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Bringing you the latest in health and fitness


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Garlic Goodness


Garlic provides numerous health and physique benefits. Not only does it enhance heart health, but research shows that it aids fat burning, can help to lower the catabolic hormone cortisol, and concomitantly raise testosterone levels. Recent research suggests that garlic can actually boost nitric oxide levels (NO).

Researchers from the university of Adelaide (Australia) gave 50 patients with treated but uncontrolled high blood pressure wither a garlic supplement containing 960 milligrams of aged garlic or a placebo everyday for 12 weeks. They measured the subjects’ blood pressure at the start and every four weeks thereafter. The researchers reported in a 2010 issue of the journal Maturitas that the group supplementing with the garlic had a drop in pressure which was on average 10mm hg (pressure units) lower than in the placebo group. The scientists concluded that this was likely to be due to garlic’s ability to boost NO levels, which relaxes blood vessels and causes a reduction in blood pressure. This relaxation in the blood vessels also increases blood flow to the muscles, which is critical for energy and for producing a muscle pump during workouts, as well as aiding recovery and muscle growth.

The researchers suggested that cooked garlic would not be as effective as a garlic supplement because heat destroys the active ingredient, allicin. So go with garlic supplements and take about 200-1000mg with your pre-workout shake. To maintain higher NO levels throughout the day, also consider taking a dose in the morning and late at night.


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Feel Sick After Leg Day?


I don’t consider myself a crazy lifter but even with my basic leg routine – squats, romanians, curls and extensions, I leave the gym feeling sick on leg day. What gives?

Legs are the biggest muscle group we have. In order to fill them up with blood, that blood has to come from somewhere else and that means up top. It takes a lot of blood to fill up the leg area, it takes so much that it can literally make your nauseous. I usually feel nauseous after every leg workout. Do not be afraid of it, you will get past it. It usually takes about a month of two for you to become accustomed to it, but it will never fully go away. It is also a matter of food. With hard leg training, you are burning through your energy stores (glycogen) faster, so your blood sugar can get low rather fast. I get lightheaded no matter what I am eating, so I always try to make sureI have enough fuel in the tank to make it a bit easier. You might try eating a bit more complex carbohydrates the day before training legs to see if that helps.


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Should I Still Have Carbs Before My Workouts If I’m Trying To Get Lean?


It is better to have the energy to get through the workout with a high level of intensity than have a bad workout because you are carb depleted. If getting lean is your main concern, try going without and see how you do. If your body continues to change, then great – you are one of the lucky ones. However, if you find you are not getting leaner, your body’s likely suffering an energy deficit during workouts so that you cannot train hard enough. The general recommendation is to eat 20-40 grams of slow digesting carbs 30-60 minutes pre-workout. You can start there and see how that plan goes. Just don’t be too rigid one way or the other.


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Cocktail Anyone?


Enhance your workout performance by starting right with key pre-workout supplement combinations.

Pre-workout energy powders have lately been finding their way into the supplementation regimens of many bodybuilders. These products commonly contain a blend of stimulants and strength-promoting ingredients that are marketed as synergists (ie., when combined, the benefits of each ingredient are enhanced). Until recently, however, scientific research and studies to test the acute effectiveness of these increasingly popular supplements have been very limited.

In a study published in Nutritional Research, scientists from the University of Oklahoma tested a supposed synergistic cocktail of commonly prescribed pre-workout supplements to try and determine whether the effects on anaerobic performance and aerobic power were in fact augmented. The cocktail contained a mixture of C. sinensis, arginine AKG, Kre-Alkayn, citrulline AKG, Eleutherococcus senticosus, taurine, leucine, R. rosea, sodium chloride, valine, isoleucine, caffeine and whey protein concentrate. After familiarisation and baseline testing 10 subjects completed two test days that included running to exhaustion on a treadmill. On days one and two only, subjects drank either the pre-workout supplement mixture or an isocaloric placebo 30 minutes before the exercise session. The scientists reported participants who consumed the pre-workout energy supplement experienced substantially increased anaerobic running capacity and time to exhaustion, with no difference recorded in aerobic power s compared to the control group. The one shortcoming of this study is that the authors did not test each ingredient in the pre-workout cocktail separately, but they speculated caffeine was likely the main ingredient to play a key role in creasing anaerobic performance among the test group.

The ingredients in the test supplement from this particular study are very common to most pre-workout formulas you will see on the market today. Although this study was quite short and the design simple, the findings are important. Based on the outcome subjects experienced, pre-workout energy powders seem to boost workout intensity the day you start taking them. Thje fact that subjects underwent treadmill running during testing may put into question the applicability of the findings to bodybuilders focused primarily on weight training. However, because the supplement mixture caused better performance only under anaerobic conditions (and had no effect on aerobic power), the study lends much credence to the use of supplements before resistance training to enhance energy and strength.


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Natural Pain Relief For DOMS


The easiest way to fight muscle soreness after an intense leg workout is to pop a NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), but people who don’t want to get into the habit of popping pills for short-term relief can choose natural options to help ease pain. When time allows, relax in a hot bath well after heavy training to increase circulation and help dispose of metabolic wastes. Massage also eases soreness and decreases inflammation to increase muscle recovery immediately after training (not immediately after your workout) session. Both these natural alternatives depend on your schedule, but if you can find the time your muscles will thank you. Supplementing with D-ribose before and/or after exercise may also help speed recovery by energising your muscles. As well, calcium and magnesium supplements act as mild muscle relaxants and help prevent muscle cramps.