Love Notes by Jari Love

Mistakes Stopping You From Building Muscle

by Jari Love

Sometimes it seems like you’re doing everything you can to eat right and stick to your training program, but that tape measure around your biceps just doesn’t want to budge. You’ve reached the dreaded plateau. Nearly every athlete goes through this type of training blockade at some point, and it can be seriously frustrating. You obviously don’t want to throw in the towel, but overdoing it could leave you susceptible to injury. If lifting doesn’t seem to be getting you anywhere, you might be making some huge errors that you haven’t considered. Avoid these five mistakes, and you’ll be back on track before you know it. 

  1. Not eating enough of the right foods

Sticking to carrot sticks might seem like a good way to lose the pudge and pack on muscle, but restricting your diet too much is one of the worst things you can do. Men’s Fitness said muscle growth isn’t possible without a calorie surplus. The article went on to explain that insufficient food intake forces your body into starvation mode, which causes you to shed muscle and store fat. And if you just hit the gym, you need to feed those ailing muscles as soon as you can. According to Men’s Health, eating shortly after exercise helps repair muscles. Skipping that post-workout meal could cause your muscles to break down, so pack a snack or recovery drink. 

Don’t kid yourself into thinking you can eat whatever you want, though. Even the most intense exercise regimen won’t make up for a crappy diet. About Health said eating too many refined carbohydrates and high-fat foods will keep you from achieving your ideal physique. And don’t forget about protein — BuiltLean said every individual is a bit different, but men interested in losing weight should try to eat their desired body weight in grams of protein. If you’re looking to lose weight to get to 190 pounds, that means you’ll want to aim for 190 grams of protein. If you’re trying to gain weight, you’ll want to increase the amount a bit. 

  1. Always sticking to the same routine

Many guys in the gym always head for the same weights, do the same number of sets, in the same order every single time they work out. It might be easier on your mind, but it’s also easier on your muscles. If you want to see improvements, you’ll need to step away from the arm curls occasionally. Muscle & Strength explained the body adapts to stress, so it no longer sees the need to grow once it’s used to a certain level of exertion. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to work past this plateau once you recognize the problem. Muscle & Fitness recommended changing your order, switching exercises, increasing weight, or doing more repetitions. You don’t need to develop a new routine for every session, but expect to alter your workout every 4 weeks or so. 

Changing your routine will also keep you from getting bored. According to Men’s Fitness, you’ll struggle to make gains if your workouts aren’t interesting anymore. That might mean trying something you’ve never done before, which could seem a little bit intimidating. Instead of shying away from something because you’re afraid you won’t be any good, Outside Online says to embrace the challenge. Incorporating new moves will help prevent muscle imbalances that can lead to injuries. 

  1. Screwing up sets

Even if you’re trying your hardest for every lift, you aren’t going to see results if you’re taking a 10-minute break between each set. Besides, you don’t want to be the obnoxious guy who hogs the same bench for an hour while swiping through photos on Tinder. Muscle & Fitness reported one study found people who rested less than 1 minute between sets actually burned up to 50% more calories than those who rested for 3 minutes. 

The number of sets, as well as repetitions, you complete also has a huge impact on your ability to grow muscle. Bodybuilding.com said you should be aiming for 12 to 20 sets of eight to 15 repetitions for areas where you’re trying to see growth, but you can get by with less for muscle groups where you aren’t looking to build as much. And while your ego might tempt you to pile on the weight, it’s not the best idea. SimplyShredded.com said you’ll see more gains if you stick with something managable, maintain good form, and go for more repetitions. 

  1. Not getting enough rest

Inadequate sleep can lead to all sorts of health problems, like heart disease and diabetes. It could also be the culprit behind your fitness plateau. Men’s Health said getting enough sleep is crucial, because it’s the best way to help your ailing muscles recover from lifting sessions. The article also said that constant exhaustion can make you feel like you’re working out harder than you actually are. If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, make sure you’re doing everything you can to wind down. The Huffington Post suggested reducing the amount of caffeine you consume in the afternoon and shutting off all electronics at least an hour before you turn in. 

Sleep isn’t the only type of rest you should consider, because you can still be overdoing it while getting plenty of shut-eye. If you’re hitting the gym for hours every single day, that’s just too much. MuscleMag said no one should be lifting more than 2 to 3 days in a row without taking a day off. For folks who have hit a serious wall, taking a little break will do a world of good. 

  1. Overdoing cardio

Any good fitness routine involves a combination of cardio and strength training. Figuring out the proper balance is the hard part. Men looking to build muscle can completely derail their efforts if they’re spending too much time on the treadmill. Men’s Fitness revealed going overboard on cardio sessions depletes your cumulative calories, which are necessary for muscle growth. It’s especially problematic if you’re exercising on an empty stomach. The article went on to say this will force your body to burn muscle as fuel. 

So how much is too much? It really depends on the individual. Born Fitness suggested keeping it to three or four sessions, lasting between 30 and 40 minutes. If you prefer high-intensity intervals, stick with two to three sessions. Even with these guidelines, though, you may have to adjust depending on how your body reacts.

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

4 Reasons to Drink Hot Lemon Water Every Morning

by Jari Love

Trying to cut coffee out of your morning? A cup of hot lemon water (with fresh lemon juice) is an ideal alternative that many nutritionists drink every day—and it’s not just because of its tangy flavor! Here are four compelling reasons to make this quick concoction part of your morning ritual.

  1. It helps you detox every day: While lemons may seem quite acidic, they’re a surprisingly good source of an alkaline food that can help balance your body’s pH; internist and doctor of integrative medicine Dr. Frank Lipman is a big proponent of a hot water with lemon habit, since the combination wakes up your liver and flushes out nasty toxins. 
  1. It wakes up your digestive tract: This simple yet powerful beverage stimulates your gastrointestinal tract—improving your body’s ability to absorb nutrients all day and helping food pass through your system with ease. 
  1. It supports weight loss: Lemon juice contains pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to aid in weight-loss struggles. And if you’ve been sipping on a cup of tea loaded with sugar or honey every morning, this beverage will slash calories from your daily diet. 
  1. It soothes an upset tummy: When you go to bed on a full stomach, pesky heartburn or a bloated belly can get in the way of your morning. Hot water cleanses your system, while the flavonoids from lemon juice may help reduce acidity in your stomach, so you feel like yourself sooner. 

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

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Running vs. Walking for Weight Loss

by Jari Love

The whole question of what kind of exercise is best for weight loss or weight control is a tangled and complicated one. Does the exercise burn mostly fat or carbs? Does it stimulate “afterburn” after the workout is done? Does it leave you feeling extra-hungry so that you overcompensate by eating too much? All these factors are very hard to control in the lab over long periods of time, so there’s something to be said for “free-living” experiments, where you simply observe a very large number of people over many years and try to figure out which behaviors led to which outcomes. (This approach has problems too, of course, like distinguishing cause from correlation — no single approach is perfect.)

Anyway, that’s a long-winded intro to a new study from Paul Williams at Berkeley National Lab. He’s the man behind the National Runners’ Health Study, which has been following more than 120,000 runners going back to 1991. His latest study, just published online in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, compares a cohort of 32,000 runners from that study with 15,000 walkers from the related National Walkers’ Health Study, with an average follow-up time of just over six years. The goal: look at how much the subjects increased or decreased the amount of walking or running they did during that time, and see how it affected their weight.

Running v Walking

Of course, you can’t directly compare running and walking through time spent or even distance covered, because they’re at different intensities. Walking is typically classified as “moderate” exercise, at 3-6 METs (1 MET is the amount of energy you burn while lying around on the sofa); running is typically classified as “vigorous,” at more than 6 METs. In theory, though, you’d expect that if you compare a similar change in METs burned, the weight loss should be similar regardless of whether you’re walking or running.

That’s not what Williams found. An increase or decrease in METs burned through running produced a significantly greater loss or gain, respectively, of weight compared to the same increase or decrease in walking METs. In particular, for the heaviest 25% of subjects in the study, calories burned through running led to 90% more weight loss than calories burned through walking.

Why is this? This study can’t answer that question, but Williams suggests a few possibilities — it’s well established that vigorous exercise stimulates more “afterburn” than moderate exercise, for example. He also notes studies that have found that post-exercise appetite suppression is greater after vigorous exercise, though my impression is that some other studies have found precisely the opposite. The data certainly isn’t perfect, and I wouldn’t take this study as the “last word” on weight loss and exercise intensity. That being said, I have to admit that it makes sense to me!

Via runnersworld.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Reap the Benefits of Running

by Jari Love

If you’ve ever felt embarrassed about your morning mile as you scroll through friends’ marathon medals and Ironman training on Instagram, take heart—you may actually be doing the best thing for your body. Running just six miles a week delivers more health benefits and minimizes the risks that come with longer sessions, according to a new meta-analysis in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

 Research done by some of the world’s most foremost cardiologists, exercise physiologists, and epidemiologists looked at dozens of exercise studies spanning the past 30 years. Combing through data from hundreds of thousands of all types of runners, researchers discovered that jogging or running a few miles a couple of times a week helped manage weight, lower blood pressure, improve blood sugar, and lower the risk of some cancers, respiratory disease, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. Even better, it lowered the runners’ risk of dying from any cause and extended their lives an estimated three to six years—all while lessening their risk for overuse injuries as they aged.

 That’s a lot of return for a pretty small investment, said lead author Chip Lavie, M.D., said in a video released with the study. And all of those health benefits of running come with few of the costs that people often associate with the sport. Contrary to popular belief, running did not seem to damage bones or joints and actually lowered the risk of osteoarthritis and hip replacement surgery, Lavie added.

 Plus those who ran less than six miles per week—only running one to two times per week—and less than 52 minutes per week—well less than the federal activity guidelines for exercise—got the maximal benefits, says Lavie. Any time spent pounding the pavement more than this didn’t result in any increased health benefits. And for the group that ran the most, their health actually declined. Runners who ran more than 20 miles a week did show better cardiovascular fitness but paradoxically had a slightly increased risk of injury, heart dysfunction, and death—a condition the study authors termed “cardiotoxicity.”

 “This certainly suggests that more is not better,” Lavie said, adding that they’re not trying to scare people who run longer distances or compete in events like a marathon as the risk of serious consequences is small, but rather that these potential risks may be something they want to discuss with their doctors. “Clearly, if one is exercising at a high level it isn’t for health because the maximum health benefits occur at very low doses,” he said.

 But for the majority of runners, the study is very encouraging. The takeaway message is clear: Don’t be discouraged if you can “only” run a mile or if you’re “just” a jogger; you’re doing great things for your body with every step you take.

 via shape.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Halloween Candies Ranked by Calories!

by Jari Love

You purposely enter the grocery store through the closed checkout lines to avoid them. You run into the store right before you have to pick up the kids at school, so you won’t have the leisure time to stumble upon them. And you choose a tiny basket, instead of a cart, so you can’t fit anything else in if you walk by them — those darn Halloween candy shelves.

Let me begin by saying that I only allow myself to buy candy corn after Oct. 1. That way, I will only eat it for one month straight, instead of two. I am a candy-holic. Always have been, always will be.

This makes it particularly hard for all the sweet tooths out there to survive the holidays — Halloween being the very first in a string of many. But sometimes, knowledge is power. And just having an idea of portion size or calorie counts may help you the next time M&M’s are melting in your hand (if they’re already in your mouth, forget it).

So, we hit the Halloween shelves at the grocery store (no, I did not leave empty-handed) and built this beautiful infographic to show you what 100-calorie portions of your favorite Halloween candy looks like. And don’t worry, after researching, I was a bit surprised too. One fun size Butterfinger bar is 85 calories!

The highs and Lows

The award winners for roughly 100-calorie portions: 

Lowest sugar content: Twix fun size at 4 grams

Lowest fat content: Tootsie Pop, Nerds mini boxes, Gobstopper, SweeTarts and Brach’s, all at 0 grams 

And, the not-so-award winners: 

Highest sugar content: Gobstopper and SweeTarts, both at 24 grams

Highest fat content: Hershey’s assorted chocolate bars miniatures at 7 grams

How to Stay on Track

So, how do you stay on the healthy track when you’re tempted everywhere to indulge? Consider these three ideas:

◦Be picky. Only eat what you love. If you aren’t a huge fan of Almond Joys, but the break room at work has a whole jar full — don’t eat them. Mindless eating is bad. Save those precious calories for when your son brings home your favorite mini Kit Kats from school. 

◦Don’t skip meals. If you skip lunch, and then head home, and then beeline to your roommate’s bag of Halloween candy before she gets home, you will most definitely overeat your fair share. Tsk, tsk, if you had a full lunch to begin with, you wouldn’t have been so tempted.

◦Don’t buy it. If I buy soda, I drink soda. If I buy candy, I eat candy at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here’s the trick: Buy a bag of candy and take it to work, or take it to a party, and leave it. That way, you can get that taste for Snickers out of your system, but aren’t enticed to eat the whole bag.

 via sheknows.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

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Natural Ways to Recover After a Workout

by Jari Love

It might make walking up stairs and lugging groceries more arduous, but the soreness you feel after a workout is necessary for progression. Why? To strengthen your muscles you need to induce muscle damage — a so-called micro trauma — during your workouts; this causes the fibers to repair themselves and become stronger and denser in the process. Don’t reach for ibuprofen just because you’re barely able to wiggle your way out of bed however. Not only have pain killers like ibuprofen been shown to be ineffective, but some studies say it may even reduce the ability of muscles to repair themselves. The truth is there’s nothing that will completely alleviate your pain, but there are some ways to mitigate it. Here’s a look at nine natural ways. 

  1. Watermelon juice

 Watermelon juice has long been touted by athletes for its ability to help with post-workout muscle soreness, and the effect was bolstered in a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The soothing effect is attributed to the amino acid L-citrulline, which is thought to improve athletic performance by helping get more oxygen to muscles, allowing them to repair themselves faster, and potentially increasing muscle protein. Remember however to always opt for pure, unsweetened watermelon juice like WTRMLN WTR. 

  1. Pomegranate juice

 Pomegranate is beloved for being an antioxidant-packed juice, and now preliminary research is showing it may help decrease muscle soreness. One study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, for example, gave 17 resistance trained men either pomegranate juice or a placebo. Pomegranate juice was supplemented twice daily after high-intensity exercise involving both the arms and the legs. Strength and muscle soreness measurements were made at baseline and six predetermined time periods post-exercise. There wasn’t a statistically significant improvement in leg strength, but arm strength was significantly higher post-exercise with pomegranate juice compared with the placebo. 

  1. Protein and carbs 

It’s crucial to get a mix of protein and carbs into your system — ideally within 20 minutes of completing your workout. Protein will provide the amino acids essential for the muscle-building process, while carbohydrates will give your body fuel to repair the muscles you’ve damaged in the process of working out. 

  1. Listen to music 

In a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, a team of Israeli researchers had 10 people complete a series of six-minute sprinting workouts. After 15 minutes, blood lactate concentrations (which is used to measure muscle fatigue), dropped about 11% more among sprinters who listened to music compared to those who didn’t. The runners who listened to music took about 120 more steps during the 15-minute cool-down period, and that low-intensity movement is thought to be the key to helping speed up their recovery times. 

  1. Epsom salt baths

 Epsom salt has been shown to help alleviate muscle pain and inflammation when combined with hot water. When you bathe in epsom salt, the salt’s minerals (namely magnesium and sulfate) are quickly and effectively absorbed through the skin, which brings on near-instant relief, though not necessarily long-lasting relief. 

  1. Blueberries 

A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that people who drank a blueberry smoothie prior to and after working out had significantly less muscle soreness. The thinking is that the blueberries’ natural compounds lowered levels of muscle repair-blocking free radicals in the blood. 

  1. Topical solutions 

Applying arnica and muscle-soothing gels before and after your workouts will boost circulation and ease pain thanks to anti-inflammatory properties. 

  1. Foam rolling

Many studies have shown that foam rolling, a form of self-myofascial release, enhances recovery. If you don’t have a foam roller on hand, a tennis ball can also be an effective tool. 

  1. Omega-3 fatty acids 

Load up on foods rich in omega-3 fats like chia, hemp, and flax seeds. Nuts (especially walnuts) are also a great source for these fatty acids which will help speed up recovery and reduce inflammation. 

via cheatsheet.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Kale & Brussels Sprout Slaw

by Jari Love

This kale and Brussels sprout slaw is a healthy and tasty alternative to regular coleslaw.

 

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

 Ingredients:

  • 3 cups raw Brussels sprouts
  • 1 large bunch green kale, stems removed
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • Toasted almonds chopped

 For the salad dressing:

Yield: 1 1/4 cups

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup (45 g/1.5 oz) fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive or almond oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

 For the dressing:

  1. In a food processor, add garlic, mustard, honey, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and basil. Purée until almost smooth.
  2. With the blender running on low, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Purée until thick and smooth.
  3. Will keep stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

 For the salad:

  1. In 350 degree oven, spread almonds on baking tray and toast almonds until lightly browned 10-12 mins. Remove from the heat, set aside and allow to cool.
  2. Grate the Brussels sprouts, or using a food processor fitted with the thin slicing blade, shred the Brussels sprouts.
  3. Roughly shred or chop the kale leaves. Add kale and Brussels sprouts to a large salad bowl. Stir in the diced green onions.
  4. Make dressing.
  5. Pour over the salad dressing and toss to combine. Let the salad sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 mins or overnight. This salad can be made the day before. Toss with the almonds before serving.

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

By Collage Video | | Healthy, Jari Love, Recipe, Weekly Blog | 0 comments | Read more

Sculpting Exercises for Troubled Areas

by Jari Love

Admit it, we all have 1 or 2 troubled areas that we’d like to focus on. But remember, spot training doesn’t work when it comes to fat loss. You can train do 1000 crunches a day and that doesn’t mean you’ll get a 6-pack. But spot training does make those individual muscles stronger, then your cardio intervals and meal planning with help shed the fat that covers your new muscles. 

But in the next couple of blogs of this series, I’ll give you some exercises for troubled areas that you can do at home or at the gym. I’ll also give you a weekly workout plan. Today, we’ll focus on Sculpting Exercises for troubled areas. For demonstrations of these exercises, check out any of my Get RIPPED videos where we use these exercises for maximum fat burn. Follow the chart below for the frequency, Intensity, Timing and Type of exercises for your fitness level. This is what personal training programs look like. 

Lunge with reverse flye (upper back, hamstrings, quads): Step one leg back, bending the knees, so one knee almost touches the floor. As you step back into a lunge, extend you arms back like wings on a plane. As you flye your arms back, squeeze your shoulder blades like they are squishing a pencil. Return arms to starting position by your hips and stand feet back together. Alternate legs. 

Modification: Seated Reverse Flye: Sit in a chair, bend forward at the hips, keep chest proud and back straight. With straight arms, extend arms out to the side and behind you, squeezing that invisible pencil in between your shoulder blades. 

Crossover squat with pullback (butt, quads, hamstrings, chest, shoulders): Imagine taking a curtsey with hand weight. So do a curtsey, with underhand grip of your weights, pull weights up to your bra line under your armpits. Step out of the curtsey, and relax arms back down to your side. Repeat on other side. 

Modification: Regular Squat with Pullback – Place feet shoulder width apart with toes pointing forward. Squat down, and as you stand out of your squat, pull the arms back up to your bra strap line. 

Single-leg squat with lateral raise (glutes, hamstrings, quads,  medial delts, core): Stand on one foot, with the other foot behind you or in front of you. Squat down on one leg, like you’re sitting on a chair. As you stand up, lift the weights up to shoulder height, keeping the arms as straight as possible. 

Modification: Supported Single Leg Squat – hold onto a chair to do squat. Do Lateral Raise separately keeping arms bent to a 90 degree angle. 

Lateral lunge with L-Raise (glutes, hamstrings, quads, medial/lateral delts): Start with feet together and arms holding weights by your side at 90 degrees. Step your left foot out to the side as far as you can into a lunge. As you lunge, keep your elbows at 90 degrees, raise your left arm to shoulder height in front of you, and your right arm to shoulder height to the right side. 

Modification: Wide Squat with L-Raise keeping arms bent to 90 degree angle. Make sure knees stay behind toes for Wide Squat. 

Push-up (chest, shoulders, back, core): Get into a plank position, with hands directly under the shoulders. Push your heels back and imagine a string pulling the crown of your head in opposite directions. Bend your elbows and lower towards the floor, keeping that strong plank position with no sagging in the hips. Bend till your elbows are at 90 degrees and return up to plank position. Repeat. 

Modification: Floor Pushup on knees, or Standing Pushup Against Wall

 Tricep Kickback with leg extension: Standing, holding weights in hands with elbows at 90 degrees. Lift your left leg back, like a leg lift. As you lift your leg, straighten your elbows, squeezing the triceps. 

Modification: Tricep Kickback on knees without doing leg extension. 

Bicep curl with knee-up (biceps, hips, quads):  Stand up, with arms holding weights at your sides. As you lift your right leg up, bend your elbows and lift your weights as a bicep curl.

 Modification: Do Bicep Curl without the knee raise. To replace the knee raise – lie on floor on your back and to alternating Toe Taps to work the abdominals 

Sculpting Intervals: Advanced / Intermediate / Beginner

Frequency: 3-4x per week / 3x per week / 2x per week

Intensity: Do 3-4 sets/15-20 reps 2-3 sets/15 reps 1 Set/15-20 reps

Time: 60 minutes / 30-60 minutes / 45-60 minutes

Type: High Intensity,3-10lb dumbbells / Body weight or3-10lb dumbbells / Body weight or 3-5lb

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

8 Best Stretches for Lower Back Pain

by Jari Love

 Back pain is the worst. The. Worst. 

And if you haven’t had a bout of back pain yet, count yourself lucky… and prepare yourself to join the ranks. It’s estimated that 80 percent of the adult population will experience back pain at some point in their lives.

 I, myself, am no stranger to the pain. In fact, I’ve struggled with chronic low back pain for more than 10 years. I’ve tried everything: OTC medication, massage, chiropractic care, stretching, foam rolling and yoga, just to name a few. Most people do best with a regular pain management regimen that includes a variety of treatments, but I swear by the following yoga-inspired stretches to help keep my back limber and pain free. 

  1. Cat/Cow

 Start with a neutral spine while on your hands and knees. Take a slow breath in through your nose as you arch your lower back, stretching your pelvis and head toward the sky (Cow Pose). Breathe out slowly as you reverse the movement, tucking your pelvis under as you look toward your navel (Cat Pose). Each breath should last a count of three. Continue alternating between Cat and Cow for five full repetitions. 

  1. Child’s Pose

 Start with a neutral spine while on your hands and knees. Shift your hips back over your heels and stretch your arms forward as far as you comfortably can. Relax into this pose as much as you can, allowing your pelvis to feel weighted, sinking into your heels. Hold for 10 seconds, then shift forward onto your hands and knees (you can even shift into Cow Pose if you’d like — arching your back and tilting your pelvis up) before sinking back into Child’s Pose again. 

  1. Downward Dog

 Start with a neutral spine on your hands and knees. Then, begin by tilting your pelvis up toward the sky, and push through the balls of your feet as you lift your knees from the ground, pressing your hips up to the sky as you slowly straighten your arms and legs as much as you can. Allow your head to hang loose between your arms. If your hips, low back and hamstrings are tight, you may not be able to straighten your legs all the way. Do what you can and try “pedaling” your legs back and forth for a deeper stretch on each side by bending one knee, then the other, as you straighten the opposite leg as much as you can. While you do want to press your heels toward the ground, they do not have to touch down. 

  1. Plank

 A strong core can help prevent back pain — and the plank is one of the safest exercises to perform while experiencing back pain because it doesn’t require movement to be effective. Simply form a straight line from your head to your heels. You can start with your knees and forearms on the ground, holding for just 10 to 30 seconds at a time. As you get stronger, try the exercise with your legs extended or in a high plank position. Work your way up to holding each plank for a full 60 seconds. 

  1. Cobra

 Cobra helps strengthen the lower back while maintaining flexibility in the spine. Lie on your stomach with your legs stretched behind you. Place your palms on the ground, in line with your shoulders, but in front of your chest. Breathe in through your nose as you press lightly through your palms and tighten your back to lift your chest and shoulders from the ground. Hold for three seconds, then lower slowly as you breathe out. While your palms act as support, you should actively engage your back to lift your chest upward. Repeat the exercise five times. 

  1. Figure 4

 Figure 4 does wonders for stretching your hamstrings and hips, both of which can contribute to low back pain. Lie on your back, your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your right foot from the floor and cross it over your left knee so your right hip rotates outward. Lift your left foot from the floor, bringing your left knee toward your torso. Reach your hands around your left thigh to help pull it toward you and deepen the stretch. If this feels comfortable, use your right elbow to press your right thigh away from your body, then begin to slowly extend your left knee, straightening your left leg as much as you can. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side. 

  1. Happy Baby

 With a soft mat or thick towel beneath you, lie on your back, your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bend your knees in toward your chest, lifting your feet from the ground. Grasp around the outside of your feet with your hands, pulling your feet down toward your body (your knees should remain wide as you do so). Hold this position, stretching your low back and hips, then start rocking slowly from side-to-side to lightly massage the muscles surrounding your spine. Maintain the position for 30 to 60 seconds. 

  1. Easy spinal twist

 Maintaining the flexibility of your spine is incredibly important, even when you’re hurting, but if the idea of overzealous twisting makes you want to run for cover, I don’t blame you. The easy spinal twist is truly safe for everyone — just make sure you listen to your body and only twist as far as it will allow.

Lie on your back, your arms stretched out to the sides, your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor. Look over your left shoulder, then allow your knees to “fall” to the right as far as is comfortable (in a controlled fashion) while keeping your left shoulder anchored to the ground. You should feel a nice stretch through your left hip and low back. Hold for five seconds, then rotate back to center before repeating on the other side. Perform three to five sets. 

via sheknows.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

How to Tell When You’re Really Dehydrated

by Jari Love

Did you know that once you hit the point of being thirsty, you’re already dehydrated? Our bodies are between 50 and 75 percent water, so once you’re dehydrated, the amount of water in the body has already dropped below what’s needed for normal body function. Here are signs that it is time to drink up!


You Feel Tired
If you feel tired throughout your day, try filling up on water before reaching for a caffeinated beverage and see if that makes a difference. After a full night’s rest it’s common to be slightly dehydrated in the morning; so don’t forget to include drinking a glass of H2O in your morning routine to jump-start your metabolism and your brain!

A Little Moody
A recent study found that mild dehydration can affect your mood and interfere with your ability to concentrate. If you’re sitting at your desk and feeling a little low, sipping water could help you snap into focus.

You’re Having Trouble Going...
Water helps to keeps your digestive system moving and your intestines flexible to avoid chronic constipation. It only makes sense that you’d have difficulty with your bowel movements if you’re not staying hydrated. Keep things moving by drink plenty of fluids throughout your day.

You Have a Headache
Mild headaches are a classic sign of dehydration. Drinking eight ounces of water when you feel the pain coming on might just keep the headache at bay. So sip up before reaching for the aspirin.

You Have Bad Breath
Dry mouth leads to bad breath. You need salvia to fight stink-inducing bacteria, so drinking water regularly should keep your breath in check.

via popsugar.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

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