Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

I cannot not even estimate how many times I’ve heard some form of the phrase “I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to bulk up,” from females who are either interested in starting an exercise program, or who have an exercise program but aren’t liking the results they’re seeing.  So is it true?  Are you really going to bulk up when you do resistance training?  Girls this article is for you, and I’d like to take some time today to explain why you shouldn’t worry about “getting too big.”  Tomorrow I will give you some incredibly important reasons to use resistance training in your work outs.

If I could give you a one word reason as to why women will not bulk up like guys do it would be: Testosterone

What is testosterone? 
Testosterone is  hormone that promotes muscle growth.   The brain sends a signal for testosterone to get released from the testes (men) or the ovaries (females).  When this happens, the released testosterone travels through the blood stream and into the surrounding tissues, including the muscles.  When the testosterone reaches the muscles it has an “anabolic” or muscle-building effect.  Without getting too scientific about it, your testosterone levels have a very direct effect on the growth of your muscles.

Resistance Training and Testosterone:
One of the reasons that people associate working out in the gym with muscle growth is that resistance training causes an increase in testosterone levels, which in turn leads to the aforementioned anabolic effect on the body’s muscles.  According to The National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, men experienced a significant rise in blood-testosterone concentrations following a high-intensity resistance training bout.  NSCA also found that the heavier the resistance, the more testosterone produced.  After 2+ years of resistance training with very heavy weights, men saw a noticeable change in their testosterone levels.

Why women shouldn’t be afraid use resistance training:
The next time you walk into your local health club or rec center, take notice of where all the women are at.  For the most part, you’re going to see a lot of women doing cardio and a lot of women doing some kind of mat exercises like abdominal work or stretching.  There will be some exceptions of course, but you will see only a very small percentage of women in the weight room.  One common reason for this is what I referenced earlier, a fear of getting bulky when their goal is to lose weight and lose inches.  The reason women SHOULD NOT worry about this:  According to Bill Kreamer in Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, women have about 15 to 20 times less testosterone than men.  15 to 20 times LESS testosterone is a HUGE difference.  If you are also careful to keep your sets in a normal 8-12 rep range, you will ensure that resistance training does not greatly spike your testosterone levels.

That’s all for tonight.  Check back tomorrow as I will give you some important reasons to start doing resistance training as soon as possible if you want to reach your goals.

Thanks for reading!

Adam Reeder, cPT
Adam@GetFunctionalTraining.com
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Coffee

Image via Wikipedia

There is a very common belief that coffee, or more specifically the caffeine that coffee contains, is bad for your health.  From cardiovascular risks to stunted growth, people have a lot of ideas about how caffeine is harmful.  Today, I’d like to address these ideas, as well as show you some potential benefits that you can gain from consuming caffeine responsibly.

First of all, here are some common beliefs related to caffeine:

#1: Caffeine is addictive.  Most experts do not consider caffeine to be addictive.  If you abruptly stop taking caffeine, there is a good chance you will experience some withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, but these tend to only last for a day or two.

#2: Caffeine keeps up you up at night.  This one can be true, but if you consume caffeine properly, there’s no reason it should have any effect on your sleep schedule.  Caffeine typically leaves your body relatively quickly, within about 7 hours after consumption.  This means that as long as you’re not consuming caffeine late in the evening or at night, you should be fine.

#3: Caffeine causes adverse side effects to your cardiovascular or bone health.  Again, this one CAN be true, but as long as you consume caffeine responsibly, you’re not at any greater risk.  As long as you limit your caffeine intake to about 300 mg per day (about 3 cups of coffee), studies indicate that you’re not at any greater risk for osteoporosis, high cholesterol, increased heart rate, or cardiovascular disease.

So now that we’ve cleared up a few common misconceptions about caffeine, let’s take a look at it’s potential benefits.  The most obvious benefit of caffeine consumption is an increase in your energy levels.  Here’s some other interesting things to note, from WebMD.com:

1)  “A growing body of research shows that coffee drinkers, compared to nondrinkers, are:

  • less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia
  • have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, and strokes

‘There is certainly much more good news than bad news, in terms of coffee and health,’ says Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.”

2) “In a study of about 130,000 Kaiser Permanente health plan members, people who reported drinking 1-3 cups of coffee per day were 20% less likely to be hospitalized for abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) than nondrinkers, regardless of other risk factors.

And, for women, coffee may mean a lower risk of stroke.

In 2009, a study of 83,700 nurses enrolled in the long-term Nurses’ Health Study showed a 20% lower risk of stroke in those who reported drinking two or more cups of coffee daily compared to women who drank less coffee or none at all. That pattern held regardless of whether the women had high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and type 2 diabetes.”

3)  Caffeine has also been shown to improve anaerobic performance (strength training)!

So while I will stop well short of telling you to drink a pot of coffee everyday to keep the doctor away, it is clear that caffeine’s negative effects are largely blown out of proportion.  Consume caffeine responsibly, and you can potentially lower your risk of several diseases, improve your strength, and of course, increase your energy.

That’s all for now!

Adam Reeder, cPT
Adam@GetFunctionalTraining.com