Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Working Out in the Heat

If you’ve ever worked out in a hot gym – indoors or out – you know that your workouts are different when it’s hot. You rest more often, get tired more easily and sweat a lot. You also know that it can kill your working intensity and, by extension, your muscle growth.

So what can you do? Researchers have the answer.

To overcome the effects of heat on your thermoregulation – your core body temperature – you can take specific measures: heat acclimation and nutritional intervention.

Regarding heat acclimation, researchers recommend working your way “into” the heat – not working with your usual intensity and volume, but starting with lighter weights, more sets at a higher volume and increasing your intra-workout rest times. By gradually building intensity into your workout as it progresses, you prevent early workout performance breakdown.

The most effective nutritional intervention is, as always, fluid replacement – and fluid drinks containing few calories and moderate amounts of glucose and sodium are best.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: When you’re working in the heat – indoors or out – you have to adapt. Don’t just jump in and train like normal because you’ll get tired in a hurry. Instead, work your way into the heat, listening to your body as you continue to work. And, drink plenty of fluids to offset your fluid loss from sweating. Make sure your drink is light and contains not just glucose but also sodium – a key electrolyte. Nothing will help take away the effects of heat altogether, but these two protocols will ensure you get the best bang for your buck!

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Wendt, et al. Thermoregulation during exercise in the heat. Sports Med. 2007;37(8):669-682.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Got Back Pain? Work It Out!

If you work out with the kind of intensity needed to build huge, strong muscles, you’ve probably had back pain at least once – after a set of heavy squats, deadlifts or barbell rows, for example. Usually, the advice is to rest until you feel better, but this may not be always best. Sometimes rest isn’t the best medicine.

Researchers have discovered that a great majority of people who get back pain get better sooner by continuing to work out hard on the rest of their body parts while also taking care to work around their back pain and going easier on their back workouts.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: When you get back pain, get back into the gym! Research proves that people who keep working get better faster – working out hard will stimulate your body to heal while keeping you big and strong!

- FUSION Research Team

Source: May S et al. Stabilisation exercises for low back pain: a systematic review. Physiotherapy. 2008;94:179–189.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Can flat feet get you injured?

A lot of bodybuilders have flat feet – poorly formed arches – and this can affect balance, weight distribution, spine health and, ultimately, your performance in the gym. Fact is, with flat feet, your balance is out of whack and your body isn’t correctly distributing the weights you’re using to the muscles. Translation? Your muscles can’t handle the forces generated from your workout because of improper force distribution. You could get injured.

Researchers have reviewed the existing research and have found that by getting orthotics, you could notice dramatic results, with a massive decrease in your risk of getting injured. Here’s what the researchers said, in their own words:

Orthotics ... have moderate to large beneficial effects in treating and preventing plantar fasciitis and posterior tibial stress fractures, and small to moderate effects in treating patellofemoral pain syndrome.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: If you have flat feet, chances are you’re not working out as well as you could be, and your flat feet might even get you injured. So consider getting a checkup and, if you need them, getting orthotics to correct your balance. They’ll not only help make your workouts better but also help keep you in the gym and off the sidelines!

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Hume, et al. Effectiveness of foot orthoses for treatment and prevention of lower limb injuries. Sports Med. 2008;38(9):759-779.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Bodybuilding: It's a blood sport - but what about your brain?

It’s well-known that a hard workout gets your circulation going. It gets your blood pumping and increases oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to your muscles, especially after a hard and heavy set of squats, bench press or deadlifts. Let’s face it: Blood flow to your muscles is critical for growth. You want blood – lots of it – and the pump is your surefire sign that your work is paying off.

But what about your brain? As much as bodybuilding is a blood sport for your muscles, so too is it a blood sport for your brain.

It used to be thought that your brain received a steady and constant volume of blood delivery, whether you were working out or not. Not so. A new study shows that your brain gets more blood during exercise, and that study participants reported a weakening of the mind-muscle connection near the end of their workouts – the point at which blood delivery to the brain began to decline, as measured by scientists.

So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: Bodybuilding is a blood sport – for both your muscles and your mind. To get your brain in the game, work for the pump. Not only will your muscles work better and will you be stronger, but you’ll get your mind into every last repetition.

- FUSION Research Team

Source: Querido JS, et al. Regulation of cerebral blood flow during exercise. Sports Med. 2007;37(9):765-782.