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Archive for May, 2013

What is nitric oxide?

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Hi All,

This time we are looking at nitric oxide supplementation.  The main ingredient in these products are L-arginine.  This is an non-essential amino acid made in the body.

Nitric oxide is involved in increasing blood flow through the body to the muscles (vasodilation), allowing delivery of more nutrients and oxygen to working/recovering muscles.  This increased blood supply is associated with a better pump, improved muscle growth and faster recovery.

Currently there is very little clinical evidence that supports the use of these supplements.

TOM

Review: Pro-10 Whey Protein

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Hi All,

whey-protein-concentrate

A few weeks ago the guys at Pro-10 sports nutrition sent me a load of samples of their different flavours of whey protein. Over the last few weeks I have been trying them out to see how they stack up to other brands of whey that I have used in the past.

But before I start looking at this particular product I thought it might be useful to have a brief, and I mean brief look at the theory behind the use of whey protein for improved performance, recovery and to aid increased lean mass.

Whey protein is derived from milk and is a commonly used to increase protein intake.  Whey due to its high concentration of essential amino acids and it’s easy absorption by the body makes it useful as an aid to reduce muscle breakdown post exercise and encourage muscle growth.  It is recommended that strength athletes take on board 1.4 to 1.8g of protein per kg of body weight, whey supplementation can be used to make sure that individuals meet their desired protein levels and keep intake regular when eating full meals is not available.

Pro-10 is a brand that previously I had not heard much about and had not tried one of their shakes… but after trying the whey I will definitely be exploring using some more of their products in the near future!

I used the Pro-10 whey protein over the course of a week, to see what I thought of it.  The protein itself was a really good product, I found the protein itself to mix well with both water and milk.  One of my pet hates are those powders that you need to shake for what seem like hours or even worse is lumpy.  I am very happy to report that the pro-10 whey protein was neither of these and best of all it tasted good!

Looking at the Pro-10 site it looks awesome and has a massive range of supplements at a reasonable price, but the ke point is that the supplements are quality and as we all know it can often be worth those few extra pennies to get a supplement that does what it says on the tin.

If you want to know a little more about whey and other protein blends look out for the up coming series of articles.

As usual any questions please do ask away in the comments box below.

TOM

Barbell Row

Monday, May 20th, 2013

What is ZMA (Zinc monomethionine aspartate)?

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Hi All,

Following on with my series of blog posts on supplementation I am going to look at ZMA (Zinc monomethionine aspartate).

This supplement is a combination of  zinc, vitamin B6 , magnesium, and aspartate, the formula is claimed to boost testosterone levels in the body.  It is also commonly claimed to boost post exercise recovery, strength and muscular mass.

There is a strong link to the use of zinc to improve cell growth, production and testosterone production, magnesium also helps in the reduction of the effect of cortisol a catabolic hormone (muscle breakdown).  Over all ZMA are sold as an anabolic aid (muscle building).

You should be careful not to exceed safe upper limits of these supplements, with zinc limited at 25mg per day and magnesium at 100mg.  Make sure you check these levels across all your supplements.

TOM

Six Ab exercises with Ben Foden

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

 

Frog sit ups

Frog Sit ups

The classic sit up where the feet are fixed or held down is a great abdominal exercise but this exercise also uses the hip flexors – the muscles right at the top of the thighs – to pull the torso off the floor. The frog sit up, with the thighs out to the side means the hip flexors are less able to help with the movement meaning more work for the abdominal muscle.

TIP: As the abs are working hard and the feet are not pinned it helps to change hand position. Instead of putting the hands behind the head or neck hold them out over the thigh and slide them up the legs with every rep.

 

Russian twist

Russian Twist

Twisting is one of the main functions of the core but is often overlooked when people train the abdominal muscles. This movement trains the whole of the core and helps tighten the waistline.

TIPS: Resistance can be increased by holding you hand further out in front of you or by holding a weight – dumbbell, medicine ball or weight plate. At all times keep a strong neutral spine trying not to arch or slump.

Bicycle crunches

Bicycle Crunches

A great exercise that allows you to focus on the 6 pack muscle as well as the obliques all in one go.

TIPS: As with all crunch type movement, avoid cranking your head forward by using your arms, and instead gently touch your finger tips on the side of your head. Your aim is to touch your knee to you elbows on every rep, but this is a challenging exercise so try not to cheat by using momentum. Keep the movement controlled.

 

Plank

Plank

The plank is the ultimate stability exercise, it activates and strengthens the deep abdominal muscles which act like a corset supporting the spine and drawing in all the organs for a strong, tight core.

TIP: Try to keep the lower back neutral, the minute you cannot do this end the set, rest and then start again. Less higher quality work is better than more lower quality work.

 

Mountain climbers

Mountain Climbers

These are a great conditioning exercise for the core, and ideal for putting into a circuit. The exercise it hits the front and side of the core at the same time as training stability.

TIPS: Try to think about locking everything in place except for the leg that is moving. In practice this will not be possible but it helps keep the hips and torso stable which trains both strength and endurance in movement and stabilisation.

Flutter kicks

Flutter Kick

These train the often neglected lower portion of the abdominal muscles.

TIP: try and avoid arching the lower back. For added stability, the hands can be by your side palms down or for more work raise them and your shoulders off the ground

 

The above article has been produced with the assistance of Multipower sports supplements.

Some great kettlebell exercises

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Review: Multipower Creatine

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Hi All,

I decided to have a go at using creatine as part of my pre workout nutritional routine, I decided to have a go at using Multipower 100% pure creatine monohydrate.  I had not used creatine for a number of years (at least 2) and had completely forgotten then benefits it can give.  Last time I took a creatine supplement I found it to be a little gritty and not the nicest thing to down before an intense workout…. I am glad to say this was not the case with the Multipower product I tried!

Creatine_500g

So lets have a look at what is in the creatine powder, it is made with Creapure monohydrate (which is suitable for veggies).  The powder itself is very fine allowing it to mix very well with your pre-workout drink.  The package suggested that I take 3g daily, which I took pre-workout.  I found using this pre-workout to be very effective and gave me the boost I needed during those harder sessions.

The science behind the use of creatine is based on the fact that creatine is used in your muscles to form an energy rich compound that helps energy production during periods of highly intense exercise.  The use of creatine has been noted to help users sustain high intensity exercise for a longer period of time allowing you get performance improvement benefits from the increase workload. It has also been noted that using creatine can help to speed recovery between sets, again allowing a greater workload to be carried out.  This helps you to experience some good strength gains!

I found the Multipower Creatine to give me a good boost during my workouts and also a good tasting, easy to use supplement.  For all those of you out there who use creatine I would definitely recommend the Multipower brand and for those who have not yet tried adding creatine to their nutritional routine, give it a go!

As always please comment and tweet!

TOM

 

 

Lunge

Monday, May 6th, 2013

What is Glutamine?

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Hi All,

This week I am going to look at Glutamine, which is a non-essential amino acid that the body produces itself.  It is predominantly found in the muscles and the blood.   Glutamine is needed for cellular growth and as a key fuel for immune function.  When we are training hard or at time of extreme stress the bodies natural levels of glutamine tend to fall below the desired amount, leaving us open to an increased risk of infection.

The evidence suggests that keeping your glutamine levels high post exercise can help to prevent infection
or illness.  There is however very little evidence that it will improve actual performance, with a small number of studies suggesting that glutamine supplementation post event will prevent muscle breakdown and speed recovery.  This was based on doses or around 100mg per kg spread over the 2 hours post exercise.

Please comment below.

TOM