The Power of Micro Workouts


Despite what most people might think, you really don’t need much time to work out.

In fact, even ten to twenty (or yes, twelve) minutes of challenging exercise a few times a week is enough to burn fat, build muscle, boost strength, and contribute to a healthy, active lifestyle.

Which means that no matter how busy you are, we all have time to exercise.

After all, just think about how much time you waste on social media, watching TV, or being inefficient throughout your day. You can easily shave a few minutes off your daily tasks and have enough time for a warm-up and a twelve-minute HIIT or circuit workout most days of the week.

But sometimes, the resistance isn’t really about the actual time the workout takes. It’s about the energy it takes to gear up for it.

Maybe your stress levels are over the top, or your energy levels have been so low that you keep talking yourself out of a workout. Or maybe you just don’t want to get all sweaty and have to take a shower afterward.

These are understandable excuses, especially during a pandemic. We’re all struggling right now, myself included. But when it comes to exercise, being healthy and fit isn’t actually as black and white as the fitness world tries to make it seem.

This is one of my gripes with the average person’s understanding of a typical gym workout — they either go to the gym for 45 minutes or none at all.

The reality is that something is always better than nothing when it comes to movement. Getting out for a fifteen-minute walk instead of doing the strength training workout you’d planned on doing that day might not be what you’d hoped for, but it’s significantly better than doing nothing at all.

Doing something movement-related — whether it’s a short walk, a few sets of push-ups or pull-ups, or ten minutes shooting baskets in your driveway or playing catch with your kid is always better than doing nothing at all.

If you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, make time to move every day. And if you’re not sure where to start, I have a few suggestions.

Add in Micro Workouts Throughout Your Day 

One extremely effective way to stay fit when you’re busier than normal or have a mental block about doing a full workout is to add in micro workouts during the day.

(I saw someone on Twitter once call these micro workouts “exercise snacks” and thought that was really great.)

Basically, rather than do a full workout, you’ll just add in reps throughout your day.

For example, try sprinkling in some of the following during semi-frequent work breaks:

  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 bodyweight squats
  • 5 pull-ups (get a doorway pull-up bar for convenience)
  • A 10-15 minute walk

The key here is to keep the challenge level fairly low so that you won’t feel a mental barrier to doing the number of reps.

You can play around with what works for you — fewer reps and more sets, or fewer sets and higher reps. Your goal is to find a solution that’s easy enough that you won’t put it off but that challenges you over the course of the day. You can gradually increase the number of reps and sets as you get stronger or keep them the same if your goal is maintenance.

Try Tabata Training

If you have a few minutes to spare, you can also try a Tabata workout. These workouts take only four minutes to complete, but they’re far from easy. To successfully do a Tabata workout, you need to give it all out effort. Pretend like you’re running as fast as you can from a bear during each interval, and you’ll be moving at the right pace.

Although they’re challenging, Tabata workouts are one of the most efficient forms of training. Research conducted by Dr. Izumi Tabata in the 1990’s has shown that Tabata workouts can have similar aerobic benefits as a 60-minute moderate-intensity cardio workout.

Here’s an example of an equipment-free Tabata-style workout you can try:

Set a timer to eight rounds of ten-second and twenty-second intervals — rest on the ten-second ones, then go all-out on the twenty-second ones (8 x :10 x :20).

Cycle through these exercises so that you end up doing four rounds of each:

  1. Burpees
  2. High knees

You can find other Tabata workout ideas here.

Note: Remember to never work out completely cold. Even with a Tabata workout, you should warm up a little beforehand, especially if it’s cold outside.

Stop Your All or Nothing Thinking

If you’re busier than usual or are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, sometimes setting aside time for a “full” workout can feel daunting (yes, even if it’s just twelve minutes). Try and get away from an all or nothing mindset around movement and start adding in mini workouts during the day.

Add in simple exercises like a quick set of push-ups, bodyweight squats, or stretches every 30 to 45 minutes when you’re at home (set a timer if you need to) and go for a short walk to take a break. It may not seem like a lot, but all these short bouts of movement throughout the day add up and will still get you many of the same benefits of a longer, harder workout.

“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” – Chinese proverb

What’s your favorite strategy for adding movement to your day? Share with me in the comments!

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Best RxGym Alternative: Exercise.com vs. RxGym


Exercise.com: Your RxGym Alternative

Why Choose Exercise.com?

Here are five reasons why fitness professionals use Exercise.com vs. RxGym.

 

Fitness Business Management Software to Run Your Business

Unlike RxGym, Exercise.com software is designed to have all components needed to run a fitness business, big or small, in one place – making it easy and efficient to organize and grow your fitness business with client and class scheduling, check-ins, and billing — all from your custom-branded app and website.

Fitness Business Management Software to Run Your Business

Unlike RxGym, Exercise.com software is designed to have all components needed to run a fitness business, big or small, in one place – making it easy and efficient to organize and grow your fitness business with client and class scheduling, check-ins, and billing — all from your custom-branded app and website.

Workout Software to Power Your Training

RxGym offers basic workout software; Exercise.com, however, offers a fully-customizable workout creator and logger. The Exercise.com workout plan creator and exercise manager provide flexible solutions to save you time creating workouts with built-in integrations, tools, and more.

Ecommerce Software to Increase Revenue

RxGym does not offer the extensive ecommerce options that Exercise.com provides. Exercise.com offers the gamut of ecommerce features, including product sales, payment processing, and selling online training, online memberships, and workout challenges.

Ecommerce Software to Increase Revenue

RxGym does not offer the extensive ecommerce options that Exercise.com provides. Exercise.com offers the gamut of ecommerce features, including product sales, payment processing, and selling online training, online memberships, and workout challenges.

Assessment Software to Improve Client Engagement and Retention

RxGym does not offer fitness assessment software. With Exercise.com, however, your clients will receive personalized assessments that deliver custom workouts for their individual needs – providing massive growth potential and saved time. All for one price. All on one platform.

Stand Out With Your Own Custom-branded Apps

RxGym does not offer custom-branding options. Exercise.com, however, offers apps and websites that are fully customized to make your life easier by providing your clients with a unified scheduling and workout experience with your brand displayed front-and-center.

Stand Out With Your Own Custom-branded Apps

RxGym does not offer custom-branding options. Exercise.com, however, offers apps and websites that are fully customized to make your life easier by providing your clients with a unified scheduling and workout experience with your brand displayed front-and-center.

 

If you’re ready to get started with an easy-to-navigate, all-in-one fitness software, designed to fuel your business, request a demo with Exercise.com today.

And, if you want to see how RxGym’s additional features stack up to Exercise.com software features, check out our in-depth guide below.

What is RxGym?

RxGym is a business management software for CrossFit personal trainers and gyms and is particularly helpful for gyms that post daily workouts and athlete results. RxGym has facility management tools, trainer and athlete tools, scheduling features, an app, and a website.

RxGym claims to be an all-in-one software, but it is still missing many key features, such as ecommerce variety, nutrition tracking, an exercise library, and more. The features that RxGym does provide aren’t very robust and lack flexibility and customization. Additionally, there are not many customer reviews about RxGym or details on the features it provides.

Exercise.com is your true all-in-one fitness business management software. We combine business management tools with workout and assessment software, which helps your fitness business succeed! Let’s jump into the review to see how Exercise.com’s comprehensive gym management software can help grow and manage your fitness business.

Unless otherwise stated, all images and reviews below are of/about the Exercise.com All-In-One Fitness Business Management software platform.

Fitness Business Management Software

Many business management software offers similar features, so it is challenging to find the right fit for your business. RxGym has a few business management features but doesn’t have a complete package like Exercise.com.

Exercise.com Fitness Business Management (FBM) has every feature you need to create and sustain a thriving business, plus personalized assistance to help every step of the way. Let’s examine these in greater detail below!

Client/Class Scheduling

RxGym’s website states they have a class and trainer schedule. You can limit class sizes, set visibility for custom groups, have a waitlist, and more. However, RxGym fails to provide any other details for its scheduler. How and where do customers view your schedule? Can they independently book classes and trainer sessions? Is the scheduler user-friendly for staff and customers?

Exercise.com has a robust but user-friendly scheduling system that is easy for staff and customers to use. Your schedule can be customized to your exact needs and specifications so your business runs at optimal productivity. The schedule is conveniently accessed on your custom-branded app or website, which boosts bookings for increased revenue. Plus, the schedule also automatically syncs with Apple and Google Calendars.

Gym/Facility Management

The only facility management tool RxGym lists on its website is membership management. However, there are no details on how RxGym allows you to manage the membership accounts.

The Exercise.com FBM software has all the tools and integrations you need to manage your facility. You never have to worry about sales, staff, clients, or data logged falling between the cracks. Our comprehensive reporting is easily accessible in your custom web and mobile apps. Our FBM also helps manage a staff of any size with assignable staff roles so you can put staff management on autopilot.

Business Dashboard Reports

RxGym doesn’t have a business dashboard to review your reports. This means analyzing data takes more time and is more cumbersome.

Exercise.com offers you a client and a business dashboard to easily access and monitor everything for facility management. With Exercise.com, you get reports for transactions, taxes, subscriptions, ecommerce commissions, inventory, and so much more! We can even customize reports specifically for your business. Our dashboard makes it easy to analyze and interpret business data.

Client Automation

RxGym has basic client automation such as scheduling email campaigns and sending workouts.

Exercise.com includes these and more! With our software, you get customer and business automation, plus fitness-specific client automation, such as:

  • Automate Emails and Texts/Other Automatic Features
  • Automate Workout Delivery
  • Automate Resource Delivery
  • Automate Assessment Delivery
  • Automate Reminders/Alerts via app, text, and email

Dedicated Zapier Support

Our partnership with Zapier improves the efficiency of your business and helps your unique business stand out. Zapier has over 2,000 apps, so you can enjoy personalizing your business! But this is only a benefit you receive with Exercise.com, as RxGym doesn’t integrate with Zapier.

Dedicated Account Manager

RxGym has standard email and phone customer service support. Exercise.com takes customer service very seriously, which is why you receive a dedicated account manager with Exercise.com to handle all aspects of your account! Your account manager handles all the behind-the-scenes tasks such as initial set-up and training, website creation and management, updating your custom app, and more, so you can stay focused on your customers.

Customized Software

Customized software helps your fitness business stand out in a competitive industry. When software is customized to fit your specific brands and needs, you can reach your target customer base effectively, resulting in more memberships and sales.

Exercise.com excels at customizing software, as you can see below.

Custom-Branded

RxGym doesn’t have custom branding options for its software, which reduces your opportunities to engage customers with your brand.

But with Exercise.com, your entire platform is custom branded. Your software, app, website, schedule and booking, notifications, and more, are personalized with your business name, logo, colors, wording, and voice.

iOS & Android Apps

RxGym has free iOS and Android apps, but the reviews show that there are login glitches and frequent app crashes. There is no customization of the app, which means that your business must adapt to the limitations of the features RxGym provides. Additionally, there is no custom branding of the app, so your customers will be engaged with RxGym’s brand and not yours.

Exercise.com gives you a custom-branded app for personal trainers and gyms for no additional fee. With our app, trainers can perform all their client management tasks, like create workouts, view upcoming appointments, and communicate with clients. Clients can easily book appointments and classes, view and complete their workouts, log nutrition intake, and track their progress. You can make modifications to your app at any time, which keeps your business updated and relevant!

Websites

RxGym includes a website with its software, but it doesn’t give details on the customization of layouts, colors, branding, logos, and other custom features that help your business stand out. The website RxGym provides is one you must create and maintain.

With Exercise.com, you receive a customized, custom-branded, SEO-optimized fitness website that is sure to convert leads to customers. Our top-ranked custom dev team creates your website and your account manager monitors and updates your website as needed. This lets you stay focused on your business and customers!

Security Features

RxGym has adequate security measures, but Exercise.com places a high priority on security. Every website and app created by Exercise.com is SSL Secure. We protect your clients’ information with the internationally-secure Privacy Shield Framework, and we utilize Google Cloud for storing and transferring data. Payments are made and processed through Stripe.

Marketing Integrations

RxGym allows you to schedule automatic email campaigns from your business email but doesn’t list specific marketing integrations.

Exercise.com knows how a variety of marketing integrations can boost your business and revenue by making your services known to current members and potential customers. That’s why our software integrates with an abundance of popular integrations such as:

  • MailChimp
  • ConstantContact
  • ConvertKit
  • Zapier
  • Google Analytics
  • Facebook Pixel
  • And more!
Learn more by clicking the button below.

Exercise.com is the best RxGym alternative.

 

Workout Software

Workout software is essential when running a fitness business. But you need more than basic workout software: greater fitness results come from robust workout software that allows you to customize and personalize workouts to the specific needs of your client.

Both RxGym and Exercise.com have workout software, but only Exercise.com offers comprehensive workout software and personal training software that enables trainers to give clients the personalized workouts they’re looking for. Let’s take a closer look below.

Workout Creator/Logger

RxGym states trainers can program workouts in advance, so it’s to be assumed that there is a workout creator. However, there is no mention of a workout creator or logger on RxGym’s website. If there is a workout creator/logger, RxGym makes no mention of how workouts are created or logged.

Exercise.com has a premium workout creator and logger that keeps clients engaged and motivated on their fitness journeys. Trainers can quickly select pre-designed workouts or create personalized workouts. These are then delivered automatically to your client in your app so they can view and log their workout anytime, anywhere! Clients and trainers can easily communicate using your custom-branded app between sessions.

Exercise.com knows that every trainer-client relationship is different. Our workout creator/logger offers endless possibilities for delivering workouts, tips, and encouragement to every client, including:

1-1 Training

This traditional method of personal training is still a staple in most fitness centers. It takes a lot of organization, communication, and creativity to manage multiple clients and deliver a quality training experience. Exercise.com is here to help!

With features like customized workout and nutrition plans, goals and progress reports, performance and fitness assessments, and more, trainers can easily manage their clients while delivering a customized personal training experience. Clients have everything they need to stay on track and motivated towards achieving their goals!

Group Training

Exercise.com’s group training feature allows you to easily create, schedule, and track group classes. Trainers use the same resources and support as in 1-1 training, but group participants provide additional support and positive morale. This boosts social connections and creates a tight-knit gym community that aids in customer retention.

Online Training

Online training is quickly becoming vital to fitness businesses. It not only caters to those with a busy lifestyle, but also to those who prefer to exercise in the comfort of their own homes.

Exercise.com allows you to offer online workouts to any client! These workouts give greater flexibility for clients to perform their workouts whenever and wherever they choose. Our extensive video and exercise library gives clear instructions and clients can stay in communication with trainers via the app!

Exercise Library

Exercise.com offers an extensive exercise library with our workout software. Our videos are professionally made and feature proper form and technique. Trainers use these videos in your workout creator to enhance the personalized workout experience.

Custom Exercises

In addition to our professional exercise library, our software enables you to merge with your YouTube or Vimeo accounts so you can use your own videos in the workout creator! This is an excellent way to promote and add value to your brand.

TV Workouts

Exercise.com videos can be viewed on a computer or mobile device and can also be cast onto a TV screen for group classes to follow along.

Gym Ecommerce Software

Ecommerce is an excellent way to boost sales, draw attention to your business, and keep customers engaged with your brand. The more options you offer, the more customers your business will appeal to.

RxGym has limited ecommerce options. Exercise.com’s gym ecommerce software, however, has dozens of fitness-specific ecommerce options that keep customers engaged with your brand and boost your revenue.

Payment Processing

RxGym has partnered with Host Merchant Services to create its own payment processing system. Exercise.com uses the ease, security, and stability of Stripe for all payments. Invoices are sent automatically, which relieves mundane billing tasks that can eat away at your time.

Sell Products

Both RxGym and Exercise.com allow you to sell products, but RxGym is unspecific in how these products are sold.

Exercise.com gives you a custom-branded online store that allows you to sell personalized merchandise like branded apparel, bumper stickers, water bottles, and exercise gear, as well as products like supplements, energy bars, and more. This boosts customer loyalty and is a great source of extra revenue.

Sell Workout Plans

Both RxGym and Exercise.com allow you to sell workout plans. However, RxGym doesn’t give much detail into how these workout plans are created, accessed, or how many you can sell.

With Exercise.com’s software, you can sell your own pre-built workout plans. This is an excellent way to give customers the experience of a personalized trainer in the comfort of their own homes. There’s no limit to how many workout plans you can sell, so the more you offer, the greater your profit!

Offer Online Workout Memberships

Embrace the opportunities for customized workout plans with the Exercise.com platform. Trainers create customized workouts in one sitting and program the workouts to be delivered at automatic intervals. Trainers then monitor and track progress as clients make their way through the workout program. This efficient process improves trainer productivity so they can take on more clients at a premium price while clients have a personalized workout experience!

This is only an ecommerce option you’ll get with Exercise.com, as RxGym doesn’t offer online workout memberships.

Sell Workout Challenges

Workout challenges are an excellent way to motivate gym members and come together around the common goal of better fitness. The Exercise.com software makes workout challenges a simple way to boost revenue and encourage a positive gym culture! Our workout challenges are customizable and automated, so they increase your revenue without increasing your workload. RxGym doesn’t enable you to sell workout challenges, so this is a missed opportunity

Health and Fitness Assessment Software

RxGym doesn’t have health and fitness assessment software except for performance and measurement reports. Trainers using RxGym will have to find other methods of tracking and organizing assessments and nutrition.

Exercise.com’s health and fitness assessment software, on the other hand, gives your trainers the tools they need to personalize a fitness experience specifically for each client. This, in turn, results in better fitness results for clients, better retention, and increased revenue.

Let’s examine Exercise.com’s comprehensive assessment software below.

Fitness Assessments

Trainers can use standard and customizable fitness assessments, which increases the personalization of the workout experience. This leads to better fitness results, greater retention, and highly satisfied customers.

Performance & Measurement Reports

RxGym has benchmark tracking and performance history but doesn’t state how these are tracked or accessed, nor does it state if there is customization of the reports.

With Exercise.com, you get an array of measurements and assessments. Just a few include weight, height, activity level, distance runs, power output, range of motion measurements, and others. These are easily organized and conveniently located in your app. We can also do customized reports!

Additionally, Exercise.com includes personalized interactions to keep your customers engaged and motivated on their fitness journey. Automatically deliver interactions such as:

  • Workout reminders
  • Goal achievements
  • Recurring assessments
  • Progress photos
  • Measurements
  • and more!

Nutrition

Trainers know how important nutrition is for achieving fitness goals. Exercise.com seamlessly merges with the top nutrition tracker MyFitnessPal so clients can easily log and track their daily dietary intake. This accountability keeps clients focused on meeting their fitness goals and ultimately improves customer satisfaction.

RxGym Pricing

RxGym has a very unique pricing system. RxGym charges $1 per athlete with a minimum of 5 athletes. RxGym caps its price at $49, meaning that every athlete over 49 is free. RxGym’s users will never pay more than $49/month. RxGym states they have no hidden, startup, or set up fees, and allows military base gyms, schools, police, and fire stations to use its software free of charge.

RxGym Alternatives

Alternatives to RxGym include:

And of course, Exercise.com!

The Bottom Line: Pros and Cons

Choosing the right business software is a big decision! Let’s take a final look at RxGym and Exercise.com.

RxGym Cons

One of the biggest draws to RxGym is the price. However, in the long run, having a true all-in-one software like Exercise.com is what ultimately saves you money and time and helps grow your business for years to come.

RxGym is a good basic fitness business management platform but it still lacks key features that help efficiently run your business, help it stand out, and promote growth. Some of these features include facility management, reports, a report dashboard, in-depth scheduling, marketing integrations, and more.

Although RxGym has workout software, ecommerce software, and assessment software, each of these leaves much to be desired. RxGym’s workout software lacks an exercise library to use in building workouts, and hardly any information could be found about the workout creator to know if it is effective. RxGym doesn’t have the fitness-specific ecommerce opportunities that Exercise.com has. Finally, RxGym’s assessment feature doesn’t have the same variety as Exercise.com.

Exercise.com Pros

Exercise.com, on the other hand, has all the features your business needs to succeed. First and foremost, Exercise.com’s Fitness Business Management software gives you the scheduling, reporting, and facility management tools to stay organized and profitable. Plus, your entire software, app, and website are custom-branded and customized to fit your needs.

But what makes our software better than generic recreational management software are our fitness-specific features. Our workout and assessment software keeps trainers productive and maximizes client fitness results. Finally, our fitness-specific ecommerce software generates revenue by keeping customers engaged with your brand.

If you’re looking for an alternative to RxGym and are ready to grow and manage your business with fully customizable software, book a demo with Exercise.com.

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The Importance of Structured Training Programs in Recovery


What if I told you that by improving your training program, you could dramatically improve your recovery and your results?

 

In part one of this series Train Hard, Recover Harder, I explained that training was one of many stressors that your body has to deal with and that stress management is the key strategy to increasing your capacity to train hard and recover harder.

 

 

Most of us think of stress management as the way to deal with our grumpy boss, stroppy kids, empty bank account, or some other day-to-day worry. While using strategies to manage these kinds of stress is beneficial, I will focus on managing your training stress.

 

By focusing your attention on the input (training stress), you can increase the output (recovery and adaptation). Sadly, most of the people asking me for tips to improve recovery have gotten things backward.

 

They are desperately trying to out-recover poorly designed training programs filled with junk volume.

 

This thinking is like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. It’s too late.

 

The Principles of Exercise Program Design

I believe in the importance of program design to reach your fitness goals. Your progress can go from good to great if you correctly understand the underpinning principles of program design.

 

I’ve seen this happen in my training and with countless clients as I have refined my programming approach.

 

I’ve learned programming principles that I genuinely believe will take your training to the next level during this time.

 

By focusing on delivering efficient training stress, you make recovering easier to achieve. Great recovery starts with great programming.

 

Intelligent Program Design = Fatigue Management

But first, let me explain how you and so many others, including my younger, dumber self, get ourselves into a position where our training makes a recovery an uphill battle.

 

 

A Workout Based on FOMO

Many a motivated, disciplined, and hard-training gym rat falls victim to training based on the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).

 

This FOMO means we try to crowbar every conceivable exercise into our program without considering the toll it takes on our recovery. Days off from the gym become fewer and further between as we worry that a day without training is a day without progress.

 

Social media has a large role to play in this.

 

In the past, you only saw the lifts of other people who happened to be in the gym for the same 60-90 minutes as you. We now get to see a highlight reel of people’s PRs on social media. Instagram is awash with hundreds of weird, wacky, Frankensteinish exercises as people compete for attention.

 

Consequently, we can compare everything we do in the gym to millions of others.

 

  • You see one of your favorite athletes doing one exercise.
  • You see another athlete doing a different variation.
  • You see a successful coach extolling the virtues of yet another exercise.
  • You see a celebrity influencer doing a different one.
  • That’s before you factor in the exercises you liked the look of in the latest article you read or a seminar you attended.

 

You feel compelled to include all of these exercises into your program FOMO on the benefits of each. Taken in isolation, all of these exercises might have value.

 

However, when randomly piled on top of each other, they become less than the sum of their parts.

 

Some are useful, and some are redundant, while others simply don’t match your requirements.

 

What they have in common is that they all eat into your recovery reserves.

 

Following a program with such a bloated list of exercises digs a huge recovery ditch, which even the most advanced recovery protocols won’t fix.

 

The other consequence of social media is the #NoDaysOff B.S. We have been led to believe we all need to be up at 5 am for meditation before embracing the grind and going full #beastmode in the gym and office.

 

Now I’m not knocking hard work. It’s essential, but brainlessly trying to push the limits 365 days a year is a recipe for burnout and failure.

 

You need to have some downtime to allow your body to recover and adapt.

 

Sadly, the rise and grind mindset has led many gym enthusiasts to follow training plans requiring them to set up their home in the gym. Training seven days a week probably isn’t a good idea even if it’s your job, and let’s be honest, nobody is paying you to train.

 

Rather than feeling guilty about having a few days a week out of the gym, realize that it is what you need. This mindset takes discipline.

 

If you’re like me, you enjoy the challenge of training. The gym is a part of your routine and doesn’t require motivation or discipline. However, taking a day off does require some discipline.

 

This more is better approach ends up with you training every day, doing too many different exercises with way more sets than you need.

 

Your training is full of junk volume.

 

I bet you’ve heard the saying, “You can’t out-train a bad diet?”

 

You’ve probably knowingly told a friend or colleague keen to lose a few pounds this and felt smug and self-satisfied while sharing your wisdom.

 

Have you ever considered:

 

  • “You can’t out-recover a crappy training program filled with junk volume?”
  • “That this might be exactly what you’ve been trying to do?”
  • “This could be the exact reason you haven’t made any noticeable progress in living memory?”

 

Most people address this situation by continuing to keep banging away and focusing on ramping up their recovery. They invest in all manner of recovery modalities but never seem to fix the issue. That’s because they’ve got things backward.

 

Instead of dealing with the symptoms of poor recovery, they should aim for the root cause.

 

Train Smart to Maximize Recovery

Whatever your physical goals are, you need to train to achieve them, and you need to train hard. It would help if you also prepared smart.

 

Put another way, smart training is hard training, but hard training is not necessarily smart.

 

Training to build muscle is fatiguing in nature. Intelligently, planning your training means you can manage this fatigue from session to session to allow you to keep progressing.

 

If, however, every time you set foot in the gym, you go full #beastmode, train to annihilate a muscle, and half kill yourself, then fatigue will accumulate very quickly—too quickly. Your body won’t be able to recover and adapt. You’ll have dug a hole too deep.

 

The goal of your training is not merely to recover. It is to adapt!

 

Burying yourself in the gym might feel like the right thing to do. It might have a cathartic quality to it but, it will limit your results if you do it every time. Even with sleep, diet, and stress under control, you can only push so hard before you break.

 

By flipping your thinking about recovery to enhancing it by optimizing the training dose, you could dramatically improve it. This flip in thinking means better training, better recovery from exercise, lower injury risk, and better results.

 

To flip your thinking to maximize your recovery, I want you to understand four fundamental principles when designing your training program.

 

These principles will go a long way in helping you to build a program that creates the most significant potential for your high-quality training stimulus and optimal recovery capacity:

 

  1. Your personal weekly training volume landmarks
  2. Muscle-specific stimulus-recovery-adaptation curves
  3. The stimulus: fatigue ratio of different exercises
  4. Relative intensity

 

Minimum Effect Volume (MEV) and Maximum Recoverable Volume (MRV)

Dr. Mike Israetel is primarily responsible for popularizing the concepts of volume landmarks. There is a continuum from Minimum Effective Volume (MEV) to your Maximum Recoverable Volume (MRV).

 

Within reason, more hard training creates the potential for more progress so long as you don’t exceed your capacity to recover. Identifying your MRV is an instrumental piece of information to know when designing your program.

 

Your MRV has two components:

 

  1. Your systemic MRV
  2. A body part specific MRV

 

For example, from a systemic viewpoint, you might be able to handle five hard training sessions per week with 16 working sets per muscle group each week.

 

Note. That is just an example; please do not misconstrue it as an instruction to train five days a week with 16 weekly sets per body part.

 

Having a reasonable idea of your MRV is vital to developing a framework for building your training week.

 

Maximize Muscle Stimulation

Body part specific MRVs can change quite a lot. By digging into this:

 

  • You can refine your program to elevate it from good to great.
  • Some of your muscles might respond differently than others.
  • Some muscles might tolerate higher training volumes, intensities, or frequencies.
  • Other muscles may get the same training effect from a lower stimulus.

 

Understanding this allows you to program your workouts with an extreme level of accuracy and efficiency. You can minimize junk volume and maximize stimulation. This program facilitates better recovery than treating every muscle group the same.

 

For example:

 

  • Your quads might only tolerate six sets done twice per week for a weekly MRV of 12 sets.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, you might find your rear delts get an effective workout from six sets in a session but can recover just fine from 24 sets per week.

 

Meanwhile, your other muscle groups might fall at various points along the spectrum.

 

With this knowledge, you can adjust the weekly volumes and frequencies for each muscle to optimize your training split.

 

In doing so, you have also increased your capacity for recovery.

 

Establishing your systemic and muscle group volume tolerance takes time and attention to detail but is well worth it.

 

Once you have this information, you can go from following generic, cookie-cutter plans to genuinely individualized programming. Your results will improve as a consequence.

 

Stimulus Recovery Adaption

Recovery is a return to baseline, and adaptation is when your body exceeds its previous baseline to an improved performance level or increased muscular size.

 

You don’t want to just recover from training; you want to make adaptations.

 

Much like different muscle groups have different volume tolerance, they also have variety in their Stimulus Recovery Adaptation (SRA) curves. Multiple factors play a role in SRA curves.

 

The key points you need to consider are:

 

  • The training frequency for each body part should depend on its SRA curve.
  • Factors such as the size of the muscle, its structure, function, fiber type ratio, and the muscle damage caused by training influence the SRA timeframes
  • Exercises that place a big stretch on a muscle tend to cause more damage. This damage extends the muscle’s SRA curve.
  • Exercises with a greater ROM usually create more significant systemic fatigue, which slows SRA curves.

 

The SRA curve of a muscle is pertinent in determining your training frequency.

 

In an ideal world, you would structure your training to hit each muscle group again at the peak of its adaption curve. This structuring means your training program might not be symmetrical.

 

Source: Is Lifting Heavy Weight Important For Building Muscle Size?

 

Training frequency is an important training variable, and it deserves the attention needed to optimize your results.

 

When considering training frequency, a good starting point is:

 

  • Determining how many days per week you can train.
  • Establishing how many tough training sessions per week is a good start to managing your training stress.

 

It is just a start, though. I challenge you to push yourself to a higher level by thinking about training frequency. Instead of being satisfied with answering:

 

“How many days per week should I train?” Also, answer, “How many days per week should I train each muscle group?”

 

Finding the answer to that will help you to create the ideal weekly training schedule for you.

 

Your decision-making on the frequency you use for each muscle group should be informed by the factors I outlined in the earlier bullet point list. Despite having multiple factors to consider, the difference in each muscle’s SRA curve is relatively small.

 

While small, this difference is significant.

 

Intuitively, you know this. You can narrow it down to a matter of days. For bodybuilding training, this is usually around 24-72 hours.

 

Research indicates that training a muscle 2-4 times per week is best when your goal is muscle growth. Identifying where each muscle fits into this range will allow you to unlock your growth potential by training each muscle at the perfect frequency.

 

Some muscles will do best with two sessions per week, while others will not respond unless you push 3, 4, or even 5 x per week.

 

I have established the following guidelines from years of experience working with countless clients to provide you with a starting point:

 

  • 2 x per week: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, chest, anterior delts
  • 3 x per week: Back, triceps
  • 4 x per week: Biceps, calves, and rear and lateral delts

 

Note. These are just averages based on my experience; you will need to experiment a little to find your optimal training frequency.

 

Stimulus Fatigue Ratio (SFR) Explained

I want you to consider the final concept from a program design standpoint is the Stimulus Fatigue Ratio (SFR).

 

SFR is the amount of muscle-building adaptations an exercise can give you relative to the fatigue it generates and what it requires you to recover. Some popular exercises have a poor SFR when it comes to hypertrophy.

 

The ideal exercise creates a high stimulus for a low fatigue ratio.

 

Selecting exercises that place tension through the target muscle and suit your structure is a great starting point to managing your fatigue ratio.

 

When assessing a potential new client’s program, I often see conventional deadlifts, sumo deadlifts, and rack pulls in their plans. These are good exercises if developing deadlift strength is the primary goal.

 

However, these exercises do not rank high if hypertrophy is the goal when you consider SFR.

 

They all have created substantial fatigue with little muscle-building stimulus:

 

  • They use lots of weight.
  • Necessitate that you spend a lot of energy psyching up
  • Require long warm-ups
  • Drain your body’s resources quickly while providing a negative return on hypertrophy.

 

Conventional deadlifts involve little eccentric loading, sumo deadlifts are just a way to move the most weight with the least mechanical work, and rack pulls are usually just an ego trip.

 

Long story short, they aren’t great choices to stimulate muscle gain, and they will fatigue you so much you won’t be able to do much else in your workout.

 

If you picked exercises with a better SFR, you could build more muscle more efficiently.

 

How to Evaluate SFR

Exercises that have a larger ROM place a big stretch on a muscle, require a high degree of skill, coordination, and stability, and it’s more challenging to recover.

 

As a rule of thumb, it is harder to recover from barbell work than dumbbell work.

 

Dumbbell movements are usually harder to recover from equivalents done with cables or fixed machines.

 

Perfect Does Not Exist

It’s important to understand nothing is perfect. There isn’t an exercise out that creates a muscle-building stimulus with zero fatigue.

 

  • To get results from training, you have to work hard.
  • Hard work guarantees fatigue.
  • You can’t eradicate fatigue, but you should try to maximize the stimulus for every unit of fatigue created.

 

Looking back at the exercises I identified as commonly included in a prospective client’s programs often means choosing Romanian deadlifts over conventional deadlifts and sumo deadlifts. And choosing rack pulls as superior for hamstring growth.

 

Too Much of a Good Thing

I’m a firm believer that compound barbell exercises should be at the foundation of your training. This does not mean that dumbbells, cables, machines, and isolation exercises are worthless.

 

We have been brainwashed into thinking the best exercises are compound barbell ones. At the same time, these are excellent exercises. They are not necessarily the best choice all of the time.

 

The best exercise is the one that best achieves the desired stimulation.

 

It must also take into account your physical capabilities at that moment. If you perform four exercises for quads in a leg workout, doing back squats, front squats, hack squats, and leg presses, it is brutal.

 

These are all undoubtedly great exercises that create high stimulus levels, but they also produce high fatigue levels.

 

After back squats, front squats, and hack squats, your legs will probably feel like jelly. Consequently, your performance on leg presses would probably be pathetic.

 

This fatigue negates their theoretical high stimulus value.

 

Being so drained from the three previous exercises means you wouldn’t be able to summon the required psychological willpower and effort level to create a meaningful stimulus on the leg press.

 

At this point, they are an exercise in generating fatigue for minimal stimulus.

 

Even if you could hype yourself up to give a decent effort on the leg press, there is a risk that you would drive fatigue levels so high that you’d blow right past your quads MRV.

 

You would dig yourself a massive recovery ditch that you would need to climb out of before your next leg session. That makes the sets of leg presses junk volume.

 

When you exceed a muscle group’s MRV, you have, by definition, exceeded its capacity to recover. The stimulus might be high, but fatigue is even higher.

 

That’s a crappy SFR ratio.

 

This fatigue will slow down your SRA curve and mean your legs probably will not recover for their next session. Picking those four compound lifts seems big and clever, but it is not. You would be exerting massive amounts of effort for diminished results.

 

A smarter choice in this example would be:

 

  1. Back squats
  2. Split squats
  3. Leg press
  4. Leg Extension

 

These exercises still create an adequate stimulus, but the fatigue generated is lower. You also transition from complex, multi-joint exercises, requiring high internal stability, to single-joint, machine-based exercises that provide external stability.

 

Taking advantage of external stability at the end of a session when you’re fatigued is a wise decision.

 

It means you can make the target muscle the limiting factor without wasting energy on stability and coordination.

 

When muscle gain is the goal, you want the target muscle to be the limiting factor, not your ability to remain upright.

 

Too Much Muscle Stimulus Drives Unsustainable Fatigue

Creating lots of tension in the stretched position of an exercise produces a powerful growth stimulus.

 

A 2014 study had two groups train with the same range of motion, but the group training at longer muscle lengths not only gained more muscle but retained more strength and size after a detraining period.

 

The stretch stimulus is a good reason to train with a full range of motion, but keep in mind some exercises can have the same range of motion but different levels of tension in the stretched position.

 

Also, remember that too much of a stimulus can drive fatigue to an unsustainable level. For this reason, the amount of muscle damage created by a given exercise should be considered when planning your training.

 

The stretch heavily influences muscle damage under load within an exercise. Taking the hamstrings as an example, you could compare Romanian deadlifts (RDL) and Lying Leg Curls.

 

The RDL places an extreme stretch under load on the hamstrings.

 

In layman’s terms, the weight feels the hardest and heaviest at the bottom when the muscle is fully lengthened. RDLs are an excellent choice, but you should be aware of the consequences of the extreme tension they create in the stretched position.

 

The RDL is a barbell lift that you can load heavily. It also taxes the glutes, spinal erectors, lats, grip and creates a ton of muscle damage.

 

  • Conversely, the Lying Leg Curl challenges the hamstrings in their fully shortened position, and there is relatively little stretch under load.
  • As a result, the hamstrings’ muscle soreness and SRA curve are longer when trained using RDLs than Lying Leg Curls.
  • Thus, you might only be able to train hamstrings once per week with heavy RDLs. You could increase frequency to two, or even three times a week, by utilizing Lying Leg Curls in other sessions.

 

Manage Relative Workout Intensity Against Recovery Reserves

Relative intensity is a measure of effort. It is often used on a set-by-set basis to rank how close to failure you got. Reps in reserve (RIR) are a widely used metric to assess this. Two RIR means you stopped a set with two reps in reserve. One RIR equals one in reserve; 0 RIR is when you couldn’t do any more reps.

 

Sometimes people approach relative intensity from a slightly different viewpoint; they focus on the perceived difficulty or exertion of a set or training session. This is known as a Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). On the RPE scale, a 10/10 effort is a maximal effort. It is the equivalent of 0 RIR.

 

The exact terminology of RIR versus RPE doesn’t really matter. The point is they are both useful ways to quantify your effort levels, the difficulty of a set, and your workout. These are all contributing factors to the relative intensity of your training.

 

Managing your relative intensity can be a useful tool to provide an effective training stimulus without digging too deep into your recovery reserves.

 

Train to Failure Occasionally

Imagine the most challenging session you’ve ever done. Every set is taken to failure. Maybe even some drop sets and forced reps thrown in for good measure. Recall how you felt during that session.

 

You were probably a sweaty, broken mess sprawled out on the floor, asking yourself why you put yourself through this torture voluntarily.

 

During the session, your muscles burning, and waves of nausea washed over you. In the end, you felt completely wiped out, and it took what seemed like an eternity for you to drag yourself out of the gym.

 

If we rank that as a 10/10 effort, I’d suggest you rarely hit a 10/10 to make the best gains possible. A 10/10 session can be beneficial if done occasionally, but it will lead you to exceed your capacity to recover when done all the time.

 

Instead of chasing a 10 every session, you probably want to hit an 8/10 most of the time. When the time calls and the progress dictates it, dip into the 9-10/10 range.

 

Go there occasionally, but don’t make it your default setting.

 

If you hang out in the 8/10 range on average, you know you are providing a challenge to the muscles, a stimulus to grow, and a stimulus from which you can recover.

 

  • Do this by taking most sets of compound free-weight exercises to 2-3 RIR.
  • Push machine-based compounds a little closer to failure by usually staying at 1-2 RIR.
  • Then go full send on single-joint exercises and regularly hit 0-1 RIR.

 

Doing this is still hard training. It is also smart. It allows for recovery. With recovery comes adaptation. Adaptation can be taken as progress in this context.

 

Progress in the weights you lifted, the number of reps you did, the overall number of sets you can do. Long story short, it means bigger and stronger muscles.

 

The benefits of regularly hitting an 8/10 training session are:

 

  • It provides an efficient stimulus.
  • Sessions can be completed in 45-70 mins, and you can carry on with your day after a quick shower and a bite to eat.
  • You can train frequently.
  • You reduce injury risk.
  • You do not generate a bunch of anxiety about how hard every visit to the gym is.
  • You make significant gains.

 

On the other hand, hitting 10/10 usually plays out as follows:

 

  • It provides a stimulus.
  • Sessions take 70-120 mins, and it takes you 20 mins just to gather yourself enough to get in the shower. Getting dressed happens in slow motion. Eating a meal…forget it you still feel sick. All told, it’s about an hour after the session before you feel vaguely human.
  • You can’t train as frequently–recovery takes a few more days, and the debilitating DOMS you get mean that training 3-4 x per week is the vaguely sustainable maximum (even that is pushing it).
  • You increase injury risk.
  • Most sessions require you to psych yourself up, use stimulants, and generate a ton of anxiety about how hard every gym visit is.
  • You will probably burn out or get injured or both.

 

Training like this every session is a false economy. It takes more than it gives and limits the overall training you can handle.

 

Less Overall Training = Less Gains

Exercise Training Program Design – Cook to Master Chef

To create a great program that delivers results and maximizes recovery, it is important to avoid thinking in a vacuum or viewing the world through a straw. All of the training variables are interlinked and have a knock-on effect on each other. Finding the ideal blend of all the variables is essential for outstanding results.

 

Factors to consider when piecing a training program together:

 

  • Your total and muscle-specific training volumes
  • Each muscle’s recovery timeframes
  • Exercise selection and SFR
  • Relative intensity

 

If you consider these factors when planning a program rather than just following a workout template, it will be like going from a cook to a chef. A cook follows a set recipe, and a chef uses their taste and judgment to make micro-adjustments that elevate a dish to award-winning levels.

 

They understand how all the ingredients complement each other and when a little more of one ingredient will make all the difference. This allows them to take the same ingredients and transform them into a Michelin star quality dish.

 

Understanding the training principles in this article can elevate you from a training cook to a master chef. You won’t have to follow program templates with your fingers crossed that they work.

 

Instead, you’ll know what you need to balance both stimulus and recovery to achieve outstanding results.



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7 Effective Tips For New CrossFitters



New crossfitters need to properly warm-up, know their limits, take rest when necessary, use the right equipment and stick to a healthy diet.

To gain perfect health and body, many people try different types of workouts. One of these training methods is CrossFit. There are several gyms that have CrossFit programs and many people are taking these lessons.

But what exactly is CrossFit training and how good is it?

What Is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a workout routine with high intensity. To cover up the intensity, there are intervals. This is extremely beneficial for those who are willing to improve their strength, stamina, and balance. 

As this is high-intensity training, it can also be seen as an excellent weight loss program. But it is hardly known for its weight loss factor, it is more about building your core strength.

CrossFit is the perfect exercise for those who want to gain an amazing body in a short time, but it has its toll on the body if you are not careful. 

As CrossFit is an extreme workout, most people do not know the proper routine. They either overdo using more weights than they can carry. That is likely to put a strain on their muscle and even cause serious injuries.

To provide you with the right training, you need the right coaches. Sometimes that can be difficult since not everyone focuses strictly on teaching CrossFit. 

You will also need to purchase the right equipment. CrossFit has its own set of equipment like the CrossFit shin guards, squat racks, squat stands, and plenty more.

Tips For The New Cross fitters

Now, as for the new crossfitters, things may not look easy at the beginning. There are many difficult exercises that you need to put yourself through. But before that, you need to know about a few things.

1. Know Your Limits

There are many weight scales for you to choose and lift. Some newcomers come here without knowing the full capacity of their muscle strength. So if they try to work out with a kettle beyond their capacity, they will fail.

Although pushing yourself beyond your limit is the whole deal with CrossFit training, that does not necessarily mean you need to injure yourself in the process. 

It is always advised to start from the bottom and work your way up. As you work with smaller weights, you will be building your strength and soon enough, you will be able to handle the heavyweights.

2. Find The Right Gym Coach

Coaches are the main helper in the journey to build your body. They will tell  you what to do, how many reps to complete per day, and how much rest needed to prepare yourself for the next day. 

They can carefully test your limits and based on that will make a workout routine for you. Furthermore, they will also provide you with a diet plan to follow for maximum benefit. 

Without a good coach or a gym trainer, you will absolutely have no idea. You will work out in an unplanned manner and stress out your body. That is why it is important to find the right coach.

3. Proper Warm-up

This is not just for CrossFit programs. Before you do any sort of heavy workouts, such as weight lifting or sprinting, you need a proper warm-up session. 

Since CrossFit is an extreme workout, you must have a warm-up session before you work out. Warm-ups include stretching, deep breathing, jumping, and anything that loosens up your blood vessels and allows more oxygen to your body.

4. Get Proper Rest

Just as work out is important for your body to grow, rest is also necessary for your muscles to recover. Without sufficient rest, muscles will not get repaired. You need at least 7-8 hours of sleep per day. 

Since you are working out, your body will be fatigued and if you force your body to stay awake, then not only are you damaging your muscles but also weakening your immune system.

5. Endure And Stay Dedicated

The first few days of the CrossFit program might seem easy. You will be given light objects, and you are to work out with them. But unfortunately, those are just to test your strength and stamina. 

The real workout begins after a few days, and the weight suddenly increases by a large number. This is the true essence of CrossFit training. Firmly believe that without any pain, there will be no gain. 

To undergo hardships the training throws at you, stay dedicated and climb the difficult ladder slowly. And after all the training, once you reach the summit, you will find new meaning in your life.

6. Have The Right Food To Eat

6. Have The Right Food To Eat

Just as working out and taking rests are necessary, so is the food you eat. You should eat a healthy diet that is full of lean protein like fish chicken, etc. Fat and sugary foods like candies, ice creams, juice are forbidden. 

You can occasionally eat red meat, but that needs to be on rare occasions.

7. Keep Record Of All Your Training

This is a great way to keep track of how much you have progressed. You can put valuable information here such as how long you have been working out, the average duration of your workout, the amount of weight you can lift, and so on. 

Record your progress and then aim for the next goal. This will also help you stay motivated. Whenever you feel down, just take a look at the notepad and see how far you have come.

Conclusion: Final Thoughts

CrossFit training aims to make your body and mind sharp. The workout routine may feel challenging and it is. But as you progress, things will get easier, and you will become more confident. Give it enough time and effort, and you will be rewarded.

-Terry Asher 

Terry Asher

After changing his best friend’s life by helping him lose over 70lbs, dropping him down to an amazing 7% body fat, Terry was inspired to be a full-time internet trainer knowing he could do the same for many more. In 2010, Terry published his own diet and fitness e-book that can be purchased on this website. Let Terry help you change your body for the better!

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7 Effective Tips For New CrossFitters

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Self-Love || Steps to Achieve your Best Self


Love is in the air!

When I think of February, I typically think, Valentine’s Day. It seems to be everywhere you go with hearts, flowers, special “Be Mine” gifts, and blissful couples posting about their love … Yes, for some Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to indulge in romance, but for others, it is just a day that could cause anxiety. Honestly, Valentine’s Day has a lot of commercial hype!

Whether you have a spouse, a significant other, or a special friend, showing someone you love them should occur everyday – not just Valentine’s Day – especially the love you show for yourself! This is the most important love affair of them all.

Putting the big V-Day aside, let us welcome in those warm fuzzies with an open mind and heart so that you feel strong and confident in your everyday!

WHAT IS SELF-LOVE & SELF-CARE?

Self-love is plain and simple. It is the act of loving yourself by accepting your imperfections, your weaknesses, and anything that contributes to your own well-being for happiness.

Self-care is the way we care for our mental, physical, and emotional health. It’s through activities we do daily to achieve our best selves. Self-care is how we show ourselves self-love.

The most important love is the love you have for yourself. If you truly love who you are, your energy will shine, and you will be able to love others in return. Practicing self-love and self-care offers you the same respect and care you give to others.

Now more than ever, it’s important to develop good self-care habits through a consistent routine.

7 Steps to Practice Self-love Daily

Practicing self-love is a practice that will evolve over time. Be open to making mistakes and learn from them so you can mature and flourish. Here’s a few steps to help you develop a consistent self-loving routine.

1. Recognize & Accept your Emotions
We all have those days where we’re not in the best mood. Let’s face it, no-one is happy all the time nor are they the best version of themselves at every moment. It’s important to acknowledge that you may have an ‘off day or week’ and this could create a variety of not so pleasant moods. When this happens, recognize your emotions, accept them, and then learn from them so you can take care of yourself.

2. Self Talk
Self-talk is the inner dialogue that constantly runs through our heads. Usually this happens unconsciously and is often expressed through our subconscious in thoughts and feelings. The self-talk can sometimes be negative which leads to self-doubt or lack of confidence. When you start to feel anxious or caught up in your head, tell yourself good things that encourage you that it’s going to be ok! For example, when you wake, tell yourself a positive affirmation, “I CAN do this and I WILL”.

3. Nourish Well
You have heard the saying, “you are what you eat”. How can you expect to feel your best if you don’t eat good foods? Nourishing your body with the right foods contribute to how you feel, energetically and physically. Caring for yourself starting with fueling your body with an array of colorful fruits and vegetables, along with proper hydration. When you eat well, your body will feel well and you will have the energy to function optimally.

4. Exercise Daily
Do you feel anxious or get moody when you don’t get a daily workout dose? That’s because it’s linked into our mood and plays a roll on our physical and mental health. Exercise boosts endorphins and helps to release stress. Exercising doesn’t have to be so challenging that you’re sore for days. Rather, it can be simple and enjoyable like going for a walk, dancing to your favorite song, or just moving your muscles to facilitate blood flow. A few dedicated minutes a day will help strengthen your mental and physical health. Also, exercise because your body deserves love, respect, and healthy attention. Not because you have to.

5. Rest Up
We’ve all heard it many times: Get more rest, take a break, get more sleep. There is no doubt that most of us underestimate the importance of getting enough rest. When we are super busy or stressed, we tend to try to race the clock to squeeze everything in, which may cause your sleep cycle to take the hit. Lack of sleep negatively affects your mental and physical health. Getting enough sleep is paramount to keeping at the top of your game so that your mental and physical body functions optimally.

6. Commit to Yourself
As with any endeavor, it doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time, patience, and a commitment to yourself. Self-love is a process that takes effort to be kind to yourself. It’s not about instant gratification or a quick fix to brighten the moment (example; retail therapy!) It’s great in the moment to ‘fix’ your mood, but try to be mindful that self-love is a dedicated commitment to you, the one and only!

7. Take Time for You
It’s a wonderful characteristic to be the care giver, the social light, or the one everyone depends upon, but this constant care for others leaves no time to care for yourself. Carving out a daily ‘me time’ will not only make you feel accomplished, but it will give yourself priority to feel good. It’s not selfish to prioritize alone time- it’s necessary to feel self worth and respect to yourself. When taking time for yourself, be mindful that you don’t need to be doing anything specific. This is a time that you are able to reflect inward and rejuvenate you!

SELF-LOVE WORKOUT || BOOST YOUR INNER STRENGTH

As a tribute to Valentine’s Day, let’s give yourself some extra love with a fun workout you can perform on your Total Gym. This movement session contains a balance of the three main pillars of fitness: cardio, strength, and flexibility. The workout will get your endorphins flowing and contribute to making your entire body feel strong and confident.

DIRECTIONS

• Perform each segment in circuit format, with little to no rest between exercises.
• Perform each circuit 1-2 sets, then move to the next circuit.
• Choose to perform by reps (10-15 reps/ exercise) or timed intervals (45-60 secs/ exercise)
• Example; perform the Cardio Circuit for 1-2 sets, then move to the Strength Circuit for 1-2 sets, and finish with the Flexibility moves.
• Take your time when performing the Flexibility exercises. Move into the stretch slowly and breathe into your comfortable range of motion.

CARDIO

No accessories, low- medium incline

1. Incline Jack – Plank Slide
2. Mountain Climber – Push-Up
3. Plyo Squats (on floor)

Repeat

STRENGTH

No accessories, low-medium incline

1. Reverse Lunge
2. Inner Thigh Slides
3. Straight leg lowers

Repeat

Attach Cable, adjust incline to your strength level

1. Torso Chops (R/L)
2. V – Curl – Y

Repeat

FLEXIBILITY

No accessories, low- medium incline

1. Runners Lunge
2. Figure 4
3. Forward Fold / Childs Pose

Be sure to check out the video demonstration to see how to perform the Self-love exercises on your Total Gym.

Reminder, let your self-love shine by caring for yourself. A great way to work on this is to move, dance, or sing out loud … Love will show you the way! Referring to the famous “LOVE” song by Nat King Cole…

L – is for the way you LOOK at your self.
O – is for the ONLY one you see you call me.
V – is because you are VERY extra ordinary
E – is because you mean EVEN more than anyone that you can adore!

Love is all you can give to yourself everyday!

Best Always,
Maria

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Ms. Olympia Andrea Shaw Feels ‘Liberated’ After Move to Bodybuilding


One of the big stories in women’s bodybuilding in the last couple of years has been the influx of physique competitors who have moved up to compete with the big girls – and have been spectacularly successful.

Andrea Shaw, the 2020 Ms. Olympia winner, made the transition from physique to bodybuilding in 2019. MayLa Ash, Asha Hadley and Reshanna Boswell followed in Shaw’s footsteps last year and all placed in the top 10 at the Ms. Olympia, which returned for the first time since 2014.

When these athletes talk about making the transition from women’s physique to women’s bodybuilding, they all describe it in the same way: as a liberating experience.

“Crossing over into female bodybuilding has been such an empowering, accepting and freeing journey for me,” Ash wrote on Instagram at the end of an amazing year that ended with her placing fourth at the Ms. Olympia in December.

A big part of why it feels so liberating is that, after deciding to switch from women’s physique to women’s bodybuilding, competitors no longer feel as if they have to hold themselves back and they can allow their bodies to grow and improve and fulfill their
potential. As athletes, they inevitably get to a point where they are struggling to stop becoming too dense or muscular for women’s physique. Switching to women’s bodybuilding removes those constraints. “It was like a burden was lifted,” says Shaw,
who also won the Rising Phoenix in 2020. “Now, if my body wants to grow, I can let it grow!”

Like Shaw, Ash had gotten to the point in which she was too muscular for women’s physique. But after switching to women’s bodybuilding, she was able to train heavier and push herself more. It was only after she saw how her body responded that she
realized how much she had been holding back as a physique competitor. Now she says she is “beyond excited” to see her body develop further.

Hadley had a slightly different experience. She had competed in the Olympia as women’s physique competitor in 2016 – at 5-foot-7, she weighed 160 pounds onstage – and then took a few years off. But she had always admired female bodybuilders, and when she decided to make a comeback last year, it was always going to be in women’s bodybuilding. She won the Savannah Pro in her female bodybuilding debut last August and describes it as “the best choice I ever made.”

Courtesy of Wings of Strength

A lot of competitors who decide to make the transition to women’s bodybuilding have to train heavier and more intensely and to work on bringing up body parts that normally would be “less developed” in women’s physique. That often means putting more size on
their legs to be able to stand next to the top female bodybuilders. Shaw and Ash also both say they never trained arms as physique competitors. Now they do — and they say they are loving it.

It is not just in the gym but also onstage that competitors feel like they are being set free when they move up to women’s bodybuilding. “In women’s physique I never truly showed my size when I posed,” says Ash. “But as a female bodybuilder, I don’t have to
hold back anymore.” She remembers how exhilarating it was when she won the New York Pro, in her female bodybuilding debut. “I was fully extending my lats, I was fully flexing my biceps, I was fully showing the conditioning of my legs and glutes. I was not holding back because I didn’t have to anymore. It was so liberating and so freeing!”

Shaw had a similar experience. But she says she had to make a mental adjustment and learn how to pose like a female bodybuilder. She remembers how, backstage after the Rising Phoenix in 2019, her second show as a female bodybuilder, Margie Martin told
her: “Be big!” What that meant, Andrea explains, was “a mindfulness to squeeze harder, show those biceps, show those legs, because they are big, and they need to be big!”

The word Hadley uses to describe how it feels to pose as a female bodybuilder is “empowering.” “You don’t have to worry about posing a certain way to hide the muscle that you have,” she says. “It’s just about trying to express it as much as you can.” She
says she really felt it during the posedown at the Olympia. “It was all of us up there showing our best and having fun and getting to really flex and show off what we wanted to show off.”

There are probably more physique competitors who are now thinking about moving up to women’s bodybuilding — especially after seeing Shaw win the Rising Phoenix and the Olympia last year. Her advice is this: “If you are women’s physique competitor and
you carry a lot of dense muscle, make the move!”

MayLa emphasizes that the key is to know if you are ready. She recommends getting feedback from judges or experts, as she did before deciding to move up to women’s bodybuilding last year.

Asha says the most important thing is not to be deterred by stereotypes about female bodybuilders. “Don’t get caught up in the label or the stigma,” she says. “If you see that you’re looking bigger than the rest, and you look like to lift, and you get that feedback
from the judges that you’re pretty muscular, women’s bodybuilding is probably where you belong.”

Female-Bodybuilder-Mayla-Ash-Posing-At-A-Female-Bodybuilding-Competition
Courtesy of Wings of Strength

Almost all of the physique competitors that have switched to women’s bodybuilding talk about that sense of having found a place where they belong. “I am a female bodybuilder,” says Andrea. “This is where I fit.” MayLa says almost exactly the same thing: “I know that I’m a female bodybuilder. I know this is where I’m supposed to be.”

Perhaps the most beautiful image that captures how physique competitors feel about crossing over into women’s bodybuilding was from a comment made by MayLa. “It may sound odd, but the only way I can describe how it feels to be a part of women’s bodybuilding is that I’m home,” she says. “I feel like in this division I’ve finally made it home.”



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Creative Ways to Earn ACE Continuing Education Credits


Rather than looking at learning as something they “have” to do, successful people in every industry view it as an opportunity to learn something new and exciting that will either help them in their business or help their customers benefit more from their services (ideally, both). For health coaches and exercise professionals, this could mean anything from courses on sales and marketing to a specialty certificate in communication and behavior change. When chosen well, continuing education allows you to build on your current skill set or broaden your skills into entirely new areas. 

ACE offers a wide selection of continuing education opportunities. From ACE Specialty Programs and the ACE CEC Club to offerings from some of the most respected educators from around the globe, there’s something for everyone.

You may be surprised to learn that ACE also offers the opportunity to acquire continuing education credits (CECs) through some nontraditional channels. Here are creative ideas for earning CECs:

Up to 2.0 CECs

  • Pass another ACE certification exam: Earn 2.0 CECs for successfully passing an additional ACE certification exam.
  • Pass college courses from an accredited college/university with a grade ‘C’ or higher: Courses must be relevant to your ACE certification. University extension classes do not automatically qualify for CECs; however, you may petition for approval. Semester = 1.0 CEC per unit. Quarter = 0.8 CECs per unit.

Up to 0.5 CECs

  • Give professional presentations: You may earn up to 0.5 CECs for a fitness-related professional presentation or lecture at a convention or symposium.
  • Write a correspondence course: To qualify, you must be the sole author for all learning objectives, course content and the correspondence exam.
  • Obtain another fitness certification: ACE offers CECs for earning all current National Committee for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)–accredited fitness certifications.
  • Get published: You may earn 0.1 CEC for each published article in a fitness-related periodical, 0.2 CECs for each published chapter in a fitness-related book, and 0.5 CECs for any published fitness-related book or research paper in a peer-reviewed journal. The publication date must coincide with your renewal period.

Up to 0.2 CECs

  • Take part in a clinical observation: You may earn 0.2 CECs by observing clinical procedures or surgeries related to your certification.
  • Complete paid internships relevant to your ACE certification: You can up to 0.2 CECs for completing a paid internship. For internships completed to earn college credit, see the college course information in the “Up to 2.0 CECs” section above. If your internship is in conjunction with a college course, you cannot receive additional CECs for the internship if you’ve already received CECs for the course.

0.1 CEC

  • Participate in community outreach: You can earn 0.1 CEC per renewal cycle by participating in a fitness-related event in your community.

Take a look at How To Develop a Continuing Education Strategy for additional thoughts on your professional development.

ACE has created a course for Personal Trainers and Group Fitness Instructors to help navigate your next steps as an ACE Certified PRO. Check out these 1 credit hour courses to learn more about how to set up your career and clients for success.

ACE Group Fitness Instructors

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Shawarma-Spiced Chickpea Bowls



Toasted chickpeas and refreshing veggies atop lemony salted Greek yogurt. A perfectly balanced, protein and fiber-filled lunch!

The post Shawarma-Spiced Chickpea Bowls appeared first on Under Armour.

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Bulletin: A New Type of Curcumin


Regular versions of curcumin have huge bioavailability issues. Sure, studies involving rats show acceptable absorption, but we human-types metabolize curcumin 4 to 16 times more quickly than rats, which changes the outcome for us.

Consider the following obstacles a dose of curcumin has to face when ingested:

  • Ordinary curcumin isn’t soluble in the acidic pH of the stomach. When it reaches the neutral or alkaline environment of the large intestine, much of it is made water-soluble and converted into inactive waste by glucuronidation, which is how the body rids itself of most pollutants and drugs.
  • Some of the raw curcumin makes it through the large intestine intact, but then it’s subjected to further metabolism by the colon’s bacteria.
  • A small amount eventually gets absorbed into the bloodstream, but much of it gets metabolized by liver cells and unceremoniously excreted through bile.

All of this means you can take as many as six or more capsules of ordinary curcumin and you wouldn’t be able to find even a trace of its free form circulating in the bloodstream an hour later.

Thankfully, UCLA scientists figured out a solution that protects curcumin and delivers optimal free-from amounts into the body.

Solid Lipid Curcumin Particles

Biotest previously increased bioavailability by combining super-pure curcumin with the glucuronidation inhibitor piperine. The curcumin/piperine formula increased absorption by roughly 20 times that of raw curcumin and was, in its time, the best science could do.

But there’s been a big breakthrough. UCLA neuroscientists discovered how to make what they call “solid lipid curcumin particles.”

In simplest terms, the process consists of gently coating curcumin with lipids (DHA, lecithin, and stearic acid) to form a micelle soup, which is then dried into a free-form powder. To conceptualize this, just think of a ball of curcumin molecules entirely surrounded by protective lipid molecules, kind of like a microscopic blackberry, only rounder and golden-colored.

These curcumin micelles survive the acidic pH of the stomach. They laugh in the face of glucuronidation and scoot into the small intestine long before the colon’s bacteria even wake up for breakfast.

The end result is a 95-times increase in free-curcumin blood concentration, along with a much longer activity. You can take a single 400-mg capsule and rest easy because it keeps working for 24 hours.

And none of this is theoretical. Solid lipid curcumin particles were thoroughly tested in humans. The results were compiled, analyzed, written up, and submitted for peer review, culminating in a patent.

Biotest incorporated these solid lipid curcumin particles into its new Micellar Curcumin™ formula.

What Does It Do?

Curcumin helps increase HDL, decrease total cholesterol and triglycerides, and promotes healthy arteries. Curcumin even improves muscle recovery, suppresses normal workout-induced inflammation, increases exercise performance, and even potentially raises testosterone levels by acting as an anti-aromatase.

And keep in mind that all of these findings are attributed to regular curcumin. But if you want to FULLY tap into curcumin’s wide range of real benefits, whether they’re health-related or sports and joint-health related, Biotest’s Micellar Curcumin™ supplement is the inarguable choice.


The patented curcumin material has over 50 human, pre-clinical, and review papers in publication to support its efficacy, many of which are referenced and synopsized below.

Solid Lipid Curcumin Particle Studies

  • Cox KHM et al. Further evidence of benefits to mood and working memory from lipidated curcumin [solid lipid curcumin particles] in healthy older people: A 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, partial replication study. Nutrients. 2020 Jun 04. 12(6): 1678. DOI: 10.3390/nu12061678. ABSTRACT: A partial replication study by researchers at Swinburne University reveals [lipidated curcumin] improves aspects of mood, memory, and working memory in a healthy older cohort. The pattern of results is consistent with improvements in hippocampal function and may hold promise for alleviating cognitive decline in some populations. This study examined a similar population with slightly elevated cognitive abilities, while eliciting similar results to the first clinical published in 2014 – see Cox KH et al, 2014.
  • Esfahani K et al. A phase I open prospective cohort trial of curcumin plus tyrosine kinase inhibitors for EGFR-mutant advanced non-small cell lung. J Clin Oncol. 2019. 37(15_suppl): e20611-e20611. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2019.37.15_suppl.e20611. ABSTRACT: This study further provides evidence that short-term use of [solid lipid curcumin particles] in patients is feasible and safe. Researchers report high treatment adherence and improved quality of life with curcumin. These findings, as well as efficacy data and the effect of curcumin on other inflammation-associated biomarkers, warrant investigation in a larger phase 2 study.
  • Scholey A et al. Curcumin improves hippocampal function in healthy older adults: A three month randomized controlled trial. Poster Presentation in: 13th European Nutrition Conference – Malnutrition in an Obese World: European Perspectives (FENS). Dublin, Ireland. 2019: P3-01-02. ABSTRACT: Additional results confirm that [solid lipid curcumin particles] improves aspects of mood, memory, and working memory in a healthy older cohort. The pattern of results is consistent with improvements in hippocampal function and may hold promise for alleviating cognitive decline in some populations.
  • Scholey A et al. A highly bioavailable curcumin extract improves neurocognitive function and mood in healthy older people: A 12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (OR32-05-19). Current Dev Nut. 2019 Jun. Poster Presentation. Volume 3(Issue Supplement 1): nzz052.OR32—05—19. DOI: 10.1093/cdn/nzz052.OR32-05-19. ABSTRACT: Previously, researchers at Swinburne University showed significant improvements in measures of memory, attention, fatigue, stress, and mood (Cox KH et al, 2015). This trial was a follow up to the results previously seen in 1 and 3 hrs and in 4-weeks. The results of this second trial further confirm that a single daily dose of 400mg of [solid lipid curcumin particles] improves aspects of mood and working memory in healthy older adults, with measures at 12-weeks.
  • Gupte PA et al. Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of capsule (solid lipid curcumin particles) in knee: A pilot clinical study. J Inflamm Res. 2019. 12: 145-152. DOI: 10.2147/JIR.S205390. ABSTRACT: A comparative examination of [solid lipid curcumin particles] showed that administration was not only faster-acting and safe, but had equal efficacy to the control.
  • Koronyo Y et al. Retinal amyloid pathology and proof-of-concept imaging trial. JCI Insight. 2017. 2(16). DOI: 10.1172/jci.insight.93621. ABSTRACT: A proof-of-concept retinal imaging trial showing increased fluorescent intensity in retinal amyloid deposits and the highest brain concentrations of free curcumin obtained with [solid lipid curcumin particles]. This trial confirmed one more time the ability of [solid lipid curcumin particles] to deliver free curcumin to targeted tissues, more specifically the brain and retina, and to support cognitive and complete neuronal health. *Winner of NutraIngredients-USA Nutrition Research Project of the Year 2019 for ground-breaking initiatives as “most innovative and impactful nutrition research project pushing the boundaries of nutritional science.”
  • Santos-Parker JR et al. Curcumin supplementation improves vascular endothelial function in healthy middle-aged and older adults by increasing nitric oxide bioavailiability and reducing oxidative stress. Aging. 2017 Jan. 3. Vol 9(No1): 187-208.
  • McFarlin et al. Reduced inflammatory and muscle damage biomarkers following oral supplementation with bioavailable curcumin. University of North Texas. BBA Clinical. 2016 Feb 18. 5: 72-78. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbacli.2016.02.003. ABSTRACT: Collectively, the findings demonstrated that consumption of [solid lipid curcumin particles] (400mg/day) reduced key inflammatory biomarkers during recovery after exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). The observed improvements in biological inflammation may translate to faster recovery and improved functional capacity during subsequent exercise sessions.
  • Santos-Parker JR et al. Curcumin supplement improves vascular endothelial function in middle-aged and older adults. Geront. 2015 Dec. 55(Suppl 2): 195. DOI: 10.1093/geront/gnv554.01. ABSTRACT: [Solid lipid curcumin particles] administered at a dose of 2000mg/day (n=16), or placebo (n=13) for 12 weeks increased brachial artery flow-mediation dilation (FMDba) by 34% and forearm blood flow in response to incremental brachial artery infusions of acetylcholine (FBFach) by 44% in middle-aged and older (MA/O) adults (45-74 yrs). Findings support supplementation with [solid lipid curcumin particles] improves endothelial-dependent dilation (EDD) in MA/O adults mediated, in part, by an increase in nitric oxide bioavailability.
  • Rafii MS et al. The biomarker initiative DSBI pilot: Proof of concept for deep phenotyping of biomarkers. Front Behav Neurosci. 2015. 9: 1-11. ABSTRACT: Retina, being part of the CNS, has previously been difficult to analyze directly; however, retinal amyloid imaging could now be a tool to demonstrate the presence of plaques in the brain in a non-invasive manner. In line with previous findings, this study supports [solid lipid curcumin particles] quickly labeling retinal beta amyloid and inducing fluorescent plaque in the neural layers of the retina of humans.
  • Cox KH et al. Investigation of the effects of solid lipid curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population. Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University. J Psychopharmacol. 2015 May. Vol 29(No 5): 642-651. DOI: 10.1177/0269881114552744. ABSTRACT: This landmark study is one of the first to show a curcumin supplement improves cognitive function in healthy subjects. The trial recruited 60 subjects aged 60-80, and found daily [solid lipid curcumin particles] (400mg) supplementation led to significant improvements in cognitive function versus the placebo group. Excellent safety was reported, including no dropouts or reports of gastrointestinal upset. Significant improvements were observed in measures for memory, attention, fatigue, stress, and mood in as little as one hour after the first dose.
  • Hazarey VK et al. Efficacy of curcumin in the treatment for oral health — A randomized clinical trial. Government Dental College and Hospital. Nagpur, Maharashtra, India. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol. 2015. 19: 145-52. DOI: 10.4103/0973-029X.164524. ABSTRACT: A randomized, controlled clinical trial in 30 clinically diagnosed patients with OSF concluded that [solid lipid curcumin particles] lozenges could be effective in combination strategies for the management of OSF in comparison to single therapeutic modality. In this study, 15 OSF patients in each group (test & control) were treated with either [solid lipid curcumin particles] lozenges (400 mg lozenges for total daily dose of 2 g) or Tenovate ointment (clobetasol propionate (0.05%)). The treatment was given for 3 months and follow-up was done for 6 months.
  • Machida N et al. Effects of Solid, Lipid Curcumin Particles on alcohol metabolism – An expiatory and a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group crossover study. Jpn Pharmacol Ther. 2020 Apr. 48(5): 867-873. ABSTRACT: This study further provides evidence that Longvda® curcumin is safe and efficacious. Previously examined in 2014, and recently published, researchers report reduced side effects typically associated with alcohol consumption and suggest that [solid lipid curcumin particles] may offer liver health support through the acceleration of ethanol and acetaldehyde metabolism.
  • Frost S et al. Retinal amyloid fluorescence imaging predicts cerebral amyloid burden. Alz Dement. 2014. 10(4): P234-P235. ABSTRACT: Retinal A-beta plaques are similar to plaques in the brain. [Solid lipid curcumin particles’] ability to cross the BBB and its affinity for binding to amyloid beta have led to its use as a novel, more cost-effective alternative and imaging tool for screening through the eyes.
  • DiSilvestro et al. Diverse effects of a low-dose supplement of lipidated curcumin [solid lipid curcumin particles] in healthy middle-aged people. The Ohio State University. Nutr. J. 2012 Sep 26. 11(79). DOI: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-79. ABSTRACT: This study is believed to be the first curcumin trial in healthy people to show improvement in a number of key biomarkers related to healthy aging. Randomized, placebo-controlled study in 39 subjects showing excellent safety as well as significant improvements in markers supporting cognitive health, cardiovascular health, and anti-aging versus placebo.
  • Khattry N et al. Curcumin decreases cytokine levels involved in mucositis in autologous transplant setting: A pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic study. Poster presented at 54thAmerican Society of Hematology (ASH) Annul Meeting. Atlanta, GA. 2012 Dec 08. Blood. 120(21): 3039. ABSTRACT: The absorption and efficacy of [solid lipid curcumin particles] in lozenge form in a common oral inflammatory and fibrotic condition was tested compared to the standard of care (clobetasol steroid ointment). Subjects taking [solid lipid curcumin particles] observed improvements in endpoints significantly better than those receiving steroid treatment; and therapeutic plasma levels were detected through buccal absorption.
  • Shah et al. Acute human pharmacokinetics of a lipid-dissolved turmeric extract. Planta Med. 2012. 48-PH5. ABSTRACT: This study concluded that a dose as low as 200mg of [solid lipid curcumin particles] reaches blood levels of free curcumin required for healthy brain aging. Analyzed blood samples with and without the use of glucuronidase enzyme, finding very little of the glucuronidated form compared to previous studies on curcumin.
  • Pharmacokinetics of [solid lipid curcumin particles]: Dose-concentration correlation. Unpublished, UCLA 2011-2012. ABSTRACT: Pilot studies demonstrating absorption and metabolism of [solid lipid curcumin particles] using various dosage forms.
  • Gota et al. Safety and pharmacokinetics of a solid lipid curcumin particle formulation in patients and healthy volunteers. Tata Memorial Cancer Centre. J Ag Food Chem. 2010. 58(4): 2095-2099. ABSTRACT: Human bioavailability study demonstrating significantly greater plasma levels of free (unconjugated) curcumin after a single dose of [solid lipid curcumin particles] in both healthy and disease states with 65x greater Cmax and >100x greater AUC than 95% curcuminoids.
  • [Solid lipid curcumin particles] binds to amyloid in human CNS after a single dose. Unpublished.
  • A phase 1 open-label prospective cohort trial of curcumin plus tyrosin kinase inhibitors for EGFR-mutant advanced NSCLC. McGill U & Jewish General Hospital, Canada, Ongoing.
  • Curcumin and yoga exercise effects in veterans at risk. UCLA, Ongoing.

Thank you for spending your time with us on My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed checking out this post involving current Exercise & Fitness news called “Bulletin: A New Type of Curcumin”. This article was presented by MyLocalPages as part of our local news services.

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