Tuesday, June 29, 2010

3 secrets to recover from a muscle injury fast

By Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training
http://turbulencetraining.rxsportz.com

This article on the 3 secrets to faster recovery from muscle injury is another great article to print out and file!

But first, confession time. Despite everything we know, old meatheads like me still end up hurting ourselves in the gym. But I'm lucky, because I heal quickly.

Now when you have a serious injury, you have to go to the doctor. There is nothing that I can do to help you - sorry!

NOTE #1 - I hope you never, ever get hurt!

NOTE #2 - If you do get hurt, the most important thing for you to do is get your injury checked out by a doctor.

Please be conservative!

But when I get a little muscle strain, I just use these 3 simple secrets for fast recovery. These secrets were given to me by my chiropractor.

1) Apply Ice immediately

Start by icing for ten minutes, then take ten minutes off, and then ice again for ten minutes.

(NOTE: Keep a thin moist towel between ice and skin to prevent skin damage.)

Ice the injury 3 times daily for the first 72 hours (morning, noon, and night). Of course, if the injury is severe, go immediately to the hospital.

2) Perform frequent, low-intensity activation of the injured muscle

Chiropractor Dr. Michael Sommers says, "You want to start the healing process by moving the muscle through very low intensity movements, and doing this frequently in the early period after injury."

This low-intensity exercise keeps blood flowing throughout the muscle and prevents over-shortening during recovery.

For example, if you have a sore hamstring, Dr. Sommers suggests, "walking and doing low intensity leg swings will help recovery. But don't do anything that involves too much exertion."

(NOTE: If you aren't sure what to do, ask your therapist...more about their role in secret #3 below.)

Personally, I also add in light, frequent stretching for the sore muscle. I'll do one light 20-second stretch every hour or two, and that seems to help me.

3) See a therapist immediately...preferably someone skilled in A.R.T. (Active Release Techniques)

According to Dr. Sommers, "For most soft-tissue injuries A.R.T. is the best therapy to reduce scar-tissue build-up and to promote ideal muscle length through the healing process."

"While other therapies can provide relief (ultrasound and TENS may have some effect), A.R.T combined with specific stretching and exercise seems to heal the tissue in the shortest to time with the lowest incidence of re-injury," says Dr. Sommers.

In addition to getting A.R.T. treatment, a great therapist will give you a professional advice/assessment to gauge an appropriate time to return to training.

As Dr. Sommers says, "Re-injury is commonplace with weight training. Without the proper guidance it is all to easy to re-aggravate soft tissue injuries and triple the amount of time it will take to heal."

Now I may push too hard in the gym, but I'm at least smart enough to stop pushing once the injury has occurred. And I'm also smart enough to go in for treatment ASAP after the injury has happened.

Dr. Sommers says, "Injuries rarely resolve on their own. Especially if the improper technique continues. Lifting through pain is a recipe for chronic injury and the sooner you are properly diagnosed and treated the more likely you can expect a quicker return to pain-free activity."

So don't try to "avoid" a nagging injury.

It's better that you take 2 days off now rather than being forced to take 2 months off in the future.

Train safe and listen to your health professional!

To find an A.R.T. practitioner in your area, simply google, "Active Release Techniques + Your area"

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Those are the 3 most important secrets for healing fast, however I have a few more tips for you.

Nutrition

I believe that nutrition plays a huge role in recovering from injury.

Dr. Sommers agrees, saying, "Certain foods promote inflammation within the body's various systems while others have an anti-inflammatory effect.

"Avoiding pro-inflammatory foods (nightshade vegetables, white processed flour, and deep fried foods) and eating a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids can only help speed up the healing process."

(For those who don't know: Potatoes, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, paprika, cayenne, and Tabasco sauce are classified as nightshade foods.)

Personally, I recommend eating a diet of at least 10+ servings of fruits and vegetables per day. This should provide your body with the best healing environment. At worst, at least limit your intake of sugar, western diet, comfort food, etc., that promotes inflammation in the body.

I recommend my Simple Nutrition plan for fat loss & recovery:

Dr. Sommers says, "Each of us has to consider our own particular ability in trying to train safely. Fortunately our bodies are amazing communicators.

They give us warning signs when we're verge of injury. Unusual aches and pains lasting longer than 48 hours should be taken seriously and all training should cease until it is deemed safe to continue."

Be conservative!

Recovery As You Get Older

"Finally," Dr. Sommers says, "Don't forget that older bodies take longer to heal. Older muscle fiber requires longer recovery time, so whether it comes to recovering from heavy workouts or working through nagging tendon problems, age plays an important factor in return to activity planning."

Be conservative!

Please forward this information on recovery from injury to your friends and family.

To your success,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
http://turbulencetraining.rxsportz.com

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Acupuncture And Back Pain – What To Expect From This Ancient Pain Relief

If you are experiencing back pain, you probably have tried many ways to alleviate the pain and discomfort.  You may also be frustrated because nothing has helped.  If that's the case, it may be time to take another avenue – an ancient one.

What do you know about acupuncture?  In the past, the process of acupuncture was not discussed and was clouded in mystery.  The look of acupuncture was scary. 

Is acupuncture mystical, magical or medicinal?  Acupuncture is none of these things.  In fact, the process is tried-and-true, having been used for thousands of years in ancient medicine. Acupuncture helps with many ailments, from smoking cessation to headaches to back pain.

The short explanation

Acupuncture involves using needles that are no thicker than a hair. These needles are used to unblock the energy pathways of the body. Acupuncture tools are now regulated by the FDA and all needles are sterilized and used one time only.

The body is composed of energy that runs throughout along lines called meridians. Acupuncturists use meridian maps to help them know where to place the needles for treatment. When we are ill, suffering from back pain, an energy pathway is blocked. This blocks the blood flow and causes stagnation in the tissues leading to toxin buildup.

The needles are placed at these meridians to restore the flow of energy. They also facilitate toxins to flow out of the body via the lymphatic system. Once the energy or chi is restored, the back pain will resolve itself. The muscles of the back will unknot and the spasms will calm down.

The first appointment

Do your homework first. Choose a reputable acupuncturist who has been licensed. Tell him or her about your back pain history and any medications that you are using, as well as any allergies. Your practitioner will inform you of any risks, no matter how slight. There is a chance of bleeding, soreness or pain at the insertion site.

You will be given a gown or towels to cover you modestly while the acupuncturist works. You will more than likely be lying down on a comfortable table. Let the practitioner know if you feel any discomfort or pain. Most people don’t feel anything as the needles are applied.

Some people feel energized right away.  However, it may take a few sessions for you to feel the full effects. For people with intense pain, heat might be applied to the area in question for a more intense treatment.

Acupuncture is considered an alternative treatment for back pain which is gaining in popularity very rapidly. When you are frustrated with the results of other treatments, this ancient method may be the answer for relieving your back pain for once and for all.

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Back Pain Relief Guide - Get the latest, cutting-edge information about back pain, what causes it and how to get lasting relief. Millions of people suffer from back pain unnecessarily - don't continue to be one of them.

Complete Healing Formula for Back Pain [audio program] today – at no charge (limited time) :: http://bit.ly/a7CfGo

 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Is Physical Therapy An Option For Your Back Pain?

There are many causes of back pain. When it is due to injury from an accident, from improper  lifting, or disc problems, you may need to supplement your medical care with physical therapy. The only way to know is to have your back pain monitored by a medical professional who can direct you to a qualified physical therapy specialist if and when needed.

Physical therapy is one of many methods used to return the back to good health. We can’t always do it all ourselves when we hurt our back. No matter how many stretching and strengthening exercises we do, our back just won't heal.  Specialized techniques may be needed to aid in your rehabilitation.

What constitutes the need for a physical therapist? Here are a few examples that may qualify you to receive further care involving physical therapy:

Back pain from injury
Chronic pain
Rehabilitation after back surgery

Physical therapy may be a very valuable rehabilitation tool in your overall back health. Depending on your particular case, the physical therapist may prescribe active or passive care for your back pain.

Passive care involves avoiding certain movements, applying cold or heat, or something that someone is doing to you. The following are methods a back pain sufferer may use before, during, or after physical therapy to relieve the pain:

1.Stay still – When given the order to stay in bed, rest, you would think that would be a welcome order to receive.  However, most of us find it difficult to do this.  The reason your doctor may order you to be on bed rest is so the inflammation in your back can calm down, lessening the pain and advancing the rehabilitation.

2.Use ice or heat – Ice can numb the pain so you can get some rest, as well as reduce inflammation and swelling of the joints. Heat relaxes the muscles so they can be massaged and unknotted in order to relax and heal.  The use of cold and heat can be tricky so use your doctor's advice when deciding which to apply, especially when you are in pain that is above the norm.

3.Nerve stimulation – The nerves that supply the back can be supplied with electrical impulses to relieve pain. One process is called TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation). This works for people suffering from spinal stenosis. It can also be used in conjunction with acupuncture.

4.Chiropractic care – A chiropractor is used to helping people with spinal issues that result in back pain. You may need to be “stretched.” It’s not like the process of making taffy but a gentle stretching of your back to lengthen the spine and alleviate pain and pressure.

Active physical therapy involves something that you do with supervision from the physical therapist.

1.Aerobic activity – This may be as simple as using a treadmill or stationary bicycle. The goal is to increase your blood circulation which increases oxygen intake.  This increased circulation and oxygen will help muscle flexibility and strength.

2.Strength training - Building muscle in the back and body improves your back's strength and resilience. The therapist will help you do strengthening exercises and will give you exercises to do at home as well.  Start out slow to avoid injury and increase your repetitions as you get stronger.  Follow your therapists instructions and stick with the exercises.

3.Stretching – Yoga and other stretching exercises perfects the connection between our muscles, bones, and mind. Stretching your entire body works to increase mobility and flexibility in your back.  Your physical therapist will work with you on the perfect stretching exercises for your particular back problem.

4.Manipulation – Physical therapists are trained in the ins-and-outs of muscle structure and how each muscle interacts with the other muscles, bones and nerves. You may have the need for a procedure in which the therapist manipulates your muscles in a massaging fashion which “revs up” the healing process by stimulating the nerves.  This procedure is sometimes compared to revving up a car's engine to get it to idle smoother.

Is physical therapy for your back pain a good option?  It can be.  Most doctors will work with you through a series of basic methods to relieve your back pain.  They will then move you into the physical therapy area when they see you need additional rehabilitation to get your back, and you, back on track.

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Back Pain Relief Guide - Get the latest, cutting-edge information about back pain, what causes it and how to get lasting relief. Millions of people suffer from back pain unnecessarily - don't continue to be one of them.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Best Exercise Substitutions for Your Workout

By Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training
http://turbulencetraining.rxsportz.com

The truth is that sometimes you just won't have the equipment, space, or strength to do some exercises in Turbulence Training.

Fortunately, there's GREAT news about that, which I realized last week while writing up a new exercise column for Men's Health magazine.

And the GREAT news is this:

Almost every single TT exercise can be substituted by an equally amazing exercise from my repertoire.

So let's go through a huge list of exercise substitutions. This will be perfect for you to print out and keep with your TT program or in your workout area.

Exercise Substitutions

1) To replace Squats, you can do:

1-leg hip extensions
Step-ups
Deep Step-ups
Split squats
Reverse lunges
Forward lunges
Bulgarian split squats (with back foot elevated on a bench)
Reaching lunges
1-leg deadlifts
1-leg squats (use bands or straps for assistance if necessary)
1-leg squats standing on a bench

By the way, if you are using dumbbells for squats or lunges and you find that the weights are too heavy to hold, you can switch to a barbell if you have access to it.

The only reason you don't see barbell exercises in the TT programs are because most TT readers exercise at home with dumbbells.

2) To replace Deadlifts:

The only "direct replacement" is dumbbell squats.

Otherwise, just replace deadlifts with a superset pairing of any lower body exercise paired with a row.

For example:

Barbell lunge supersetted with a DB row
Stability Ball Leg Curl supersetted with Inverted Row

3) If you have sore knees and need to replace lunges:

First, see a doctor and have them diagnose the problem. Second, see a therapist and have them treat the issue. Third, see a trainer and have them assess where you need to work on flexibility and how you can include some "knee-friendly" exercises in your workout program.

These exercises include:

Lying Hip Extensions (also known as Lying Hip Bridges)
1-leg Hip Extensions
Lying Hip Extensions with your feet on the ball
Stability Ball Leg Curls

4) To replace Bench Presses or Dumbbell Chest Presses (of any kind), you can do one of these:

Pushups
Close-grip pushups
Decline pushup
Elevated pushups
Off-set pushups
Pushups with your feet on the ball
Pushups with your hands on the ball
Pushups with your feet on the ball and hands on the bench
Suspended strap pushups
Spiderman pushups
Spiderman climb pushups
Pike pushups
Dips
Decline close-grip spiderman pushups

By the way, if you have dumbbells but no bench, you can replace flat dumbbell bench presses by lying on the floor. And you can replace incline dumbbell presses with standing 1-arm dumbbell shoulder presses.

5) To replace any kind of row, here are alternatives:

Dumbbell rows
Dumbbell rows with elbows out
Dumbbell chest supported rows
Barbell rows
Inverted rows
Underhand grip rows
Seated cable rows
Renegade Rows (with flat dumbbells or kettlebells)
Dumbbell rear deltoid raises
Rows with TRX or blast straps
Chin-ups (these are done with an underhand grip)
Eccentric chin-ups
Sternum chin-ups
V-grip chin-ups
Pull-ups (these are done with an overhand grip)
Eccentric pull-ups
Sternum pull-ups

And in place of pull-ups or chin-ups, you can do:

Dumbbell rows
Dumbbell pullovers
Underhand grip pulldowns (kneeling) - replaces chin-ups
Overhand grip pulldowns (kneeling) - replace pull-ups
Assisted chinups/pull-ups using machine

However, if you have absolutely no equipment (i.e. no dumbbells, no barbell, no cables, no straps, and no bar) then unfortunately there is no way to train your upper back. The best you can do is to add a lot of prisoner squats, prisoner lunges, stick-ups, and WYT's to your bodyweight program.

6) To replace dips, you can do:

Any version of close-grip pushups
Dumbbell floor presses
Dumbbell close-grip presses
Close-grip bench press

7) To replace dumbbell split squats, you can do:

1-leg lying hip extensions
Bulgarian split squats (use higher reps or the 1 & 1/4 rep method)
Split squats with your front foot elevated 4-6 inches
1-leg deadlifts
1-leg squats (holding straps or cables for assistance)
1-leg squats standing on the bench
Step-ups
Deep step-ups
Reaching lunges

(NOTE: For many exercises, including pushing and pulling too, you can play around with the 1&1/2 rep style - lowering to the bottom position, coming halfway back up, and then lowering again, and then coming all the way back up.)

Please forward this list to your friends or print them a copy.

To your success,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
http://turbulencetraining.rxsportz.com

Friday, June 18, 2010

Exercise Your Way To A Healthy Back

The body is a machine. It was meant to move about. When it doesn’t move, it gets weak. That weakness can lead to back pain.

As technology has propelled us forward as a society, we have taken a step backwards as a human machine. Video games, computers, and remote controls have all lead us and our children to a sedentary lifestyle. Obesity is becoming an epidemic.

This is what happens to your muscles when you don’t move your body. Muscle tone begins to slacken. The muscle fibers aren’t used anymore so they forget how to be flexible and stretchable. Injuries, like back pain, are common in people who have been sedentary.  Lack of muscle tone and flexibility are primary reasons sedentary people are injured easily.

Exercise and you

Exercise is a good thing. We may resist, postpone, and complain about having to do it, but these are the reasons we all need exercise whether we like it or not:

Increases blood flow
Strengthens muscles
Increases muscle flexibility
Releases endorphins (feel good substances and natural painkillers)
Increases immunity
Speeds up rehabilitation

Much of the pain reported by back pain sufferers occurs in the lower back. Back pain can be exacerbated as we put our back and muscles further out of alignment trying to find a comfortable position.  You can see where this is a vicious cycle.

Just as important as good exercises to strengthen and stretch the back muscles are exercises to strengthen the abdominals.  Why? The abdominal muscles, or “abs”, do much more than look good in a bikini.  They support the lower back, keeping our posture correct and in proper alignment.  This abdominal support, or “girdle”  protects the back from injury by supporting it.

Proper exercises for the back go hand-in-hand with proper exercises to strengthen other areas of the lower body.  One of the most frequently reported injuries are from improper lifting techniques.  Squatting through your lifts, using your legs, abs, and buttocks reduces the chances of injury to your back while you lift an object.  Exercises used to strengthen these areas of your body also help protect your back.

Exercises for total back health

Aerobic exercises increase endurance, lowers blood pressure and heart rate.  Aerobic exercise also helps in losing weight.  Excess weight is a contributing factor in many back injuries.

Types of aerobic activity:

Walking

Bicycling

Swimming or water aerobics

Along with aerobic exercises, anaerobic activity, also known as strength training, is needed to build up muscle tissue and help prevent injury by having toned, strong muscles. When the muscles that support the back are strong, the spine can move properly, in alignment, without sustaining damage.

Strength training exercises:

Back extensions – Lie flat on your stomach. With hands laced behind the head and the back and buttocks muscles engaged, lift up about an inch or two. Hold the stretch and slowly return to starting position.  Relax your muscles, and repeat.  Do not lift your upper torso so high that your lower back tenses or hurts.  Small motions are perfect.

Back rows – Builds the muscles of the lower back. This will be done in a slightly bent position, standing up and leaning body slightly forward and down with knees slightly bent.  In this position, take dumbbells in each hand and, with elbows bent and at side, raise and lower the dumbbells slowly down and back up.  Be sure to hold in your abdomen as you do this exercise.

Pelvic tilt – Lay flat with knees bent and feet on the floor. Slowly raise the pelvis while squeezing the buttocks. Return to start position, relax, and repeat.  Again, keep your abdominal muscles firm throughout the upward thrust, lower, relax at the start position, retense abdominals, squeeze and lift buttocks off the floor, hold, and return to start position.

Exercise builds stamina, sheds pounds, and tones and strengthens muscles.  All these results can help to eliminate back pain caused by everyday wear or an injury.  When the muscles are strong, they can better handle changes that would hurt a weaker back.  Exercise your back and it won't let you down!

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Back Pain Relief Guide - Get the latest, cutting-edge information about back pain, what causes it and how to get lasting relief. Millions of people suffer from back pain unnecessarily - don't continue to be one of them.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

14-Day Guide to Rapid Fat Loss

by: Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training 

Last Friday I stopped by the house of an ol' college buddy to meet his fiancé and new baby boy. He's getting married in 5 months time and we had to have a serious chat.

You see, he's gained 25 pounds since birth of his son. He really fell off the wagon. But he's taken the first and most important step by admitting things have to change and so we sat around for over 2 hours in his backyard on a beautiful day and hammered out this plan.

I could have wrote a 5-month plan, but I wanted to fast-track his results - and YOUR results - because research shows people who start losing fat quickly get better long-term fat loss results as well.

So here's your complete 14-day FAST-TRACK guide to fat loss (if you like it, please forward it to a friend or print them off a copy too):

Day 1 - Stop Everything to Plan, Shop, & Prepare This Meal Plan

I hope you're reading this on Sunday, because I want you to plan, shop, and prepare today. If it's Monday, skip your workout and do this instead - its THAT important.

And I don't just mean planning what you are going to eat for dinner. I mean planning what you are going to eat for every meal for the next 2 weeks.

Don't tell me that's too hard. After all, most people with lean physiques stick to a relatively similar diet for 90% of their meals and then enjoy a random cheat/reward meal 10% of the time.

So your schedule might go like this:

Breakfast - 2 eggs, 1 slice rye toast, 1 apple, Green Tea, fish oil

Snack - 1oz raw almonds, 1 pear, Green Tea

Lunch - Grilled chicken/salmon or black bean salad with spinach, onion, peppers, mushrooms, etc., 1 banana or bowl of cherries, 2 cups unsweetened iced tea with lime or lemon

Snack - Unlimited raw vegetables and hummus

Dinner - Protein and vegetables and fruit...so this could be a small piece of steak, chicken, or fish, along with your favorite vegetables, and a bowl of your favorite fruit.

         Or it could be the veggie dinner I had last Monday of quinoa with red pepper-cashew sauce and avocado wrapped in kale leaves.

         Or it could be wild rice with beans and avocado and salsa.

That schedule won't change much, with the exception of a slight variation in your main course at dinner, right? And then once per week schedule a meal of your favorite food.

Everyone can stick to this plan for 14 days, and this tip alone will help you lose 5-12 pounds of fat in just 2 weeks. And this is also how you'll need to eat for the rest of your life. It's not hard, it just requires a little practice. Keep at it and never, EVER give up.

Alright, so to review, here's your 3-step guide to Day 1.

i) Plan your meals. ii) Shop for the food. iii) Prepare the food (cut everything up, put in the proper trays, cook food if necessary, and get it all packed up for work)

In addition to planning out all of your meals, you must also start keeping a food journal (you could do it online too), because studies show that keeping a food journal will help you lose fat faster.

Next, make sure you do 60 minutes of activity today AND take a "before" photo along with your weight, body fat (if possible), and measurements of your waist, hips, arms, and thighs. Continue to weigh yourself every other day, as research shows that frequent check-ins lead to greater weight loss.

Day 2 - Attend An "Online Turbulence Training Seminar"

You must set EVERY workout and activity session as an appointment with yourself that you must keep - just like a doctor's visit. Let nothing, except real emergencies, come between you and your workouts.

Today you're going to do a Turbulence Training workout.

Now if you are currently using long, slow, boring cardio to lose fat, stop that bad habit immediately and switch to Turbulence Training.

If you need to learn more about TT, watch my free videos on YouTube where I explain Turbulence Training and interval workouts. While you are there, look up my "Diet vs. Exercise" video series to see why diet is much more effective for fat loss than cardio.

If you are a beginner, please start conservatively. But if you have been working out for a while, the next 3 weeks are your time to step your workouts up a notch.

Day 3 - Write Your Way to Fat Loss

First, you must schedule 60 minutes of easy to moderate activity. I'll talk about that in a second, but you can do anything from a 60 minute walk, a yoga session, a light bodyweight and stretching session, an hour of playing with your kids, or playing an easy game of your favorite sport. Don't go too hard, but stay active.

You must also carve out 30 minutes to sit down and write out 3 short term goals and 3 long term goals. Write down EXACTLY what you want to accomplish in these 14 days. After that, write down what you want to accomplish in the following 90 days.

Once you've done that, you're going to prepare a contract with yourself promising to take the steps necessary to achieve these goals. Sign the contract and review it everyday to keep you on track.

Day 4 - Recruiting Day

Today's another TT workout. Make sure you are using a professionally designed structured and proven fat loss workout, rather than just "winging it" or using long slow cardio for fat loss.

You'll also spend time today recruiting for these 3 components of your fat loss social support team:

- Nutrition buddy - Workout partner - Fat loss forum accountability buddies

Research shows that recording your nutrition in a food journal and having someone review your meals increases your chance of losing fat.

Another study found that if you workout with a partner who is losing fat, then you'll have a greater chance of losing fat as well.

And finally, a third study found that the more often subjects checked in to an online fat loss forum (like the TT Member's forum), the more likely they were to lose a lot of fat.

Get your team together and you'll get more results - faster.

Day 5 - The 60 Minute Solution

Why am I telling you to get 60-minutes of activity on your off days from TT?

Well, to be honest, I do NOT expect you to burn massive amounts of fat with easy, off-day activity.

However, every minute you spend moving, you are NOT snacking! I know the biggest problem you will have is your diet. So instead of snacking in front of the computer or TV, spend your free time away from food. That's the simple secret to the 60 minute solution.

So get 60 minutes of activity on Day 5.

Day 6 - The Challenge

Your 3rd TT workout needs to be a challenge workout so that you can improve your performance each week. In fact, you should set at least one personal best in each workout. If you improve your performance, your physique will improve as well. You can use one of the TT bodyweight, Adrenaline, or Addiction Challenge workouts.

Day 7 - Diet Check-In and Reward Meal

Congratulations, you've made it through 7 amazing days of fat burning. Today you're going to double check your nutrition plan by reviewing your food journal.

If you haven't already done so, eliminate all liquid calories and replace with water and Green Tea.

If you need to learn more about nutrition, start using the free service called Fitday.com. It will help you track your calories.

And if you're really struggling to avoid night eating, try this tip. Place a small mirror on your fridge door. Research shows that subjects consumed fewer calories when they did this because it will remind you to make smarter choices.

Finally, as a reward for all of your hard work, you can treat yourself to your favorite meal. But that doesn't mean gorging. It simply means having a normal meal of your favorite foods to give you a mental break from your plan. When the meal is over, don't go back for seconds. Get right back on the 14-day plan instead.

Days 7 & 8 are also 60 minute off-day activity days.

Day 8 - Review your goals.

It's no good to write your goals down and then forget them. Review them at least weekly, if not daily. Heck, carry them around in your pocket and look at them at every meal.

As you workout, visualize yourself reaching your goals. Believe in yourself, keep a positive attitude, stay motivated and you'll continue to make fast fat loss progress every day.

This will also be another great day to plan, shop, and prepare.

Day 9 - Take It to Another Level

Week one was great, but with only 5 days left it is time for you to step it up again. This time I want you to hire a trainer for just one TT session to make sure you are doing all the exercises correctly and training as hard as you can (safely, of course).

Add this trainer to your support team. And by the way, a good trainer should be able to estimate your body fat better than any of those "fat scales" you can buy at a store...so get them to check that too.

Day 10 - Plan Your Next Shopping Trip

Today is another 60 minutes of off-day activity, and you'll also work on improving your nutrition even more. What I want you to do is focus on eating more from the Fat Loss Foundation.

The 3 components of my Simple Nutrition Fat Loss Foundation are raw fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Research shows that eating more of these 3 foods will help you lose weight better than a diet that is low in fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Make an effort to eat one new fruit, vegetable, and nut each week during your between meal snacks.

If you aren't already eating grapefruit, try one today and see how it helps fill you up (because it contains a lot of soluble fiber called pectin). Add a new vegetable - such as broccoli, cauliflower, or asparagus - to your dinner. And try walnuts or pecans instead of almonds at your morning break.

Slowly but surely increase the fiber in your diet until you hit the recommended amount of 35 grams per day.

And I hope this goes without saying, but you should have eliminated all foods that contain added sugar. That is one the simplest yet most effective nutrition changes you can make.

Day 11 - Recruit Again

Add a new member into your social support team, such as a new workout partner or healthy-eating partner. This will add strength to your commitment. If possible, join a transformation contest online, or start one among your friends or co-workers.

But when you do that, keep in mind that you want to help other people succeed. The more you can help others lose fat, the more you will help yourself as you share what's working with your friends and they show you their fat loss secrets too. Stay positive, and you'll build a powerful fat loss team.

Today is also another TT fat loss workout day, so give it your best.

Day 12 - Check-In Time

Today you'll re-measure your weight, body fat, and measurements. Take a look in the mirror to compare yourself against your before photo to see big changes that will motivate you to stay strong.

I also want you to start thinking about getting a tan. Yes, I said getting a tan. Why? Because simply adding a little bit of color to your body can make you look leaner. There's a reason all those models in supplement ads are tanned, you know.

Finally, if there is a "big day" at the end of the 14-days, make sure you try on the outfit you are going to wear to double-check that it is going to look great on you.

Make sure you do this check-in either before your 60 minutes of activity or a few hours after so that exercise does not mess-up the numbers.

Day 13 - Mental Performance Review

Write down all obstacles that are still in your way of success, and then brainstorm 2 solutions to overcome each. Get some help from your social support team on this. The more you and your team share solutions, the more fat you - and everyone else - will lose.

For example, you might come up with rules like, "No eating in the car" to help cut down on bad food choices. Someone else might suggest "brush your teeth after dinner to avoid night-time snacking". Those are simple yet powerful tips to keep you on the fast-track to fat loss.

Follow up this positive session with your best TT workout yet!

Day 14 - Review, Plan, & Prepare

Congrats on making so many powerful changes in just 2 short weeks.

By now, you'll probably have lost 5-12 pounds of fat and just as importantly, you'll have developed proven, life-long fat burning habits that will be easy for you to stick to forever.

Keep this weight loss train moving by reviewing your original goals. Next, do your planning, shopping, and preparing for another week, and get ready for even more fat loss.

Enjoy your 14-day results and celebrate with a reward meal (and show off your firmer, leaner body at the big event too!).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Massage Therapy For Your Back

Pampering yourself at a spa is considered more and more these days a necessity. For those who have issues with back pain, a good massage may be just what the doctor ordered. Massage is an alternative therapy that can bring relief for many who suffer from a pain in the back.

There are different types of massage therapy but the basic tenet is the same. Through massage, pressure is applied to the body in various ways (knuckles, palms, chops, fingers) and through different media (oils, stones, cups, balls). The goal is manipulation of the soft tissues of the back to promote better health and pain relief.

The ancient practice of massage therapy goes back thousands of years. In India and the Orient, the idea is to release the energy that is trapped in parts of the body through some sort of injury or stress so the body is free to heal itself. This energy is referred to as “Chi”.

Benefits of Massage Therapy

When you are suffering with chronic pain, massage therapy can be an alternative to surgery. Doctors usually consider surgery a last resort, but many fortunate people avoid surgery all together with the use of massage therapy. Here are some of the benefits of massage therapy:

Reduce stress
Increase flexibility
Reduce blood pressure
Alleviate many types of back pain
Increase range of motion
Reduce cramps and spasms
Improved blood circulation in muscles

Choosing your Massage Therapy Type

There are many different types of massage therapy. Choosing the right one will take a bit of experimenting, but any reputable massage professional will walk you through the proper method for your particular back pain.

1.Swedish massage – Involves long strokes with the hands. Ideal for increasing blood flow to the muscles, increasing circulation, reducing toxins in the muscles and increasing flexibility.

2.Hot Stone massage – This therapy uses heat to relax the muscles and balance the energy centers of the body. Stones are used on the back and thighs and massage is carried out with them using light pressure.

3.Deep tissue massage – Be warned. This type of massage may leave you sore after the first time. However, it may be no worse than what you are already experiencing.  Massage is conducted against the muscle grain to get deep into the tissues. Make sure you talk to your massage professional about your pain tolerance before beginning and make it clear that you have the ultimate say in whether or not the massage feels alright.

4.Thai massage – This massage is designed to lengthen and strengthen the body. It improves range of motion, flexibility and improves posture. Poor posture is one of the causes of back pain.

Massage therapy can be of great benefit to your entire body, especially your back. Choose a licensed massage professional who is well-versed in the type of massage that you choose to alleviate your back pain.  Have a good conversation before you begin about what you can expect from the massage, then lay back and enjoy!

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Back Pain Relief Guide - Get the latest, cutting-edge information about back pain, what causes it and how to get lasting relief. Millions of people suffer from back pain unnecessarily - don't continue to be one of them.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

TT Bodyweight Bodybuilding 2

TT Bodyweight Bodybuilding is filled with unique & advanced bodyweight exercises combined with a TT Addiction circuit. This is the coolest and most colorful TT workout yet...

Get ready to discover new bodyweight exercises, including new twists on old ab exercises, plus a 9-exercise TT Addiction circuit that will rock your world.

You'll also get little exercise tweaks that make a big difference - such as 3/4 rep dips - plus combo exercises (such as the Burpee-Pullup in the Bodyweight Addiction Circuit). These exercises will have you loving this workout no matter what your goal - fat loss or muscle building.

When you grab your copy of TT Bodybuilding 2.0, you'll find a variety of bodyweight exercises strategically chosen to not only get you RIPPED, but designed in a way that will send your metabolism through the roof, blasting away fat from your ALL your trouble spots long after you've finished working out.

You'll also discover Craig Ballantyne’s latest interval training workout GUARANTEED to drop inches from your waist line and get you into AMAZING shape.

Monday, June 14, 2010

TT Bodyweight Cardio 3

Four new bodyweight cardio workouts you can either use as stand alone workouts or instead of traditional interval training.

With TT Bodyweight Cardio 3, you'll discover:

- 4 challenging, ZERO equipment workouts that will tone your body in ALL the right places

- My NEWEST exercises GUARANTEED to burn more calories all day long

- Fun workouts you can get done quickly - Anywhere, Anytime

- Fat-blasting workouts you can SUBSTITUTE for almost ANY other TT interval training workout I've ever created

- PLUS, my never-seen-before 5-Round "fat burning fight" workout that will ignite your fat-burning hormones.

One of the most critical elements to your fat loss success is finding a workout program that fits into your lifestyle, and with the flexibility of Turbulence Training Bodyweight Cardio 3, fat loss just got a whole lot easier.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fat-Loss Circuit Training

Fat-Loss Circuit Training - Now is the time to try this revolutionary fat-burning, metabolism-boosting training technique!

By Nick Nilsson

Experience a training technique so powerful you can literally FEEL your metabolism firing up and burning fat!

Want to burn off that holiday weight gain as quickly as humanly possible? Fat-Loss Circuit Training is the BEST place to start.

Fat-Loss Circuit Training is a program of my own invention. I developed it for losing fat quickly. It's challenging but very effective!

It's also one of the core components of my extremely powerful "Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss" program available here:

http://bit.ly/dbQGeX

Fat-Loss Circuit Training is very simple once you get the hang of it, but it can be one of the most demanding (and most extraordinarily effective) styles of training you can do.

If you're familiar with normal circuit training (with timed, light-weight intervals), please put aside any notions you might have of how this program works. You will not only be harnessing the muscle-building and metabolism-stimulating power of intense, full-set weight training (NOT the typical light-weight, timed intervals of normal circuit training), you will also be incorporating the great calorie-burning effects of cardiovascular training.

The proper combination of the two styles (weights and cardio) into one workout is, quite simply, phenomenal for fat burning.

In order to use Fat-Loss Circuit Training, you will need access to both weight equipment and cardio equipment (and/or benches or stairs), preferably located in fairly close proximity to each other.

This type of training is harder to do in a crowded gym as it will involve you moving back and forth quickly between different pieces of equipment. If someone is waiting to use your cardio machine the moment you step off, it will defeat the purpose of the workout. This technique is best used in a fairly uncrowded gym where you have more freedom to use equipment or, better yet, in a home gym with weights and cardio equipment and no one waiting for anything!

If you do work out in a crowded gym, I will tell you exactly how to get around it.

How The Training Works:

- Essentially, this is combined circuit/interval training.

- You will be going back and forth between your weight training exercises and one cardio exercise for the duration of the workout.

- Your rest period for weights will be your cardio and your rest period for cardio will be your weights.

- You will be doing some sort of activity for your entire workout without any break!

This combination is very effective for a number of reasons:

- It forces your body to burn calories continuously during the workout.

- It utilizes resistance training and cardio training so you get all the benefits of both in one workout.

- By forcing your body to work like this, you dramatically increase your metabolism leading to increased fat burning long after the workout (more so than either weights or
cardio alone).

- It saves time - you get both your weights and cardio in the same amount of time as your regular workout.

- You will still be able to use heavy weights in your weight training, helping to preserve muscle mass.

How To Do It:

Step 1 - Set Up

For the most efficient workout possible, try to have most or all of your exercises pre-set and ready to go. The less time you spend on preparation during your workout itself, the more effective that workout will be, especially since you want to be continually active throughout the workout. You can use any type of cardio that is convenient and enjoyable to you, be it a machine, stair stepping, or even a skipping rope.

If you are working out in a crowded gym, try to claim an area for yourself and focus on dumbell exercises. You won't have to wait in line to use any weight machines that way.

If you don't have access to convenient cardio machines, you're going to have to go low-tech. You'll need to do stair-stepping (stepping up two stairs then back down works well), bench-stepping (step up onto a flat bench or Step platform then back down) or rope-jumping (be sure you're not close to anyone if you choose this). These approaches work just as well as cardio machines and allow you to perform this training style in a busier setting.

If the stair-stepping method is what you need to use, have a look at the stepping pattern demonstrated on the following page:

http://bit.ly/cXGFE4

Step 2 - Warm-up

Do a few minutes of low-intensity cardio as a warm-up. You may wish to do a few light sets of a few of the exercises you'll be working with before you start into it though. Don't tire yourself out, just get a light sweat going.

Step 3 - Start with 30 - 40 seconds of moderate intensity cardio.

This could be setting a stair machine to a level that is not easy but is not so challenging that you're going to exhaust yourself right away. Watch the timer on your machine
and go for approximately 40 seconds (I say approximately because there will generally be a slight lag time when you step on and off).

Many cardio machines have a "rest period" feature where you can leave the machine on and it will not erase your program while you have stepped off. Normally, this is about 2 minutes. This should be enough time to complete your weight set.

If you are using a machine such as a treadmill or stair machine that you will leave on with the timer running, just watch the time counter on the machine and keep track of when you get on it to get the designated period. It may require a little mental math! You can also use your own stopwatch or timer on your watch to keep track (this is easier). Start the timer when you start the cardio.

Many machines also have a feature that runs through a series of time periods. I've found on the StairMaster, if you set the length of the session to 20 minutes, this results in a 40 second time period making it perfect for judging your cardio periods.

Step 4 - Do a set of weights.

Go as quickly as you can to your first exercise. Do a set of the first exercise on your program for the day. Do this with no rest, going from the cardio immediately to the weights. Do all your reps until you start to approach muscular failure.

While this is definitely still intense weight training, don't push yourself to muscular failure as you would in your regular training. Due to the high training volume we'll be doing in this program, pushing to failure on every set will compromise muscle recovery.

Also, be very sure to use proper form and tempo when lifting the weights. Don't rush your weight sets - perform them with the same form and speed as you would if you were doing a regular set in your training. Fast, light or sloppy weight sets are NOT what we're looking for here.

Step 5 - Go right back to the cardio.

Get back to the cardio and do another 40 seconds of moderate-intensity cardio.

Step 6 - Repeat the cycle for the duration of the workout.

You will be going back and forth continuously between cardio and your weight training exercises, using the cardio as the rest period between your weight sets. What this means is that over the course of your workout, you'll be burning calories via cardio and weights AND you'll be working your muscles with intense, heavy weight training as well. It's tough training but very effective!

Notes:

- As you improve your cardio ability, you can choose to increase the intensity of your cardio training between sets. You may wish to start at a lower level and gradually increase the resistance over the course of the workout or start at a higher level and keep it there. It is perfectly acceptable to keep it at a steady, moderate level, however.

- This Fat-Loss Circuit technique can be used with nearly any form of cardio exercise as long as it is convenient to go back and forth with the weights. The real key here is to maintain activity for the entire workout.

- Keep your workouts to no more than 45 minutes at the very most when doing this type of training. Any more than that and you will be breaking yourself down too much. It's an extremely demanding form of training as you'll be working every major energy system in your body. You will also find it will crank your metabolism up pretty seriously!

For a sample workout to follow, taken directly from my "Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss" ebook, please click on the following link:

http://bit.ly/97PS9P

You will be able to print this workout and take it to the gym with you to try out.

Want to learn more about the "Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss" program? Click on the following link right now!

http://bit.ly/dbQGeX

Your new body is waiting for you!

------------------

Nick Nilsson is Vice-President of the online personal training company BetterU, Inc. He has a degree in Physical Education and Psychology and has been inventing new training techniques for more than 15 years. Nick is the author of a number of bodybuilding eBooks including "Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss," "The Best Exercises You've Never Heard Of," "Gluteus to the Maximus - Build a Bigger Butt NOW!" and "Specialization Training," all available at http://fitness-ebooks.rxsportz.com.
He can be contacted at betteru@fitstep.com.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Diagnosing Back Pain – Why We Need A Professional

All you know right now is that your back hurts. When you sit, stand, roll over or try to stretch, it just hurts. You may think you can ignore the pain in hopes it will go away.  This is fine if back pain is a rare occurrence in your life, brought on only after attending to a back-breaking chore.  But, once back pain becomes a routine part of your day, you need a medical professional to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.

You know, a little knowledge can be dangerous. Many of us are “armchair physicians” when it comes to healing our own wounds. When your back first begins to hurt, you may put heat on to relax the muscles or ice packs on to reduce the inflammation and dull the pain. This is not necessarily a bad thing UNTIL you realize that your back pain hasn't lessened.  Worse yet, you misdiagnosed the cause of your back pain and you're icing a knotted muscle and heating an inflamed joint.

What will your doctor do to diagnose your back pain?

One of the main reasons to consult a physician about your back pain is because it can be caused by things other than the run-of-the-mill suspects like injury, strain, exercise, or excess weight. As an example, your kidneys lie against your back outside of the abdominal cavity. Kidney stones and kidney infections can cause pain in the back. Assuming your lingering back pain can be stretched out or cured with ice packs could be dangerous.

Rather than make assumptions, your doctor will begin by asking you a series of questions meant to zero in on a few clues about the origin of your back pain:

How long have you had your pain?
What does it feel like? Is it sharp or dull?
When does the pain occur? Sitting? Standing? Lying down?
How have you managed the pain so far?

Now, the detective work begins. Your doctor will perform various tests, based on your answers, to diagnose the cause of your back pain. This series of tests is the best way to come up with a helpful treatment.

1.Visual – The doctor will have you stand and look at your back. He can evaluate your posture, feel for any bulges in the back or areas that are sensitive to pain. This can be done during your initial visit.

2.X-rays – This is the only way to see your bones. The doctor can check the bones of the vertebrae and the surrounding supporting tissue. If there are any misalignments or fractures, you will have a better idea of what you will be dealing with in the way of treatments.

3.MRI – This is the magnetic tube which allows the doctor and technicians to see the soft tissue. If there is a herniated disc or a degenerative disc problem, the doctor will know.

4.Myelograms – This involves the nerves. When a disc is herniated, nerves can become pinched. By injecting dye into the spinal cord, doctors can see if and where nerve damage is occurring.

Self-diagnosing back pain is a risky business.  A backache now and again when you've been out mowing the lawn or painting the house is understandable.  However, intense or long-term back pain is nothing to play around with.  It could be a sign that something is wrong with either the structure of your back or your general health.  A visit with your doctor will either reassure you that rest and exercise will help your back or you'll find proper treatment to resolve a health issue.  Seeing your doctor is the only way to put your mind at ease and get on with your day – without that old pain in the back!

------------

Back Pain Relief Guide - Get the latest, cutting-edge information about back pain, what causes it and how to get lasting relief. Millions of people suffer from back pain unnecessarily - don't continue to be one of them.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Revolutionary New Intensity Technique

Triple Add Sets - A Revolutionary New Intensity Technique That Will Work ALL Your Muscle Fibers In One Set!

Normal sets only work a select type and number of muscle fibers. Find out how the Triple Add Set technique can work EVERY muscle fiber you've got in a single set.

By Nick Nilsson

Looking for a new challenge in your workouts? The Triple Add Set is just what you need. It is very a tough intensity technique, but it is extremely effective. The Triple Add Set will strongly work all three of the major muscle fiber types (I, IIa, and IIb) in one extended set, pushing the very limits of your body's strength and endurance. If this sounds good to you, you're going to love this technique!

To fully understand the effectiveness of the Triple Add Set, let's take a look at the muscle fiber types and why it's such a good thing to work all three of the major types at once.

- Type I muscle fibers are endurance-oriented muscle fibers. They primarily work in higher rep ranges and during aerobic exercise.

- Type IIa muscle fibers work when the weight used is moderate-to-heavy. This fiber type is most active in moderate rep range weight training (e.g. 5 to 10 reps per set)

- Type IIb muscle fibers are the explosive muscle fibers. They are called upon when the weight is very heavy and great power or explosiveness is needed.

When you lift a weight, your body recruits a certain number of muscle fibers to get the job done. It recruits a certain percentage of each type of fiber, depending on how heavy the load is. For instance, the lighter the load, the more Type I fibers will be called upon. The heavier the load, the more Type IIa fibers will be called upon. With very heavy loads, Type IIb fibers will be the most heavily recruited.

With regular training, your body learns to become more efficient with this recruitment and tries to get away with firing as few fibers as possible to get the job done. It's the body's natural tendency to conserve energy.

Unfortunately, this also leaves many muscle fibers underworked and not developed to their full potential. We need to find a way to force your body to recruit every available fiber to maximally work the muscle and develop it to it's full potential. That's where the Triple Add Set comes in.

If you're familiar with Triple Drop Sets (where you start with a heavy weight for the first part, then drop to a lighter weight for more reps then drop to a somewhat lighter weight for more reps to finish with) then you're familiar with the basic idea of this style of training.

However, here's the switch: instead of starting with a heavy weight and working down, we're going to start with a light weight and work our way up!

The Triple Add Set technique will first exhaust your Type I muscle fibers with light weights and high reps.

Then it will work on the Type IIa muscle fibers by moving to heavier weights and moderate reps. Since Type I fibers are still being activated at this point, even though the weights are heavier, your body will recruit more and more of those Type I fibers as you keep going.

On the third and final part of the set, very heavy weights will be used. Your Type IIb fibers will now be preferentially activated. But now, because the load is extremely demanding, your Type I fibers and even more of your Type IIa fibers are being recruited to help.

By the time you're done with the Triple Add Set, you've recruited almost every available muscle fiber in the target muscle. Then we do one or two more sets just to be sure they're completely worked!

How To Do It:

- Start with a light weight and do a high-rep set, e.g. 20 to 30 reps. Your muscles will be burning. This will hit the Type I endurance muscle fibers and fill the target muscles with blood.

- Rest 10 seconds to flush out enough of the waste products that have accumulated in your muscles for you to keep going. This is basically the time it takes to switch weights on the machine or grab a new set of dumbells, take a few deep breaths and jump back in.

- Next, you'll move on to a somewhat heavier weight and aim for about 6 to 8 reps. This will hit the Type IIa muscle fibers (the moderate-to-heavy oriented fibers).

- Take 10 seconds rest again.

- After that, you will do your last set with a heavy weight, going for only 1 to 3 reps. This will work on strength and connective tissue while focusing on the Type IIb muscle fibers (the very heavy and explosive fibers).

- Your muscles will feel incredibly hard and pumped up. The effect of this type of training is immediately noticeable and very powerful.

It will take a little practice to figure out what weights you'll be using. It will really depend on how well your body deals with lactic acid build-up. This is a training stimulus your body will most likely NEVER have experienced before.

The first part of the set should use a very light weight. Go for strict form and go for the burn. The first time through you should get at least 20 to 30 reps.

On the second Add Set, your reps will go down significantly as the waste products of the first set will not have been completely cleared.

The second Add Set should use about double what you used on the first set, e.g. start with 25 pound dumbells then do 50 pound dumbells (this increase will vary a lot depending on the exercise - experiment with the weights you use to find out what works for you).

The third and final part of the set is the hardest. Since you've already worked hard on the previous two parts, you will be using a weight that is lighter than what you'd normally use for this rep range in regular sets. When you do the third part, you will feel an extremely strong and deep burning in the muscles. You are tapping muscle fibers that have rarely been worked! The first two Add Sets worked the majority of your muscle fibers - every fiber you've got now has to kick in and fire to move the weight in the third Add Set!

It's extremely hard and extremely effective. You'll either love it or dread it but it works!

These are Triple Add Sets. Pick an exercise and give this technique a try the next chance you get. You will be amazed at the incredible burning and pump that results from this unique training stimulus!

The Triple Add Set is only one of the many innovative exercise techniques you'll find in my new ebook "Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss." This book is all about how to lose fat as quickly as possible while keeping and even BUILDING muscle mass.

Click this link now to find out more!

http://bit.ly/dbQGeX

------------------

Nick Nilsson is Vice-President of the online personal training company BetterU, Inc. He has a degree in Physical Education and Psychology and has been inventing new training techniques for more than 18 years. Nick is the author of a number of bodybuilding eBooks including "Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss," "The Best Exercises You've Never Heard Of," "Gluteus to the Maximus - Build a Bigger Butt NOW!" and "Specialization Training," all available at http://fitness-ebooks.rxsportz.com. He can be contacted at betteru@fitstep.com.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Metabolic Surge - Day by Day Rundown

y Nick Nilsson

The program consists of 3 primary phases that lasts a total of 12 days. You then repeat this cycle 3 times for a grand total of 36 days. Then you have a 10 day recovery period where you'll take things easier and regain strength and give your body a bit of a break.

Let's get started:

The Nuts and Bolts of Phase 1:

Phase 1 is based on low-carb eating. Your body will be switching over to serious fat burning in the first day-and-a-half to two days. The training is Fat Loss Circuit Training (which I mentioned previously) and it will hasten the departure of carbs and water due to its demanding nature. It burns a lot of calories and will help get rid of carbs from your system FAST.

Being in a low-carb state is much more efficient for fat loss, though you don't want to stay in it too long (about 5 to 7 days is the most I recommend).

The third day is a complete rest day to help you recover from the first two days. You'll need the rest for the next two days (trust me).

On the fourth day, it's Lactic Acid Training. This type of training is designed to dramatically ramp up lactic acid production in your muscles and keep it there while training that specific bodypart. Why is this good? Well, the reduced pH in your body (more acidic) is an emergency situation and your body secretes G H in response (the full name of which I can't write here or this email will get filtered!). This hormone is not released as much when insulin is present in the blood, therefore we do this training on the 4th and 5th day of the low-carb eating, to be sure you have NO insulin floating around.

This maximizes the hormonal effect of the training. Lactic Acid Training also is not very damaging to the muscles - you start with one high-rep set (30+ reps), rest 20 seconds, then go again and try and hit as many reps as you can. Keep going for the prescribed number of sets.

This is followed by High-Intensity Intervals. The intervals are done on this day so as not to coincide with the thigh training of the next day. Lactic Acid Training for the thighs and interval training don't work as well when done on the same day because most cardio training uses the legs to a large degree. The legs will be too fatigued to push really hard on interval training.

You will be following a very basic supplementation program of multivitamins and protein powder during this phase. You can also include glutamine after workouts. Take NO creatine during this phase so that you save it for the transition to Phase 3 where you'll get the most bang for your buck with it.

The Nuts and Bolts of Phase 2:

Phase 2 uses 2 days of single-nutrient eating to shock your body.

The first day focuses entirely on protein. Since you've been eating low carb and teaching your body to preferentially burn fat for energy, by suddenly depriving it of a fat intake as well, it's forced to seek out the most convenient fat source: bodyfat.

The interval training done on this day will encourage your body to use plenty of bodyfat for energy. It's not going to be easy, working on only protein like this but it's VERY effective. We only do this for one day.

The second day is designed to create a desperate need for protein in your body by starving yourself of it for a day. When you go to Phase 3 and eat plenty of protein, your body will aggressively store protein in the form of muscle.

Since you will be staying away from protein, don't take any glutamine on this day. Glutamine is an amino acid, which is a component of protein. You will be getting plenty of it as you go into Phase 3.

We will not be doing any training on this day as we are looking to only deplete the body of free-circulating protein, not to excessively break down muscle tissue. Just that depletion will create the desperate need in your body for protein, similar to what your body experiences on a carb depletion from low-carb eating and reloading.

An all-fruit day is also very cleansing to the body, which is a perfect switch from a high-protein, high-meat product diet. Eat as much fruit as you want. Your body will just be busy absorbing the carbohydrates from the fruit. Be sure to drink plenty of water as well. This fruit day also tends to flush out much of the excess water from your body.

The Nuts and Bolts of Phase 3:

The first few days of Phase 3 are all about building muscle (what better way to reduce your % bodyfat by increasing your % muscle mass!). When you come directly off a low-carb diet, your body is desperate for carbs and very sensitive to them. Your body will absorb them (as well as other nutrients) very rapidly.

This is also where the zero-protein day comes into play. You have also created a desperate need for protein in your body with it.

By combining these two desperate needs and then feeding them, your body is capable of tremendously fast progress. This is when you will be performing "Muscle Rounds" - one of the most effective muscle-building training techniques I've ever come across.

During these first few days, you will loading up on nutrients such as protein, glutamine and creatine to maximize the effects of the previous two phases.

You will also be keeping your fat intake extremely low to maximize fat burning during this time.

The third day of the phase is a day off weights but has you doing high intensity interval training for your cardio. Doing this type of training on it's own day means you can really put a lot of effort into it.

The fourth day is geared towards higher-volume, higher-rep training using Supersets. This type of training is excellent for forcing a lot of nutrient-laden blood into the muscles. The Supersets will also create plenty of lactic acid, which is excellent for boosting Growth Hormone levels in the body. You will also be doing interval training on this day again.

The final day of this Phase is a complete day off. Your body will need a little rest before you go back into the low-carb diet and training of Phase 1 again. You may be tempted to do a little more work - resist this as your body will need the rest!

On this day, you get a planned "cheat" meal...by planning it into your program, you get the mental benefits of breaking the strictness and your metabolism gets a nice shot. This planned cheating is a VERY powerful concept, as is the whole nutrient-rotation found in the Surge program itself.

Then Repeat Two More Times...

This 12 day cycle makes for one round of the program. In the NEXT 2 rounds, you're going to be increasing the number of sets you do, gradually building up the training volume, which forces your body to work harder to keep up. This is a natural metabolism-increaser and it's PLANNED right into the program.

Think of how the engine of a car reacts as you hit the gas to climb a hill...as the hill gets steeper, you have to almost floor it just to keep moving. But when you keep it floored and come up and over the top and down the other side, you pick up speed FAST.

This is the core concept of the Surge training program - you ramp things up then back off and let your metabolism ROAR.

Strength/Recovery Phase:

The Strength/Recovery Phase is not for fat loss but to allow the body some time to recuperate from the extreme training volume you've been placing on it. It is the overcompensation phase after ramping up to overtraining on the first 3 Phases, i.e. the car coming over the top of the hill and coming down.

The focus here is on building or re-building strength. You will dramatically reduce your training volume and frequency for a short period and target your training to strength training (lower reps and longer rest periods).

This sudden reduction in volume and frequency, while your body is still cranking and trying to recover from the high volume, will result in another jump in results. If you lost any strength during the first 36 days of training, you will get it all back here (and probably more!)

The Sum of All Parts:

As you can see, the training and nutrition of each Phase builds onto the next one, making the whole greater than the sum of all parts. This synergistic effect of the various nutrient and training regimes will allow you to effectively build muscle and strength even while training to lose fat!

From Phase to Phase, training volume will increase in order to push your body a little further and a little harder. Building up to this higher volume slowly will allow you take advantage of the body's reaction to temporary overtraining, keeping your results moving quickly. You will NEVER hit a plateau with this program.

Your body has no choice but to adapt - it's built into the training program and it's built into the eating program with the rotation between low-carb, low-fat and single-nutrient eating.

http://bit.ly/dbQGeX

------------------

Nick Nilsson is Vice-President of the online personal training company BetterU, Inc. He has a degree in Physical Education and Psychology and has been inventing new training techniques for more than 18 years. Nick is the author of a number of bodybuilding eBooks including "Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss," "The Best Exercises You've Never Heard Of," "Gluteus to the Maximus - Build a Bigger Butt NOW!" and "Specialization Training," all available at http://fitness-ebooks.rxsportz.com.
He can be contacted at betteru@fitstep.com.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Posture And Back Pain – Lessons Learned From Finishing School

We’ve all watched those old TV shows or movies where girls are sent to finishing school to get “refined.” They walk around with books on their head while a woman with a tight chignon and even tighter pursed lips follows behind with a conductor’s wand. Those books perched on the head were meant to improve the debutant's posture.

Because poor posture could be causing your back pain, are these old “posture perfect” methods worth a second look?  Perhaps.

The spine has a natural curve in it, designed to help us move and bend and flex. Muscles support the spine, allowing us to do all that moving and bending and flexing with ease.

It is interesting that most of us don’t know what proper posture really is. When we stand in line, we will lean to one side or back against the wall. At work, we are hunched over the computer or have the telephone pinched between our neck and shoulder. And, let’s not get started with how we sleep. Proper posture or “alignment” is largely forgotten or was never known by many people.

Let’s go back to finishing school shall we? If you are having pain in your back on a consistent basis, take stock of how you stand, sit, lay and bend throughout the day. These movements could be contributing to the pain in your back, neck, shoulders, hips, and legs.

Here’s what happens when the body is out of alignment. The muscles are stretched and contorted to accommodate an unnatural position; unnatural to your body, that is.  It is that stretching and contortion that causes the first signs of back pain.  Over time, your muscles start to knot up, or even spasm, under the strain.  Long term muscle stretching and contortions can result in long term muscle disfigurement, meaning long term pain.

Here are a few ways to improve your posture and alleviate that back pain before it becomes a more serious problem.

1.Get new shoes – Many of us wear our shoes unevenly and don’t even know it. If we were to try and stand level on a board we would be listing to one side or the other. Our bodies are out of alignment. Choose shoes that have built in arches and a shock-absorbing sole.

2.Revamp your workspace – Systems of office furniture have been developed to deal with posture and alignment. These systems are often referred to as ergonomic designs. There are chairs, computer keyboards, phone attachments, and more, that are designed to keep your posture aligned perfectly.  Invest in these systems for a healthy back – and increased efficiency, as it's hard to be productive when you're in pain.

3.Change your mattress – Do you wake up with back pain?  It could be a lumpy, uneven, or worn out mattress at fault. Some of the new “adjustable” mattresses allow you to tailor it to your needs and body type. There are others that are made with memory foam to conform to your body shape. Don’t forget the pillow. There are pillows that are specially designed to cradle the head in such a way that the spine is kept perfectly aligned throughout the night.

4.Take a lesson from finishing school – Simply being aware of how you are walking, standing, and sitting will be a start in correcting your posture.  As you sit at your desk, set a timer to remind yourself every three to five minutes to sit up straight.  Many of us round our shoulders over the keyboard.  This timer going off will, over time, make us more aware of our proper posture.  When standing, pull in your abdomen.  This not only makes you look better, but the abdomen helps support the back, reducing back pain almost immediately and training the abdomen to give the back a little assist.  And, yes, pretend you have a book on top of your head when you're walking.  Chin up, level steps, uplifted chest, and straight back will carry the invisible book beautifully.

With lessons learned from finishing school and a few tricks and tools to help you improve your posture, you could start to notice that back pain lessen, even disappear.  Evaluate your body alignment and use these “perfect posture” recommendations to resolve your back pain issues and enjoy better all around health.

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Back Pain Relief Guide - Get the latest, cutting-edge information about back pain, what causes it and how to get lasting relief. Millions of people suffer from back pain unnecessarily - don't continue to be one of them.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

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Monday, June 07, 2010

What Is Causing Your Back Pain?

Just about everyone can agree; when your back hurts, your world seems to come to a screeching halt. It affects everything that you do from that point on.  You can put a broken arm in a sling.  You can't put your back in a sling and continue with your day.

Back Strain = Back Pain

Let’s begin with the simplest form of back pain. That would be back strain. This occurs when you strain the muscles that support the spine in the back.

What does it feel like? Think of a “charley horse” in your leg. The muscle knots up because it was stretched the wrong way or over extended. The pain is immediate and continues until you can work out the kinks.

With back strain, you have essentially done the same thing. That muscle is out of sorts and needs to relax and heal. Let's consider what could be the cause of your back strain:

Sudden jerky movements
Improper lifting posture
Poor sitting posture (slouching or hunching over)
Injury
Obesity
Stress
Shoes that are wearing unevenly
Dehydration (your back needs water too)

When the muscles of the back are constantly strained, strengthening them may be the key to helping with back strain and inevitable pain.

Herniated Disc = Back Injury

However, back pain can also be the result of a structural problem. This occurs when an injury to the back involves the vertebrae, nerves, and discs.  This injury may be a trauma to the back, known as “an acute” injury, or an injury over time, known as “a chronic” injury.  One of the most common injuries involves the discs.

The discs are located between the vertebrae of the back. They serve to cushion the nerves and the bones. When a disc is herniated, the inner spongy matter squeezes out through the outer layer. This puts pressure on the root of the nerve that arises from that spot on the spinal cord. Usually, herniated discs are found in the lumbar region of the spinal column which corresponds to the lower back.

Herniated discs can be the result of an acute injury, a chronic injury such as a repeated motion that wears down the disc over time, or as a result of what is known as degenerative disc disease.

The worn disc spills its spongy material out and the disc “herniates.”  The material can begin to rub against nerves causing further pain.

Typically with this type of injury, what you will notice is pain in the hips and down the legs, commonly known as sciatica. Those nerves are pinched and can cause a loss of feeling in the legs from time to time. Your leg could have the sensation of “giving out” which is disconcerting as you are actually unable to move your leg for a time.

Anytime you experience unexplained pain in your back or down your legs, especially repeatedly or over a period of time, you should consult a health professional.  The only way to know if your back pain is more than the occasional pain from overuse is to have the proper tests.  Taking a few pain killers to alleviate minor back pain that occurs once in a while may be alright;  say, when you rake the yard.  But, serious back pain requires serious attention from a doctor.  Take care of your back and it will take care of you!

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Back Pain Relief Guide - Get the latest, cutting-edge information about back pain, what causes it and how to get lasting relief. Millions of people suffer from back pain unnecessarily - don't continue to be one of them.

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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Stretching Exercises May Reduce Back Pain

We’ve all been there. You go to lift something and feel a pain halfway between the starting point and the destination. Or you were running around hitting a tennis ball, shooting buckets, tossing around a football, or anything you might not do very often? You go out for the pass and your back goes out, too.

We have many muscles that make up our body, and some of those muscles support the spinal column in your back. Having strong muscles in your back as well as your abdomen will work wonders to help ward off back pain.  But, having flexible muscles in your back is just as important as having strong muscles.

When muscles are cold or underused it is hard to get them as flexible as they need to be to work well without pain.  If you’ve been sedentary and decide to participate in an activity that  requires some form of exertion, you are asking your back to perform a task that it is not prepared for.  The result?  Back pain.

Stretch out your muscles to get them ready for action

Stretching is important for your muscles.  It works as a wakeup call.  Stretching your muscles says “Get ready. We are about to move.”  Muscles that are stretched routinely are more flexible, not only for the immediate strenuous activity, but throughout the day, weeks, months, and beyond.

If your job is physically demanding, stretching each day is a good idea. You'll notice even after  the first time you stretch, you will feel more flexible and energized. That small amount of movement gets the blood moving and sends more oxygen into the muscle tissue.

How do you go about stretching? Are all stretches good for the back? There is a technique to each stretch and you want to stretch the muscle in the right way.  Incorrect stretching could cause you frustration and further pain to your back.

Here are a few stretches to get you started. Use a mat to cushion your back and wear comfortable clothing.

1.Flexing your back – Lying flat with your back on the mat, pull your knees to your chest. At the same time, lift your head, aiming your chin for your chest. Hold for a few seconds and return to the beginning position. Consciously push your abdomen in toward the floor at the same time so there is no space between the small of your back and the floor.

2.Leg stretch – Lying flat with your back on the mat and knees bent, feet on mat, reach and lace your hands behind one knee and pull it towards your chest. This stretch works one hip flexor at a time. The hip flexors support your lower back. Return to start and stretch the opposite leg.

3.Cross leg stretch – Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on mat. Take one leg and cross it over the other just above that knee. Hold behind the bent knee of the lower leg and pull both legs towards your chest. Be careful with this stretch and move slowly. It stretches the hip flexor, the lower back and the muscles of the buttock that can contribute to back pain.  Be sure to press your abdomen toward the floor to eliminate any space between the small of your back and the mat.

It doesn’t take very long at all to complete these simple stretches. Make stretching a part of your regular meditation time each day.  Relax your mind and strengthen your body at the same time.  Then you'll be ready to jump up and tackle your day!

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Back Pain Relief Guide - Get the latest, cutting-edge information about back pain, what causes it and how to get lasting relief. Millions of people suffer from back pain unnecessarily - don't continue to be one of them.