Improvements in muscle size and strength aren’t realized during exercise. That happens during recovery. Milk and other formulations of dairy products have been shown to support this process with amino acids from protein, but what about active adults who are sensitive to lactose? A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests that special formulations might produce similar results.
Researchers had 10 healthy young men take part in 3 glycogen-depleting cycling sessions a week apart. After each session, subjects got 2 hours to recover before saddling up for a ride to exhaustion at 70% of exercise capacity. During that recovery window they were given water, lactose-free milk or a sports drink. After drinking milk, subjects were able to ride an average of 70 minutes before reaching exhaustion. It was about 52 minutes with a sports drink and 36 minutes with water.
True Strength Moment: From these results, it appears that essential amino acids from a complete dairy protein help with recovery whether lactose is present or not. If you’re sensitive to this component of milk and milk-based products, find a formulation with low to no lactose to see if it supports recovery from your workouts.
In case you haven’t heard, beets have been causing a buzz in the sports nutrition world lately, thanks to their performance-enhancing potential and mega health benefits, like lowering blood pressure and fighting certain types of cancers. Read on to learn how beets can improve your workout and overall health.
How it Works
Vegetables, such as beets and beetroot, naturally contain chemicals called nitrates. Yes, nitrates have developed a bad reputation for being used as a preservative in junk foods, such as hot dogs and lunchmeat, but when organically occurring in vegetables, it becomes a powerhouse ingredient. Continue reading
Most weight loss diets focus on cutting calories from carbohydrates, fats or both. Your body needs carbs for energy and fats for a variety of metabolic functions, so trying to completely eliminate either from your diet probably isn’t an feasible long-term approach. The trick is selecting the right types, and a study published in the journal PLOS ONE has a suggestion for carbohydrate energy.
Using lab rats as subjects, University of California – Berkeley researchers put some on a high-fat diet supplemented with clarified no pulp grapefruit juice. Other rats got a low-fat diet supplemented with grapefruit juice, and a control group drank water with meals. Compared to water-drinking rodents, the high-fat group that got grapefruit juice gained about 18% less weight. They also had improved levels of glucose and insulin.
True Strength Moment: Although rats on the low-fat diet didn’t lose any weight they did realize a significant decrease in insulin levels. In any event, enjoying a glass of grapefruit juice with a balanced breakfast can help provide carbohydrate energy for taking your workout to the next level, whether or not there’s any support for your weight loss or weight management goals.
In addition to cardiovascular conditioning and strength development, it’s a good idea to include regular flexibility training in your workouts. But there have been studies showing how stretching can have a negative impact on muscular strength. A new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looks at the impact of alternating flexibility and strength training on different days.
Twenty-eight female volunteers in their mid-40s were assessed for strength and flexibility before taking part in a 12-week program. Some trained only strength, others worked only on flexibility. The rest combined strength and flexibility, starting with either 60 minutes of dynamic stretching or doing sets using their 10 rep max on the bench press and leg press on alternating days. All groups realized improved lower body strength, and all but the flexibility only group improved on the bench press. The combined groups didn’t gain as much strength as the strength only group, but the order of exercises didn’t matter.
True Strength Moment: Whether these results apply to younger women or males of any age isn’t known, but team sports athletes and even weekend warriors can all benefit from improved flexibility. If you have to work a little harder to bring up your strength there’s a good chance it’ll be worth the effort.
Are stronger, more physically fit overweight people healthier than adults of a similar body weight who don’t hit the weight room? An interesting study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise suggests that in terms of general health, they might be on a par with normal weight active adults.
Researchers divided 90 young male subjects into three groups: Fit overweight, inactive overweight and fit normal weight. Both fit groups lifted weights 4 days per week, and the fit overweight guys had as much fat mass on average as subjects in the inactive overweight group. After assessing markers of cardiovascular and metabolic health, the fit overweight guys compared favorably to fit normal weight guys.
True Strength Moment: This doesn’t mean it’s okay to be overweight. Glucose and insulin measurements were both lower in normal weight subjects compared to either of the overweight groups. But being a gym regular can make a difference even if you’re having a hard time dropping the pounds.