Active4Less News & Blog

Muscle Gain

Posted on July 11th, 2012 by Active4Less | Category: Articles | Permalink

Muscle GainThere is one key term that needs to be understood by anyone wishing to build muscle – Progressive Overload.

There are lots of other factors that contribute towards building muscle such as nutrition, supplements, recovery, training type, and sleep but they won’t count for anything if don’t understand Progressive Overload.

In order to stimulate growth the muscles need to be pushed more than have been previously. If the same demand is put on the muscles as in the pervious session then there is no reason for your body to adapt. You are already strong enough for the required demand.

Our bodies are very clever, they will adapt to demands put on the body, know as anabolism in terms of muscle growth. This works the same if muscles are not used, the reverse effect of your muscles breaking down know as catabolism.

To stimulate an anabolic effect (muscle growth) the muscles need to be worked with increased demand in the form of either repetitions or load. Depending on the goals of each individual muscle building the reps and sets are adjusted to hit a particular type of muscle twitch fibres to maximize either size, performance or both.

Creating the optimum environment for muscle growth pulls in lots of different factors, recovery and nutrition being the next two most important factors after overloading but the number one contributor for disappointed weight lifters is the lack of progressive overload!

The overload doesn’t need to be massive. As the ‘progressive’ suggests, small but regular increments in demand will make a big difference to your training.

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What is a cramp and how do I avoid them?

Posted on July 6th, 2012 by Active4Less | Category: Articles | Permalink

Foot CrampMuscle cramps can be very painful and often occur with little or no warning. Don’t panic they usually have little medical consequence, they just happen. Cramps are muscle spasms and occur in two different forms. Firstly there is the nocturnal cramp, which as the name suggests, occurs at night and often in the calves. Then there is the exertional cramp that occurs during long bouts of exercise.

Generally over-exertion is the usual cause of cramps during exercise, but can also occur if you fail to adequately prepare your body for exercise

A stitch is essentially a cramp in the diaphragm when breathing heavily. To reduce the likelihood of a stitch, try periodically breathing out heavily to force all the contained air out of the body. The diaphragm can get trapped in a contracted state and spasm. Forced breathing can help to relieve this. Otherwise try to breathe regularly during exercise. The other cause of a stitch can be eating too close to exercise. It is best to try and eat anything other than a snack at least 1 hour before exercising. When you exercise, the body diverts the blood in the stomach to the muscles used in exercise.

This leaves undigested food, which can cause discomfort. Different people are affected by this in varying degrees, so it is worth experimenting with your food intake. This is little advice available for reducing nocturnal cramps. They can occur quite frequently and then for little apparent reason, disappear for ages. If they persist, try to stretch the relevant muscles prior to bed.

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