HOW CAFFEINE HELPS AFTER ENDURANCE CYCLING


It’s been shown that consuming caffeine can help reduce muscle pain during exercise. A new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looks at its potential to help reduce muscle pain after a 164 km endurance cycling event.

Subjects got 3 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight or a placebo immediately after finishing the ride and also for the next 4 mornings and 3 afternoons. Caffeine improved lower body function only during the first day, but helped reduce rates of perceived muscle soreness during afternoons for all 4 days of recovery.

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REST INTERVALS FOR FAILURE TRAINING


You’ve no doubt heard the legendary weight room proclamation, ‘Go heavy or go home’. In fact, lifting heavy isn’t the only way to build muscle size and strength. So now the question becomes what’s the ideal rest interval for low-load failure training? A study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine attempts to find an answer.

Fourteen subjects performed reps to failure on different exercises using 40% of their one rep max. Some rested 30 seconds between sets while others rested 150 seconds. All of these volunteers trained twice weekly.

After 8 weeks, triceps size increased an average of 9.8% for the short rest group and 10.6% for subjects who rested longer. Thigh size increased 5.7% with short rest and 8.3% with the longer rest interval. Bench press one rep max increased 9.9% with short rest and 6.5% with a longer interval. Squat one rep max increased 5.2% with short rest and 5.4% with the longer interval.

IN-SEASON UPHILL SPRINT TRAINING


If you’re a team sport athlete already competing in your season, a study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness might be of interest to you. The findings will give you some idea of the performance enhancements that are possible with a short duration uphill sprint training program.

Researchers had 14 college aged male soccer players run a 3 KM time trial. They also performed agility and intermittent recovery tests. Half of these subjects were assigned to an experimental protocol where they ran 10 sets of 10-second sprints up a 7% incline with a minute of rest between sets. These intervals were added to their regular in-season training twice weekly for 6 weeks.

Compared to measurements taken before starting the uphill sprint program, agility improved by around 3% and there was a 10% average improvement in strength. Time trial performance was around 4% faster after uphill sprints, and oxygen consumption improved by an average of 3%.

BETWEEN SETS REST FOR POWER TRAINING


Resting too long between sets can reduce the effectiveness of your power development workout. It’s also an easy way to annoy people waiting their turn on the equipment. If you’re not sure how to plan this element of your weight training, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research offers some guidelines to consider.

The peak power output of 18 men and 20 women was used to group subjects by strength. Then all subjects did 5 sets of bench throws for 8 reps using 40% of their 1 rep max. Factoring in reported rates of perceived exertion, ability to maintain power output and muscle soreness 48 hours after training, stronger subjects only needed 2 minutes of between sets rest while weaker subjects required 3 minutes.

PACING A 4-MINUTE TIME TRIAL


Pacing a marathon is going to be a lot different from the way you’d approach a 4-minute run. For those who compete in shorter-distance track events, a study published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance offers some practical pacing advice.

On separate occasions, researchers had 5 male and 5 female recreational runners compete in a series of 4-minute time trials on a motor-driven treadmill. Although there were no significant differences between events, with the distance covered ranging from 1,137 meters to 1,090 meters, the best performances tended to begin with aggressive pacing during the first 2 minutes.

FITNESS LEVEL, IRON STATUS & GPA


Being a fit female with normal iron levels can make a difference of 0.34 in your grade point average (GPA). That could be enough to bump you up one letter grade. The study conducted by Penn State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was published in The Journal of Nutrition.

Researchers analyzed data on 105 female college students with an average GPA of 3.68. Subjects who were fit and had the highest levels of stored iron tended to have higher grades than unfit subjects with iron deficiency. Consider that iron helps transport oxygen in the blood. Iron deficiency has also been associated with fatigue and a reduced capacity for work.