Health benefits of muscle building

Health benefits of muscle building

By focusing all of your energy on aerobic exercises, you will be missing a serious trick for incredible overall health and fitness.   Here are just some of the things that weight and strength training can do for you…   Increasing muscle mass   Obviously, the more strength training you do, the more muscle you build. Increasing your muscle mass makes it easier to burn more calories. You will also continue to do so for 3-4 hours after you have finished exercising!   This is perfect for those equally trying to lose weight. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn during rest periods. Every pound of muscle you gain means your body uses an extra 50 calories per day.   If you are dieting, up to a quarter of what you lose in weight could be from your muscles. This is why you need to take part in strength training to either rebuild lost muscle or to stop it from being lost in the first place. If you do not weight train, your lost muscle will slow your metabolism making it more difficult to lose weight from diet alone.   Over time, your muscles will become more and more toned. Keeping your muscles toned allows you to maintain a healthy weight. Having plenty of muscle mass also provides more stamina for physical activities as you get stronger.   Looking after blood pressure   Taking part in these exercises can help to make your heart stronger. The stronger your heart, the more blood it will pump with much less effort.   A heart working less...
Can the sauna aid muscle recovery?

Can the sauna aid muscle recovery?

If you exercise regularly, you will be no stranger to muscle soreness. When you work out, you will create tiny tears in your muscles. This is just part of the process when building them up. It is, in fact, the repair process that causes your muscles to grow.   You may notice acute muscle pain during or immediately after exercise but the most noticeable soreness comes 24 to 72 hours after your workout.   There is very little scientific research into the link between saunas and muscle recovery but there are plenty of reasons to suggest it can help with repairing.   What can the sauna do?   Spending time in the sauna does encourage the release of endorphins in your body. The North American Sauna Society claim this helps to relieve muscle soreness. Some advocates also explain that the likes of lactic acid and other toxins that are released during exercise can be eliminated within a session. The sauna can increase blood flow throughout the body, leaving your muscles feeling rejuvenated!   Increased blood flow also enhances the availability of fresh blood cells in your body. This can help more oxygen reach the muscles. Oxygen is essential for muscle function and is particularly important when it comes to muscular recovery.   The sauna has been proven to significantly increase human growth hormone levels. There was a study that found a 142% increase in the growth hormone IGF-1 during sauna use. This particular hormone is anabolic, which has the ability to burn fat and enhance muscle tissue.   A sauna is basically a form of heat therapy. It has...
5 great fat burning exercises

5 great fat burning exercises

Do you feel like your current routine isn’t burning enough fat?   Or do you simply want to switch up your current regime?   There are a plethora of options you can try to make the most out of your time.   Here are 5 exercises that we find are particularly beneficial…   Battle rope waves   A common favourite for fat burning and stress-busting are the battle ropes.   Due to the size of these ropes, a little more effort is required to perform the wave routine. That’s why this exercise is great to do in intervals. Push hard for 10, 20 or even 30 seconds. If you really want to push, give yourself around 40 or 50 seconds rest to recuperate. Repeat this a few times until you’ve reached your limit.   This exercise is not hard on your lower body, but with the correct squatted posture, including crunched abs and a flat back, you will feel it working its magic.   You should feel your heart and muscles pumping as this is an excellent adrenaline booster!   Box squat jumps   When we take part in jumping exercises, we stimulate our fast-twitch muscle fibres. This is what causes the fat burning. Though of course this is great, the intensity of these exercises on your muscles can begin to cause some uncomfortable problems. This can especially be the case for overweight people – the ones who are most keen to burn fat!   This is why box squat jumps are brilliant.   Because you sit down between reps, the way you land is much easier on the...
Sauna tips for beginners

Sauna tips for beginners

If you’ve never visited a sauna or you’re looking to start visiting regularly, it’s important you know the basics.   Here are some great tips for getting you started.   Hydration Make sure you drink plenty of water both before and after entering the sauna. During your session, you will sweat quite a lot. This means that your body loses a lot of water, so you will begin to dehydrate. It is also a good idea to take some water into the sauna with you. If you get thirsty, you can keep yourself hydrated. If you are hydrated, you may be more comfortable and feel able to stay in the sauna for longer.   Test your endurance To make sure you’re comfortable, you will need to figure out just how much heat you can handle. In the beginning, 10-15 minute sessions are suggested. Your body will not be used to the heat if you are new to the sauna, so you want to test yourself without pushing yourself! If you feel comfortable, you can do multiple sessions in these shorter bursts too! Eventually, you may be able to stay in for much longer – everyone is different.   Know your limits If you find that for whatever reason your body does not agree, do not exert yourself. Any signs such as lightheadedness, queasiness or anything else out of the ordinary should be taken seriously. Don’t be embarrassed to leave – your health must always come first.   Wait one hour after eating a meal Once you step into the sauna, there will be an increased flow of nutrients in...
5 reasons you need to have rest days

5 reasons you need to have rest days

If you have the passion and the energy to work out every single day, that is incredible! But unfortunately, it may be doing you more damage than good. Here are 5 reasons why you need to include rest days in your weekly regime.   For sleep improvement There are a couple of ways to spot whether your exercise pattern is affecting your sleep. If you are struggling to sleep, no matter how tired you are, this is an indication that you have overworked your body. This is due to release of cortisol; your body’s stress hormone that comes with too much exercise. On the other hand, relying on excessive sleep to keep on top of your workouts should be an obvious indication that you are biting off more than your body can chew.   Fixing your appetite The more you train and work your body, the more energy you will need to consume to balance things out. When your body craves more energy, it makes you hungrier. If you have a lighter, more attainable workout schedule, you should notice a decrease in your hunger as your energy demand also decreases.   Overworking is not good for your mental health Due to the endorphins released during exercise, it is generally considered one of the greatest forms of antidepressants! However, it is important to know that too much exercise can have the opposite effect. If you have a strict and busy schedule you may develop anxiety over sticking to it – it’s important to be lenient with yourself. If you find yourself run down by all your hard work you could...
Take your workouts outside this summer

Take your workouts outside this summer

With summer approaching, it is about time we took advantage of any warm weather we can get! You don’t need to hide away in the gym all summer – there are plenty of exercises you can bring outdoors. Think about your surroundings. What can you use that local area has to offer? Are there benches around? You can use these for a variety of useful exercises. For a quick yet effective upper body and core workout, you can use a bench for a variation of push-ups. Start off by resting your feet on the bench and placing your hands on the ground. The number of push-ups you chose to do should be based on your own capabilities. We would recommend anywhere between 10 and 30. Once you have completed this round, swap the placing of your hands and feet and repeat. You can do one more round with regular push-ups on the ground next to the bench for maximum effect. If you feel as though you can repeat the cycle, do so until you feel fully worked! Using a bench, you can also target your glutes and quads by squatting. Again, you can vary your exercise by trying doing things such as sticking one leg out as you squat or by jumping up instead of just standing. There is plenty of room for imagination. You could use the bench for doing step ups. You can do alternate speeds to increase difficulty or you can use one leg at a time, bringing the opposite leg all the way up to your chest. As well as this, leaning on a bench...
How to maximise the benefits of the sauna

How to maximise the benefits of the sauna

Cold showers   One of the major benefits of the sauna is the opening of your pores to let out all of your body’s unnecessary toxins. It is just as important to encourage your body to close them again once you have finished your session. The most effective way to do this is by taking a nice cold shower!   During your shower, your blood will begin to flow back towards your organs as your pores tighten. This strengthens your natural defence system and trains the immune system to become more robust.   Rehydration   There is absolutely no doubt that while you sit in the sauna you will sweat… a lot. This also means that your body will lose a large amount of water. It is important that you drink plenty of water to rehydrate your body to a healthy level.   It is better to gradually consume the water after your session, rather than guzzling it all at once so that you can restore the water levels within your body at a more natural and healthy pace.   Have something to eat!   Another thing you will lose lots of in the sauna is salt. You have high levels of salt in your sweat and so, of course, you will lose a fair amount depending on how long your sessions are.   It is generally recommended that you do not eat before heading into the sauna, so if you followed this rule you may find yourself to be a little bit peckish afterwards.   Because you will have lost so much salt, it is not uncommon to...
How effective is HIIT?

How effective is HIIT?

High-intensity interval training is quite self-explanatory. It is a type of workout that consists of various intervals with various intensities. Doing the most intense exercises with sufficient rests in between means you will get the maximum benefits!   Participating in HIIT workouts are a great way to use your body’s natural energy in the most effective way. Alternating between intense exercise and rest periods means your body learns how to use the energy that comes from your own energy system. The rest periods are also great for removing any toxic waste residing in your muscles. As well as this, rest periods can really help with your breathing technique, so that the exercise is much easier to handle.   The more you practice in HIIT, the more you will improve your overall endurance for any type of exercise. This is because high-intensity training can adapt to the cellular structure of your muscles. Because of this, you will eventually be able to take part in exercise for longer. This means that it will offer long-term benefits for your fitness.   HIIT has also been proven to be great for heart health. For many people, it is extremely hard to push yourself to the point where the heart is pounding and you’re losing breath in one exercise. As HIIT involves small breaks and is done in intervals, it is much easier to push yourself to those limits because a rest is always guaranteed. This technique helps to work your heart to its optimum capacity and keep the blood flowing through the body adequately.   You will also find that you will not...
Look after your mental health with regular exercise

Look after your mental health with regular exercise

It is extremely important to remember that your mental wellbeing is just as significant as your physical wellbeing. Luckily, regular exercise has the ability to benefit both of these things. Working out has proven to be a great way to reduce physical and mental stress that your body may be experiencing. During exercise, the concentration of norepinephrine increases and this moderates the brain’s response to stress. Physical activity can actually make you happy! Exercising causes a release of endorphins which is why you often feel great when you finish your routine. There have been studies that have shown that exercise relieves symptoms related to clinical depression. Heading to the gym is actually recommended to those who suffer with depression and anxiety. If the gym isn’t your thing, it is worthwhile developing a few 30-minute workouts throughout the week to get your endorphins flowing. If you do have anxiety, a 20-minute jog can calm you better than a bubble bath. As well as this, it has also been found that taking part in high-intensity interval training can reduce anxiety sensitivity. For many drug and alcohol addicts, it is actually the feeling of pleasure from what they take that they become addicted to. The feeling of pleasure comes from the release of the chemical dopamine. Exercising fairly regularly in short sessions can be a great distraction and stops them from prioritising the harmful substances. Alcoholics also regularly struggle with falling and staying asleep. Along with the initial effects, over time exercise can help to reboot your body’s natural body clock so a more regular pattern can be formed. Long-term mental wellbeing...
How can you benefit from using a steam room?

How can you benefit from using a steam room?

If you love the heat and love to relax, a steam session will be your ideal activity. To make things even better, steam rooms provide a host of overall health and post-workout benefits. Spending time in a steam room can work wonders for your cardiovascular system. The moist heat in the room has the power to dilate the small blood vessels and capillaries in your body. This means that blood can course through your body and transport oxygen much more easily. An improved blood flow means improves circulation! When you start using steam rooms more often, you may also begin to notice a difference in your skin. The level of heat in the steam causes your body to start sweating and as you sweat, your pores open up. Opening up your pores allows for the outer layer of skin on your face to be cleansed by the moist air. Steam rooms also create a warm condensation on your skin and this helps to wash away any dirt or dead skin that is lying on your face. In the past, it has been shown to assist in treating acne. Not only this, but steam rooms also have the unique power to remove the toxins from under your skin. If you are affected by stress, spending time in the steam can help you to unwind. As well as the relaxing atmosphere, the hot steam encourages the body to release endorphins. These ‘feel good hormones’ are a natural way of relieving stress. Relaxing in the steam room also decreases your levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Lowering these levels will not only...