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Restricting Sodium – A Good Idea?


Sodium is a great mineral that helps to regulate overall balance of vitamins and minerals present in your body. It is a very common misconception that sodium directly leads to bloating. Sodium should be controlled not cut out. Especially when you are low on carbs, as it is responsible for muscle fullness and strong muscle contractions. Being low on carbs stops your muscles drawing fluid into the muscles, and you need sodium to help you keep hydrated. Going too long without it eventually leads to dehydration. Sodium does make you hold water, but when you are training for a contest, doing cardio, tanning and posing, you are losing an enormous amount of sodium in your sweat and urine. This should be replaced through dietary sodium or you will experience cramping, weakness and low blood pressure. Sodium is only your enemy about 24-36 hours away from your show.

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Water Consumption For a Dry, Shredded Look


I should keep water consumption low to maintain a dry, shredded look. True or false?

False. Aside from perhaps the day of a contest, there is no benefit of being dehydrated. It impairs growth, recovery and ability to train. In fact the best way to avoid looking bloated is to drink plenty of water, limit carbohydrates and consumption and ensure your electrolytes are balanced. Aim to drink about 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day, limit carbs to fewer than 50 grams and supplement with electrolytes while training.


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Coconut Water And Its Benefits


Coconut water
Coconuts are one of the richest sources of electrolytes, chlorides, potassium and magnesium with some amount of sugar, sodium and protein. Coconut water has the highest concentration of electrolytes than anything else found in nature. This makes it an excellent source of hydration. The potassium content benefits blood pressure and heart function. Coconut water is also found to have dietary fiber, manganese, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin C. Some research has shown coconuts to have cytokinins which have significant anti aging, anti carcinogenic and anti thrombotic effects.

The water of fresh green coconuts is actually fat free and has zero cholesterol and some studies even go as far as to say that it increases the HDL levels in the body. It is low in fat though rich in vitamins and the potassium level is twice the amount found in bananas. Drinking coconut water helps a person to lose weight as it is low in fat and it keeps a person feeling full and reduces food cravings. It is a storehouse of important nutrients, B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and pyridoxine, and folates. It has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. These help when a person has flu or herpes, both of which are due to viral infections.

Many athletes may want to consider adding coconut water to their post-workout nutrition regime. On a macronutrient level 1 cup of coconut water contains 46 calories, 2 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbs and 1 gram of fat, but the micronutrients give this beverage its health power. It also boasts 252 milligrams of sodium, 600 milligrams of potassium, 60 milligrams of magnesium and 58 milligrams of calcium. Sodium and potassium are critical electrolytes that must be replaced after workouts. Coconut water appears to be more of an effective post-workout recovery drink than Gatorade and other sports drinks.

Coconut water
A study published in the Journal of Physiology Anthropology and Applied Human Science reported subjects consumed coconut water after working out in a heated room and achieving a state of dehydration. The coconut water rehydrated them just as well as a carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage, but was easier to drink and caused no stomach upset. Because it contains fewer calories than sports beverages, try mixing your post-workout protein(s) with coconut water to improve recovery.

Coconut water is generally recommended during pregnancy as it helps in constipation, heart burn and slow digestion. The lauric acid present in coconut water has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, which boost the body’s immune system.

Tender coconut water is very beneficial to a person with kidney stones due to its minerals, potassium and magnesium content. This water also acts as a diuretic as it increases the flow and production of urine. Most urologists recommend coconut water every alternate day as it can reduce the size of kidney stones and even help eliminate them.

Also coconut water is wonderful for the skin. When coconut water is applied to affected skin areas with acne, spots, wrinkles, stretch marks, cellulite and eczema and left overnight for two to three weeks, it clears up the skin and gives you a youthful-looking smooth skin. It can be applied to hands and nails for its smoothening and repairing properties.


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Muscles and Alcohol Don’t Mix


Still haven’t adopted the totally clean-eating lifestyle and enjoy going out to the bar for a few drinks? You might want to think twice if you aim to keep all that muscle mass you have worked so hard for in the gym. Consuming large quantities of alcohol directly affects your metabolism by causing dietary fat to be stored instead of being used as an energy source. Among the effects of heavy alcohol consumption on your body, blood flow is reduced to the muscles, causing deterioration and weakness. Alcohol decreases testosterone in your blood and raises conversion of testosterone to estrogen, leading to increase fluid retention and fat depositing. It creates imbalances in your liver that can cause hypoglycaemia, hyperlipidemia and fatty liver. A night out of drinking can stop any progress you want to make in the gym the next day because of dehydration that decreases physical performance. The disturbance of sleep caused by alcohol can leave you fatigued and your training session severely lacking in intensity. Alcohol consumption can also interfere with nutrient breakdown and absorption, lessening the body’s ability to build and maintain muscle. Keep alcohol drinks to a minimum and plan them for evenings when the next day is a break from the gym.