Here’s the latest edition of my regular series of Quick and Easy Health, Physique Transformation and Sports Conditioning tips.
You can put these into action right now to Look, Feel, Move and Perform better.
These tips are organised into 3 different categories:
- General Health & Motivation
- Training (Fat Loss, Muscle Gain, Athleticism & Strength)
General Health & Motivation
‘Up your Vitamin D levels’
Numerous scientific studies show great benefits from getting Vitamin D levels up to normal, such as improved body composition, hormonal levels, bone health, muscle tissue quality and immune system function, to name just a few.
Interestingly, this study showed a significant improvement in power production over four weeks in the Vitamin D supplementation group, as compared to the control group.
These results are tough to interpret, as the subjects were overweight/obese adults. Ideally, we’d study trained athletes with smaller windows of adaptation ahead of them to see just how beneficial Vitamin D supplementation is on performance.
Nonetheless, the study concluded that elevated Vitamin D status was associated with reduced waist-to-hip ratio; an absolute win for overweight folks striving to lose weight.
It certainly makes sense that if we’re improving body composition, endocrine status, and tissue quality, people are going to get more out of their training and make faster progress.
Vitamin D is one of very few supplements that I view as “must-haves’ for the majority of the population, especially as the darker period of the year sets in (we get Vitamin D from the Sun, as well as certain foods).
I advise pairing it up with a good fish oil and multivitamin/greens supplement to cover one’s nutritional foundation.
Training (Fat Loss, Muscle Gain, Athleticism & Strength)
‘Use concentric-only exercises for “off-day” training’
The most stressful, and therefore demanding part of an exercise is actually the eccentric, or lowering phase. This is where the majority of muscle damage occurs, and is the part that will elicit the most muscular soreness.
If you’re like me, you enjoy doing some kind of physical activity on a daily basis. Some people scoff at the idea of never taking a rest, but in reality, moving is good for you, and it can be done daily. If overdone, it can interfere with recovery and lead to over-training. If done intelligently, it can keep you focused and actually speed up your recovery.
While there are many ways to go about off-day exercise correctly, one option is to use mostly eccentric-free, or concentric-only exercise choices.
As examples, think of Sled Pushing, Dragging, and Towing. Additionally you can attach handles or a TRX to your Sled and do Rows, Presses, and Pull-Throughs – you’re only limited by your imagination here. If your gym doesn’t have a Sled or Prowler, find one that does.
Another great option is Medicine Ball exercises, which can be organised into complexes and circuits, or Kettlebell and Sledgehammer Swings, which all have minimal eccentric stress.
These methods will get blood flowing to the appropriate areas and give you a training effect that won’t leave you sore, and may actually improve your recovery time.
‘Eat more pumpkin!’
Autumn is here! I love it.
The air smells better, leaves get colorful, European Cup/Autumn International Rugby arrives, and, of course, pumpkin flavored everything becomes available around Halloween!
Pumpkin tastes great, and it’s really good for you, too.
For starters, pumpkin seeds are a great source of essential fatty acids. That’s probably not breaking news to you, but guess what? Pumpkin oil actually exists! It is delicious as a dressing, and an easy addition to shakes and smoothies. Just make sure not to cook with it, as the heat will destroy the important fatty acids.
Pumpkins are orange – very orange. That means they, too, provide the health benefits found in other vividly orange fruits and vegetables. These include high amounts of carotenoids and Vitamin C. Carotenoids help fight free radicals in the body, cardiovascular diseases and infection.
Just like carrots, the high lutein & zeaxanthin content protects the eyes, and prevents formation of cataracts. You will also be happy to know that pumpkin is low calorie and serves up a tremendous amount of quality fibre.
Do you like pumpkin too? If so, let’s get some recipes posted up in the comments section!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the latest edition of my regular series and found it useful.
Thanks for reading and please do share with anyone else you know will benefit!
P.S. – to access every installment of my regular ‘Quick and Easy Ways to Look, Feel & Perform Better’ series, click here.