Health for Men
You may think that you have your fitness routine down to a science, but gym-goers of all experience levels and body types can probably do more to make the most out of every minute spent at the gym. If you're thinking about updating your workout, try one – or all – of these seven tips!
1. Start your routine with something you like
If you find that your workouts are getting a little stale, try beginning your fitness routine with the exercise you enjoy the most. This will help you get your heart rate pumping while also getting you psyched up for the workout ahead.
2. Eat before you go
While you don't want to wolf down a steak before hitting the treadmill, eating a small meal or light snack before the gym can help boost your metabolism and keep you from fading during your routine. Try an antioxidant-rich snack like blueberries, a yogurt packed with probiotics or a shake made with a total soy meal replacement.
3. Use your upper body during cardio
Using a treadmill or stationary bike to improve heart and lung endurance is a great way to stay fit, but chances are you're ignoring your upper body during these workouts. Using a full-body elliptical machine that works on arms as well as legs can help you burn more calories while improving your overall stamina.
4. Get a little competitive
Notice someone on the treadmill near you who's really giving it their all? Use their motivation to work a little harder! Friendly competition can give you the boost you need to spend a few extra minutes on the machine or convince you to push yourself to run just a little faster. However, be sure that you don't do anything that's outside of your limits.
5. Try eccentric exercises
It's tempting to focus solely on improving muscles like your abs, but many abdominal workouts shorten and "crunch" those muscles. Mixing in movements that lengthen your spine and strengthen back muscles can help you achieve all-over body fitness.
6. Take advantage of unilateral training
Most of the time, when you're using a leg press or extension machine you're using both of your legs at the same time. While there's nothing wrong with that, most of us tend to favor one leg over the other, even when using both at once. Try doing a full set with your weaker leg – for most people, this is their left – and then doing a full set with your stronger leg. You'll immediately notice that one side completes the exercise with greater ease. Doing this can also help improve balance!
7. Invest in a personal trainer
Maybe you haven't achieved the arm tone you wanted, or maybe your runs are still leaving you feeling exhausted after five minutes. If it seems like your workout isn't having the effects you were hoping for, you may want to consider hiring a personal trainer who can help you reach your fitness goals. Sound too expensive? Try splitting a session with a friend or looking into group fitness programs.
When it comes to getting in shape and improving your overall fitness, just finding the time and motivation to get yourself to the gym can be half the battle. Unfortunately, once you're at the gym there are several common mistakes that can derail even the most dedicated fitness fans during their workouts. Watch out for these 10 errors that can hinder your efforts.
1. Socializing too much
Having a buddy can be a great way to make sure you get to the gym regularly. However, working out with a friend can also be a distraction. It's fine to socialize, but try to make sure that your trips to the gym actually involve some focus on fitness!
2. Lifting weights that are too heavy
Don't head right for the heaviest dumbbells in the gym. Lifting weights that are too heavy for you can lead to muscle strains, so don't feel like you have to show off. In many cases, studies have shown that lighter weights – used effectively – can have just as much of an impact as heavy ones.
3. Lifting weights that are too light
On the other hand, lifting weights that aren't causing you to exert yourself at all won't help. Fitness experts suggest choosing a weight that you can lift 30 times during your first set, but can lift only 15 times during your second.
4. Not mixing up your routine
If you're getting on the treadmill regularly, that's great! But fitness experts recommend switching up your workout to promote full-body fitness, rather than focusing on just one area.
5. Exclusively using the machines
Sure, your gym may be full of fun equipment that you're eager to try. But many of these machines focus on one particular muscle group, meaning that your time could be better spent elsewhere. Lots of free weight exercises require that you use your whole body, so they can help you burn more calories and strengthen more muscles in less time.
6. Ignoring your core
According to experts, the body's core is where all human movement originates. Therefore, a strong core can help you get fit much faster. It's a great idea to use ab machines and do sit-ups, but it can also be beneficial to keep your core strengthened during other workouts, like the bench press and leg press.
7. Not understanding the equipment
If you're new to the gym and have questions about a certain machine, just ask! Using a piece of equipment incorrectly is ineffective and won't help you get in shape any faster, and you want to ensure that you get the most out of every minute of your workout.
8. Inconsistent workout schedule
This is a common and easily-avoided mistake. Instead of going to the gym four days in a row and then skipping your workouts for the next two weeks, try to hit the gym with relative consistency. This helps you get into a routine and can promote a speedy metabolism.
9. Setting unrealistic expectations
Improving your fitness is all about hard work and perseverance. While it's common to yearn for instant results, it's important to remember that healthy living is an ongoing process. Don't stop hitting the gym because you didn't drop 10 pounds in one week – continue working hard and you'll start to see results!
10. Not changing your diet
Even if you're going to the gym regularly and avoiding these common workout mistakes, exercise alone often isn't enough to help you lose weight. If you've been sticking to your routine like a pro, you can consider adding a weight loss supplement or trying a protein meal replacement to kick your metabolism into gear and help you get the body you want.
While certain foods are packed with the essential vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy body, you often need more of those nutrients than food can offer. This is where supplements come in. These healthy additions to your diet can provide you with the proper dosage of vitamins and minerals that your body needs. But when it comes to women and men, there are certain nutrients that men may need more of than women. Here are some of the most important vitamins and supplements that men should be taking:
You can get this vitamin from soaking up the sun, but if you're not outside much, you need to find another way to get vitamin D into your diet. According to Discovery Health, 61 percent of the population doesn't get enough vitamin D. Aside from being available in a supplement, vitamin D can be found in foods like fatty fish, fortified cereals, oysters, eggs and mushrooms. This vitamin is essential for the proper absorption of calcium, bone development, control of cell growth and proper immune system health.
By consuming herbs, dark leafy greens, spring onions and Brussels sprouts, you'll be getting a healthy dose of vitamin K. But if you're not a big vegetable lover, you can also get this essential vitamin via supplement. Vitamin K works to rebuild bones and protecting against bone fractures. It's also great for protein modification and blood clotting.
Chromium is a trace mineral that helps with burning carbohydrates and fat. It also assists in providing blood sugar to cells and may curb cravings if you're prone to a sweet tooth every now and again. Taking chromium may lower insulin levels to maintain optimum health. It's advised to take at least 35 micrograms a day.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish like salmon and tuna. These fatty acids reduce fats in the body called triglycerides, which are associated with poor heart health. Taking fish oil supplements may help to lower blood pressure and assist in maintaining a healthy heart. Other foods with a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids include avocados, edamame, wild rice, walnuts, canola oil, flax and beans.
Don't forget to drink your orange juice – this vitamin boasts a whole lot of health benefits. It's most commonly used to prevent and treat the common cold, but it's also great for men who work out regularly because it aids in bone strength. Its antioxidant properties also help to maintain optimal health. You can find this popular vitamin in supplement form as well as bell peppers, guavas, kiwi, dark leafy greens, oranges, clementines and strawberries, making it an easy vitamin to incorporate into any diet.
This less commonly known vitamin works to produce normal activity in the nerves. It also helps make DNA in your body, enables you to grow and develop naturally and even maintains your energy levels if you're feeling particularly sluggish. You can find vitamin B12 in clams, oysters, mussels, fish, crab, lobster, beef, lamb, cheese and eggs.
As men age, it's natural for testosterone levels to begin to decline. This decrease in testosterone not only has an effect on the sex drive, but it could lead to depressed mood as well as difficulties with concentration and memory. Testosterone is an important hormone in the body because it's responsible for inducing and maintaining male sex characteristics like sex drive and muscle health. Here are a few natural ways to give your testosterone levels a boost and enjoy all of the effects that come with it:
Increase zinc in your diet
Zinc is especially important for testosterone production, and eating the right foods is the best way to get it. Good sources of zinc include foods like shellfish, prawns, oysters, roasted pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate.
Take a daily supplement
Naturade Vitali-T-Aid Energy is a testosterone booster and may help to boost sex drive, performance and energy. This natural testosterone supplement was shown in two double-blind, placebo controlled, human clinical studies, along with exercise, to be both a safe and effective way to increase levels of testosterone in the body over an eight week period.
Being overweight may be having a negative effect on testosterone levels. According to Peak Fitness, overweight men are more likely to have low testosterone levels to begin with. In order to shed the pounds, start setting little goals for yourself. Swap out processed and refined foods for things like whole fruit, vegetables, whole grains and nuts. Watch the amount of calories that you're drinking throughout the day as well. Fancy coffee drinks like sugar-filled lattes and frappucinos can contain as many calories as an entire lunch.
Incorporating strength training into your routine may also be necessary in order to increase testosterone levels. Start off slow and build up to heavier weights as you go.
Get more vitamin D
Vitamin D increases levels of testosterone, which may boost libido. Getting enough vitamin D is often a problem for many during the winter months when they don't see the sun very often. If you can't get outdoors to soak up this valuable vitamin, you could opt to take a supplement or fill up on foods like fish, oysters, caviar, fortified dairy products, eggs and mushrooms.
Fill up on the right foods
There are certain foods that may help to increase the production of testosterone in the body. Some of these foods include pineapples, apples, alfalfa sprouts, red peppers, tomatoes and eggs.
The hormone cortisol is released when you're stressed out, which actually blocks the effects of testosterone. So if you're looking for a boost of the male hormone, find the best way to de-stress, whether that's taking a hot shower, relaxing on the couch watching TV or reading a book.
Studies show that children who eat breakfast do better in school and adults that eat breakfast feel and perform better at work.
Studies also show that those that eat breakfast are more likely to lose weight and or maintain an ideal weight.
Our brains and bodies will slow down if we run low on fuel. By mid-morning, a lot of us grab a cup of coffee or wolf down a sugary candy bar to wake up again. This might work for a few minutes, but by lunch time we are hungry, crabby, and perhaps our mood might make us a little more prone to making unhealthy choices at lunch. Eating a good breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Skipping breakfast is a common strategy for losing weight, but not a smart one. Many people believe that they will lose weight if they skip meals, but that just isn’t true; the body expects to be refueled a few times a day, starting with a healthy breakfast. Eating breakfast is good for weight loss. In fact, people who eat breakfast are
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The FDA claims having 25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a low-in-saturated-fat and cholesterol diet reduces heart disease risk.
Family: N.O. Fabaceae
Synonym: Coumestrol, daidzein, edamame, frijol de soya, genistein, greater bean, shoyu, soja, sojabohne, soybean
Habitat: The soybean is native to Southeastern Asia.
Soybean, classified as oilseeds, is an annual plant that does not grow more than five feet tall.
Part Used Medicinally:
Soybeans contain all the essential amino acids the body requires and is therefore a complete source of protein. Soybeans do not have any cholesterol, and are high in fiber. They have many vitamins, minerals, and phytochemical compounds (isoflavones). They are a rich source of calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, B-vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids and fiber. Soybean oil is one of the few common vegetable oils that contain significant amount of aLNA and omega-6 fatty acids.
While the soybean’s high isoflavones, genistein and daidzein content prevents cancer, some consider it as the cause for thyroid and reproductive health problems. Isoflavones, with their estrogen-like properties, alleviate certain menopausal (hot flashes) and PMS symptoms. They also have favorable effects on cognitive function, particularly verbal memory and bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. Isoflavones are good for pre-menopausal women with cyclical breast pain and protect the body from hormone-related cancers. Soybean-rich diets can reduce testosterone levels in men. It is believed to be effective in preventing prostate cancer. Soy proteins provide antioxidants, reduce artery clogging plaques, improve blood pressure, boost the immune system, and lower the risk of atherosclerosis. Soy proteins lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and decrease blood clotting (thrombosis), which reduces the risk of heart attack and strokes. Their effect on HDL (good cholesterol) has not been proven. Soybeans are effective in treating gallbladder stones and Crohn’s disease. Their soluble fiber protects the body from cancers, such as colon and rectal malignancies. Soy proteins and soluble fibers help regulate glucose levels and kidney filtration especially in nephrotic syndrome. Soy is also effective in lowering blood pressure and sugar levels in individuals suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Natural soy milk contains about the same amount of protein as cow’s milk. Most commercially available soy milk is enriched with vitamins especially B12. Unlike cow’s milk it has little saturated fat and no cholesterol or casein, which many consider to be a benefit. It is also a rich source of lecithin and vitamin E.
Soy products contain sucrose as the basic disaccharide instead of galactose, it can safely replace breast milk in children with Galactosemia or in lactose-intolerant individuals. It is high in isoflavones, organic chemicals, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which are good for the heart.
- Soy is traditionally considered to be safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Like milk, eggs, peanuts, fish, and wheat soy can also act as an allergen.
- While some studies claim soy protects against breast cancer, others show the estrogen-like effects of isoflavones may be harmful for women with breast cancer.
- Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility, hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer.
- Soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease in infants.
- Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders.
- Soy-rich foods increase the body’s vitamin D requirement.