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Training tips to avoid joint damage.
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Training tips to avoid joint damage.

Whether you are already feeling the onset of sore / stiff joints, have early arthritis symptoms are are just trying to avoid joint pain as you age, there are some simple things you can do to protect your joints and limit further damage and inflammation during exercise.  
  1. Learn to lift

Whether it be in the gym, at the workplace or around the house, you need to learn how to lift heavy objects safely. Learning to lift heavy objects appropriately can not only save your back, but it can also save your joints. For heavy objects that are placed on the ground, squat down and lift with your legs rather than your back. If you feel strain or pressure in your knees or hips, stop and ask someone for help. When carrying heavy objects, hold them close to your body so your core takes the pressure rather than elbow and shoulder joints.  
  1. Recognise over-use

Suffering joint pain after prolonged use? Chances are you may be suffering a minor joint injury or an over-use injury. With injury, the fluids and cartilage that protect the joint can become damaged. This, in turn, can allow the bones to rub against each other and further injure the joint. If you have unexpected / sudden joint pain, try to limit use and see a health professional as soon as possible. Continuing to use an injured joint can make the injury worse and may cause permanent or more severe damage.  
  1. Stay trim, stay strong

Retaining a healthy body weight is important to protect your joints. Each kilogram you lose means up to 4 kilograms less pressure on your knees, hips and ankles as you walk... lose 12 kilograms and that’s nearly 50 kilos less pressure! Furthermore, focusing on maintaining strength through regular exercise or resistance training can help stabilise joints, meaning less wear and tear and lower chance of injury.  
  1. Go for low impact exercises

Exercise has so many critical benefits for our health, and it would be a shame to let sore joints or arthritis stop us from enjoying those benefits. However, exercise can often be damaging to joints: we have already mentioned that walking adds 4 kilograms of pressure per kilogram of body weight to our joints. Running adds an extra 10 kilograms of joint pressure per kilogram of body weight! The more pressure we place on a  joint, the more wear and tear we get on the protective tissues in the joint. The more damage to  the protective tissues, the greater the chance of permanent damage and arthritis. Low impact exercises like pilates or cycling can be more friendly for joints... see our article on exercises for arthritis sufferers for more ideas of low-impact exercises to help protect your joints.  
  1. Feed your joints

There are two nutrients that actually feed your joints and help your body grow and repair connective tissues in the joints. Glucosamine and Chondroitin work well in tandem to actively feed your joints and promote cartilage health... cartilage is critical for protecting your joint and acting as a shock absorber. ------- This article was provided by our online partner Health365. For more information on dealing with arthritis, visit www.health365.com.au.    
Muscle Cramps: Causes & Treatment
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Muscle Cramps: Causes & Treatment

Muscle cramps are powerful, involuntary, painful spasms of a muscle. They occur most commonly in the calf, hamstring or foot. Whilst cramps most often fix themselves after a few moments as the muscle relaxes, many people have regular, recurring cramps. Regular cramping can be a sign of an underlying disease or ongoing nutritional deficiency. Rest assured if you cramp regularly,  your condition may be treated using the below tips.  

What causes muscle cramps?

The definitive cause of the muscle spasms we call 'cramps' are not fully understood. Muscle spasms are usually a sign that the cramping muscle is under excess stress, heat or lacking key nutrients. If you are cramping regularly, there could be a number of contributing factors:
  • poor physical fitness
  • tight muscles or lack of flexibility
  • inadequate diet / nutritional intake
  • genetic factors
  • excessive perspiration / dehydration
  • muscular fatigue or injury
  • shortage of key vitamins and minerals for muscle health (minerals critical for muscle function are calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. Other studies suggest that vitamin B, C, D and E shortages may also be indicated )
  • disease or prescription medications
Any or all of the above factors can lead to irregular muscle function, which increases the chance of spasm / cramp.  

How do I avoid muscle cramps?

In looking at the above risk factors, you can reduce your risk of cramping by trying the following tips:
  • Maintain your fitness.
  • Stretch regularly. 5 minutes of gentle stretching on the floor during a TV ad break each evening can be sufficient to drastically improve flexibility. Hold each stretch so that you are straining but not feeling pain, and release after 30 seconds.
  • Ensure you are getting the right minerals to maintain proper muscle function. Eating a varied diet is the best way to get a range of minerals. Cacao is a rich natural source of magnesium.
  • Try a supplement. Getting your RDI of some minerals is tough to do from food alone (adult women, for example, need 1300mg of calcium each day. That's more than 4 glasses of milk). If you think you are struggling to get enough nutrients into your diet to stop cramping, you may benefit from taking a multivitamin that contains magnesium and nutrients to aid muscle relaxation or:
  •  Incorporate a Magnesium powder sourced from wholefoods (more readily absorbed by the body than tablets) OR Cacao Powder (cacao is rich in magnesium and potassium). It is possible to have too much magnesium, yet the side effects at the upper limit of recommended daily magneisum intake have not been shown to produce toxic effects when ingested as naturally occurring magnesium in food (according to nrv.gov.au) as contrasted against magnesium tablets.
  • Try a Calcium Supplement OR Chia Seeds (chia seeds are incredibly rich in calcium, critical for muscles).
  • Ensure you are drinking enough fluids throughout the day, especially before, during and after periods of physical exertion. Drink a glass of water first thing when you wake up in the morning to top up any fluids lost during sleep.
  • Know your exercise boundaries. In hot / humid conditions, take it easy to avoid excessive perspiration.
  • If muscle cramps persist despite trying the above, see your doctor. Genetic factors, diseases such as atherosclerosis or sciatica or some prescription medications may be contributing.
 

Quick, I'm cramping! Help me!

We usually don't spare muscle cramps a second thought until the muscle is already spasming and we are clutching the effected limb in agony. Use the below tips to shorten the severity and duration of cramps.
  • Gently stretch the muscle that is cramping
  • Massaging the muscle (provided doing so is not too painful) can help increase blood flow to the area and relax the muscle.
  • Apply an ice pack to cool  down overheated muscles.
  • Take a rest after the cramp has subsided. A cramp is your muscle crying out for help. Taking a rest will help the muscle relax and can help ensure it doesn't immediately recur.
 
Lift Heavy To Get Lean
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Lift Heavy To Get Lean

Many women (and men) exercise to lose weight and get toned. After ..
Instant Natural Protein - Original
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Instant Natural Protein - Original

Instant Natural Protein  is a delicious way to get your daily protein needs and to support a healthy, active lifestyle. It is reduced in fat and contains no animal products, making it an ideal, great tasting protein food supplement for anyone from older children to adults. INSTANT NATURAL PROTEIN. EVERY BODY. EVERY AGE. EVERY DAY
Introducing CoQ10
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Introducing CoQ10

Famous for heart health, more recently used for athletic performance.
Why We Need Magnesium
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Why We Need Magnesium

The Importance of Magnesium For Health

Magnesium is abundantly available in a range of foods, as well as in supplement form. It is critical for maintaining a huge range of biochemical reactions in the body. It is particularly important for:
  • protein synthesis
  • proper muscle function, relaxation and contraction
  • nerve health
  • cardiovascular health
  • maintaining bone health
  • energy production
  • the list could go on and on.

How Much Magnesium Do I Need?

The Australian Government National health & Medical Research Council recommends the following RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) for magnesium: Male Adults: 330-350mg a day Female Adults: 255-265mg a day

Magnesium Deficiency

Measuring the exact level of magnesium in each person's body is difficult. This is because much of the magnesium that exists in your body is in your bones or cells, not in your blood. This difficulty in measuring magnesium levels can make magnesium inadequacy difficult to diagnose via usual tests. However, common signs of a magnesium deficiency include:
  • fatigue
  • agitation / restlessness
  • anxiety
  • nausea
  • tingling in joints and extremities
  • muscle cramping and spasms
  • poor nail / hair health
Studies also suggest sufficient magnesium intake is linked to cardiovascular health, maintaining brain function, helping with migraines and lack of magnesium may contribute to symptoms of low mood.

Best Magnesium Sources

Magnesium is abundantly available in a number of foods. Some of these foods include:
  • Super Cacao is completely organic and rich in magnesium. Try including it in some of our delicious Cacao recipes.
  • WholeFood Magnesium Powder features natural magnesium and is in an easily absorbed powder form. Most magnesium tablets contain synthetic magnesium compounds created in factories. Tablets are not as easily absorbed.
  • dark leafy greens (eg/ raw spinach)
  • nuts and seeds
  • whole grains like brown rice
------ This article was provided by our online partner Health365. For more information on which electrolytes we need to maintain health, visit www.health365.com.au.    
What Is the Best Time To Take Protein?
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What Is the Best Time To Take Protein?

This commonly asked question has no universal answer... The best time to take protein depends on you and your specific health goals. Check out our protein timing cheat sheet below: these general guidelines will help you answer one of the most commonly asked questions in sports nutrition...

What Is The Best Time To Take Protein?

 

1. If you Take Protein In The Morning

BENEFIT A: WEIGHT LOSS Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that taking protein early in the morning gives a feeling of fullness and reduces appetite and snacking. Take a low carb protein shake in the morning to reduce hunger and help boost your metabolism. Better yet, blend a scoop of soy protein in with some almond milk, blueberries, spinach and a banana for a great superfood breakfast. BENEFIT B: SUPPORTS STRENGTH AND MUSCLE MASS Catabolism is relatively common among athletes. It is caused by over-training and under-eating. In short, catabolism happens when your body needs a food source for energy, has none to draw on, so starts to use your muscles as fuel. Needless to say, this is bad for an athlete. A 2006 study from Victoria University showed that taking protein first thing in the morning increased both overall muscle mass AND strength for athletes when compared to a control group who had no protein with breakfast. Worried about bulking up after your breakfast shake? You need not worry - unless your diet is rich in carbs and your fitness regime is designed to help you build muscle, you are unlikely to bulk up  after a protein shake for breakfast.  

2. If you TAKE PROTEIN THROUGHOUT THE DAY

BENEFIT: MORE ENERGY Find yourself nodding off mid-afternoon? The reason could be that your diet lacks long-lasting energy. Try splitting your 3 (large) main meals for 5 smaller ones, eating every 3 hours. Make sure your 5 meals contain protein. If not a shake, then a tin of tuna or a fistful of nuts can be an easy way to grab some protein in a meal. BENEFIT: WEIGHT LOSS A 2005 study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that participants who got 30% of their daily energy intake from protein felt less hungry and lost more weight.  

3. If you Take Protein Before Training

BENEFIT: MORE EFFECTIVE WORKOUTS Many proteins contain high levels of branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s). These help maintain muscle glycogen stores. Glycogen provides energy to the body... more glycogen means more energy. A pre-workout snack of a protein shake plus a complex carbohydrate like brown rice or oats 45 minutes before exercise can give the energy needed to go harder during workouts. Alternatively, try our Brown Rice Protein with Chia and Pea before training for a shake that delivers pre-workout carbs and BCAA's and for fuel plus readily absorbed brown rice protein  for recovery.  

4. If you Take Protein After Training

BENEFIT: RECOVERY AND GROWTH  A 2001 study published in American Journal of Physiology showed that post exercise is when your muscles are crying out for amino acids the most and are therefore most likely to absorb protein. The benefits of a post-workout protein hit for muscle growth and/or recovery are well documented.  Give your muscles the fuel they need to recover by consuming protein after your workout. A 2013 study from the University of Tampa studied the effectiveness of brown rice protein vs whey protein in helping post-exercise recovery. The study noted that "there were no differences between the two groups". Given that whey contains lactose (which can cause bloating, wind, nausea and diarrhoea in some people), brown rice protein is an ideal post-workout protein.  

5. If you Take Protein Before Bed

BENEFIT: RECOVERY AND MUSCLE GROWTH A 2012 study from Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands revealed that protein supplements taken directly before bed time do, in fact, get digested or used by your muscles while you sleep. This can boost overnight recovery and muscle growth. ------ This article was produced by our online health partners, Health365. For more  information on a range of exercise and fitness related topics, visit www.health365.com.au.  
Metabolism MythBusting
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Metabolism MythBusting

Speeding up your metabolism is the holy grail of weightloss. But ..
Instant Natural Protein - Vanilla
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Instant Natural Protein - Vanilla

Instant Natural Protein (Vanilla) is a delicious way to get your daily protein needs and to support a healthy, active lifestyle. It is reduced in fat and contains no animal products, making it an ideal, great tasting protein food supplement for anyone from older children to adults. INSTANT NATURAL PROTEIN. EVERY BODY. EVERY AGE. EVERY DAY