Category Archives: food and energy

Defeating DOMS: Tips for Alleviating Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

There’s no mistaking it, that soreness that creeps in after a punishing workout and proceeds to plague your movements for the next few days. According to WebMD, delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS, is in fact, “tiny injuries called microdamage in the muscle fibers and connective tissue.” It generally happens after you step up your workout, try a new strenuous activity, or use eccentric muscle contractions (increasing tension on a muscle when it is lengthening, like when running downhill or doing pushups).

© Maridav - Fotolia.com

© Maridav – Fotolia.com

DOMS usually peaks at around 48 hours after your workout, and those few days can certainly be a challenge. Here are some ideas from around the web on ways to defeat DOMS:

  1. Rest. Have you ever heard the phrase, “if it hurts, don’t do it”? Allow your body to recover by giving it a break (usually 3-7 days).
  2. Apply Heat. Use heat via heating pad or warm bath to increase blood flow to the area and alleviate soreness.
  3. Stretch. There is serious debate about whether or not stretching actually helps DOMS, but there’s no denying that it’s at least satisfying to stretch when you’re sore. Some experts maintain that it helps ease muscle tension, and can prevent muscles from tensing up and the pain getting worse.
  4. Light Exercise or “Active Recovery.” Think taking a walk or going for a light swim, getting your blood flowing and your muscles warm. However, be sure you don’t over do it–if you pile another hard workout on top of the first, you might just make your soreness worse.
  5. Anti-Inflammatories and Supplements. There are the standard anti-inflammatories like aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, which can help with pain, but don’t help with actual recovery. There are also options like the regular intake of probiotics, lemon verbena supplements, or Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, that have all been said to help with soreness and recovery after a workout.

While there is no one easy solution for beating post killer-workout soreness, there are plenty of choices. Do some personalized real-time research on delayed onset muscle soreness, and see what works best for you.

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Your Personal Trainer and Nutrition: Benefits of Quinoa

As much as a personal trainer can help you with exercise, your exercise regime will benefit you more if you also fuel your body with the proper nutrients.  While there are lots of diet fads at any given moment, there are some “superfoods” out there that really do provide significant benefits.  Included in this group is quinoa (pronounced keen-wah).

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Quinoa is an ancient seed (it’s actually not a grain) that was cultivated by the Incas over 5000 years ago.  It is related to leafy green vegetables, such as chard and spinach.

Quinoa is packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients.  When compared with wheat, barley and corn, quinoa is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese and zinc.  Because of its nutrients, quinoa is said to protect cardiovascular health, prevent migraines, and help with diabetes.

Quinoa is gluten-free, and does not feed fungal or bacterial infections. Quinoa is high in protein.  In fact, the protein in quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids.   It is an especially good source of lysine, which is necessary for tissue growth and repair.

Quinoa is quick and easy to cook:

1.  Always make sure you rinse the seeds well as something called “saponin” coats them, and can make them taste bitter when cooked.

2.  Using a ratio of 1:2, quinoa to water, bring to boil in a saucepan, with a pinch of salt.

3.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until water is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes).

A quick search on the internet can produce lots of yummy quinoa recipes – one of my favorites is quinoa tabouli.

To make it, you need the following ingredients:

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tomatoes, diced (and seeded if you want)
1 cucumber, diced (and seeded if you want)
2 bunches green onions, diced
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Cook the quinoa, and let cool; then mix in the rest of the ingredients. Eat as a stand-alone dish, or serve with hummus and pita bread, and maybe some grilled chicken.

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© waymoreawesomer – Fotolia.com

Have it ready in the fridge to chomp on after your next workout!

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Food for Thought: If you could take one supplement, what would it be?

A naturopath I know was once asked this question by a friend of mine, and his answer after giving it some thought?  Salmon oil.

The benefits are many:

  • Salmon oil is important for brain development and memory; it also helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Studies show that HDL (good cholesterol) increases by 10% if you eat a high salmon diet for 20 days.
  • Salmon oil has been shown to help reduce high blood pressure.
  • Salmon oil protects again heart attack and prevents cardiovascular disease.
  • Salmon oil helps in improving eyesight and protects against macular degeneration.  It also prevents dry eyes.
  • Salmon oil reduces the pain, discomfort and inflammation from arthritis.
  • Salmon oil reduces symptoms related to menstruation.
  • The Omega 3 fatty acids in salmon oil reduce joint pain and stiffness from osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Children who consume salmon oil every day have a lower risk of asthma.
  • Salmon oil reduces the symptoms of various diseases, including arthritis, atherosclerosis, psoriasis and gallstones.
  • Salmon oil reduces depression symptoms.
  • Salmon oil can be helpful in treating diabetes.

And the list actually goes on.

The benefits of salmon oil on brain function give a whole new literal meaning to the phrase “Food for Thought”!

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4 Ways to Maximize your Energy Daily

It goes without saying that in order to be healthy, you need to give yourself the right fuel to keep your body at the top of its game.  Here are four easy reminders to make sure you’re giving your body the best chance of a full, energized day.

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1. The most important meal of the day. The best way to maximize your energy for the day is to start by actually eating something. That’s right, eating breakfast. By giving your body fuel at the beginning of the day, it will set you up to be energized and alert for the tasks ahead. The American Dietetic Association recommends including carbohydrates for energy and protein for endurance in your morning meal.

2. There are such things as Good Carbs. Eating a combination of complex and simple carbs daily will help give your body the slow burning fuel as well as the short pick-me up bursts it needs. For complex carbs, think whole grains, and starches like potatoes and carrots. Simple carbs like sugar fructose from fruits, veggies and honey are a great alternative to caffeine or “bad” sugars from candy or soda. Also, don’t forget to get your fiber in with the good carbs. Fiber helps with the slow and steady burn of energy to keep you from midday slumps.

3. Drink water. Then drink some more. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of lack of energy, says this webmd article. Keep a water bottle with you all the time. Try replacing your morning coffee or afternoon energy drink with a few glasses of h20 and see how your energy level improves or at least maintains without those pesky caffeine or sugar crashes.

4. Punch up your diet. No, this doesn’t mean start counting calories and cutting snacks. It means adding in foods that are known energy boosters like oats, lentils, bananas, almonds and chocolate.

So there you have it, four easy ways to give your body the energy it needs to do what you want.

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