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Hey, I am a med student who likes to write. Each week I provide a handful of tips that will help you in your quest to become healthier.

12 Widespread Drink Myths Demystified

Written: 01/02/2008 | Join the discussion (0)

Often used as commercial lines, the following statements are posed in such a way that different interpretations can be attached to them. Some are simply false. To get noticed, many advertisers chance upon these powerful one-liners to grab the attention of gullible customers. Well it is about time we shook things up a little for them…

The last time we focused a bit on vegetables. This time we are going to browse through all types of drinks from bottled water, coffee, soda to alcohol. Here is a take on 12 drink myths we have demystified for you:

  1. Bottled water is more pure than tap water.

    False: Tap water is guaranteed safe for consumption. It is controlled regularly to see whether it is free from any harmful chemical and bacteriological presence. It is often labeled as unsafe because of the unpleasant taste of the chlorine in the water. This bad taste disappears after leaving a pitcher of tap water in the fridge or adding a slice of lemon into the pitcher of tap water. But in regions where the tap water is high in nitrates, it is better to drink bottled water.

  2. Soda drinks are recommended for stomach burns.

    False: They have a soothing effect when we first drink them, but this is only a temporary relief. They provoke a hyper secretion of acid in your stomach which only aggravates the situation.

  3. That orange drink you saw on TV is made up of orange pulps and is thus good for health.

    False: Although the claim about orange pulps is "sometimes" right, the fact remains that the amount of orange pulp is very low in one bottle compared to the amount of water, sugar, aromas and food additives and colorings present. It is healthier if you prepare your own fruit juice at home. It is easy and take only a few minutes of your time to prepare.

  4. It is OK for children to drink soda.

    False: 1/2 L of a bottle of coca-cola contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee 50:50 Arabica and Robusta mix which contains a lot of caffeine. From Energy Fiend:
    A 12 ounce can of Coca-Cola Classic contains 34.5 milligrams of caffeine.

    The Diet Coke range actually contain about 40% more caffeine per fluid ounce than the standard coke formula.

    Coca-cola Blak has the largest amount of caffeine of any coca-cola drink.
    Snopes has an interesting page on Cokelore, which are urban legends centered around coca-cola. This is the same for drinks which are "bitter" or "tonic" which contain a compound known as quinine.

  5. Coffee and Tea make us lose weight.

    False: They are only diuretics which provoke the elimination of water in your body. The weight loss people experience when drinking coffee or tea is only the amount of water your body has lost. There is no loss in terms of fat.

  6. Tea which has been infused over a long period of time is more energizing than light tea.

    False: A bitter and black tea is less "energizing" than a light tea which has only been infused for a 1 or 2 minutes. This is due to the fact that a compound known as tannin diffuse only after 5 to 6 minutes and neutralize the effects of caffeine in the tea.

  7. Decaffeinated coffee is carcinogenic: can cause cancer.

    False: The incriminating product was the trichloroethylene, used as solvent in the preparation of decaffeinated coffee. There has been no definite proof as to the carcinogenic potential of the trichloroethylene. It is classified as a probable carcinogen. To provoke the apparition of tumors in lab mouses, they would have had to consume hundreds of thousands of decaffeinated coffee drinks for 70 years (based on the studies conducted by Gayte-Sorbier, Cah. Med. 1978, 4,5 p.279-284).

  8. The "café au lait" or coffee with milk is indigestible.

    True: Because of the amount of tannins it contains (less than tea though), which precipitate casein and cause it to clot which render its digestion very difficult. Casein is a protein that is found in milk and used independently in many foods as a binding agent.

  9. Tea has less exciting effects than coffee.

    False: A cup of tea has almost the same amount of caffeine in it as a cup of coffee. But the tolerance to the caffeine of the tea is different to the tolerance to the caffeine in coffee and this tolerance varies from person to person.

  10. Wine prevents heart attacks.

    True: Indeed many studies have shown that a decrease in coronary diseases have been linked to a moderate consumption of wine. That is no reason though to abuse of wine. A consumption of one or two glasses per day is enough to keep you fit and healthy.

  11. Alcohol is better tolerated during a meal than before one.

    True: Its absorption is slower and the effects are greatly reduced.

  12. Women are less tolerant to alcohol than men.

    True: Women generally tolerate alcohol less than men. It is one of the reasons why women are asked to limit themselves to one or two drinks while men are usually limited to 2 or 3 drinks. When a woman drinks the same amount of alcohol as a man, the concentration of alcohol in her blood is higher. Intoxication comes more quickly. This vulnerability of some women to alcoholic drinks is due to 2 causes:

    • Volume of a woman's body compared to that of a man is less. Proportionally, the concentration of alcohol is more in women than men.

    • The body of a woman has more fat and less water than a man's body. As alcohol dissolves in water (blood in this case), it is more concentrated in women than in men.

Further Reading: 11 Widespread Food Statements Demystified


For #4, a reader provided the following explanation:

Assuming you meant a common 20 oz bottle, at 2.88 mg per ounce, there is a total of 28.8 mg in that half bottle. Standard drip coffee, the most popular type, contains 18.13 mg/oz, or 145 mg per 8 oz cup. Hardly the same amount.

Even using the type of coffee with the lowest caffeine (no including decaf), which is instant coffee, there is still significantly more at 57 mg per cup which is TWICE the amount in the half bottle of Coke.

I have to correct people all the time when they seem to think that they have had high doses of caffeine after a couple Mountain Dews. It simply a fact that no mainstream soft drink compares to coffee for caffeine content. Some energy drinks do, but not Coke or Pepsi.


How to Avoid Headache and Migraines During Parties

Written: 01/01/2008 | Join the discussion (0)

At this time of year, it would be a shame that a migraine attack comes and troubles your plans for celebrations. Unfortunately, many factors are in place that can trigger the crisis. A few precautions can reduce the risk.

Looking at the results of investigations into what triggers a migraine, there is always prominently alcohol, chocolate, lack of sleep, stress or noise. In other words, the holiday season are favorable times for migraine, which between meals well watered and sleepless nights, face an unusual concentration of factors known to precipitate the occurrence of migraine crises.

Dangerous Abuse

First the dietary factors. It is difficult to enjoy New Year's Ever without some excesses at table and drinks. But many migraine sufferers are well aware that alcohol are bad for them. Some are sensitive to white wine or champagne, others only to red wines or even appetizers. Beer is also frequently cited. Chocolate is also known to trigger a migraine attack, as aged cheeses (Swiss cheese, brie, Camembert, Roquefort, blue…), citrus food or aspartame and food additives, namely MSG in chinese dishes. If coffee tends to prevent migraines, to the point that crisis may occur after weaning among major consumers, drunk in large quantities it can also be a trigger of migraine. Take care not to abuse the consumption of coffee in an attempt to resist the prolonged evening.

The pain you sometimes feel on your forehead or temples caused by the ingestion of ice cream or cold drinks have, however, nothing to do with migraine. They are extremely mundane, as they affect one in two or three persons only, last a few seconds or at most a minute or two and are not that acute.

In these times of abuse, it is worth pointing out that fasting is sometimes a triggering element, which explains why delayed meals can cause a migraine crisis even before you sit down for dinner.

Sleep, another vital point

Fatigue and lack of sleep play a major role for many migraines and headaches. Often, more than a sleepless night, it is the accumulated fatigue that is involved. It is tempting to make up for those lost hours of sleep by staying in bed or sleep more the following nights. But, again, beware! Excessive sleeping can also trigger migraines.

If it is you who are organizing the festivities, another factor comes into play: stress. Migraine can occur when the tension increases or, conversely, when it calms down after the "battle".

Other Stimuli

Some migraine sufferers report that their crises are sometimes triggered by sensory stimuli: smells, including perfumes and smoky atmosphere, violent or flashing lights, noises. Parties at the clubs are obviously not the most conducive place to avoid crises. To complete the picture, it should be added that the cold is also among the triggers of migraine.

Treat quickly

If you suffer from migraines, you are in the best position to know what elements tend to cause your crises. They are often multi-faceted. Avoiding the accumulation of trigger factors of migraines seems a sensible precaution if you want to spend holidays without worry. This implies, in particular, that you must drink and eat reasonably and not disturb too much your sleep habits. However, it must be admitted that migraine remains erratic, do not always manifest themselves when you are expecting them and willingly occurring at a time when you least expect it. It is therefore unnecessary to lose the pleasure of having fun during the festivities in an attempt to protect yourself from migraine. However, it is important to know the effective drugs to treat the headache. These will vary depending on the person. Some of these products are issued only on medical prescription. If OTC painkillers do not affect your crises, the most sensible precaution is to consult your specialist.

This will help you determine what is the best treatment suitable for your condition: specific treatment of migraine such as triptans or non-specific treatments such as painkillers and anti-inflammations. It is advisable to take medications from the onset of headache. In fact, the more early they are taken, the more effective they are.

Happy New Year!

Written: 01/01/2008 | Join the discussion (0)

How to Party Healthy: Questions And Answers On How To Stay Healthy At A New Year's Bash

Written: 12/29/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

We know that the holiday season is conducive to all kinds of excesses. Here are a few modest tips on how to party healthy.

Should you start preparing your body for the New Year Party?

If you have a normal balanced diet, it is not because of an approaching holiday or party, that you must subject your body to a diet. On the contrary, you will be more likely to eat more than your normal amount if you have dieted or fasted beforehand. The best thing to do is to continue to eat normally and doing a minimum of exercise at the same time. It is not on the eve of a party that you must be vigilant about your diet and eating habits. It is better to be reasonable at the time of the meal in question than to anticipate. Nevertheless, we can adopt a more reasonable diet on New Year's Eve and the days that follow.

What is the recommended diet?

There a few tricks which you can use on New Year's Eve before the party. During the holidays, people tend to consume more calories than usual, fat, sugar, alcohol, but also protein. The idea is to drain excess calories by drinking plenty of water to support the removal of fat and sugars that swell the stomach. Choose water rich in minerals, or even soups and broths. You should also eat fiber: fruits, vegetables (onions, green beans, spinach), grains (bread to a lesser extent than vegetables), which promote digestion and elimination. Choose meals that I call "à la Asian", as the wok: as you will load in fat and sugar, you must choose the sliced, diced chicken, shrimp, complete with noodles and vegetables, and end it with a fruit. Eat balanced without excessive loading of protein, limiting yourself to merely a few drops of oil and not too much margarine. You should not restrict yourself too much, but eat low in fat without any added sugar.

How to limit the damage of festive meals?

My advice is to focus more on the content of the meal, rather than satellites. I call "satellites" everything edible that is served with the main dish. Refrain from the appetizer and focus on the "heart" of the meal. To avoid throwing yourself on the little cakes, snacks, etc, eat a healthy snack one or two hours before the grand party or dinner like cheese, a fruit salad, tea, foods that make you feel full so that you do not arrive on an empty stomach at the party or dinner. Try to control the alcohol to avoid a hangover the next day. If you are invited to a party, it can be awkward to refuse a dish, but nobody will blame you for making a wine or champagne glass lasts a long time. If you are the host, do not forget the fibers and vegetables because most parties I go to lack them. Remember the mushrooms. For starters, a vegetable salad is great. A note of freshness ease digestion and slows the absorption of calories. For dessert, offer fresh fruits. Fruits go well with ice creams and cakes. What you moderate is what you have to watch less thereafter. The important thing is to spend a great time with family or friends, but it is better to focus on quality over quantity, with a beautiful high-end and tasty menu.

And the following days?

The next day, prepare a large salad with a few crumbs of tuna, for example. Always drink a lot of water. You can take some really good teas to promote drainage of the liver which is very sensitive. They can be found in your local pharmacy. They are based on artichoke which is a liver purge accelerator.

Ultimate Guide For Safe Driving

Written: 12/27/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

During this period of festivity, many people are rushing to meet their families, friends and near ones to celebrate the end of year with them. Even if you are in a hurry to get to meet your family, a few rules of caution is needed before and during your trip. Panorama of a few safety tips to stay in shape behind your steering wheel and to take the road in your best condition!

Note: This article will not consider gadgets like GPS, etc but will focus on the driver him/herself because if the driver is completely drunk, no matter how many gadgets the car has, the chance of having an accident will be the same.

Pay attention to the first signs of drowsiness and fatigue

To begin with, a figure: a road accident on three is due to drowsiness. Too often neglected or reduced, the consequences of sleepiness on the conduct are very real. Drowsiness causes similar effects on the conduct and behavior like alcohol. For proof, that other data: 17 hours of non-sleep is equivalent to 0.5 g of alcohol in your blood…

But what actually is that drowsiness? No fatigue in any case as it has too often been thought to be. Though different from one another, both have a significant impact on alertness and concentration of the driver, and hence its security.

According to road safety:

"The sleepiness or drowsiness is the difficulty to stay awake, with a risk of falling asleep. A sleepy person can go from standby to sleep without being aware of it, which is especially dangerous driving."

"Fatigue is the difficulty to do a particular task properly like staying focused at the wheel."


Now that you know how to differentiate between drowsiness and fatigue, learn the signs that distinguish them.

To locate the first signs of drowsiness, learn the following points:
  • Heavy eyelids, eyes which tingle.

  • Difficulty concentrating on driving.

  • Repeated yawnings.

  • Incessant needs to change positions.

At the appearance of these signs, it is time for you to release the pedal and go rest.


We all know what fatigue is for having experienced it so many times. Nonetheless, it is important to distinguish its signs to adopt a proper attitude because the solutions will not be the same as for sleepiness or tiredness.

  • Stiffness in the neck and shoulders.

  • Back pains.

  • Fixed glance, difficulty to concentrate.

If you are tired, it's an active break you need.

Stop and indulge yourself in some relaxing activities. Reading, stretching, playing cards or chess will get you back upright without burdening you.

We appreciate it after a hard day's work, after a heavy studying or simply on returning work. Yet on the road, most drivers do not seem to appreciate a break. Too often associated with loss of time, it helps a lot though to replenish your batteries so that you can drive safely.

Here are some tips to practise a healthy and safe driving on the road:
  • On many motorways, you can find a rest area approximately every 10 minutes. Sometimes, you can eat there and your children will enjoy the respite when there is a playground. In short, everything is being done to be able to relax and have fun while driving.

  • Respect times of pause: that is to say approximately 15 minutes every 2 hours.

  • Taking one or two coffees before making a short nap can rest and energize you without making you feel tired afterwards. It is one of the concept underlying a power nap. Caffeine putting 15 to 30 minutes to act, it is alright to drink a cup before falling asleep and you'll find yourself recover all your capabilities on awakening. For people whose physical condition prohibits coffee, wait at least 30 minutes after a nap to resume driving.

  • Avoid driving over 6 to 8 hours for every 24 hours.

  • Avoid driving during hours when the risk of drowsiness increases, that is between 13h and 16h and between 2 am and 5 am.

  • Respecting speed limits means taking less risks and avoid posing a strain on yourself. Indeed, a quick driving forces the driver to handle a wider range of information in the shortest time possible and to adapt his vision permanently.

Driving at night

To avoid traffic jams and not to suffer the overwhelming heat of the asphalt, there are many who choose to leave under the soft light of the moon. But this is very dangerous for many people who are not accustomed to driving at night.

How to drive better at night

  • Sleep at least 5 hours before you go: a period of sleep less than 5 hours multiply by 5 the risk of a fatal accident.

  • Do not leave directly after a hard day's work without some rest first. Go back home, take a shower, eat a piece and a nap can only be good for a safe driving.

  • Avoid heavy meals before leaving. Prefer meals where you can replenish your reserve of energy (fruit and vegetables, poultry, starch, etc..). Avoid sweets and foods rich in fat.

Alcohol: Danger at the turn

Despite all the prevention campaigns and information, constant reminders, a more active enforcement and increased penalties, alcohol is the cause of a fatal accident in three. In 2006, alcohol has become the leading cause of fatal accidents on the roads before speed. Nevertheless, it is insufficient and much work still need to be done. Yet the solution is so simple: Never drink before driving!

Effects of Alcohol

  • Decrease in the visual field: the perception of the lateral side of the environment is altered.

  • Increased visual reaction time. In a second in normal times, the response time increases to 2 seconds when you are drunk. Just one second longer? An example would be most telling: a vehicle at 90 km / h would cover 25 meters in 1 second, 37 meters per second and a half. These 12 meters, the distance over this extra reaction time, can save a life.

  • Decreased alertness and resistance to fatigue.

  • Perturbation of the coordination of movements.

  • Poor evaluation of risks.

Again, this has been repeatedly heard time and time, but for road safety, do not skimp this issue: the amount of alcohol in a glass of beer, a glass of wine or in a mixture of whiskey and coca type are equivalent.

Each glass consumed raises the alcohol content by 0.2 to 0.25 g/L of blood, these figures vary depending on the person. You must be cautious though because this relationship is true only for glasses served in bars and restaurants. At home, the glasses may be different, therefore keep an eye on the amount of alcohol served.


The biggest problem when driving at night is the reduced visibility. You must be twice as careful at night, which poses an even greater strain on yourself. A few simple adjustments to your vehicle will help to maximize your visibility and avoid any inconveniences along the way, day and night:
  • Check and correct the lightings in your car.
  • Clean the windshield, windows, mirrors, both inside and outside.
  • Beware of elements that impede visibility, and avoid clutter iin your car, especially the back seat of your car.
  • Always keep a pair of sunglasses within your reach so as not to be bothered with sunlight.

Other Practical Tips
  • If it's been several years that you have got your driving license and even if you travel regularly, a small revision of the highway code can not hurt. The laws are constantly changing, follow them.

  • Seat belts are mandatory at the front and rear.

  • Up to the age of 10 years, children must be equipped with a seat adapted to their age, their weight and morphology.

  • Do not call while driving, even if your phone is equipped with a handsfree kit. The fact of talking on the phone is a great distraction and your attention is not focused on the road. If you want to make a call, stop the car and make the call, else let your answering message do the talking for you.

  • Obey the speed limits. Therefore regularly refer to the indicators, they are usually fairly accurate measures. In addition to being exposed to a fine and a possible withdrawal of points, you expose yourself primarily, as well as other people on your way to real risks.

  • Keep a bottle of water next to you, for you to drink regularly.

  • Speak with the other passengers to keep you awake while remaining vigilant. Otherwise, a good tape or CD can be a very good traveling companion.

  • Never fix arrival time or driving time limit. This will force you to drive faster and will tire you more. The most important point is to arrive safely at your destination.

If you are not in a condition for driving, you should not drive. As said so the tortoise, there is no point in running to win the race, just leave in time for your destination... And in shape.

Reference: La sécurité routière en France: bilan de l'année 2007 (13 juillet 2007).

Merry Christmas!

Written: 12/25/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts. ~Janice Maeditere

Stop Overeating At Parties

Written: 12/24/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

Yesterday there was a huge party for the end-of-year holidays. And as everybody certainly knows the holiday season is a time when our taste buds are often coveted! What better way to have fun and enjoy delicious food with the people you love? Actually the holiday season is the one season where most people tend to put on weight. So to avoid this problem of "weight gain" during festive seasons, learn to recognize the signals of binge-eating.

  • Eating in the company of other people.

    The author of Mindless Eating, Mr Wansink, states that you eat 33% more in the company of another person than what you would eat if you were alone. And the more people there are at the dining table, the more incline you are to consume more food. The reason behind this is that eating with others, generally prolonged the eating time. Just imagine 15 people eating together!

  • Dim Lighting, Party Music

    Actually the dim lighting is conducive to over-eating because it is relaxing whereas the party music incites you to eat quickly because it is a stressor.

  • Food at the tips of your hands

    Some time back we carried out an experiment on the effects of food and weight gain. We placed some candy in a transparent jar in front of 10 students while they were studying and placed some candy in an opaque jar in front of 10 other students. The students with the transparent jar served themselves 72% more than those with the opaque jar. This proves that the mere fact of having food in sight leads to binge-eating.

  • Color of foods

    Again we carried out a similar study as the one shown above. We filled a jar with M&M's which are colored chocolate candies and placed it in front of 10 students. We filled another jar with maltesers which are candies surrounded by a layer of chocolate. Both jars were transparent. The study showed that 27% more M&M's were eaten than Maltesers. This is not because M&M's are tastier than Maltesers. Both are very tasty candies. This is because the wide variety of colors in the jar is an incentive to eat more. Indeed, it seems that even if all candies taste the same thing but are of different colors (as in the case of the M & M candy), we are likely to eat more because there are several different colors, as if we had more different foods to taste.

  • Plate Size

    Even I am not immune from these external incentives! A study that were conducted on me has shown that when I was given a large bowl, I use 31% more ice cream than when I was given a bowl smaller. Even more amazingly, I had no idea I was eating more.

In conclusion, the atmosphere that we create during the holidays, or lights, a large dining table together, music, the type and size of the plates and bowls, with the variety of dishes that we choose, help increase the amount of food we eat, unknowingly.

That being said, is there a solution? Should we modify the environment food during the holidays or attempt to remain vigilant and be satisfied with the resolution of losing excess weight quickly after the holidays?

For the importance of pleasure, if any, linked to the holiday season, I believe we should not modify the environment too, but remain vigilant. As far as calling in January resolutions to eat well, I do not believe in it. I even think that it is the best way to accumulate a lot of pounds too. If you are vigilant to the "external" incentives (I have just described), and you listen to your internal signals of hunger and satiety, the resolutions of January to lose weight will not be necessary.

Ackownledgement: A great thanks to all my friends who were kind enough to take part in these experiments.

Practical Exercises to Eliminate Small Physical "Imperfections"

Written: 12/21/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

A somewhat soft belly, flabby thighs can be very troublesome for most of you, especially during this festive season where you'll get to meet many people. Even if you are not a fan of fitness clubs, you can overcome your small defects. Note that not all sports are adapted to get you a firm butt and leaner hips and thighs. So here is a breakdown on what will and will not work for you in order to be in shape for the end of year festivals and next year's resolutions.

Round Back

Women aiming to achieve an hourglass figure should practise sports like swimming, horseback riding, volley-ball or even basket-ball. These sports help develop the muscles in your back and tend to make your body slimmer.

To Avoid: Hand-ball and upper torso bodybuilding which tend to make your upper body more muscular.

Large Shoulders

To achieve a more harmonious figure, choose sports which tone your legs: ski, roller, dance.

To Avoid: Tennis and swimming which develop essentially the muscles in your shoulders.

Flabby Stomach

If you do not wish to lock yourself in a gym doing crunches all day, better practise swimming and in particular, backstroke. This sport tones up your abdominal muscles. If you are fan of latino music, then start practising salsa.

To Avoid: Breaststroke and cycling which do not tone your abdominal muscles.

Flaccid Butt

Nothing is better for your buttock muscles than running. If your neighbors below you tolerate this, then skipping rope has also many advantages.

Soft Thighs

Consider dancing on modern jazz-music and avoid dance techniques that involve jumping. Practise swimming and stretching too.

To Avoid: Step and cycling which work your thigh muscles too much.

Acknowledgement: These tips are from my gym instructor.

After-Workout Tips: Simple Tips To Get Rid of Muscle Soreness After Your Workout

Written: 12/17/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

You've pushed yourself to the limit -- jogging, lifting, dancing or whatever it is you do to exercise -- and have no sooner wiped the sweat from your brow when it hits you: sore muscles and fatigue ... the variety that make you wonder, "Why am I doing this to myself?!"

It's normal to "feel the burn" during your workout, but afterward you should feel energized -- not tired and sore.

What causes sore muscles and fatigue after a workout? Many things, but often it occurs because you've exerted yourself and your body needs time to adjust.

To be fair, muscles soreness often doesn't occur for 12 to 36 hours after a workout. This type of soreness, called delayed-onset muscles soreness (DOMS), is more likely to happen when you've just intensified your workout or started a new activity. It's caused either by a buildup of energy waste products in the muscles or microscopic tears in muscle fibers.

With DOMS, you may think you're out of the woods, and then be hit with muscles soreness, stiffness, weakness and fatigue.

Meanwhile, energy-wise it's possible to still be "feeling the burn" from your workout for a day or more afterward. What causes this may actually be your brain -- not your muscles. Researchers from the University of Cape Town in South Africa found that prolonged exercise increases blood levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a molecule that makes people feel tired, 60 to 100 times higher than normal.

This may, in fact, be your body's way of telling you to slow down before any muscle damage occurs.

What to do so You Feel Great After Your Workout

Exercise should, technically, make you feel more energized, toned and fit -- not tired or sore. And while a little bit of fatigue and aches are normal, if you feel awful after you workout it's a surefire way to quickly give up your routine. Here are simple tips that you can use before, during and after your next workout to make sure you feel the way exercise is intended to make you feel: great!

  • Make sure your body has fuel. Eating a small snack about an hour before your workout may help give you energy.

  • Get enough sleep. If your body is truly tried, your workout will only exacerbate this feeling.

  • When you start a new exercise routine, or increase intensity/duration, do so gradually.

  • Take a few minutes to warm-up before your workout.

  • After your workout, stretch your muscles.

  • Don't exhaust yourself. If you're feeling completely out of breath or extremely fatigued, decrease the intensity of your workout.

  • Give yourself time to recover. Avoid training the same muscle groups two days in a row.

  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can lead to fatigue.

  • Eat something after your workout. Eating a mixture of protein and complex carbs within 90 minutes of working out will help repair your muscles and give you energy. Some great snack ideas include nuts and fruit, yogurt or cheese and whole-grain crackers or a tuna sandwich on whole-wheat bread.

  • If you've already worked out and now feel sore, here's what you can do to soothe your achy muscles:

  • Massage the area.

  • Apply a cold pack to the area.

  • Give it time. Muscle soreness should go away on its own in a few days.

  • Do some low-impact exercise. This increases blood flow to your muscles and can help to relieve soreness.

This article is from my buddy Ryan, a semi-pro athlete...

After-Workout Tips: How To Reap Maximum Benefit After Your Workout

Written: 12/17/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

It's somewhat instinctive to warm-up before a workout. You may jog in place a little, shake out your arms, do a few stretches, and some other movements to get your heart pumping and your body feeling loose before you exercise. After you're done exercising, however, you may be tired, and taking the time to cool down and support your body post-workout may be the last thing on your mind.

What you do AFTER your workout can mean the difference between sore muscles and fatigue, or stronger muscles and increased energy.

But as you may suspect, establishing a proper after-workout routine is incredibly important. Taking care of your body after exercise will impact your muscles (their strength and soreness), how well your exercise is received and even how much strain you put on your heart. So if you're taking the healthy step of exercising, be sure to extend it to include these simple, yet essential, after-workout tips.

Stretch Right After Your Workout

According to the Mayo Clinic, stretching is beneficial both after your warm up and before your cool down session, but if you only have time to do it once, you should do it after your workout, before you cool down. At this time, your muscles are warm and more elastic, and stretching increases your flexibility and maximizes the range of motion around your joints. You should stretch all the major muscles groups that you used during your workout.

If it feels more comfortable to you, you can also cool down and then stretch. Some experts recommend cooling down (to slow your heart rate) first, and stretching after.

Cool Down

After you stretch, it's time to cool down (stretching is not all it takes to cool down). During the cool down, your heart, lungs and blood flow slowly return to their normal states, which is essential to reduce strain on your heart and help prevent muscle strain and soreness. It also keeps you from feeling dizzy, faint or sick after your workout.

We all know how important it is to stay healthy by eating properly, exercising, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and more. But knowing something intellectually and actually living it out in your day-to-day life are two very different things.

To cool down, you should slow your aerobic activity down to a level that allows your heart rate to gradually decrease. A five-minute walk on a treadmill, for instance, works well.

Stay Hydrated

You know it's important to drink water during your workout, but it's just as important to stay hydrated afterward as well. Experts typically recommend drinking an additional two to three cups of water within two hours of finishing your workout. You should then keep drinking water regularly, as even if you don't feel thirsty it's still quite possible to be dehydrated.

Eat a Mix of Protein and Carbs

Though exercise is extremely beneficial, it does take a lot of effort on your body's part. After your workout, it's important to repair your muscles and replenish your glycogen stores for energy.

Most experts recommend eating something within 90 minutes of finishing your workout, but sooner is better. What should you eat? Ideally, a mixture of high-protein and complex carbohydrate foods. The protein helps repair muscles while the carbs will help give you energy. Some examples of healthy, post-workout foods include a tuna sandwich on whole-wheat bread, nuts and fruit, yogurt or cheese and whole-grain crackers or raw veggies.

Eating a combination of protein and carbs after exercise may also help to reduce muscle soreness, according to a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Thirty minutes after finishing a workout, exercisers were given either a drink containing 6 percent carbs, 10 percent carbs or 8 percent carbs plus 2 percent protein. Those who drank the carb/protein beverage reported feeling only half as sore as those who had the carbs-only drinks.

So next time you exercise, remember that your workout isn't complete until you've done these simple post-workout tips. They'll ensure that you get the maximum benefits from your exercise, with a minimum of strain to your body.

This post is from my buddy Ryan...