and high in fiber. Stick to these in moderation and you might just start to lose belly fat.

1. Bananas

2. Pomegranate

3. Blueberries, Raspberries, and Blackberries

4. Apples

5. Pears

6. Grapefruit

Eating clean is always a great place to start when it comes to weight loss, but you always have to remember that too many healthy calories is still too many calories. Monitor your portions and stick to non-starchy carbs like these fruits and veggies and you’ll start to see progress.

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New Study Finds Certain Exercises Lead to Better Sleep

If you’re doing it right, you will probably spend a third of your life sleeping, or at least trying to sleep. And unless you’re some kind of super-driven, workaholic, go-go-go type who treats the saying “sleep is the cousin of death” as a motto for life, chances are you enjoy a good night’s rest. Science knows your body and mind do. Now science may know what types of exercise can help assure that once your head hits the pillow, it doesn’t rise until your alarm clock (or doctor, mother, significant other, dog, crying baby) says so.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine recently released the findings of a study conducted on 429,110 adults in which survey respondents were asked what type of physical activity they spent the most time doing the past month and how many hours per 24 hour cycle they slept. The results? The more intensely you exercise, the better you sleep. In particular, calisthenics, biking, gardening, golfing, running, weightlifting, yoga, and Pilates were all connected to fewer instances of inadequate sleep. Even walking made the cut.

The study also found one interesting phenomenon: People who spend most of their daily activity on household chores and childcare activities experienced higher instances of inadequate sleep. That would seem to explain another phenomenon: desperate housewives.
BY SAMUEL BLACKSTONE Sunday, June 14, 2015