Sports Nutrition, Muscle, Endurance, Recovery, Sexual Health, Weight Management

Boost Your Workout with Interval Training

Interval training has long been a key component of training routines for athletes. But this method of exercising can benefit anyone, not just trained athletes. Interval training, which consists of alternating intervals of high-intensity exercise followed by a lower-intensity recovery period, can help you add some variety to your workout while also helping you to burn more calories and improve your aerobic capacity, allowing you to work out longer or more intensely.

Interval training can help you get the most bang for your buck out of your workout, by incorporating both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise relies on oxygen for energy production and refers to low to moderate intensity activities that increase your heart rate and breathing, but can be maintained for longer periods of time. Examples of aerobic activities include jogging, swimming, and cycling. Anaerobic exercise relies on energy stored in the muscles instead of oxygen. Though anaerobic exercise is not as effective for burning fat as aerobic exercise is, anaerobic exercise helps burn fat indirectly by increasing the metabolic rate after your workout is complete. Due to its high intensity level, can only be sustained for brief periods of time. Anaerobic activities include sprint running, spring swimming and weight lifting.

Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise have specific benefits. Aerobic exercise helps to strengthen the heart and lungs, burn fat, lower blood pressure, and improve your cholesterol profile, while anaerobic exercise helps to build and strengthen muscle, increase metabolism, and strengthen bones. However, during intense exercise, your muscles produce the waste product lactic acid, which can contribute to sore muscles. An accumulation of lactic acid can leave you feeling exhausted and in pain. By alternating exercise intensity, interval training can help to reduce the buildup of lactic acid in muscles.

So how do you create the right interval training program for you? Interval training can be done with several different types of activities, including running, biking or swimming. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula; the length and intensity of each interval depends on what you hope to achieve with your workout, and your general level of fitness. You may want to speak with a trainer to develop a personalized interval training program.

If your goal is to increase your general fitness level, you can structure the length and intensity of your intervals based on how you feel that day. For example, you may choose to alternative two minutes of jogging with 30 seconds of sprinting, and slowly increase the length of your high-speed intervals or decrease the length of your recovery intervals throughout your workout.

If you have a more specific fitness goal in mind, you may want to take a more scientific approach to creating a program and create specific goals based on the following factors: intensity of each interval, duration of each high-intensity interval, duration of recovery interval, and the number of repetitions you would like to complete.

However you decide to structure your interval training program, always be sure to warm up for a few minutes before your workout, and cool down at the end.

Always remember that before you begin any diet or exercise program you should consult your physician.

How To Relieve a Side Stitch

The side stitch, also referred to as exercise related transient abdominal pain (ETAP), is a common condition experienced at one time or another by most people who regularly engage in sports or exercise.

Characterized by a sharp, stabbing pain just beneath the ribcage, this frustrating cramp occurs most frequently during vigorous activity that involves a lot of up and down movement, such as running or jumping. The pain is caused by a spasm of the diaphragm muscle when the ligaments extending from the diaphragm to the internal organs (particularly the liver) are stretched.

Though it can occur on either side of the abdomen, the side stitch occurs much more frequently on the right side. Why is that? When you inhale, your lungs fill with air, and your diaphragm is forced downward. When you exhale, your lungs contract and your diaphragm rises. While running, approximately 70% of people exhale as their left foot hits the ground with only about 30% of people exhaling as their right foot hits the ground. The latter group is more likely to experience side stitches. As the right foot hits the ground, gravity pulls your internal organs, including the liver, downward. If you are exhaling at the same time, then your diaphragm rises as your lungs contract, resulting in stretching of the diaphragm. This repeated stretching can lead to spasms in the diaphragm.

To treat a side stitch, it is best to stop, or at least reduce the intensity of, the activity that caused the stitch. Take deep, even breaths until the pain subsides. Applying manual pressure to the painful area can also help to alleviate the pain. If you tend to exhale as your right foot touches the ground, try to adjust your stride so that your left foot hits the ground as you exhale.

There are also steps you can take to prevent side stitches from occurring in the first place:

  • Stretch thoroughly before exercising, focusing on the lower back and abdominals.
  • Avoid eating for one to two hours before a workout, because food in the stomach can create more force on the ligaments and increase cramping.
  • When running, make sure to take deep, even breaths, as shallow breathing leaves the diaphragm consistently raised, not allowing the ligaments to lower far enough to relax.
  • Drink more fluids to avoid dehydration, which can increase muscle cramps.

When Is the Best Time to Exercise?

There are many theories out there concerning when the best time to exercise is. But the first question to ask is what is your goal? Because for some people, “the best time” means the time when we are strongest or burn the most calories; for others it’s the time that fits into our schedules or makes it most likely that we’ll stick to a routine long-term. Or it could even be the time that whatever event you’re training for is starting, like an early morning marathon.

Let’s take the first scenario—you want to find out when your body is most ready for exertion. We’ll assume that you’ve tried a few different times of day and can’t determine which is working best for you (because if you already know your body well enough and know when you workout most efficiently, you can stop reading now).

The human body follows circadian rhythms, which result from the firing of neurons originating in the hypothalamus region of the brain. These rhythms are set according to the 24-hour cycle of darkness and light and regulate things like your body temperature, metabolism and blood pressure (that’s why you feel awful when your sleep schedule gets out of whack).

You’ll probably have a more productive workout when your body temperature is at its highest because your muscles are warm and more flexible. Studies show you have more power, quicker reaction time and resting heart rate and blood pressure are low. For most people, body temperature is highest during the late afternoon (it’s usually lowest about one to three hours before you wake up in the morning).

All this doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have time to exercise in the afternoon or can’t realistically commit to a long-term routine of working out at this time. If you know you’re more likely to stick to working out if you do it in the morning, then that’s the most important thing to concentrate on.

If you’re training for a specific event like a morning marathon or afternoon event then it may be best for you to train at the time that you will be performing. You’ll get a better sense of how your body can perform at that time of day and you’ll get into a habit of exerting energy at that time.

How to choose a personal trainer

If you’ve decided to start working out with a personal trainer but don’t know how to be smart about finding one, read on.

You may have heard about specific trainers from friends, or seen trainers at your gym. No matter where you find them, the first thing to consider is your safety. You should be sure to work with someone who has a current certification accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Don’t train with someone who is not knowledgeable about the human body and who could put your safety at risk. It’s a good idea to ask to see the person’s certification and to make sure it’s current. You can also call the NCCA to look someone up in their system or to make sure their status is current.

The next step is to ask for references. You may not need this if the trainer comes personally recommended by someone you know very well, but it may still be a good idea. Try to speak with people who are at the same fitness level as you or have the same goals (like training for an event or just trying to get a little more fit).

Once you’ve narrowed down the list, speak with your potential trainer(s). See if you feel comfortable in your interactions and make sure you are able to communicate well and freely with each other. Be sure to bring up any health conditions, pre-existing injuries, goals or concerns and see if the trainer responds in a way that makes you feel confident about his or her knowledge and interest in training you.

Next, it’s time to talk money—find out what the trainer charges for sessions. Many factors can come into play, such as the trainer’s experience and credentials or whether he or she needs to travel to come to you or if you will meet at your gym. Go over the cancellation policy and billing procedure; if you’re not totally clear on these processes you may end up incurring extra fees.

If your trainer is not an employee of a fitness facility you should find out if he or she carries professional liability insurance.

Your final steps should be to make sure that your schedules are compatible, you can both easily get to the location where you’ll be working, and any other miscellaneous concerns that may come up.

If you have additional questions or concerns, consider calling the NCCA or visiting their Web site.



*Mention of specific companies or brand names does not imply any affiliation, connection, association, sponsorship, or endorsement between such company and this material or Twinlab, including its affiliates, and further, nothing should be construed as implying that this material or the goods of Twinlab originate with or have the sponsorship or approval of such company.

How to buy an elliptical trainer

Because of the convenience and cost effectiveness of having exercise equipment right in your home versus going to a gym, many people are choosing to buy elliptical trainers for low-impact cardio exercise.

A quick search online will give you an idea of the top brands, and many websites feature reviews from people who have already made purchases. Read through those and look for trends in satisfaction or dissatisfaction with different brands. You also want to find brands that offer a warranty and servicing or calibrating (if you choose a model that requires calibration).

Another thing to consider is whether or not you want a motorized model. If you opt for a motorized machine, make sure you have an adequate power supply in your home—and that you want to pay a higher electrical bill.

Before you head to the store, find out how much space you have available for the trainer and take those dimensions with you. You don’t want to bring it home and find out there’s not enough room for it. You need to consider the space above your head, as well, since you’ll be elevated above the floor when you’re on the machine. You should also consider whether or not you’ll be storing the machine between uses, and if so, make sure you have enough storage space.

Once you get to the store, try out the models you’re considering. Check for noise levels, stability and sturdiness, format of the control panel and ease of use. When you’re on the machine, make sure your posture doesn’t feel strained and your range of motion is not cramped or limited. Obviously, you want to be sure your feet fit the pedals.

Pro bodybuilder, Todd Jewell, explains that it’s also important to take your weight into consideration. “I am a large man weighing in at around 300 pounds in the off-season, so I have to make sure that the equipment I use will hold up to that amount of weight over a long period of time,” he says. In other words, don’t be stingy, spend the extra money if it means you’ll be safer and the machine will last longer.

Finally, before you start using your trainer, be sure that you know where all the controls are and if you have a motorized model, that you know where the emergency off-switch is.

Team Full Throttle Twinlab Racing Nabs Podiums in Several Divisions at the 2009 Robert J. Aaron Memorial Mighty Montauk Triathlon

New York, NY. (June 24, 2009) –-Twinlab® is proud to announce the success of Team Full Throttle Twinlab Racing at the 2009 Robert J. Aaron Memorial Mighty Montauk Triathlon. With winners in most divisions, Full Throttle Twinlab Racing exemplified a team dominating performance. The race consisted of a 1 mile swim, 22 mile bike ride and a 6.2 mile run. Overall winner, William Kelly led the team, Andrew Kalley placed second and for her first win, Allison Lind took the overall women’s title.

“It is truly amazing that we had 10 athletes in the top 33 to cross the finish line,” says Scott Berlinger, President/Founder, Full Throttle Endurance Inc. “I've always believed that a team setting makes everyone, even the coach, train harder and focus more. And at the end of the day, it is more fun to go out and race as a team as opposed to just being a group of fragmented people with no real sense of community.”

Full Throttle Twinlab Racing is a high-intensity multi-sport training program for those who are ready to bring the benefits of superior personal athleticism into their lives. With a heightened emphasis on sports nutrition, this year the team incorporates Twinlab® supplements to make their training program complete. “It all comes down to proper nutrition and we went after the best source, Twinlab,” says Scott Berlinger, President/Founder, Full Throttle Endurance Inc. “The right training, the right bikes, and the right nutrition along with our positive attitude and will to win all add up to consistent victories.”

Full Throttle Twinlab Racing encompasses participants from all age groups, professional levels, and social backgrounds. The program offers a community of like-minded individuals the opportunity to incorporate high-level training and racing into a balanced lifestyle and welcomes all ability levels. The only requirement is a personal commitment to the pursuit of athletic excellence.

“We are proud to sponsor a group of exceptional athletes like Full Throttle Twinlab Racing. Their commitment and determination fall right in line with our views on fitness and athleticism. What it really comes down to is a commitment to excellence,” says Mark Fox, President, ISI Brands/Twinlab.


About Full Throttle Twinlab Racing:
Team Full Throttle Twinlab Racing trains at the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, in Central Park, and in the landscape of northwestern Connecticut. The team races primarily on the east coast, but the elite athletes compete in Ironman and other triathlon competitions throughout the nation and around the world.

About Twinlab:
Twinlab® Corporation is a leading manufacturer and marketer of high quality, science-based, nutritional supplements, including a complete line of vitamins, minerals, nutraceuticals, herbs and sports nutrition products. www.twinlabfuel.com

How To Choose A Fitness Club

So you’ve decided you’d like to join a gym. That’s great! But wherever you turn, there are billboards, ads on buses, and commercials on the radio and tv for fitness clubs, all advertising low prices and guaranteed results. So how do you choose the best gym for you? Selecting the right gym will take a little bit of time and research, but will be worth the effort in the long run.

The first thing to take into consideration is a fitness club’s location. You’re much more likely to be consistent with your exercise routine if your gym is convenient for you to get to. If you prefer to work out right after work, you may prefer to look for a gym that’s close to your job. If you work out on weekends, you may want to look for a fitness club that’s closer to your home. If you travel frequently, consider looking into a gym that has locations in places that you visit frequently.

You’ll also want to make sure that you choose a gym that has hours of operation that fit with your workout schedule. If you enjoy working out early in the morning or late at night, a gym that’s open from 9-5 isn’t for you. If you like to work out on weekends, inquire whether they close early on the weekends.

Identify what you need in a gym. Do you just want to run on the treadmill and use weight-lifting machines? These are basic machines found at almost every gym. If you enjoy group fitness classes, inquire about the gym’s classes. Do they offer classes you are interested in, at times that are convenient for you? Also take into consideration any amenities you want in a gym. Some fitness centers offer anything from hair dryers and towel service to pools, saunas, and spa services.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, request a tour of any gym you are seriously considering. Are the facilities clean? Is the equipment well maintained, or are there several machines that are out of order? Do you feel comfortable with the general atmosphere?

While you tour the gym, be observant of the staff. They will be there to answer any questions you have about equipment and your fitness routine. Are there a sufficient number of staff members available? Are they friendly and helpful? Staff should also be trained in first aid and CPR, and be certified with a reputable organization. Don’t be shy to ask about the staff’s certifications. After all, you are trusting them with your most valuable commodity, your body.

Finally, take advantage of any free trials. A gym may look perfect on paper, but the best way to find the right gym for you is to get in there and try it out.

Workout Ideas for Couples

Hectic schedules can sometimes make it difficult to set aside enough time to dedicate to your fitness regimen and also spend enough quality time with your significant other. Relationships, much like fitness regimens, require lots of time and commitment, and at times it may seem hard to balance both. But these two priorities don't need to come in conflict - working out together can help you both achieve your fitness goals while spending quality time together.

Working out as a couple has several physical as well as emotional benefits. Men and women tend to focus on different types of exercise when working out; Men usually favor strength training, while women typically focus on cardio. Exercising together can help to balance out each of your workout programs to incorporate both cardio and strength training. Partners can also help to watch each other's form and serve as a spotter during difficult exercises. In addition, exercising as a couple gives you a common interest and allows partners to give each other motivation and support, which can help deepen your bond.

It can be tricky to start working out with a partner, particularly if you are at different fitness levels. Below are some suggestions that will help you get a good workout together.

  • Join a class together. Pick an activity you're both interested in trying; from kickboxing to yoga to swing dancing, the possibilities are virtually limitless.
  • When using cardio machines at the gym, work on machines that are next to each other. This will allow each of you to work at your own intensity level while still being close to each other.
  • Challenge your significant other to a high-energy game of basketball. Rouse up a little friendly competition and start burning calories!
  • Go for a power walk or jog outside. Walking at a brisk pace can be great exercise, plus you'll get to enjoy the scenery and outdoors together. Adding intervals to your walk or jog will help to accommodate both your fitness levels.
  • Stretch it out. Assisted stretching has been shown to help improve flexibility and feels good, so give your partner a gentle tug or push, just be careful and go slowly to ensure you don't overdo it.
  • Go play outside. Remember as a kid how you would spend endless hours playing outside? Recreate those childhood memories with your partner - play a game of tag, jump rope, or go for a bike ride.

The "Core" Essentials

Over the last few years, core training has become a staple of exercise routines, though it has been the focus of ancient practices such as yoga and tai chi for centuries. Yet many people don't have a good understanding of what exactly the core is, and the importance of core strength not only in your workout, but even in everyday activities such as walking or lifting groceries.

Many people mistakenly interchange the terms core and abs. Actually, your core runs the entire length of your body's trunk and torso, and includes the muscles in your back, abdomen, pelvis and hips. These muscles form the foundation for all your body's movement, your posture and your balance by helping to stabilize your spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle. If your core is strong, you are more stable during movements, your posture is better, and you have greater strength and power during your activities. A weak core can result in poor posture, injury, and lower back pain.

So now that you understand the importance of a strong and stable core, how do you incorporate core training into your workout? A good core training program should target all the muscle groups that stabilize the spine and pelvis. Though there are several pieces of equipment such as stability balls, balance boards and kettle balls that can help with core training, you can build core strength without any equipment. The strength required to hold a pose, coupled with the gravitational pull of your body weight are enough to effectively work your core muscles. Push ups, squats, lunges and crunches are basic exercises that can help you get started on building core strength; pilates, yoga and tai chi classes also focus on exercises that develop your core, or consult with a trainer, who can help you develop a personalized core strengthening regimen.

Successful Weight Management

Having a weight management strategy benefits pretty much everyone-whether your goal is to maintain your weight or get better muscle definition. Make a plan and remember it's always a good idea to speak with your doctor about your weight goals and before making any significant changes in your diet or exercise routine. Here are some tips that may help you get a plan together.

We know the basics-to manage your weight you need to burn more calories than you're taking in and if you're eating more than you're burning you'll gain weight. The secret to making the jump from knowing how to change your weight to actually getting results is to make a commitment to a lifestyle that supports your goals. It may sound like a full time job, and there's no doubt that when you're starting out with a new plan, it takes a while to find what works for you.

When you're figuring out your strategy you should always keep a few questions in mind:

  • will your diet include plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, lean protein and foods from the other major food groups?
  • whatever the idea behind the diet, does it feature foods that you can afford and can find easily?
  • will you be eating foods that you like and will commit to eating for the long term, not just a set amount of time?
  • do you have the time to prepare these foods?
  • will you get enough nutrients and calories on this plan?

That takes care of the food, but you also have to be balancing your diet with exercise. If you have a personal trainer, ask what kinds of exercises are right for your body and your goals. Always speak with an expert before trying new techniques so as to avoid injuries.

Remember, though, that research shows whatever kind of exercising you're doing, it should be done regularly.