The Benefits of Fiber

Healthy FoodsI know for most of my avid readers, fiber is something that you all are familiar with and know a little something about it. I want to inform those who don’t know what fiber is and how it can benefit those that consume it.

What is fiber?
Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that can’t be digested and is necessary for the health of your digestive system. Fiber can be found in all plants, including fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. Current dietary guidelines recommend that adults consume between 26-35 grams of fiber daily. However, the average US fiber intake is only 4.5-11 grams a day.

What are the different types of fiber?
There are two principal types of fiber – soluble and insoluble:

Fiber / Fibra

Fiber / Fibra (Photo credit: . SantiMB .)

• Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber partially breaks down and dissolves in water to form a soft gel. Soluble fiber has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels by absorbing and excreting certain substances known to lead to high cholesterol. There is also some evidence that soluble fiber may lessen heart disease risks by reducing the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. Studies find that people on high-fiber diets have lower total cholesterol levels and may be less likely to form harmful blood clots than those who consume less soluble fiber.

Soluble fiber can be found in oats, legumes, brown rice, barley, fruits (especially apples), some green vegetables (such as broccoli) and potatoes.

• Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and is mainly responsible for adding bulk to stools, making it easier and faster to pass through your digestive system. Insoluble fiber is like a sponge, swelling up and absorbing many times its weight in water.

Insoluble fiber can be found in wheat bran and whole grains, as well as the skins of many fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts and dried beans.

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The Benefits of Fiber
Fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet. It keeps your digestive system healthy and functioning smoothly.

• Heart Health

Soluble fiber can help regulate blood sugar levels (by slowing the rate which sugar is absorbed by the body), and by lowering serum cholesterol, protecting against heart disease. As well, soluble fiber can possibly reduce excess blood fats and lower cholesterol.

• Weight Loss

Many people who are overweight have been shown to lose significant amounts of excess body fat simply by increasing the amount of dietary fiber, especially soluble fiber, in their daily diet.
Fibrous foods are often bulky and, therefore, filling. They also tend to be low in fat. Soluble fiber forms a gel that both slows down the time it takes to empty the stomach and the time for food to go through the digestive system. This extends the time a person feels full, while also delaying the absorption of sugars from the intestines – helping to maintain lower blood sugar levels and preventing a rapid rise in blood insulin levels, which has been linked with obesity and an increased risk of diabetes.

The extra chewing time often required of high fiber foods also helps contribute to feeling satisfied, and as a result, a person on a high fiber diet is likely to eat less food and so consume fewer calories.

• Cancer Protection

It has long been believed that increasing fiber intake will also help prevent certain cancers, such as colon cancer. There is a current debate going on in the scientific communities after a series of tests failed to show a concrete link between increased fiber consumption and a lower risk of developing cancer.

However, many argue that the antioxidants and flavanoids found in many high-fiber foods were key contributors to fiber’s cancer-preventing properties (the later studies were done using alternative fiber sources that lacked these cancer-fighting components). What is undisputable though is that a healthy, regular digestive system is necessary in the prevention of colon cancer, and getting enough fiber in your diet is essential for a healthy digestive system.

6 Muscle-Friendly Fruits

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

In bodybuilder circles fruit often gets a bad rap. That’s because many trainers consider any food with high amounts of sugar ought to be treated as if it were sprinkled with Agent Orange. However, the following fresh choices can provide the physique-minded person with a serious edge over those who go without.

banana

As bananas are among the most carbohydrate-dense fruits, eat them with your breakfast to help restock muscle glycogen level and put a halt to muscle breakdown. Or blend one into your post-training protein shake to help replenish muscle energy stores. Bananas are also a fabulous source of potassium, an electrolyte necessary for proper muscular contraction.

Wild berries

Wild berries

Food scientists at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) found wild blueberries pack a huge antioxidant payload. Harvested at peak ripeness, frozen blueberries are flash-frozen after picking to lock in those antioxidants. Many supermarkets stock subzero wild blueberries in their frozen-food section. Add them to shakes, oatmeal and yogurt.

Kiwi

Kiwi

Ask 10 bodybuilders which fruit packs in the most vitamin C, and the majority will name the orange. In fact, kiwi fruit possesses higher levels of this potent antioxidant, which could help you trim fat off your frame. Scientists at Arizona State University (Mesa) found poor vitamin C status can hinder fat burning during exercise because vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of carnitine, a molecule required for the proper oxidation of fatty acids.

Grannie Smiths

Grannie Smiths

An apple a day may keep Buddha-belly at bay. Preliminary research data suggests a compound in apple peel called ursolic acid can rev up fat burning as well as increase skeletal muscle mass. With a lower glycemic index than many other fruits an apple is ideal before a workout. Consider splurging for organic if you’re noshing on the peel. The Environmental Working Group found apples harbor more pesticide residues than other fruit.

Haas

Haas

This fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) is packed with dietary fiber — a whopping 13 grams per avocado. Bodybuilders on a high-protein diet may be coming up short in the fiber department, but seeing as a high-fiber diet has been shown to help whittle the middle (likely by reducing spikes in blood sugar and discouraging fat storage), adding fiber where you can is key. Avocado is also a leading source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Spread avocado on rye crackers or add slices to your dinner salads.

Watermelon

Watermelon

Watermelon is a good source of citrulline and amino acid involved in the production of nitric oxide (NO). Bodybuilders rave about NO since it improves blood flow to muscles, allowing for a greater delivery of recovery nutrients and anabolic compounds. Want to ignite some fireworks in your love life? Research suggests citrulline can also relax and dilate blood vessels, much as the little blue pill does.

You may want to take some time and research other fruits that contain other sources of nutrients that’s great for you muscles. Also, there are a number of great supplements out there that are packed with these and other  nutrients as well.

Pros and cons, to morning, afternoon and evening work out time frame.

Lets just get right into it. You can read my opinion here for a little more detail if you would like.

what time is good for you

Morning exercise pros 

Exercising in the morning can:

  • Get our metabolisms off to a flying start helping us burn more calories throughout the day
  • Promote more fat burning because our depleted glycogen stores force our bodies to turn to fat
  • Produce endorphins that stimulates us and helps us get off to a positive start to the day
  • Act like a cup of coffee and wake us up
  • Help us exercise more consistently by minimizing distractions
  • Can create time for exercise by forcing us to get up a bit earlier
  • Improve energy levels for the rest of the day ahead
  • Improve our mental sharpness for hours after
  • Allow us to exercise unaffected by summer heat
  • Minimize our exposure to air pollution exercising outside
  • Make it easier to get on machines in the gym without waiting and when time limits don’t apply

Morning exercise cons 

As well as having many positives, morning exercise also has some negatives.

Included in these are the facts that morning exercise can:

  • Force us to workout with less than optimal energy levels
  • Promote injuries by forcing us to workout with cold, stiff muscles
  • If exercising before eating, muscle (as well as fat) can be used as a fuel source
  • Make it difficult for us to form a habit for exercise (if we are not “morning people”)
  • Put some of us at higher risk for heart attack (research suggests a generalized increased risk) Continue reading

When is a good time to work out?

“Vince, when is the best time of day to work out, morning, noon or evenings?” This is what a colleague of mine asked when I told him I was

Timing isn’t everything.

headed to the gym after work. It was about 3:30 pm. Of course I gave him my two cents on the subject. I said to him, “it all depends on you and your schedule. I also said that’s like asking when is a good time to schedule an appointment or when is a good time to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, when is the best time to go grocery shopping. Of course there are experts out there that say mornings are the best time, but for me, it just depends on the person”.

I go when I can and when I feel like it. And if I have a work out partner (which I highly recommend) I go when we both are free. (Just as long as I get it in).
I do more weight lifting than cardio which is terrible. I hate cardio. I get better results when I fix my mind about 2 or 3 hours before going in the late afternoon. My muscles are at their best around this time because of my “internal clock” since I am use to going at that time. And there is no interference with my workout. We all have distractions and life is happening all the time that may cause us to leave the gym or where ever we work out, that may prevent us from finishing our exercises.
On the weekends I may go in the mornings. I don’t set an alarm to get up and go. I’m not a morning person. But after I crawl out of bed, get to moving around, see what’s on the calendar, do my bathroom activities, I may jump in the car and be there before 10:00 am.
I will even grab a protein shake or a bite to eat before I go. It’s not good to work out on an empty stomach because your body needs fuel. You will burn muscle and some healthy fats if you’re doing this.

The bottom line is that it is more important that we workout than when we workout. If we can’t workout in the morning, or don’t want to, but can work out in the afternoon or evening, that’s cool. Just get it in.
If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. If you currently have an exercise time and routine that is working for you, stick with it. Like Nike says, “Just Do It.”
Regardless of what the research says, every individual is unique, and as such, each person’s body chemistry, mentality, physical readiness and inner clock is different. What works best for one person may not work for another. In fact, what works best for us today may change in a couple of months or years.
The difference between working out in the morning, afternoon or evening is likely to be negligible at best. Just my two cents. Decide the best time for you to exercise based upon your personal goals, schedule and lifestyle. Ideally, you will pick a time that you are able to stick with consistently and make it a part of your daily or weekly routine.

Check out some of the pros and cons here if you like. I would love to hear what time works best for you. Just to see the differences. It will be a learning experience for us all. Please feel free to leave a comment or a reply.

    

The 5 Craziest, Most Effective Ways to Trick Muscle Fast

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Matt Clark, creator of “The Muscle Formula” (check it out at HERE). Matt has helped over 30,000 people improve their health, build muscle, and burn fat through incredibly effective programs unlike anything else. Through helping so many people, he’s discovered some really powerful TRUTHS about building muscle quickly, safely, and naturally. Here’s what he told me:

Building rock-hard, lean muscle is not complicated. That is why I have boiled down 5 surprising, yet easy-to-follow principles for you to make building muscle a piece of cake!

1. Measuring = Success:

Do you wonder why so many guys are in the gym all the time but never look any different? (Maybe this is you..). How about why athletes are able to make so much progress in a short period of time? It’s not the coaches, it’s the tracking. To rapidly build muscle, you need to track the weights you use and the reps you do. Then, FORCE your body to increase each and every workout.

2. Use the 10% Rule:

Now that you know the importance of tracking your weights & reps, you need to follow the 10% Rule. Each and every workout try to increase the weight or number of reps from your previous time doing each exercise. You’ll eventually be lifting so much weight that you won’t be able to sustain a 10% increase, but that’s fine. When you hit that mark, try for 5%. Get started on this now and watch you muscles EXPLODE!

3. Food, then Protein Shake:

Too many “skinny” guys tell me that they just “can’t gain weight”. Part of the problem is that they flat out don’t eat enough and aren’t following the eating tricks so many bodybuilders, fitness models, and guys like me have figured out over the years. One great trick to pack in extra calories is to eat your protein shake AFTER your meal because it’s far easier to down a shake after eating a big meal than it is to eat the same size of a meal after you’re already full from a shake. Try drinking a protein shake after breakfast and dinner each day and watch your muscles grow.

4. Know Your Calorie Balance:

Most people have no idea what they’re eating vs. burning. This is why I recommend that you use a calorie-tracking tool like FitDay.com (can use their free version) for 7 days every 6 months. This will give you incredible insight and a good “feel” of your calorie balance so you know how many calories you need to eat based on your lifestyle and exercise schedule.

5. Compound Exercises FIRST:

Every single day I see guys at the gym pumping away doing dumbbell curls. Yet, they have no BASE of muscle. If you focus on big compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench press, you’ll see ALL of your muscles grow and you’ll look more athletic. Then you can start fine-tuning with exercises like curls at the END of your workouts. Why do you think professional athletes are so HUGE? (Hint: It’s not from doing “curls for the girls”…)

I highly recommend you watch Matt’s presentation on building muscle in which he reveals one crazy trick to building muscle FAST that you’ve never heard of before and doesn’t require any supplements or workout gadgets. Check it out here now:

Click here to watch it now

P.S. Matt just told me that this video is generating too much controversy and he’s getting a lot of heat from big name supplement companies. Make sure you check it out right now while it’s still available…
Click here now while it’s still available