cycling biking fat loss muscle build overall health

Cycling

cycling biking fat loss muscle build overall health
The freedom of cycling

For every-day individuals, finding time to efficiently exercise can be tough with the daily commitments to work, social life, other activities. Finding a convenient exercise that promotes overall health and sustainability is important, especially as the body ages. Two major forms of exercise fit these requirements, biking and swimming. For convenience purposes, we are splitting up biking and swimming into different articles. Today, we are looking at the advantages of incorporating biking into your daily and weekly workout routine.

Relative to running and other forms of extended exercise, biking has been shown to exert less impact upon crucial ligaments and tendons while promoting superior muscle build around the lower body. Biking has direct impact on the building of muscle but also the toning of muscle for the gluteus maximus, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Relative to running, which has no muscle-building properties, biking has shown that you can both promote muscle build while also reducing wear and tear on the ligaments and tendons surrounding the muscles.

Biking allows the user to exercise for much longer distances, as the inflammatory load on the body is much lower on a per distance basis. For example, running leads to muscle soreness and ligament/tendon damage i.e. inflammation. On the other hand, cyclists can exercise for much longer distances. This is important, as sustained stamina training on bikes allows you to get fit faster. The sustained energy output relies on muscle breakdown from the three major muscle groups listed above, gluteus maximus, quadriceps, and hamstrings. These three groups are responsible for producing power to produce the cycling motion. As basic physiology will show, high volume and low weight is equally, if not more than, efficient at building toned muscle throughout the body.

The fun part of biking is the freedom. How far and how hard you go is entirely up to you. It also gets you out in the open which allows to get to go different places. Instead of going to the gym and running on a treadmill, biking allows you to get out into the open and experience the geology around you. Likewise, the choice between a mountain bike and a performance bike is entirely up to you. Mountain bikes are cheaper and built for multi-purpose settings, such as children and beginners. Performance bikes are meant for, you guessed it, performance. Unless you are an experienced biker or desire a finer product, the mountain bike is for you.

One of the most popular mountain bikes on the market is the Northwoods Mountain Bike.
Northwoods Aluminum Full Suspension Mountain Bike

One of the most popular performance bikes on the market is the Vilano Diverse 2.0
Vilano Diverse 2.0 Performance Hybrid Bike

How correct hex bar form can impact strength and lower back pressure and stress

The Hex-Bar Deadlift

How correct hex bar form can impact strength and lower back pressure and stress
How correct hex bar form can impact strength and lower back pressure and stress

What is the hex bar and what purpose does it serve to every-day gym go-ers? First, let’s give some context to why it serves any purpose at all.

Everyone knows the regular straight-bar deadlift. You have seen huge weightlifters walk up to the straight-bar with 400 pounds on the sides, bend down, and pull up while also holding good form. For experienced bodybuilders with tons of practice, this is usually not a problem. But what some lifters do not understand is that unless you are efficiently stretching before, after and using textbook deadlift technique (hint: many typical lifters you see at the gym, and especially younger ones, are not), this exercise can put an excessive magnitude of stress into your back’s joints, ligaments, and muscles which over time causes damage.

So, one day in the early 1980’s some of the top bodybuilders wanted to find a more efficient way to get the results of the deadlift without the pain and damage. Enter the hex-bar deadlift. Once invented for bulking up traps, the hex-bar has found new life in lifting circles. Even for more experienced lifters, this has transitioned into the go-to deadlift exercise for many reasons.

First, it reduces lower back stress. Looking at the picture above, the weight is placed directly over the hips and the back is straight with the head looking up. This is the optimal loading position for the back. Relative to the straight-bar deadlift, which shifts the weight forward and ramps up the compressive forces on the lower back, this exercise is much better suited for the human body and its functionality.

Second, the weight is distributed more evenly around the body allowing your body to more efficiently uses its muscles. A research study cited in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (you can see more details on it by clicking here)found that lifters could deadlift fifty more pounds on average using the hex-bar compared to the straight-bar. For those lifters who care about how much weight you can put up, this should be an immediate incentive to implement this into your leg routine.

Third, non-athletes or less-experienced gym go-ers can easily add this to their routine without any worry of a learning curve. The motion is simple, as shown below. Simply bend down and pull straight up while keeping your abdominal muscle tight. This is especially helpful for busy professionals and adults, as this exercise hits all major muscles groups in the lower body including abdominal muscles. This finding is expounded upon in a major comparative medical study that you can read here.

This means that the hex-bar deadlift could take the place of a variety of smaller lower-body exercises taking up excess time. As with any new exercise, start low and increase weight only when you feel comfortable.

Correct hex-bar form can impact your health and significantly reduce back pressure and stress.
Correct hex-bar form.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you learned a new thing or two about lifting. Feel free to leave a comment below and tell us your thoughts or any questions/comments you might have!

Check back early next week for another article keeping you up to date with the health and fitness world!

fish oil supplements can help physical, heart, and mental health

Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)

fish oil supplements can help physical, heart, and mental health

Fish Oil is an essential part of a diet that is centered around physical fitness and heart health. Both physical fitness and heart health are geared around building up the muscle in your body while keeping your heart healthy. Doing so leads to a much greater personal body composition that allows you to be more athletic, aesthetic, and feel healthier.

Fish oil has two components that allow it to work so efficiently. These components are are EPA and DHA. Fish oils come in many different brands, and the higher quality brands have a large concentration of both EPA and DHA in their nutrient profile. Each of these are the main drivers behind the positive benefits that come from supplementing your life with fish oil. Omega-3 products that do not have significant dosages of EPA and DHA or are “blends” are not worth the money. Simple as that.

Two of the main body composition advantages that these products offer is that it allows the body to turn on fat burning genes, known as lipolytic genes, and turn off fat storing genes, known as lipogenic genes. The physical benefits from turning off lipogenic genes and on lipolytic genes are numerous and contribute to a body with better composition. Also, Omega-3 oils increase the use of fat storage from adipocytes for energy use, which in turn decreases the amount of fat stored in your body.

Fish oils also have an incredible effect on your internal organs and helping the user’s body run more efficiently by reducing inflammation. Inflammation damages blood vessels which can lead to future strokes and heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglycerides which can lower blood pressure by reducing blood clotting. The overall benefit from this is a reduced risk of heart failure and a reduced risk of an irregular heartbeat. One of my favorite studies about health and omega-3 acids can be found here.

Speaking of favorites, this product from Amazon is one of my favorite go-to’s. It provides an excellent source of high quality EPA and DHA while providing 90 days of dosing. The soft-gel caps are easy to swallow and fit right in with my morning routine.

Dr. Tobias Omega 3 Fish Oil Triple Strength, Burpless, Non-GMO, NSF-Certified, 180 Counts

The prime dosage for fish oil is 2,500 mg’s a day, and it is even more effective when you take it with food or after a meal. Fish oil can be a game changer for you, internally and physically.

CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) benefits and how it affects fat loss

Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Fat Loss

CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) benefits and how it affects fat loss
CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) benefits

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is one of the few supplements on the market today that advertise fat loss and have legitimate scientific backing to legitimate. CLA is an omega-6 polyunsaturated essential fatty acid aimed at the breakdown of fat in fat cells to free the fatty acids into the blood stream.

Fatty acids successfully break down the fat from the fat cells which will reduce the total amount of fat in your body. Subsequently, the ratio of fat-free to fat mass in your body will go up as well. CLA also has proven qualities that increase fatty acid oxidation from fat stored in the skeletal muscle and fat cells. It essentially starves the fat cell and keeps the fat cells small and from getting any bigger. Fatty acid oxidation is the breakdown of fat cells that are then used for energy for the body. Therefore, the more fat cells that are oxidized, the less fat that is in your body. CLA also reduces resting metabolic rates in the body which helps your body deal with fat more efficiently and keeps the heart healthy!

Dosage of CLA widely varies anywhere from one gram to seven grams a day. Most experts and research sites have different opinions on what dosage works best. It really comes down to individual sensitivity and what works best for you. From anecdotal research and personal experience, I have concluded that the optimal dosing level hovers anywhere from three to five grams daily. Anything lower than three will not be enough to make a discernible difference, and anything over five can be too much over time for certain body types.

In addition, you will need to take the product for four to six weeks to begin to notice any lasting effects as a saturation point has to be reached in the body for the effects to take full effect.

Happy bio-hacking!

Study:

Blankson, H., Fagertun, H., Gudmundsen, O., Stakkestad, J.A., Thom, & E., Wadstein, J., “Conjugated Linoleic Acid Reduces Body Fat Mass in Overweight and Obese Humans.” J. Nutr., 130: 2943-2948, 2000.