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Lift Heavy To Get Lean
Many women (and men) exercise to lose weight and get toned. After many weeks and months of working out with light weights and high repetitions, they have enjoyed limited results and get disheartened. The solution may be to lift heavier weights and do fewer repetitions.
Heavy Weights Don't Cause Bulking
For many women we talk to about our range of sports supplements, such advice sets off alarm bells. They are concerned that if they lift heavy weights and use protein powders they will bulk up, get square shoulders and start to look like body builders. The reality is that numerous reps of lighter weights that many women do to 'tone' is more likely to give you that body builder physique than lifting heavier weights at smaller repetitions.
Protein Powder Doesn't Cause Bulking
Other women's fears of protein powders making them bulk up are also unfounded. Protein powders are an excellent way to retain a trim figure, increase energy and do not necessarily lead to 'explosive muscle growth' (contrary to what some of the advertisements in some magazines might promise). Unless you take supplements and eat a diet specifically designed specifically to help you bulk up, 95% of women will not bulk up, tending to build curves in the 'right' places instead.
What the professionals say
Registered sports scientist Habib Noorbhai says this lingering myth over women bulking up from weight training is a very common misconception. “Strength training has a variety of benefits for women, one of which is preventing the earlier onset of bone and joint-related diseases such as
and fibromyalgia. “Performing low to moderate intensity weight training will ensure increase in strength gains, assist in the loss of body fat and assist with activities of daily living.” He adds that “vigorous intensity weight training can initially lead to a minimal gain in lean muscle, but generally low to moderate intensity weight training combined with cardio, and following a healthy eating plan is the secret to getting toned and losing body fat”. We have to agree. We are lucky enough to have an in-house gym at Nature's Way HQ. Many of us have recently started to focus less on the treadmill and bicep curls and more on lifting heavy. We use whole-body exercises like squats, dead lifts and power cleans in conjunction with circuit training and clean diet. We have certainly not noticed any bulking, are happy with improvements in strength and body shape and can also report a reduction in body fat.
So where do you start?
There is an inherent risk in starting to lift heavier weights. Unless you are already experienced at weight training, we strongly recommend enlisting the services of a personal trainer or - ideally - a strength coach who can teach you proper form to avoid injury. Once you have learned the basics of safe lifting, you can start to increase the load and train with a friend or alone, however that initial expert guidance to help you refine your form and build a baseline of strength is highly recommended to help avoid serious injury..
Benefits of Maca for Women
With all of the buzz around (and misuse of) the term 'superfoods', it is sometimes useful to remind ourselves that
superfoods really do exist.
is one of these true superfoods. It's amazingly high nutrient density, it's ability to support energy production and it's
ability to improve men's health
are well documented. Now, let's take a closer look at the benefits of Maca for women.
Benefits of Maca For Women
1. Maca Offers Numerous General Health Benefits
Let's start off with some of maca's general benefits. Maca can help boost energy, endurance and stamina. It supplies iron and helps restore red blood cells, which aids anemia and cardiovascular diseases. Maca keeps your bones and teeth healthy and allows you to heal from wounds more quickly. When used in conjunction with a good workout regime you will notice an increase in muscle mass. Warning: If you have a cancer related to hormones like testicular and ovarian, among others. If you have liver issues or high blood pressure you should ask your doctor before having maca.
2. Maca Supports Ability To Withstand Stress
Maca is a type of food known as an 'adaptogen': a natural food that helps us deal with the effects of stress. It is rich in a number of key vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids that our body needs heightened levels of during times of stress. It can promote homeostasis (where your body is in a state of equilibrium and balance) during times of stress, when your body can otherwise be experiencing a hormonal rollercoaster.
3. Maca may help treat menopause symptoms
Maca has been traditionally used in menopausal women as a natural form of hormone replacement therapy. This use has persisted for hundreds of years in Peru and has become commonplace in many Western countries, including Australia. Whilst maca
appear to help balance hormones, it's exact benefits for treating menopause are yet to be clinically proven.
4. Maca Gives Support During Menstruation
Maca has also been traditionally used for helping relieve menstrual symptoms. Central to this is Maca's effect on stabilising mood and hormone levels. It's high nutrient density may also be part of the reason, as it provides key vitamins and nutrients that may help relieve cramping and other menstrual pain.
3. Maca Supports Skin Health
Some people find maca helps clear skin blemishes and balanced oily skin types. Another benefit for your skin is that is decreases sensitivity. In hot or cold weather, maca may help your skin withstand extreme temperatures.
Want to know more about Maca's benefits?
Nature's Way Super Maca
. ------ This article was provided by our online health partner Health365. To
buy superfoods online
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Your Diet And PMS
Do a foul mood, weight gain and uncontrollable food cravings sound all too familiar? Your diet could be making your premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms worse. PMS affects up to 30% of women during their childbearing years. For those who struggle to control their symptoms every month, it can be quite a nightmare. PMS symptoms can be varied and may include anxiety, mood swings, depression, tearfulness, irritability, fatigue, breast tenderness, swelling and pain, weight gain, water retention, insomnia, dizziness, headaches, migraine, cramps, backache and cravings for various types of food. These symptoms usually start about 7 to 10 days before the onset of menstruation, increasing in severity as menstruation approaches. Most women experience the worst symptoms during their actual period and, in some cases, afterwards. PMS occurs more commonly in women over the age of 30.
Possible causes of PMS
Research on PMS is still in its early stages, and no single nutritional or hormonal imbalance has been consistently identified as the cause of this syndrome. However, a variety of theories have been proposed. These include:
1. Hormonal Imbalances
Not just imbalances of the female hormones such as progesterone and oestrogen, but also of hormones produced by the adrenal glands, which may be involved with water-retention symptoms.
2. Imbalances in neurotransmitters
For example, an imbalance in serotonin production could cause symptoms such as cravings for sweet foods and depression.
3. FATTY ACID METABOLISM DISORDERS
An imbalance in the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acid ratio (due to inadequate or unbalanced intakes) can lead to the production of certain compounds called prostaglandins. These can affect brain and nerve function, and/or cause inflammatory-type reactions.
4. DEFICIENCIES OF NUTRIENTS, SUCH AS VITAMIN B6
This could lead to irritability, fatigue, depression and other symptoms.
Research On PMS and Diet
International research studies have produced the following preliminary results:
In one study, test subjects who took 50mg of vitamin B6 a day reported improvements in depression, irritability and fatigue, but not in other symptoms of PMS.
Studies using essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and 6 fatty acids have produced positive outcomes in relieving symptoms, particularly breast tenderness, swelling and pain. The use of 1 to 2g of evening primrose oil (gamma-linolenic acid, an omega-6 essential fatty acid) significantly reduced PMS symptoms, particularly painful breasts.
Another study found that women who took up to 1,200mg of calcium on a daily basis reported significantly fewer PMS symptoms than women in the control group.
Some studies indicate that there’s also a link between stress and PMS, i.e. women who struggle to cope with stress often struggle with PMS symptoms, which are often also more severe than in women who are more relaxed.
Solutions to PMS
At this stage, scientists and doctors can only make general recommendations for the control of PMS symptoms. Try some or all of the following steps, eliminating those that don’t produce a beneficial effect after 3 months:
Consult your doctor or gynaecologist to check if you’re suffering from hormone deficiencies. If you lack female hormones (either progesterone or oestrogen, or both), your doctor may prescribe hormone supplements.
Ask your doctor to prescribe a mild diuretic that you can take during the 7-10 days when the symptoms appear. This should help to control swelling and water retention.
Do everything in your power to control stress: do yoga, Pilates or another form of exercise, do a few breathing exercises, meditate, or consider psychotherapy to learn how to manage your stress.
Do regular exercise – not just when the symptoms strike (when you may not feel up to doing exercise anyway).
Get sufficient sleep and, if you suffer from insomnia, try drinking a glass of warm, low-fat milk before you go to bed. Milk is rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that boosts serotonin production.
Follow a balanced diet that contains plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, unprocessed cereals and grains, lean meat, fish, low-fat milk and dairy products, and margarine or oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E.
Take B-complex supplements that contain vitamin B6.
Take a calcium supplement if you’re not drinking sufficient low-fat milk or eating other high-calcium foods such as low-fat yoghurt, cottage cheese, and other cheeses.
Reduce your intake of caffeine (coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks containing caffeine) and sweetened cold drinks.
If you suffer from cravings, try to resist them, as eating large amounts of salty or sweet foods will make the symptoms worse. Nibble on healthy snacks such as fruit (fresh and dried, for potassium that controls water retention), wholewheat crackers or bread with cottage cheese (provides B6 and calcium) or fresh vegetables like carrots and celery sticks (also high in potassium), and low-fat milk drinks or yoghurt (for calcium and tryptophan).
Take evening primrose oil supplements to increase your omega-6 intake or, better still, take a supplement that contains both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are increasingly used as therapy for severe PMS. Speak to your doctor about a possible prescription of one of these antidepressants if none of the above steps improve your symptoms.
Superfoods for PMS
In addition to the above tips, you may also like to try the following superfoods to help manage PMS. They contain key nutrients that support women's health, hormonal balance and may help reduce PMS symptoms:
: try our
Banana, Maca and Quinoa porridge recipe
: try our
Banana Split Smoothie recipe
: try our
Berry Breakfast Pudding recipe
. ------ This article was provided by our online health partner Health365. For more information on
women's health issues
, visit www.health365.com.au.
3 Recipes for Strong Bones
Try these 3 recipes from our Superfoods Recipes archive to help you get more calcium and magnesium into your diet to support stronger bones and good muscle health.
1. Banana Split Smoothie
Calcium and magnesium are both critical for maintaining strong bones as we age. And the ingredients in this recipe have magnesium and calcium in spades. The recipe also contains bananas, which can help the body better absorb calcium. Use soy milk over almond milk (soy milk has more calcium) to make this simple, tasty smoothie even better at protecting your bones.
Try the Banana Split Smoothie now.
2. Chia-Crusted Salmon
Super Chia Seeds
in this recipe are rich in calcium (which we already know is important for joint health), salmon is rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D makes your body much more efficient at absorbing calcium, and is very important for maintaining strong bones over time.
Try the Chia-Crusted Salmon now.
3. Chocolate Date Balls
Several studies have found that the more magnesium people consume in their food, the denser their bones as they age. Dense bones are strong bones. There are a number of foods that are high in Magnesium, but our favourite is Cacao. Use our
, which is ultra-high in magnesium, to support bone and muscle health for years to come.
Try the Chocolate Date Balls now.
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