Tagged as: sports performance

Crack of dawn, or after dark? The best time to workout

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Quite a few of my clients lately have been asking me- when is the best time during the day to work out? Some like to get up before dawn for a run. Others could never bring themselves to break a sweat before noon. The truth is that while there could be some calorie burning advantages to working out in the early morning- it’s certainly not for every one.

 

Why? Well, I like to work out early, but my body clock is probably not the same as yours. Your body’s circadian rhythm determines whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, and there’s not much you can do to change that.

 

The earth’s 24-hour rotation governs your circadian rhythm. The rhythms influence pretty much everything about your body- blood pressure, body temperature, hormone levels and heart rate. All of that plays an important role in whether you’re ready to exercise or not. Of course, most of us also have to take into account our work schedules and family obligations.

 

Bottom line- the most important thing you can do it to choose a time of day you can stick with, so that exercise becomes a habit.

 

Why early morning? That could be best, especially if you have problems with consistency. Get your exercise in before other pressures interfere- like work and family.

 

Of course, to feel like exercising in the morning, you need to have a good night’s sleep. Good, regular bedtime habits help get your body ready for rest so you can get your eight hours. Late night physical activity or eating late can sabotage your body’s urge to sleep.

 

For some people, lunchtime is the best time to exercise, especially if they enjoy company, like co-workers who are willing to hit the gym or take a run or a walk. One thing to keep in mind- eat after you work out, not before. If you eat before, the blood that needs to go to your muscles is going instead to your digestive tract to help you break down that meal. Remember what your mom told you about swimming? Wait 90 minutes after a heavy meal to work out.

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You don’t have to be an expert on circadian rhythms to determine the best time to exercise. Simply try different times of the day. Work out in the morning for a few weeks, and then try lunchtime, then early evening. Discover which time you enjoy most and which makes you feel the best? Then, make every effort to keep that appointment with yourself.

 

Most importantly is to find a time that makes working out a consistent part of your life.

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

Staying in shape with an office job

Staying in shape with an office job

When you spend most of your day sitting in a chair, hunched over a computer screen, it’s not hard to see why you may be a few pounds (or more) overweight.

Office jobs encourage less activity and more snacking, what with all the treats co-workers tend to bring to work.

What you may not know is that all of that sitting around is slowly killing you. One study showed that men who sit for more than six hours a day had a 20% higher death rate than those who sat for three hours or less. For women, the death rate was 40% higher.So what can you do?

Stay active throughout the day. The good news is that you can find ways to sneak some exercise into your work routine so you can be around to see your grandkids.

  1. Make Getting to Your Office a Challenge
    Don’t park in the closest spot. Drive to the far end of the lot so you have to walk further to get into the building.
  2. Once you’re inside, take the stairs.
    Walk at first, then work your way up to a full sprint. Don’t worry about becoming the subject of office gossip. None of your co-workers will see you. They’re taking the elevator.
  3. Sit up straight!
    Slumped shoulders come from leaning forward to see your computer screen.
    Make the effort to practice good posture throughout the day. Yes, it’s hard at first, but practicing good posture while sitting and standing can reduce tension in your neck, shoulders and back and strengthen your core.
  4. Get up and move every 45 minutes
    Work hard for 45 minutes, then, get up and walk outside (if the weather permits) or move around the office for 15 minutes.
    Taking frequent breaks is good for both your body and your brain.

5.  Do the Grok

Also known as the Asian Squat, the Grok Squat can help relieve the back, groin, and hip tightness that come from sitting in a chair all day.

The Grok is a lot like a catcher’s stance in baseball. Simply squat down until your butt touches your ankles. Keep your heels on the ground and your back straight. Hold that position for 30 seconds to a minute.The Grok will help you stretch your hamstrings, quads, Achilles tendons, lower back, and groin. If you’re really tight, it may take a few days for you to be able to master the Grok. Keep at it.

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

Why Athletes Eat Like Caveman

Why Athletes Eat Like Cavemen

LeBron James, Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner, Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Flintoff. They’re all athletes, but what else besides sports does a basketball star, two pro golfers, an NFL quarterback and a British boxer have in common? They’re all losing weight while eating like cavemen, and getting better and faster. Mickelson, for instance, says his new diet has helped him lose 20 pounds and increase his club head speed by 10 mph. And, as the pro-golf season gets underway, that could be a big advantage.

Jason Dufner before Paleo, gluten and sugar free

Jason Dufner before Paleo, gluten and sugar free

 

Jason Dufner after losing 20lbs in 2015

Jason Dufner after losing 20lbs in 2015

 

It’s the Paleo diet, basically, a low-carb, sugar free, higher healthy fat diet. It’s called Paleo because its set up to mimic what our caveman ancestors ate back in the Paleo era – meats, fruits, veggies, nuts, whatever they could hunt or gather. That means no processed foods, no fast foods.

 

Lebron James before and after pics

Lebron James before and after pics

For athletes, the approach is not really that new: two years ago, Dr. Cate Shanahan helped the Los Angeles Lakers make the switch from high-carb to low-carb, and in the process, become so-called fat burners, meaning their bodies burned fat as a primary fuel, instead of carbohydrates. It’s how you can lose weight while keeping muscle, extremely important for players, and for everyone else.

Dr. Shanahan says the best way to make the switch is to do it slowly, over the course of a month. You can find her four-week plan on her website at: www.drcate.com.

The three guiding principals:

1. 50/30/20: Aim to get 50 percent of your calories from healthy fats, 30 percent from protein, and 20 percent from healthy carbohydrates, ideally whole fruits and vegetables.

2. Embrace healthy fats: Going low carb means going high fat, and you have to know the good fats from the bad. Avoid Canola and other vegetable oils. Eat walnuts, almonds, avocados, olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon and sardines. But, don’t be afraid of saturated fats from whole food sources like poultry, butter, and meat, especially grass-pastured.

3. Don’t snack: Lots of folks suppress their appetites by having frequent small meals throughout the day. But Dr. Cate says that keeps your insulin levels elevated, and interferes with your switch to fat burning. The key is not starving yourself, which may be tricky at first.

Some meal suggestions:

Zero Carb Breakfast. Example: two eggs scrambled in extra-virgin olive oil, topped with avocado. Or cold leftover chicken.

Pack your lunch. And, make it low-carb: try a salad with chicken, tuna, steak, or even a hardboiled egg, plus walnuts, avocado, extra-virgin olive oil.
Low carb dinner: roasted, pan-seared, or grilled lamb/chicken/steak/fish, with sauce; heaping helping of vegetables or salad, add some cheese; fresh fruit dessert; but skip the rice/bread/pasta/chips.

Professional athletes depend on their bodies to make a living, perhaps the biggest argument for them to eat like cavemen. For the rest of us, being able to feel better, look better, and perform at the highest level we can should be reason enough.

If you are an athlete looking to improve performance try the New Athlete Paleo Diet.

 

Jason Stone

Sports Performance Coach at Icelandic Fitness