Monthly Archives: January 2016

Proper Nutrition for Athletes

A healthy and balanced diet, along with disciplined training, is essential for any athlete to attaining success. The following article provides information on the importance of proper nutrition for athletes.
The term ‘athlete’ is used in a general, as well as specific sense. In general, it means any sports person – one who regularly participates in sports. More specifically, the word is used to describe participants in track and field events, such as events involving jumping, running, and throwing. Athletes have above average physical abilities. To achieve and maintain these abilities, they need to undertake a vigorous exercise routine, proper dietary intake, and adequate rest. They need to be very disciplined about all these aspects. Neglect of any one component can result in a below-par performance.

While food is what we eat, nutrition is what we need. Although the nutrition requirements vary according to the event in which the athlete participates, there are certain general guidelines regarding the diet of athletes. A healthy diet includes the following elements.

Carbohydrates
Fats
Proteins
Vitamins
Minerals
Fibers
Water

Carbohydrates are the chief providers (about 50%) of energy during the early stages of a medium level exercise, and when the exercise is of a short duration (about 1 to 1.5 hours). Carbohydrates provide more energy, for the same amount of oxygen consumed, as compared to fats. Oxygen is obtained from inhaled air; thus burning of carbohydrates results in less exhaustion. Carbohydrates are available in honey, fruit, milk, cereals, potatoes, lasagna, other grain products, and sugar.

Fats are the main energy providers during long duration exercises; free fatty acids supply half of the energy expended during moderate exercise (the other half being provided by carbohydrates). Fats are a concentrated source of energy and their use in providing energy helps avoid the use of protein for the same purpose. This is useful since protein is required for the growth of tissues.

Proteins are the building blocks of the body, and perform the task of building and repairing tissue and muscles. They, along with carbohydrates and fats, provide energy and play a significant role in strengthening the immune system. The intake of proteins may have to be increased for an athlete. However, excessive intake of proteins results in increased water requirement for eliminating nitrogen through urine, thus leading to dehydration. Extra protein intake also results in a higher metabolic rate that requires more oxygen.

Minerals are an important constituent of an athlete’s diet. Potassium is one of the essential minerals that regulates muscle activity. Potassium-rich foods like oranges, bananas, and potatoes provide enough quantity of the mineral. However, excessive intake leads to hyperkalemia, thereby causing muscle weakness and palpitations.

Iron is required for the formation of hemoglobin and therefore in carrying oxygen. It is contained in meat, poultry, fish, and some vegetarian diets as well. Excessive intake of iron can lead to constipation. Calcium is essential for building strong teeth and bones, and zinc is required for normal growth and for energy production in muscle cells. Dairy products are a good source of calcium. A normal diet is enough to replenish the loss of sodium due to sweating. Excessive sodium intake should be avoided.

Vitamins assist in better absorption of iron and play an important role in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Fruits and vegetables in general, contain vitamins. Fibers keep the bowels regular and reduce blood cholesterol. Vitamins act as antioxidants, thereby preventing cell damage. Athletes are more vulnerable to cell damage as they inhale more oxygen.

And last but not the least, water. Water levels directly affect fluidity of blood which transports nutrients, and therefore energy, inside the body. It also regulates the body temperature. Low temperature fluids should be preferred as a source of water as they are absorbed quickly. It is better to consume water at regular intervals during the day and not wait until the thirst makes itself felt, because by then, the athlete is exhausted. This is in addition to the ad hoc consumption during exercise.

Apart from the nutritional requirements, certain dietary practices are of great help. To start the day on a high metabolism and keep the hunger in check, it’s necessary to have a healthy and adequate breakfast. Ideally, five meals should be eaten daily. This spreads out the intake, helps digestion, and keeps the energy levels high. Post-exercise meals aid in quick recovery of lost energy. Also, it is advisable to stay away from canned and fried foods.

Proper nutrition goes a long way in determining the output potential of an athlete. It’s one of the most important factors that will determine his or her success story.

Meditation Techniques for Beginners: 5 Easy Tips

Interested in beginning meditation but don’t know where to start? Here are a few easy techniques to get you started.

The basic tenets of meditation — relaxation and breathing — can be difficult to master in our hectic lives, but if you’re able to find just a few minutes a day, that’s all you need to get started.

Benefits of meditation include stress reduction, sharpened concentration, and improved circulation to start. Once you begin to practice, you’ll soon experience a quieter mind, a more open heart, and a sense of inner freedom. Sound good?

Here are 5 easy tips for beginners. Remember all you need is 5 to 10 minutes a day to get started with meditation techniques

1. Be comfortable in a quiet place.

Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. To get started, it doesn’t matter whether you sit or lay down as long as you are comfortable. You can sit cross-legged, on the floor, or on a chair. If you can sit erect, then great. If not, it’s just important to have your body in a somewhat stable position. Then have the palms of your hands face the sky.

2. Become “present.”

Become totally aware of your current surroundings. What do you hear? How does it feel to sit? Do you feel tension? Where are your thoughts?

3. Focus on your breath.

As you take long and deep breaths, feel your breath move from your lungs and out through your nostrils or your throat. (Breathing through your nostrils is better though either will work). Your mind will wonder (which is okay), just try your best to be as focused as possible.

4. Feel your body.

Once you’re focused, take notice of your body and how each body part feels. Start with the toes and work your way up to your head. If your mind continues to wonder then bring your thoughts back to your breath. Breath 5 to 10 times with full concentration on each breath. Take it a step further and hum “Om” as you breathe out.

5. Practice, practice, practice!

Like anything, practice makes perfect. Make sure to carve out a time each and every day to practice. You’ll hopefully find all your practice totally worth it as meditation can be life-changing!In addition to these tips, we here at MBG highly recommend picking up a copy of Meditation for Beginners, by Jack Kornfield. We here at MBG think it’s the best meditation book for beginners.

Healthy Bones: The Complete Guide to Building & Maintainin

If you have healthy bones you will be able to provide a strong framework to the body as well as protect the internal organs and anchor the muscles well. Strong bones are required for one to maintain a good posture as well as strength and balance. There are certain key ingredients that need to be supplemented by diet in order to keep the bones strong and healthy. Calcium vitamins, fiber, phosphorous, magnesium, other minerals and protein are among the numerous nutrients which are especially applicable for bone health. Here are top commandments for strong and healthy your bones will still be important to you, and will help you raise your calcium stores.

Ways to Improve Bone Health.

Control your weight

Try to maintain the appropriate weight balance for your age and height. Everyone has an ideal weight where they feel fit and enjoy good health, and that doesn’t mean that you need to “be very thin.” Don’t forget, neither extreme is ever good for your health.

But when you’re overweight it puts an “additional” burden on your bones, causing extra wear and weakness. Extremely thin physiques also force the body to draw energy from the muscle tissues themselves, causing calcium loss in the bones. So remember to always strive for that target, healthy weight.

Yogurt

Most people get their vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, but certain foods, like yogurt, are fortified with vitamin D. One cup of yogurt can be a creamy way to get your daily calcium. Stonyfield Farms makes a fat-free plain yogurt that contains 30% of your calcium and 20% of your vitamin D for the day.

And though we love the protein-packed Greek yogurts, these varieties tend to contain less calcium and little, if any, vitamin D.

Boost bone density with vitamin K

Vitamin K is mostly known for helping with blood clotting, but it also helps the body make Proteins for healthy bones. Foods like kale, broccoli, Swiss chard, and spinach are high in vitamin K.

Make exercise a priority

Regular exercise is key to keep a number of health issues at bay, and bone health is no exception. Living a sedentary lifestyle is considered a risk factor for osteoporosis. What type of exercise is most effective? Weight-bearing exercises like running, walking, jumping rope, skiing, and stair climbing keep bones strongest. Bonus for the older readers: improved strength and balance helps prevent falls (and the associated fractures) in those who already have osteoporosis.

Quit smoking

Here’s yet another reason to lose the cigarettes: multiple studies have shown that smoking can prevent the body from efficiently absorbing calcium, decreasing bone mass.

Beans and legumes

One of the most recent nutritional discoveries related to bone health is the importance of folic acid and other B vitamins. One recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the bones of people with low levels of vitamin B6 and folic acid in their blood underwent structural changes, causing them to be weaker and more prone to fracture. Another study linked vitamin B12 to stronger bones. Scientists are still studying the connection but believe that B vitamins stimulate collagen production, which is essential to bone strength.

Foods high in folate and B vitamins include lentils, chickpeas, and all kinds of beans and legumes. There’s also liver, of course, but many of us like beans better.

Soy milk

Here’s a secret: Calcium-fortified soy milk actually has more calcium in it than milk — up to 400 milligrams a cup. And recent studies show that the calcium in soy milk is as easily absorbed as that in regular milk. Tofu is also calcium-rich: One half-cup serving contains 250 milligrams, which is 25 percent of your daily needs.

Almonds

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein, almonds are the superstars of the nut family, although many nuts contribute to bone health. One ounce, or approximately 23 almonds, contains 6 grams of protein and an unusually wide variety of minerals, including potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and copper — in addition to calcium. Recently nutritionists have begun acknowledging the important role minerals such as copper, potassium, and manganese play in oxygenating blood, which helps it carry nutrients to the bones.

Which are the Best 4 Equipment for Weight Loss?

The first and foremost rule for losing weight are that you need to burn more calories from your body than what you are actually consuming on a daily basis. Cardio exercises are the most effective ways to do so your heartbeat goes up and the stored calories get burnt up with time and sweat. Running, aerobic workouts or simply walking can help you to achieve your goals in a long term scenario. But the best solution that could be noticed in a short period of time is to go for best gym equipment for weight loss that helps you burn fat quickly. Most of them provide you a measurement of how many calories you have burnt daily.

We have noticed it on a regular basis and even customers keep asking us at Grand Slam Fitness about the top equipment for weight loss and we guide them according to their needs. We, at Grand Slam Fitness Store, provide the best gym equipment at the lowest price and we are considered to be the best store for both home and commercial gym equipment in India. Below is a well-researched list of four best equipment for weight loss for your guidance.

Cross Trainers/ Elliptical

Elliptical cross trainers provide whole body workout and help to shed as many as 800 calories per hour depending on your body weight. Some of them come with movable handlebars and thus while pedaling with legs, one can push and pull those handlebars simultaneously. It targets the muscles in chest, shoulder, back and arms while pedaling takes care of your lower body portion. It comes in different sizes to suit all body types and weight. You can buy the best elliptical cross trainers at the lowest price only at Grand Slam Fitness store.

Treadmills-

This is the most common gym equipment for home. Its popularity is due to the fact that it provides whole body exercise in the comfort of your home. People, who have a tight schedule, choose to spend their mornings sweating on treadmills. You can adjust the speed of a treadmill and vary from slow walking to brisk footing to fast running. Thus, it is suitable for people of all ages. On an average, a treadmill can help you to shed 300 to 400 calories in just 20 minutes by simple walking. You can slowly increase every day to finally settle for 600 to 800 calories in an hour by running. Treadmill not only helps you to lose weight, it also stimulates blood circulation in your whole body and aids metabolism. You don’t have to worry about outdoor weather condition if you have a treadmill at your home.  Check out our treadmill category and buy the best treadmill at the lowest price.

Spin Bikes-

The pedaling motion in a cycle works up the muscles and fat in your leg and thigh area and thus is powerful gym equipment that aids weight loss. Group cycle bikes are the most suitable ones in this category as anyone even with an odd physique can fit in comfortable in it. It offers a wide range of options for quick and comfortable weight loss. One can burn as many as 1000 calories in an hour by simple pedaling. Initially, keep pedaling at the slow pace and with every passing day, you can increase the speed without straining yourself. It prevents any blockage related to legs liking arthritis. We offer varieties of cycling bikes with a different specification to suit you need at the lowest price available.

Recumbent Cycles Recumbent cycles have become very popular fitness equipment for weight loss quite recently. Recumbent cycles have a unique sitting arrangement due to which you can sit quite close to the ground and keep your legs in front of you rather than below you. It comes under the category of cardiovascular exercise equipment and hence uses the whole muscle group in your body. It helps in strengthening your heart and lungs and increases oxygen supply in the muscles of hips, thigh, and legs. It is designed to reduce the stress on knees and hips whether you are using it as a stationary cycle or you are riding it in the outdoor.  Do check out our latest recumbent cycles and buy the best treadmill at the lowest price.