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For January 22, 2019

  • Pumping Iron Cuts Football Injury Severity
    Pumping Iron Cuts Football Injury Severity

    Lifting weights may be the key to preventing severe injuries to football players, according to a three-year study of high school athletes in Florida.

    The study found 78% of severe injuries to the upper body, especially shoulder separations, occurred among football players not involved in a strength-training program of controlled weight lifting. In addition, 64% of those with severe injuries to the lower body, including knee injuries, also were athletes not involved in the training program.

    "These are very significant numbers," said Dr. MaryBeth Horodyski, assistant professor of exercise and sports sciences at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. "The bottom line is, those kids who did strength training typically did not have as severe injuries. They more often had mild or moderate injuries."

    The study involving teams at 13 high schools turned up 887 injuries among football players. Mild injuries were defined as those which kept players out of practice or a game for seven days or less. Downtime for moderate injuries was 7 to 21 days, and severe injuries included those that kept players out of action for more than 21 days.

    Roughly one third of the players in the study sustained injuries. However, Horodyski said that she and the team of athletic trainers and doctors assigned to the study were not surprised by that figure. According to national statistics, some type of injuries occur in 25% to 50% of athletes playing football during a given year, she points out.

    The Florida study found defensive linemen are the most frequently injured players, and the most common type of injury for all positions is a sprain.

    Fewer injuries were recorded during spring football, probably because it is less intense than fall play, the researcher said.

    "The take-home message for coaches is, they need to implement a well-structured strength-training program for their players throughout the entire season," Horodyski stated. "It won't cut down on the total number of injuries, but time-loss goes down drastically if the injuries are not severe."

    Source: Stroke (1997;28:1908-1912)

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  • Low-Salt, Low-Protein Diets Can Lead To Illness
    Low-Salt, Low-Protein Diets Can Lead To Illness

    By I.S.S.A.

    A disorder called hyponatremia (low blood sodium) can result from low-salt, low-protein diets, according to researchers.

    "In this era of weight consciousness and low-protein diets, the development of hyponatremia... may be seen with increased frequency," warn investigators at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver. Their study appeared in the June issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

    When individuals severely restrict their daily salt and protein intake to exceptionally low levels and continue to ingest large amounts of fluids, diet-related hyponatremia can occur. Diets such as these can lead to steep falls in blood levels of circulating electrolytes (salts) which are essential for many body processes. Symptoms of hyponatremia can include fatigue, confusion, dizziness, and, in extreme cases, coma.

    Since beer contains almost no salt, the condition was previously thought mainly inflict those who drank large amounts of beer on a regular basis.

    On the contrary, though, the Colorado investigators reported on the case of a 34-year-old woman, a strict vegetarian who consumed over 6 pints of water per day while having low levels of both salt and protein in her diet. Feeling fatigued during exercise, the woman visited her doctor, where blood tests revealed extremely low levels of electrolytes in her blood.

    The woman's blood-sodium levels rose to closer to normal levels after being placed on a diet containing higher levels of protein. However, the authors say subsequent tests revealed that the woman had returned to her old low-protein diet and ``was again hyponatremic.''

    The Colorado team believes that, based on this and other cases, hyponatremia similar to those cases seen in individuals who overindulge with beer can occur "...in individuals who limit their intake of electrolytes (salts) and protein yet do not curtail their water intake.''

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  • Preventive Nutrition - Cancer, Fruits and Vegetables
    Preventive Nutrition - Cancer, Fruits and Vegetables

    (Mayo Clinic, 7-26-99) Eating to stay healthy may not be as easy as it seems. Indeed, a study in the July 16, 1999, issue of Science says that even people living in the United States and other industrialized nations often fail to obtain recommended daily minimums of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), despite meals containing plenty of calories and a nearly endless variety of food.

    Even more alarming, the subsistence diets of many developing countries fail to provide the adequate macronutrients � carbohydrates, fats and proteins � as well as micronutrients needed to meet basic nutritional requirements, the study says. Besides macronutrients and the 13 vitamins and 17 minerals essential to human health, naturally occurring compounds (called phytochemicals) in plants are receiving increasing attention from researchers looking into the connection between diet and disease.

    Phytochemicals (from the Greek word phyto, meaning plant) are unlike vitamins and minerals in that they have no known nutritional value. Some phytochemicals, such as digitalis (extracted from the foxglove) and quinine, have been used for hundreds of years as medicines to treat diseases. Others function as antioxidants, which protect cells from the effects of oxidation and free radicals within the body. They have been recognized only recently as potentially powerful agents that may offer protection from diseases and conditions ranging from some cancers to aging.

    "We've known for a long time that the right food choices can improve health and decrease our risks for certain diseases," says Jennifer K. Nelson, a registered dietitian at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and associate editor for nutrition at Oasis. "This is especially true for plant foods. What's exciting is that we're realizing these foods are abundant in health-enhancing compounds, and we're discovering how they're used at the cellular level. This brings new meaning to the statement: You are what you eat."

    Since the early 1970s, researchers worldwide have consistently found that people whose diets contained the most fruits and vegetables had the lowest rates of some cancers. Others have found some protective effect from other plant foods such as nuts, grains and seeds. But the strongest evidence suggests that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can decrease the risk of developing some types of cancer.

    For example, researchers have found that perillyl alcohol, found in cherries and lavender, shrinks pancreatic tumors in laboratory animals. And limonene, contained in the peels of citrus fruits, blocks the development of breast tumors and causes existing tumors to shrink in laboratory animals.

    Recent links between phytochemicals and lowered cancer risk include:

    • A Harvard study that found that a high intake of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, may reduce bladder cancer risk in men.
    • Another Harvard study found that a diet containing five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily appears to lower the risk of breast cancer among premenopausal women who have a history of breast cancer or who are moderate drinkers.
    • A review published by the National Cancer Institute reported a reduced risk for a variety of cancers among those who often eat tomatoes and tomato-based products.
    • Research commissioned by the World Cancer Research Fund and published in the British Medical Journal found that diets high in fruits and vegetables and low in meat are protective against breast, prostate, bowel and other cancers.

    "Although we are identifying significant numbers of plant compounds and their roles in fighting disease, there is a growing consensus that a variety of whole foods � not supplements � should be our source for phytochemicals and other compounds important for health," says Nelson.

    Copyright 1995-1999, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

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  • Maximize Your Fat Loss!
    Maximize Your Fat Loss!

    There are four primary areas to concentrate on if you want to maximize your fat loss:

    1. Increase aerobic activity
    2. Increase aerobic fitness level (increase intensity)
    3. Increase Muscle Mass (increase metabolism)
    4. Eat more intelligently

    Increase Aerobic Activity

    • Types of exercise: Walk, jog, bike, swim, treadmill, stairs, rowing, nordic ski machines, aerobic dance, in-line skating, etc.
    • Frequency of exercise: 3 days/week minimum to improve health and fitness level. 4-6 days per week for optimal fat loss.
    • Duration of exercise: Build up to a minimum of 30-40 minutes in your target zone.

    Increase Your Aerobic Fitness Level

    • Know Your Zone: Monitor your heart rate during exercise
    • Get Fit: Become more efficient with your exercise minutes. Burn more calories in less time. Increase the residual effect.
    • Fat Burning Myth: Long duration light intensity is NOT the most effective way to burn fat. Moderate to heavy intensity for 30-40 minutes plus is ideal.

    Increase Muscle Mass

    • Strength Training: Will significantly build or restore muscle mass
    • Elevates Metabolism: Each pound of muscle burns roughly 60 calories every 24 hours.

    Eat More Intelligently

    • Minimize high fat foods: fried foods, fast foods, nuts, chips fatty meals cream sauces etc.
    • Eat more frequently: Consider 4 or 5 smaller meals throughout the day.

    If you follow these simple tips, you will be on your way to maximizing your fat loss and getting in great shape! Remember to always keep a positive attitude and work hard!

    Copyright Fitrex.com, August 5th 1999.

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  • Modest weight loss helps people with everyday activities
    Modest weight loss helps people with everyday activities

    CHICAGO (AP) -- Overweight women who lost as little as five pounds handled everyday activities more easily and had fewer aches and pains, a study found.

    Gaining as little as five pounds had the reverse effect in normal-weight and overweight women, the researchers reported in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.

    The four-year study of more than 40,000 nurses, ages 46 to 71, is one of the few to show that small changes in weight can have a big effect on quality of life.

    Most research on overweight people has focused on dire long-term risks - diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

    "The vast majority of overweight people don't end up getting those diseases. But when we're talking about things like being able to walk up stairs, we're talking about something that potentially affects everyone," said Dr. Ichiro Kawachi, a professor of medicine who helped lead the study at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

    A separate study in JAMA reported that obese women are more than six times as likely as lean women to have a silent inflammation in their arteries that may boost their already elevated risk of heart disease. The study involved more than 16,000 Americans.

    The results were first reported in April at a meeting in Washington by obesity researcher Marjolein Visser of Vrije University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

    The findings suggest that low doses of aspirin - already used to prevent heart attacks and strokes in people with cardiovascular disease - might also benefit the overweight. But researchers said more study is needed before such treatment can be advised.

    In the nurses' study, overweight women who shed some weight tended to function better physically and had more vitality and less pain.

    Dr. Michael Steelman, past president of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians, specialists in medical issues related to weight, said modest weight loss can give people an emotional boost, too.

    "It gives them the kind of self-confidence they need to move ahead with their life, perhaps to earn promotions, to change jobs, to improve relationships," he said.

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  • Flu Fighters -- Stock Up On These Immunity-boosting Foods
    Flu Fighters -- Stock Up On These Immunity-boosting Foods

    BY KRISTINE NAPIER, R.D.

    The history of cold and flu containment reads like a catalog of neuroses, from the once-popular practice of avoiding cold weather (or at least wearing a hat) to our current compulsion to wash our hands and wipe our phones in avoidance of microbial mingling. Now the latest research tells us to eat functional foods to combat infection. At least this new trend requires somewhat less clinical behavior.

    The phrase "functional" is shorthand for the ancient belief that eating the right foods not only prevents illness � from cancer and hypertension to colds and flu � but may even help cure it. "Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food," said Hippocrates. Science is only now playing catch-up. Recently, a landmark study by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute suggested that food can be as effective as drugs by showing that a lowfat diet containing lots of fruits, vegetables and dairy products radically reduced blood pressure.

    "Nature constructed food to fight disease in a way that we can't replicate," says Joseph V. Formica, Ph.D., professor of microbiology at Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Medicine. Still, scientists can isolate the chemical makeup of fruits, vegetables, fish, grains and other foods that affect our cells � and our health. Stock up on the following so you don't have to hoard Kleenex.

    Flavonoids: These substances are a type of PHYTOCHEMICAL, natural compounds that protect plants against disease and have been found to prevent cancer and heart disease in humans. Recent lab tests here and in France have shown that flavonoids can actually stop viruses from reproducing. "Flavonoids seem to bind to the outside protective coat of viruses and then damage their DNA," explains Formica. Best sources: red wine and tea, as well as raw or cooked onions, kale, broccoli, tomatoes and citrus fruits.

    Protein: "Protein is especially important for powering the immune system," says Frances Tyus, R.D., a nutritional consultant at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Immune-system worker bees, like antibodies and T cells, are actually made of protein, and you need a constant supply for reinforcement. To make sure your body is well defended, especially when you're about to get sick, aim for 50 to 75 grams a day; that's about two servings of meat, poultry or fish, plus a serving of beans and two glasses of milk.

    Minerals: Your body can't do much with protein unless it has three minerals (magnesium, iron and zinc) and three B vitamins (B6, thiamine and riboflavin) to help transform it into muscle and other tissue. This seems like a lot to remember, but you can get most of these nutrients in one shot from sources like fish, lentils, whole grains, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables.

    Vitamin A: Mucous membranes that line the eyes, nose, lungs and stomach are your immune system's first line of defense against invading cold and flu viruses. Vitamin A helps keep these membranes healthy. Although fatty foods like butter, milk and eggs are packed with the vitamin, many fruits and vegetables contain compounds that the body converts to vitamin A as it needs it. Go for orange, red and dark green hues like sweet potatoes, papaya, spinach, carrots, squash and cantaloupe.

    Vitamin C: This vitamin is needed to produce a healthy stock of infection-gobbling white blood cells. "It's easy to get the amount you need from food," says Tyus. In addition to drinking orange juice, eat raw tomatoes, kiwis, papaya, strawberries, spinach, sweet potatoes and red peppers.

    Not that you should stop washing your hands to kill microbes or brave the cold with a naked head. The first is still good science, and the second just makes sense.

    � Adapted from Women's Sports & Fitness, January/February 1999

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