Nutrition

Basic Rules For Building Muscle

Basic Rules For Building Muscle

Identifying your ultimate goal is one of the basic rules when you build muscles. It determines the type of exercise to use. You can train for strength, size, and endurance. While strength training exercises do build muscles, the focus is more on building strength, like weightlifters. People who want more bulk and build for size are often bodybuilders. They use a different amount of weight and number of repetitions from the ones used for building strength.

A great body starts in the kitchen, not in the gym.

You can’t get big muscles by consuming a poor diet. You’ll lack all the building blocks to create them. It’s one reason it’s so tricky to build muscle while you’re losing weight. Your diet should have between 20% and 33% of the calories from protein and the calories you consume should match your ultimate goal. If you want to build muscle and lose weight, you can’t reduce your calories too much. Approximately 20% of your calories should come from fat and the balance from carbs. The protein should be lean and high quality. Choosing fatty fish like salmon will provide some of the healthy fat required.

Maximize your workout but don’t overtrain.

Our personal trainers will create the program to help you reach your goal quickly. That doesn’t mean you should do strength training daily or work for long hours. Over-training can even diminish your progress. When you do strength training, the workout strains and damages the muscle fibers and causes micro tears. They adapt to the stress by increasing in size. If you workout every day it doesn’t allow the tears to heal. Working out too long or trying to lift weights that are too heavy may cause muscle strain that can put you out of commission for weeks and diminish your progress. Rest your muscles between 24 and 72 hours between strength workouts.

Pre and post workout snacks can improve your performance during exercise.

Consuming a snack that’s high in carbs and protein, like a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat an hour before working out and soon after your workout should be part of your program. The carbohydrate provides the energy for the workout and the protein provides the muscle building blocks. Pre-and post-workout snacks can boost your energy so you get the most from your workout and improve recovery and muscle repair.

  • Compound movements—ones that use several muscles, tendons, and joints, and work several muscle groups at once—burn more calories and provide more muscle gain than doing several exercises for individual muscles.
  • Healthy fat not only provides energy and keeps you feeling fuller, but it also is necessary to produce certain hormones involved in muscle building. Sources of healthy fat include avocados, nuts, and fatty fish.
  • Sleep is important when you’re building muscles. It’s when your body heals. Make sure you get at least 8 hours a night and schedule it for the same time every night. Consistency counts when building muscles.
  • Consistency is the key to any training, but so is doing each exercise correctly. If you’re working out with us, our trainers will ensure you have the right movements. Doing an exercise wrong can minimize benefits and cause injury.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


Is Sugar Ruining Your Health?

Is Sugar Ruining Your Health?

Every grocery in Sacramento carries food loaded with sugar. These foods may be ruining your health and the cause of many issues you might not think are related. Even if you don’t eat obvious sources of food with added sugar, like cake and cookies, it’s often hidden in food you might not suspect. Putting salad dressing on that healthy salad increases the added sugar to your diet. Many types of plant-based milk have added sugar. Bullion, broth, and stock may have sugar in them. Three out of four items on the grocery shelves have added sugar. It’s no wonder most Americans have health issues.

One of the most obvious problems of food with added sugar is obesity.

Obesity has reached epidemic levels. 41.9% of adults in the US are obese and 19.7% of all US children are obese. That’s 14.7 million people. Obesity increases the incidence of conditions like insulin resistance that leads to diabetes. It increases the risk of hypertension, which increases the risk of congestive heart disease, non-alcoholic liver disease, and kidney disease. The risk of other diseases increases in obese individuals. Stroke, gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis, breathing difficulties, some forms of cancer, joint issues, and body pain with limiting physical functioning increase in obese individuals. Food with added sugar accounts for much of the problem.

Sugar causes inflammation that leads to many conditions.

Inflammation is necessary for the body to survive. It’s part of the immune system. Acute inflammation prevents infection from occurring and fights off viral and bacterial diseases. When inflammation occurs over long periods, it becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation lasts weeks, months, and years. It can affect every part of the body. It can clog blood vessels, cause weight gain, fatigue, digestive issues, mood disorders, diabetes, heart disease, death, and dementia. Eating food that reduces inflammation, such as olive oil, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, nuts, fruits, and fatty fish can reduce chronic inflammation, while foods containing added sugar increase it.

It’s all about the added sugar, not the naturally occurring sugar.

When you eat fruit, you’re consuming food with sugar, but it doesn’t have the same effect as eating a candy bar. There are differences in the way the sugar is presented. When you eat an apple, it contains water, nutrients, fiber, and phytonutrients. The sugar is in lower concentrations than food with added sugar and it enters the bloodstream slower because of the fiber in the apple. The rush of sugar into the bloodstream spikes blood glucose levels, which then causes large amounts of insulin to open the cells to receive the glucose. That mechanism breaks down when it occurs too often, causing insulin resistance and leading to a plethora of diseases, including diabetes.

  • Food with added sugar can lead to premature aging. The sugar in food links with protein, creating advanced glycation end products—-AGEs—which cause aging.
  • Studies show that a high salt diet can increase blood pressure, but a diet high in sugar can have the same effect. High blood pressure can lead to nerve damage to the eyes, vessel damage, kidney disease, and more.
  • Sugar is addictive. Not only does it provide the same emotional boost as drugs when it binds to the opioid receptors, but it also dulls your taste. The more sugar you eat, the more you need to get the same flavor and emotional boost.
  • Sugar changes the gut microbiome. It encourages the growth of microbes that are bad for good health and decreases ones that are good for health. It also causes an imbalance in microbes that affect mental health.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


The Nutrients In Fresh Fruit Vs Dried Fruit

The Nutrients In Fresh Fruit Vs Dried Fruit

It’s summer. Lower priced fruits and vegetables fill the markets and groceries. You can take advantage of those low prices by freezing and dehydrating them. Does that affect their nutrition? Does the process of dehydration destroy nutrients? What’s the difference between fresh fruit and dried fruit? Does that difference matter? One obvious thing is that dehydrated fruit lacks water. It’s the nature of being dehydrated. That means the sugar is more concentrated. The less water a food contains, the more you can eat, so you’ll be able to eat more calories and more sugar when you consume dehydrated food.

Dried fruit is easier to keep and handy as a snack.

When you dry fruit, it preserves most of the nutrients within the fruit but reduces vitamin C. However, if you remove the fluid, you can eat more, making the single serving far smaller. Dried fruit is pretty handy if you want to increase fiber and other nutrients. It has 3.5 times the fiber, minerals, phytonutrients, and vitamins by weight as fresh fruit. It’s a good source of concentrated phytochemicals that act as antioxidants, too.

You could be doing your body a favor when you eat dried fruit.

If you’re prone to snacking, dried fruit is a good option. It’s not as filling as hydrated fruit but packed with nutrients and far better than a candy bar, cookie, or other processed snack. Studies show that people who snack on dried fruit tend to weigh less than those who don’t. It’s a great option as a snack for children and is packed with more nutrition since they can eat more than they could if it were the fruit itself.

Dried fruit has some drawbacks.

As mentioned previously, the sugar is concentrated in dried fruit, and the lack of hydration allows you to eat more. Raisins contain 59% natural sugar, while apricots contain 53%. Between ¼ and ½ the sugar content comes from fructose, which can lead to serious health issues, including insulin resistance, heart disease, and diabetes. You also have to be cautious about the type of dried fruit you consume. Some dried fruit is candied. That’s where the fruit has a sugar or syrup coating before dehydration. Some preservatives may be used, such as sulfites, which can cause problems in some individuals.

  • If the fruit isn’t dehydrated or stored properly, toxins and fungi can grow. Mycotoxins are the type of mold that is often found on dried fruit. Poor sanitation practices can also lead to the growth of salmonella.
  • If you want to save money, you can dry fruit at home when it’s in season. It lasts longer, but not indefinitely. Always use fruit without damage or spots and clean dehydrating practices.
  • People who need to be careful about the amount of sugar they consume or those trying to lose weight should focus more on fresh, hydrated fruit. You’ll eat less hydrated fruit than you would if it’s dehydrated.
  • If you’re drying fruit, make it organic. If fruit contains pesticides, the amount is more concentrated when it’s dried.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


How To Bounce Back After A Binge

How To Bounce Back After A Binge

Anyone who has tried to lose weight or switched from a diet of fast-food to one of healthy eating has had a momentary weakness, where they ate something that wasn’t part of their program. Whether it was an order of fries, a thin slice of cake, or a spoon of ice cream, it wasn’t that bad, unless it started a binge. The spoon of ice cream became a quart and the thin slice of cake became two, then three, then the rest of the cake. You might think all is lost when this happens, but you can bounce back after a binge, and get back on track.

Don’t let the guilt make it worse.

You’ll feel the bloat and discomfort immediately. It can even last a couple of days. Often people who binge feel guilt that lasts far longer. Give yourself a break. That guilt can lead to even more overeating. It gives junk food power over you and makes you feel like quitting. You may have downed a lot of calories, but it was still just one slip. You’re learning to eat healthier, why would you punish yourself? Would you punish a child learning to walk for falling? Of course, you wouldn’t.

Start by getting rid of the bloated feeling.

Drinking water and staying hydrated can be beneficial to pushing the food through your system and eliminating the bloat. Mild exercise immediately following the binge and more vigorous exercise the next day can also help. Exercise also aids digestion and can lift your spirits. Don’t think of it as a punishment or a way to burn the excess calories. Instead, think of it as a medicine to help you feel better.

Don’t starve yourself the next day but make your meals healthy.

Immediately after a binge, you may swear to yourself that you’ll never do that again, holding your stomach in pain. That can all change overnight. Binging can make you even hungrier the next day. It occurs when binging causes an insulin spike, dropping blood sugar dramatically. When your blood sugar drops, your body tells you to eat. It can happen later in the day or the following day. You have three options. The first is to ignore it and starve yourself. That’s a bad idea. It becomes a punishment for eating and creates guilt. The second is to continue to binge, which is also out of the question. The third and best solution is to eat a healthy meal that has fiber, protein, and healthy fat.

  • Learn to give yourself the flexibility to eat guilty pleasures occasionally. That thin friend that can eat whatever they desire doesn’t overeat. Your friend has developed a good relationship with food, eats healthily most of the time, and only eats when hungry.
  • Get plenty of sleep after a binge. If you lack sleep, your body produces too much ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and too little leptin, the one that makes you feel full. Lack of sleep can drive hunger.
  • Keep a food diary and include your emotions when you binge. Did you overeat after a disappointment or when you were angry? You may be using food to replace dealing with situations. Identifying the problem can help prevent future binging.
  • Pay attention to cravings. If you have a specific food you love, eat it without guilt. Just focus on portion control and frequency. Enjoy every bite. When you know it’s okay to eat something, it reduces the desire and the potential for a binge.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


The Importance Of A Food Journal

The Importance Of A Food Journal

People who have a problem losing weight have found that using a food journal is helpful. While meal plans and healthy recipes from our nutrition team provide an excellent benefit, a food journal can be the first step to identifying habits that are sabotaging your efforts. Meal plans can help you as you learn ways to make meals and snacks healthier and lower in calories and a food journal can be another clue why other attempts to lose weight have failed.

You may think you barely eat, but once you write down each morsel, you’ll be surprised.

When you keep a food journal, you track everything you eat, including how much you ate. If you’re consuming an item that’s still in its original package, reading the nutritional information can tell you not only the serving size but the number of calories for each serving. You don’t walk around with a scale to weigh everything or measuring cups, so you have to find other ways to measure items that aren’t in a package, like a slice of cake. There are simple ways to measure, like using the size of a deck of cards for meat or the size of dice for cheese. Since serving size is extremely important, you need to include it.

Don’t forget to include condiments and drinks.

List everything you eat or drink, even water. Water doesn’t have calories, but since most people don’t drink enough, recording it can identify if you do. Listing condiments can be important, particularly on items you make at home, where there’s a potential to slather mayonnaise, ketchup and other higher-calorie condiments on your sandwich. Tracking what you drink can make a huge difference. If you have three colas a day, it’s an extra 300 calories. It takes 3500 calories to gain a pound. At 300 extra calories a day, it would only take 12 days to put on a pound.

Food journals can help identify the cause of health issues.

If you’re chronically bloated or feel ill after meals, consider the potential for a food intolerance or allergy. Food journaling can help you solve that mystery, too. By listing not only the food you consume, but also whether you have an “episode” of feeling bad, you can narrow down the culprit to a specific food or find there’s no identifiable pattern, so food is not the cause. Keeping a food journal should be your first step to finding the reason for the mystery illness. If you have a doctor’s appointment, take the journal with you.

  • Studies found that when people wrote down the food they ate, they tended to eat less. One reason is that it made them more aware of food mindlessly eaten, like that last spoonful of potatoes in the serving bowl.
  • Knowing what you eat and how much can also help you improve your diet. You may notice patterns of high carb processed foods, foods with added sugar or lack of vegetables and fiber, and work on correcting those issues.
  • Some people hate the idea of carrying around a journal. The good news is that you don’t have to do that. You can track your food intake on a notepad in your phone or make audio or video recordings.
  • Are you an emotional eater and you stuff your feelings down with food? Food journals can help you identify that. Just record your mood or circumstances when you’re eating.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


Workouts That Help With Endurance

Workouts That Help With Endurance

The workouts at ISC in Sacramento, CA, include ones for strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance. The types of endurance workouts most people immediately think of are cardiovascular endurance workouts. Those increase the ability of the lungs and heart to provide oxygen for the body. There is another type of endurance. It’s muscular endurance, that’s the ability to work the muscles for long periods without tiring them. Both types of endurance workouts are important. Some exercises focus on cardio endurance, while others focus on muscular endurance. There is a group of exercises that focus on both.

Walking can boost your cardiovascular endurance.

Exercises that increase your heart rate for a longer period, such as running, walking, swimming, and cycling, can train your body to increase the intake of oxygen. They boost the performance of the heart and lungs, improve circulation and even build strength in the muscles you use. Cardiovascular endurance training can help lower blood pressure, while increasing heart health and reducing the potential for heart disease. Continuously modifying the intensity of the activity from high intensity to a recovery pace is called high intensity interval training—HIIT—and can get faster results than steady-state workouts.

Muscular endurance allows you to contract muscles against resistance longer.

You’ll be able to do more repetitions of each strength-building exercise when you build muscle endurance. Squats and push-ups use the pull of gravity and the weight of the body as resistance. As you build muscle endurance, you can do more repetitions and, in most cases, adjust your body position to make the exercise more difficult. A bent knee push-up is easier to do than a regular push-up. As a person develops more muscular endurance, they can do more bent knee push-ups and ultimately switch to the traditional push-up that’s harder.

Many workouts build both muscle and cardiovascular endurance.

You can turn your strength-building workout into a workout that builds both muscular and cardiovascular endurance by making it a circuit training session, where you move quickly from one strength =-building exercise to another with little rest between each one. You can time circuits and challenge yourself to cut the time for each round of exercises. Making your workout a HIIT session, where you modify the intensity and speed, is another way to combine the two. Doing kettlebell workouts also builds both types of endurance.

  • You can add speed to your resistance exercises or weights to your cardio workouts to build both cardio and muscle endurance. Arm and leg weights can test muscular endurance and so can carrying dumbbells and swinging your arms vigorously as you walk or run.
  • Including explosive movements in your strength-building workouts can boost both cardio and muscle endurance. Frog squat jumps, squat thrusts, burpees and tuck jumps are a few examples.
  • Building cardiovascular endurance requires strengthening of the respiratory muscles, such as the diaphragm. Improved respiratory muscle function allows deeper breaths and increased oxygen intake.
  • Running is often used to build endurance and can help muscles improve their performance when doing other tasks. It increases PAP—post-activation potential—which increases how long you can perform exercises for endurance.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


Healthy Meals For Any Time Of Day

Healthy Meals For Any Time Of Day

Are you trying to lose weight, gain muscle or just become fitter? It doesn’t require a special diet, but it does mean you have to eat healthy meals and snacks. Diets don’t work because they’re too restrictive and you can’t stay on them forever. At Team ISC in Sacramento, we help you use foods that are easy to find and good for you and ways to include them in your daily meals. It’s all about making smarter decisions when choosing food, not starving yourself.

You can eat pitas filled with spinach and feta scrambled eggs any time of day.

Whether you’re eating a sit-down or on-the-go breakfast or lunch or want a filling supper, the spinach and feta scrambled egg pitas will do the trick. Thaw, drain, and squeeze dry frozen spinach. Add a pinch of salt and heat until it’s steamy and then add 8 beaten eggs. Cook until the eggs are soft curds and add 1/4 cup crumbled feta, sprinkling pepper to suit your taste. Once the eggs have become firm, scoop it into a whole wheat pita that’s cut in half. Before adding the eggs, you can spread tomato pesto inside the pita, sliced tomatoes or lettuce.

Build a burrito from the fridge.

Burritos aren’t necessarily healthy. It’s all about what you put in them and the type of burrito you use. If you want easy meals that you can adjust based on the time of day or your food preference, burritos are a go-to option. Chop up ingredients and keep them in airtight containers, ready to use. Chopped lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers—red, green, spicy hot or bell, it’s your choice—-refried beans, chicken or eggs. Use healthier options for the wrap, such as whole grain, chickpea flour or cassava flour wraps. You can add eggs, chicken, thinly sliced lean flank steak, or go vegan with black beans. It’s a meal you can adjust to your taste and the time of day.

Salmon fits into any meal plan.

You can’t go wrong by adding salmon as your source of protein. It is loaded with nutrients and high in omega-3 fatty acids. You can even use canned salmon to speed up the preparation. Salmon stuffed avocados combine canned salmon with celery and parsley, then topped with a dressing of Greek yogurt, lime juice, mayo, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Before stuffing the halved avocados, scoop a tablespoon out of it, mash it and add it to the salmon mixture, then stuff the halves. Simple recipes for any meal can be salmon and eggs, or salmon and asparagus with a side salad.

  • Oatmeal may not seem like an “any meal” type of dish, but you can make this heart-healthy food for any meal. Try mixing in Parmesan cheese and topping with spinach and poached eggs for a quick lunch.
  • Keep essentials on hand and ready to use in combinations for any meal. Don’t limit any ingredient based on the time of day. Mushrooms, eggs, Greek yogurt, avocado, sweet potatoes, kale, kiwi and black beans are a few of those.
  • Don’t forget healthy snacks. While you want meals to be easy, you want snacks to be even easier. Have individual serving-size packs of nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables already cut and ready, dip, cheese and hard-boiled eggs ready to eat.
  • If you want more guidance, At Team ISC, we can help you learn the foods that are best to help you reach your goal or provide you with a meal plan that has recipes and even a shopping list.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


Is Being Addicted To The Gym A Bad Thing?

Is Being Addicted To The Gym A Bad Thing?

Being addicted to the gym can be good or bad, depending on how you act on that addiction. If you love going and don’t miss a session, then it’s good. However, if you love going so much that you workout intensely for long hours every day, it might not be to your benefit. You can work out too much. What happens then? You actually lose ground, make exercising more exhausting and lose muscle mass in the process.

Doing too intense of strength-building workouts can deplete your body and muscle tissue.

One area of exercise that requires close attention to intensity is strength-building. When you workout, you cause microtears in the muscle tissue. As those tears heal, they build bigger and stronger muscles. However, it takes a couple of days for the healing process, which is why you should only do strength-building on the same muscle groups every 48 to 72 hours. Not only will your muscle tissue not heal, but those microtears also cause stress on your body. Stress can affect the proper functioning of the immune system.

Stress fractures can also occur when you do repetitive exercises.

Runners often face the problem of stress fractures, especially if they’re doing too much running, too soon. Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bone. The repetitive pounding of the foot on the pavement puts them at high risk. Repeated jumping also can cause the same problem. Stress fractures are the most common in the foot and the lower leg, so if you’re into cardio, switch up to different types of workouts and include low-impact ones in the mix.

True exercise addiction is real.

If you go to the gym and ignore other important areas of your life, focus all your energy and thoughts on getting ready for, going, or recovering from exercise, and are unable to limit your time at the gym, you may be suffering from exercise addiction. Like any addiction, it can take over your life to the point where you don’t feel like you have control. Exercise releases neurotransmitters that make you feel good. They’re the same as drug addiction. If you feel like you have to workout, it may be the desire to trigger that reaction.

  • Identify whether you simply love your day at the gym or have a real addiction. The number of days you go, the amount of time you spend and your intensity level will tell a lot.
  • Skip working out for a short time if you feel you have an exercise addiction until you can take control again. When you go back, limit the number of days and time you spend.
  • Studies show that people with other types of addictions, such as tobacco, alcohol or drugs, and people with anorexia, bulimia, or body image disorder can lead to exercise addiction.
  • Signs that you’re working out too much include exhaustion, anxiety, depression, frequent illness, difficulty falling asleep, and a dramatic increase in resting heart rate.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


Is Your BMI Really A Good Measure Of Your Health?

Is Your BMI Really A Good Measure Of Your Health?

You’ve probably heard the term BMI at the doctor’s office or being discussed on health oriented shows. BMI is an acronym for body mass index. It uses the relationship between your height, gender and weight to draw a conclusion about how healthy you are or aren’t, based on whether you fall into a healthy category, extremely thin, overweight or obese. It’s a quick way to measure your health, but not always accurate. While doctors often use it, they get to see the patient and don’t rely strictly on the index. Insurance companies and others often use it and do rely heavily on it.

If you have a lot of muscle mass, you might be labeled overweight or even obese.

If you’re extremely muscular, such as a competitive body builder, you might be labeled as overweight or obese based on the BMI index. That can cause life and health insurance rates to increase, since the underwriters don’t have the option of meeting you in person. It often requires a picture to show your build. Why is the BMI so inaccurate in this case? The answer is simple. Muscle mass weighs more than fat does per cubic inch. So, if two people were the same height and weight, the one with more muscle mass would look thinner. Or, if two people wore the same size clothing and were the same height, but one had a higher ratio of muscle mass to fat, the muscular person would weigh more because of the extra muscle tissue.

Some people have a larger frame than others do.

You’ve probably heard the term, “big-boned.” While most people use it inaccurately, there are differences in bone structure. Some people have larger, denser bone structures. However, it only makes a difference of a few pounds, but those few pounds can push you from a healthy BMI category to one that’s overweight. It won’t add 20 to 30 pounds, so it doesn’t make much difference for most people.

It’s not the ultimate word on your overall health.

If you depend on the internet or the blood pressure machine at your local pharmacy to be your doctor, you need to switch physicians and go to a real health care professional. Identifying your state of health requires more than just your BMI number. Physicians use it as a quick way to alert them to look further into potential problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and other weight related problems.

  • If your BMI went from healthy to overweight or to extremely thin, it’s an alert to health care professionals that you may have an issue. It’s another way BMI usage can be beneficial.
  • One measure of health that’s more accurate than BMI is measuring waist circumference. People with a higher waist circumference, even though their BMI shows healthy, are more at risk for a serious condition.
  • RFM is almost as simple as BMI, and far more accurate. RFM is a ratio of height to waist measurement. It’s 64-(20x height/waist circumference) for men and for women it’s 76-(20x height/waist circumference).
  • In approximately 80% of the cases, BMI does identify weight issues. That still makes it a good tool for doctors, where they can see the patient and have access to other information.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC