Health & Wellness Blog

    

Essential Foods for Optimal Muscle Recovery

Foods for Muscle RecoveryExercising is great but sometimes, heavy workouts can end up stressing your muscles. In order for your muscles to recover, you should get some rest and also proper nutrition. The right foods will do wonders for your muscles. They not only enhance muscle growth and repair but also facilitate a quick and optimal muscle recovery. Below is useful information to help you select a proper diet after exercising.

When you are engaging in heavy exercises, a lot of blood glucose and glycogen is used up. When this happens, you will feel fatigued. The fatigue is as a result of lost carbohydrates. The carbohydrates have been broken down to create glycogen and glucose used up during exercise. Since all the carbohydrates have been broken down, you must replenish them by taking up the right foods. There are many foods which are rich in carbohydrates but not all of them are ideal for muscle recovery.

A great recommendation of foods, which are rich in carbohydrates and perfect for muscle recovery are foods which are highly glycemic. High glycemic foods are rich in carbohydrates which are needed after exercise. It is recommended that, after taking part in heavy exercise, you should take high glycemic foods for carbohydrates. This is because high glycemic foods enter the bloodstream faster making the muscles restore the glycogen at a faster rate. Good examples of foods which are rich in carbohydrates needed for muscle recovery are baked potatoes, cereals, breads and bagels.

Protein is extremely essentail for optimal muscle recovery. Proteins are excellent due to their healing and body building properties. Proteins promote muscle growth after they have been broken down after heavy exercise. The right amount of protein to include in your diet after a workout should be a quarter of your consumption of carbohydrates. In simple terms, the ratio of carbohydrates to proteins consumed should be 4 to 1.

The most ideal source of protein for muscle recovery is milk. You can also get proteins from other dairy products like yoghurt and cottage cheese. Both have carbohydrates as well as proteins needed for muscle recovery. Other than dairy products, protein sources like tuna, soy and turkey are also ideal for muscle recovery.

Your body must remain properly hydrated after carrying out moderate to heavy exercise. Hydration is important since it allows your muscles to recover from the stress of conducting heavy exercise. Bear in mind that the body consumes lots of water during exercise and this water needs to be replaced.

Loss of water during exercise can lead to tiredness and weakness. This is why people end up fainting since water is lost and has not been replenished. The most common sign of dehydration is urine that is too dark. If you lose a kg of fluid, it needs to be replenished by a liter of clean water. Bear in mind that, for proper hydration to take place, it is recommended that water is consumed in its original form. However, you can take a few sports drinks, fruit and milk since they are also sources of water which will hydrate the body.

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5 Must-Have Self Massage Tools for Athletes

Not all of us athletes can afford a professional massage treatment 2-3 days of the week. Heck, even just one massage per week would break the bank for many athletes.

Fortunately, there are a number of different self massage tools available that can help you get the same professional massage therapy you could get from a professional. These massage tools offer different purposes for various massage techniques. And when used in conjunction to relieve tight muscles, these tools can provide the ultimate massage experience.

1. Trigger Point's GRID foam roller massage tool foam roller

The Grid foam roller by Trigger Point is a hot favorite among athletes when it comes to massaging. This foam roller makes use of EVA foam over a hollow core and thus prevents breakdown with time. The varied foam densities, widths and patterns give a more targeted feel.

Trigger Point's GRID roller works by applying pressure to myofascial connective tissue to

restore motion and eliminate pain. Measuring 13” X 5”, the GRID roller is much more portable than conventional foam rollers. The one year warranty from the house of Trigger Point adds to the incentives of making it yours.

2. MobilityWOD Super Nova

The sphere shaped Super Nova has been redesigned and re-released in 2013. It works well by reaching more muscle groups due to its grooved flat surfaces. It is gentler than several other advanced mobility tools. The Super Nova stays where you want it to due to its grooved channels and fingers.

The portable size of MobilityWOD's Super Nova is one of the features which give it an edge above foam rollers. It can fit easily in a travel bag to cater for all your on-the-go mobility requirements. The spherical shape allows it to reach difficult-to-reach-areas also effectively.

3. The basic lacrosse ball massage tool

A portable massage tool that is as effective as any other fancy massage tool is a lacrosse ball. It is an excellent massage tool to activate trigger points in muscles and relax stressed areas by working deep into adhesion and muscle tightness.

A lacrosse ball can be used in the following ways for a myofascial release:

  • Roll over the ball with your feet over it to get instant relief from tight arches.
  • Rest the ball between glute and wall with the ball over the sore area. Press the glute into the wall and perform circular motion around the area. As the pain subsides, press the ball over the area against the wall and hold for 30 seconds.
  • Lie down on the stressed side with knees bent and hands resting on the floor in the front. Place the ball directly under the aching area and begin rolling the hips to ease the tension.

4. Knobble® II

Shaped like a round mushroom, the Knobble is a polymer massage tool that fits comfortably in the palm. Its ergonomic design makes it work like an extension of the hand itself. It weighs only 2 ounces and is about 2 ¼ inches long. All you need to alleviate pain and soreness is place the wide end of the Knobble II on the palm and the narrow end on the area of the body you want to massage. The tool comes with an instruction manual to guide you through the massage process.

The purpose of the Knobble II tool is to allow you to focus on the areas of the body where you need compression. It targets trigger points and acupoints and enables you to get intense massage with little effort. It magnifies the power of massage to give deep and effective strokes.

5. Thera Cane® massage tool cane

This is a general purpose massage tool which supplements your hands in carrying out a massage. It is primarily used for giving an effective and deep back massage by stimulating trigger points and acupoints. You can reach back, feet and front with this tool and massage effectively. Made of fiberglass and shaped like a cane, the Thera Cane has six knobs. The device is nearly 15 inches in width and 2 feet in length.

Life as an athlete would have been wonderful if you had a personal massage therapist at your disposal to help you ease out the stress, soreness and tension that you experience while performing your daily athletic activities. However, this is not possible for most of the athletes and it therefore becomes necessary that you have certain tools in your arsenal that can defeat pain and stress.

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5 Questions to Ask Your Surgeon Before Going Under the Knife

Breast Surgeon Ann Arbor MIGetting surgery can be a scary thing if you’re unprepared. Before you go in for treatment, it is a good idea to have a few questions prepared to ask the doctor. Peace of mind comes from knowing and understanding. Take the time to allow the doctor to answer questions of uncertainty and curiosity. Also, it is important to ask questions that will prepare you for a successful surgery. Here are five questions that you may want to ask your surgeon.

Why is This Surgery Necessary?

It is important to know if the surgery is needed right away and what it will do to help you. Is it going to relieve pain, fix a deformity or prevent future problems? Your doctor should be able to go through exactly how the surgery will help you. You’ll feel much better knowing exactly what is going on with your body and that surgery can fix the issue. Decreasing anxiety and nervousness will aid in preparing for surgery and the healing process there after. Your doctor wants you to be informed so make sure you ask this question.

What Should I Do to Prepare?

Before surgery there are steps you need to take to prepare your body. The most common is not eating or drinking the night before. Also smoking and alcoholic beverages should cease 24 hours before surgery. Whether you're undergoing breast augmentation surgery or rhinoplasty, certain activities can pose threat to the body as it undergoes surgical procedures.

Your body needs to be in the best shape possible to handle the stress from anesthesia and other things. Your doctor will be able to tell you all of the things you need the day before you are admitted for surgery. Knowing how to prepare may ease your mind before the big day. Just make sure you follow all of the doctor’s suggestions.

Also before going under the knife, your doctor will mark the area or areas with marker. Make sure these areas are correct. Sometimes you can even ask if an incision can be made so it goes a certain way or is less noticeable. Make sure you can get exactly what you want because it’s your body. Doctors will try to accommodate you if they can in a safe manner. They will let you know what they can and can’t do. Just make sure you take the time to talk about it.

What is Your Experience with This Surgery?

The doctor can share information about past surgeries similar to the one you will be receiving. They can tell you how long it usually takes and the success rate. If there are any risks you should be aware of, they will be able to share those then. Having a doctor share their expertise can build trust and leave you with a little more comfort. Also knowing things that have happened with past surgeries, you can know what to expect with yours. Try choosing a doctor with as much experience as possible.

What is the Surgery Recovery Process?

Understanding the recovery process ahead of time will help you prepare at home. You can get the proper clothing and equipment ready at home so the transition is smooth. Your doctor should know whether or not you have the proper means to recover safely at home. They can tailor a recovery plan to fit your needs. You will also be able to make the proper arrangements at work and for childcare if needed. Especially when small children are involve, you may not be able to life and care for them the way you need too.

Understanding what you need to do to recover will help you plan for this to get the help you need. The doctor can also go over expectations for pain and the medication you will need to help manage it. At this point you can go over allergies and your doctor can make sure everything is correct for you after surgery.

How Much Will the Surgery Procedure Cost?

Cost is a big area for concern. You should know the cost of surgery so that you can compare surgery cost with other surgeons. Also if you need to use insurance, you need to know whether or not they will accept it. Cost should be understood so you can know how to prepare for the future. Having a rough picture of monthly costs is good to know if you need to come out of pocket. You have to know if the doctor even accepts a payment plan.

Being educated on what will happen to you before, during, and after surgery is important. Not only will it calm some anxiety, it will also ensure that you know you are receiving what you need. Most of the time surgery is irreversible so asking questions will help you get a feel of what you’re getting into. These are only five of the many questions you should ask your Bay Area breast surgeons before going under the knife.

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Post-Breast Augmentation Surgery: Healing & Recovery Tips

The period of time that comes after breast augmentation surgery is also known as the healing and recovery process and there are important things for women to know about this process.

woman recovery from breast augmentationThe healing will be supported by gauge dressings, with a support bra or an elastic bandage, as this will be helpful to avoid swelling. Depending on the area where the breast implants are applied (over the muscle, or under the muscle), the time necessary for recovery can vary.

In just a few hours after surgery, the patient will have to be transported home. Women must know about certain things before they get home, as there are important tips to follow in the post-breast augmentation surgery period. The person who carries the woman home should stay with her for at least 24 to 48 hours.

Understanding Your Unique Situation

Each woman is different, so experiencing pain after surgery will be different for each of them. Often times, you will be advised by your breast augmentation surgeon regarding the best course of action to take during your recover.

If the implant is under the muscle, the pain is usually worse. The anesthesia from the operation could cause nausea after, but this can be prevented by drinking a few glasses of water before the procedure.

In the first days of recovery, the patient will have a feeling of fatigue and it is normal to feel this way. The breasts size has been changed and the skin must adapt to the new size. Rest is necessary during this time. The breasts and the nipples may not be felt completely.

Massage, Compression, & Medication

Physicians usually recommend massage and other methods of eliminating discomfort and helping the recovery process. They may recommend women to wear compression bandage or a special bra for supporting the body position while the breasts are healed. This may only be required in some cases.

The pain of the first days can be eased with medication, but the patient has to eat well every time the pills are taken. If the patient is taking any other type of medication, the doctor should be notified. It is forbidden to consume any type of alcoholic drink in the first 24 hours after the surgery. Smoking is not allowed either.

Rest Easy & Avoid Stress

rest and recovery of breast augmentation surgeryThe majority of women who go through a breast augmentation procedure are able to work after a few days have passed since the operation. But, this doesn't mean that they can do whatever they want. Stressful activities for the body should be avoided. The blood pressure must be maintained within normal limits.

For a period of up to a month, the breasts can be highly sensitive to any type of touch. Any physical contact should be avoided.

Before a breast augmentation procedure, the doctor will inform the patient about all the details involved in the recovery process. The surgeon can be contacted after the surgery as well, for finding any further details specific to the case.

If the patient experiences anything unusual, such as fever, redness on the breasts, or breast swelling, the surgeon should be called immediately. Once a woman has been through this process, she will be able to teach other women and help them to get the best outcome from their recovery.

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5 Effective Recovery Tips to Become a Better Triathlete

When it comes to becoming a better triathlete, it's often the things that we do outside of training that can have a significant impact. Recovery, rest, and rehabilitation should be at the core of any athlete's training regime.

Better Triathlete Recovery

Beyond just stretching and eating right, below we share five highly-effective recovery tips to help you become a better triathlete.

1. Practice self myofascial release

In order to understand what self-myofascial release (or "SMR")is all about, it is paramount that we understand two aspects that are integral to SMR effectiveness. The first term is fascia; which is a specialized connective tissue that surrounds the whole body, that is, the bones, joints and muscles, as well as providing protection and support.

When there is damage to the fascia, this gives rise to trigger points. Trigger points are the second aspect to consider and are defined as areas of muscle that are susceptible to pain when undergoing palpation, they also exhibit tout bands around these areas.

Self myofascial release is a very simple technique that athletes employ in order to alleviate these trigger points. The exercise involves a foam roll, on which the athletes roll parts of their body until they reach the trigger point. The athletes then hold this position until the pain subsides.

2. Hydrate and replenish mindfully

It is common knowledge in the athletic world, that what you consume after a work out or race greatly determines how your body is going to react in the subsequent day or days. It is therefore imperative that we carefully consider what we drink or eat after such tiresome sessions.

Triathletes should know when to drink water and when to drink electrolyte rich energy drinks. These decisions are predominantly determined, by the rate of absorption of these fluids by the body. In order to make the right decision, one should consult a nutrition expert before consuming anything.

3. Experiment with different types of stretching

Stretching is a very integral part in the training regimen of any professional triathlete. Triathletes who have more elasticity and flexibility in their muscles perform better. There are two types of stretching recommended by the professionals.

The first one is, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) which is a set of stretching techniques which are used to improve both the passive and active range of motions in our bodies. This done to ensure that that our body produces optimum performance as well as rehabilitate the body when injured. The second technique is of static stretching which generally means stretching while the body is in a stationery position.

4. Embrace cold exposure

After that vigorous work out, a lot of triathletes prefer to immerse themselves in an ice water bath. This ice water bath has temperatures between twelve to fifteen degrees Celsius. This plunge into the ice bath is believed to have a therapeutic effect on the muscles as it reduces the soreness and pain in the muscles.

Doing this after training can help the muscles recover quickly from the strains of the exercises and as such are quickly ready for the next session. This cold exposure also provides a resurgence of energy.

5. Practice meditation and mindfulness

Meditation can be a very useful tool for an athlete who is training for a tournament or who is recovering from an injury or strenuous exercises. Meditation causes the body to relax and such reduce the release of the hormone cortisol, which is a very bad hormone for and budding athlete. Athletes who meditate have been known to perform better, as they generally have all their faculties in control.

Last word on becoming a better triathlete

Lastly, spend some time working on your form and biomechanics in all three disciplines of triathlon. There are many sports scientists out and triathlon coaches out there who can help you refine your form and help you become more efficient and injury free.

Explore the idea of investing in quality triahlon coaching so you can become better organized with your training, and your self as a whole through the sport.

 
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How to Review Vegan Protein Powders the Right Way

There's good reason why vegan protein powder has become a popular topic in the world of nutrition, athletics, and overall general health. Eating vegan, or plant-based, has been shown to offer a number of benefits for one’s health. From lowering the risk of heart and cardiovascular disease to optimizing athletic recovery and performance, all walks of life stand to gain from eating less animal-based foods and consuming more plants. vegan plant based protein powders reviews

The topic vegan protein powders, however, has been a pivotal cornerstone to the plant-based push. This is primarily due to the countless celebrity athletes who have publically made it known that they’re now eating a vegan diet. The protein powder aspect stems from the recovery component, which is one of the primary reasons why so many are embracing the plant-powered way.

So if you’re like many of the vegan individuals (or vegan curious) who are interested in vegan protein powder products and reading vegan protein powder reviews, then this post is for you. In this article, I discuss a few specific considerations that you’ll want to keep in mind when reviewing plant-based protein powder products.

Check the Sources of Plant-based Protein

First and foremost, when reviewing vegan protein powders, be sure to look at the plant sources of protein. These sources will often dictate the quality of the vegan protein powder, in addition to the price of the product.

For instance, some of the best vegan protein powders have sources deriving from hemp, pea, brown rice, and other seeds and legumes of all sorts. Some products have unique blends containing artichoke protein, chia seed protein, pumpkin seed protein, and so on. Hemp is one of the most powerful sources of plant-based protein because it contains one of the most rich amino acid profiles (more about amino acids below.) Conversely, soy protein does not have as rich of an amino acid profile and is much cheaper and lesser quality than other plant-based sources (primarily from an athletic recovery standpoint.)

Lastly, review the vegan protein sources to see if they are labeled as isolates or concentrates. In short, protein concentrates are better than isolates. Most plant-based protein isolates have undergone some degree of processing, which can strip the protein of its nutritional co-factors. That’s not say protein isolates are bad. Rather, protein concentrates are more pure, as they’re in their more natural state.

Know What Makes a Vegan Protein Powder “Complete”

Perhaps one of the most important variables for athletes (i.e. endurance athletes and weight lifters) is ensuring the vegan protein powder is complete. Complete proteins are defined by their amino acid profile. Complete proteins contain nine essential amino acids. These include:

  • Tryptophan
  • Threonine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine+Cystine
  • Phenylalanine+Tyrosine
  • Valine
  • Histidine

Unfortunately, only some vegan protein powder products will actually list the amino acid profile on the label. The products that do this are often high-performance products that are geared for athletes. Examples include Vega protein powders, PlantFusion protein powders, and MRM protein powders, to name just a few. These are some of my personally-favorite brands as they taste great and offer a complete protein for optimal athletic recovery. Read my Vega Sport Performance protein powder review to see what makes this product one of the best plant-based protein supplements for athletes.


Vegan Protein Powders with BCAAs

Branched chain amino acids (or “BCAAs”) are three specific types of amino acids that are absolutely essential for building lean muscle mass and improving recovery after any form of physical exertion. The amino acids that make-up BCAAs are Isoleucine, Leucine, and Valine. Together, these amino acids optimize muscle repair. This is particularly important when seeking vegan protein powders for bodybuilding.

If you’re trying to build muscle or improve performance from sports (as well as mitigate the effects of muscle soreness,) supplementing with vegan protein powders with BCAAs is vital. The latter mentioned brands (Vega, MRM, and Plant-Fusion), all offer plant-based protein powders with BCAAs. These are among the top vegan protein powders for atheletic recovery.

Vegan protein powders with BCAAs are often a bit more expensive than other plant-based products without them. So if you’re not too concerned about athletic performance and building muscle mass, then you don’t have to worry too much about it. You can also supplement with BCAAs in capsule form if don’t have a protein powder with that includes them in the blend.

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